Regular readers of this blog – and the website – will have doubtless noticed that it has had more than a minor facelift!
In fact, Della – my long suffering wife – has been working on what you can see now for around four months. We hope you like the changes! These were largely made based on feedback from readers about what they would like to see more of.
Some of the differences (without boring you all to death with a list of all the changes – which would take up several irrelevant pages!) are:
What else ? Oh yes, you can even record your own ‘FarrantCam’ now should you wish!
If you spot any broken links or glitches then please do let us know via the CONTACT FORM – with over 730 blog entries, 110 pages, a dozen or so books not to mention the galleries and vintage news reports this has been a behemoth of a site for poor Della to overhaul. But we are very pleased with the results and hope you all enjoy the new new site.
Just a brief blog – not an extract from my daily diary, you will have to wait til tomorrow for that.
I just wanted to let you all know that Della’s new book Haunted Highgate is now to be released not only in print but as an e-book. With only a few days to go before both versions of the book are available, a preview can now be viewed on Google Books. So for those of you who have been counting down the days, you can now have a sneaky peak inside the pages of this much anticipated history of Highgate’s many ghosts.
Well, its all been happening again this week. I omitted to mention on my last Blog that Della gave an interview on Sunday for The Spooky Isles Upstairs at the Gatehouse, which has yet to be released, because David Saunderson’s laptop has blown up. However, the extensive audio has not been lost, and will be online soon. Jon Kaneko-James and Paul Adams were David’s co-interviewers and they all had a lot of fun – and some possible encounters with Mother Marnes! But more on that when the podcast is released. As Hallowe’en draws ever nearer and the countdown for the release of Della’s book Haunted Highgate begins, there are of course other events being lined up, but again – those are for announcement on another day (soon).
What I CAN tell you, however, is that the final part of Dark Morte’s interview with myself for her Frights and Delights series on YouTube has just been released (in fact yesterday, I understand). Part 4 is actually one of my personal favourites of the four part interview. A warning – on the subject of vampire guinea pigs we all ‘corpsed’ (which was Della’s fault). But then who wouldn’t find such a ridiculous subject laughable, and after all it was not myself who put about the rumour that domestic pets around Finchley were being drained of blood by a Wallachian “King Vampire of the Undead” or rather its (very much alive and well) disciple! Really, I ask you?!
Dark Morte and her team are also accomplished photographers, and I am pleased to report that a national magazine will be featuring photos taken during a shoot after the Frights and Delights filming session soon, to accompany a forthcoming feature on – can you guess ? The Highgate ‘vampire’. Don’t forget to check out Dark Morte’s own website, where you can see examples of her modelling and video work, over at darkmorte.com, including links to the music video for B.E.F./Kim Wilde’s Every Time I See You I Go Wild which was largely shot in North London’s Abney Park Cemetery which many of my readers here may well have visited themselves.
Anyway, here is Part 4, appropriately subtitled ‘The Highgate Vampire & Witch Trial’. I do hope you enjoy it. It was a real pleasure to be interviewed by Dark Morte who (like Jon Kaneko-James who participates in Parts 1 and 2) has no agenda and has an innate ability to draw out the inner-most feelings of interviewees. As someone who has given over 2000 press interviews over the decades I feel that I can give this endorsement from a position of some experience!
Well its all been very hectic here recently, with everything seemingly happening at once. But as it is a nice sunny day here in Muswell Hill and I finally have five minutes to sit down at the computer, I thought I should let you all know that I am still out here, and write a Blog!
Firstly, an unexpected CD arrived in the post recently, with the suggestion that its contents should be posted online for posterity. It was an interview which I gave for The James Whale Radio Show in 2001 which I had completely forgotten about, concerning, perhaps not unsurprisingly, the Highgate ‘vampire’. The program starts off a little comically, when James makes a couple of remarks to his technician about the spooky music interrupting his introduction. It was all in good fun, and I thought at the time if he was planning to bring a little humour into the case; well, that suited me fine. As many people will know, the Highgate ‘vampire’ scenario invokes a lot of humour. After all, who in their right mind really can be expected to blindly accept ridiculous claims from certain people who assert they have actually discovered a real-life vampire at Highgate Cemetery and staked it through its devilish heart, whereupon it let out a diabolical roar (quote: “as if from the bowels of hell”) and then promptly turned to slime and viscera in the bottom of its coffin? And their further claims that they set the whole caboodle alight (coffin and all). No, nobody – including the somewhat sarcastic James Whale – could really be expected to take that seriously.
So I was quite prepared for a bit of fun, but when he eventually got going, Whale seemed unusually interested in what I had to say. His interview was laced with his usual sarcasm as is his style, however in this case I feel that it was fully justified.
But that was not the reason for my agreeing to go on his show – I could safely leave that to other people to ‘try their luck’ with him (that is James) if they dared!
I was determined though to counteract the ridiculous claims of some people who had ‘cashed in’ on that case (mainly motivated by publicity and a desire to promote their writings). My only concern really was to clarify that Highgate Cemetery’s longstanding ‘ghost’ – or ‘ghosts’ – were established as being a veritable reality. Stories were pouring in at an alarming rate at the time from dozens of people who had had some first-hand experience with this phenomenon. So in this respect, Whale was quite fair to myself and I received an impression that he was actually listening to what I had to say. Miracles never cease!
You can listen to the broadcast here:
In other news, I had a visit recently from a Los Angeles based TV production company, who have been over in the UK filming for an established cable travel series which focusses on the unusual and macabre. Naturally they did not want to miss meeting with myself, as they intended to include, wait for it! The Highgate ‘vampire’. They visited me one day a couple of weeks back, and filmed this ‘infamous house’ on their way in up to see me. I think that my modest dwelling somewhat surprised them. They wanted to see the other two rooms in my flat, and one of them (the presenter) even followed me into the kitchen when I later went to make them cups of coffee. “I’ll come and give you a hand,” he said, and I couldn’t really refuse; whether he was expecting to find vials of blood in the fridge I’m not sure, but all he found was milk! “My milkman doesn’t have that kind of thing on his float!” I told him, and we laughed. I believe they also interviewed Arthur Pendragon (Rex) about Druidry in the UK and some other prominent people in the Pagan community, so there should be something in there for everyone. Anyway, the broadcast should go out around Hallowe’en, and I’ll keep you all up to date with its release as I’m sure that many of my ‘fans’ out there will be dying to see it (please excuse the pun!).
One other thing – and quite a big thing – as some of you may have seen, film maker Max Sycamore recently granted me permission to upload to YouTube the virtually uncut interview with myself which formed the basis of the biopic “Tulpa”. “Tulpa” was released last year on Youtube by The Sycamore Brothers in serialised parts, but for anyone who would like to watch Max’s interview with myself you can do so below.
Well that’s it for now folks, but I promise you another Blog with some more news in the next couple of days.
Exciting news, everyone! The release date for Della’s new book Haunted Highgate is getting closer and closer – just six weeks to go now. And yesterday she received the proofs for the book. There were no grammatical corrections, just a few suggestions for insertions etc. Della’s book gives the reader a very thorough overview of many hauntings in the Highgate area, and includes a lot of previously unpublished witness accounts. Of course, some well-known ‘ghost’ cases (such as those which pertain to The Flask, The Gatehouse and the Highgate ‘vampire’) could not be just ignored because they are integral to old Highgate’s paranormal heritage. But even in the coverage of these a wealth of new background information and witness accounts have been introduced. Although looking through the proofs today I noticed that Della has either ignored or debunked the usual nonsense, concentrating instead on her own meticulous research, with the invaluable contribution that this adds to Highgate’s secret history.
Anyway, I’m afraid you will all just have to wait to read it when it is released on 6th October. The book has been in preparation for a couple of years now, and involved a lot of sleepless nights; or at least going to bed just as the sun was rising. Della’s book is available for pre-order on Amazon here:
Another new book titled Supernatural: The World Guide to Mysterious Places was sent to me by airmail a week and a half or so ago. It was written by Sarah Bartlett, an occult author who these days lives in France. I was surprised to read Sarah’s little joke within the pages, and in all the many books I have been sent which mention myself in relation to the Highgate ‘vampire’ case I have to say that I have never read ONE which manages to get things so spectacularly wrong in such an amusing fashion. As one disgruntled commentator has already noted, how this happened is a complete mystery, and a ‘dickipoggy’ one at that! But it seems that the answer will remain ‘occulted’ for the foreseeable future. As I mentioned, so very many books (AND websites) have published and continue to publish so much nonsense about myself that one more won’t hurt, I suppose! At the end of the day these things really aren’t worth worrying about, and if I was to make a big ‘song and dance’ about it people would reasonably conclude that I was only doing this for some inverted form of publicity! I hardly need and certainly don’t desire this; I’ve got enough going on in the real world, especially with Della’s new book coming out and all its GENUINE revelations about Highgate. But as my old friend Boffinack used to say – a LOT – ‘the only thing worse than bad publicity is no publicity!’
So good luck Sarah, and good luck Della with your separate enterprises. But if you want the truth of the Highgate affair then I am afraid to say that Della wins hands down. Sorry Sarah! Will make it up to you next time, honest.
Now with all these books to read I am afraid, dear readers, that I must abandon you for my smoking jacket and cigar, and settle down on the chaise-longue for a few hours’ worth of cerebellum tickling.
Goodnight all, and DO enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend!
Received a visit from an old friend on Thursday night, Rob Milne, who many will remember as Le Comte de Milano, the acclaimed international playboy, duellist and occultist who caused so much controversy in the UK a few years ago by fighting on the ‘Cause of right’ to defeat the forces of evil. This was only one milestone in his turbulent career . . . but it was sufficient to invoke the wrath of many so-called religious sects and groups in the UK after Le Comte had denounced them as all being ‘false prophets’! He was almost certainly right . . . they were! But disillusioned by all the hypocrisy of such individuals and their attempts to smear him on a global scale, Rob finally left the UK a few years ago to return to his ancestral roots in Northern Italy. He did need ‘a well-earned- rest’ as he confided to myself a few years ago; but we agreed to keep in contact. I was not in the least surprised therefore to hear from him a couple of weeks ago announcing that he had to return to the England for a while and ‘could we put him up for a couple of weeks’, as he had some a matter of ‘honour’ to sort out in the UK.
Of course, I said he was welcome, and lo and behold he turned up last Thursday
It turns out, as I suspected from several cryptic phonecalls and posts on my Blog and various forums, that Le Comte has been keeping a protective and watchful eye on the Land of Farrant, and the nefarious behaviour of those who would threaten its reputation – himself included. Le Comte after all is a long established member not only of The Highgate Vampire Society, but of The British Psychic and Occult society’s inner circle.
Anyway, he turned as expected after a long trip with his long-time paramour Veronica, armed with a bottle of best scotch whiskey, champagne and some bottles of wine . . . and he’s still here with his fair damsel!
But they are very welcome, and we’ve all had a great time catching up, and no doubt there will be more adventures to follow.
I was a bit surprised to learn though that since our last meeting ‘in the flesh’, Le Comte has followed in the footsteps of that other notorious libertine Lord Byron, and become a vegetarian. He claims that this maintains his equilibrium, and inhibits his desire to take up the rapier again. But judging by the things he was coming out with on Thursday his diet seems to be having quite the opposite effect. I have often wondered whether the self-denial of an innate urge for blood can provoke peculiar consequences in certain personalities . . .
Anyway, I will keep you all informed on Le Comte’s progress before he returns to his secret retreat in Northern Italy – once his business in the UK has been completed of course.
Well, that’s the latest for now everyone. And be back soon.
P.S. – You may need to let the video below buffer briefly depending upon the speed of your internet connection.
Just to inform you that the 2nd Part of Dark Morte’s film on myself and the paranormal investigations of the British Psychic and Occult Society is now up on her YouTube channel. This episode is titled – perhaps appropriately – “Wicca, Paganism & Psychic Investigations” and carries on from Part 1 which concluded with a BPOS investigation in the Snowdonian Valley in 1985. Amongst other things, I discuss the advancement of 20th century Wicca which, I point out, might well be much older (by thousands of years) than Gerald Gardner’s 1930s epoque as asserted by ‘New Age’ protagonists. Gardner’s book “Witchcraft Today” written in 1954 really gave way to this assertion of the ‘modernists’, but then, this only really amounts to a ‘book-shelf’ mentality which has somehow been turned into an unfounded myth by those in fact having no true knowledge or experience of the customs and traditions of true Wicca.
In anycase, you can watch part two of Darke Morte’s film here:
What other news? Well last week my good friend Redmond McWilliams, and Secretary of the BPOS Patsy Langley, organised a walking tour of haunted Hampstead and Highgate, in conjunction with Redmond’s Facebook group ‘The Highgate Cemetery Vampire Appreciation Society’. They had a big turnout, and the attendees for this seven mile long trek included Paul Adams (author of Written in Blood) and David Saunderson of The Spooky Isles. Their walk took in the Bull & Bush pub, Jack Straw’s Castle, the Spaniards Inn, and of course Highgate Cemetery West, and was loosely based on this self-guided walk.
Unluckily for them the Highgate ‘vampire’ did not come out to play. Yes – like the ungracious and temperamental lower-astral realm cad that he is allegedly is, he didn’t even creep up on David Saunderson whilst this photograph was being taken, despite repeated calls from his fellow paranormal tourists of “He’s behind you!”
Still, a good time was had by all. It was unsufferably hot in my Highgate flat on the day on account of the heatwave, and so sadly the anticipated after-party could not be accommodated this time around. However, Paul, Della, David and myself have some other projects in the pipeline which will see the light of day very soon. In the meantime, in case anyone missed it, here is my recent podcast for The Spooky Isles with Paul and David. Enjoy everyone!
Well, I can honestly say that laziness is not the reason for my recent lack of Blog posts! (I really have got a true excuse this time!) Anyway, to bring you all up to date, there is a bit more news which I am sure some of you will already be aware of.
Dark Morte released the first part of her new video last week, which involves a questions and answers interview with myself by Dark Morte and ritual magician Jon Kaneko-James about the paranormal and, of course, the infamous Highgate ‘vampire’. Actually, to be accurate, that part of the interview (the Highgate ‘vampire’, has not been released yet, but I believe it will be in part 3 of 4. I will be putting all four parts of her video onto my Youtube channel as a playlist, so look out for that, but here is part 1 to be getting on with:
By the way I should point out that the interview in its entirety forms part 6 of Dark Morte’s’s Frights and Delights series of documentaries and interviews. Dark Morte also writes a Blog for the Spooky Isles, and you can check out more of her professional work here:
I caught up with Dark Morte and her partner Merlyn (who is responsible for the marvellous Frights and Delights camera work) again on Saturday at the launch of my good friend and fellow author Paul Adams’s new book ‘Written in Blood – A Cultural History of the British Vampire.’ Dark Morte and her cosplaying friend and colleague The Daywalker Rebooted were in attendance as Selene from Underworld and legendary vampire-slayer Blade, in Dark Morte’s words to ‘safely keep any problematic Lycans and Vampires away ;-)’. Well that made us feel in safe hands! It was lucky for Gareth J. Medway however that they didn’t notice him in the crowd, else he would have been quickly staked, no doubt!
The launch went very well, and had a great attendance with representation from The Ghost Club, The Society for Psychical Research, The Highgate Cemetery Vampire Appreciation, The British Psychic and Occult Society, The Spooky Isles, and London Haunts and Horrors, as well as many fans of the gothic and vampire genres. BPOS cameraman Dave Milner attended and filmed the event for those who could not make it, and you can watch the video below.
I was very proud to be asked to deliver the keynote opening speech at the launch, and extremely pleased that the first book containing original and accurate observations about the Highgate case to be published for quite some time received such an enthusiastic reception. Well done Paul! And Happy First Birthday to your book! I am sure it will still be going strong when it enjoys its 70th!
What else? Well before the launch, Paul and David Saunderson of The Spooky Isles conducted a podcast interview with myself, which is now online. It was fun to discuss subjects other than the Highgate ‘vampire’, such as the past, present and future of psychical research, and some other cases which the BPOS have investigated over the years. You can listen to the podcast at this link.
We had a small ‘gathering’ at my home in Muswell Hill after the event, to wind down and discuss the launch (and have some coffee, pizza and wine in no particular order!), which was a good opportunity to reflect upon a very successful and positivity filled day. Just one question remains – who was the solitary and silent man of mystery with the crash helmet, seemingly afflicted with shyness, sketching away very professionally like a court-room artist? Apparently, although I did not see them myself, he caught some very good likenesses of the young ladies present, but didn’t sketch any men. If you are reading this then please do get in touch, I don’t bite! And perhaps your sketches could be featured on my Blog!
Well that’s it for now everyone, I think I might give myself a week off. That said, I’m sure there is something ‘important’ about tomorrow, or something I need to do … maybe it will come back to me in my well-earned sleep.
President, British Psychic and Occult Society, etc., etc.
Very long day today. Some more filming about that Highgate Vampire case and so a little tired. Don’t get me wrong, am not THAT tired and all in all it was a refreshing experience. We just all relaxed and took it slowly, and there was no need to rush anything. Being a Sunday daytime, Della was here as well and was able to take a couple of photographs of the occasion afterwards (see above).
Dark Morte, her partner Merlin, and Jon Kaniko-James of The Spooky Isles arrived at 2pm to spend the afternoon filming for an interview which Dark Morte is preparing with myself for release soon. Both Dark Morte and Jon asked me separate questions about the case and I was pleased that Dark Morte had read my book “In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire” and also wanted to ask a little about my travels in Europe back in 1966 – things I recalled in the book; such as working on beaches collecting deck chairs, in various café’s along the way and picking fruit on various farms. It certainly was a refreshing change to talk to other seriously-minded people and get away from the silly ‘vampire claims’ which surrounded at case at the time in the 1970’s period. Jon also asked me some questions about Gardnerian / Traditional Wicca – always a contentious subject!
Well as promised – two Blogs in two days! And that’s not bad going for me!
Yesterday’s Blog was about something very special indeed – as is this one. Over the last year I have been following with interest and great anticipation the progress of a new title by my friend and fellow author Paul Adams. Paul has written many books focussing on paranormal history and activity, and is very skilled in presenting fresh views and perspectives on well-known cases which have captured the public’s imagination. He has, for instance, worked at length with Peter Underwood (who I presume needs no introduction to my readers here), on cataloguing the Borley Rectory case, which my organisation, the BPOS, have also investigated.
I would like to extend an invitation on behalf of The Spooky Isles to all readers of my ‘The Human Touch’ Blog to attend the launch of Paul’s forthcoming book ‘Written in Blood – A Cultural History of the British Vampire’, on July 12th. There will be a short introduction to Paul’s book by myself, which I was asked to contribute in light of my central involvement in the Highgate ‘vampire’ case when it first hit the headlines in 1970, and my continued research into the genuine phenomena which inspired this particular vampire myth over the proceeding 44 years (to date!). I believe that Paul also wants me to do a short interview about psychic research and my own views on ‘vampires’. Although I am a psychic investigator, and not ‘Britain’s Number One Psychic’ (anyone who promotes themselves in such ways would obviously be inviting scepticism regarding their claims, especially where these are fantastical! ), I feel that I can confidently predict that Paul’s book will ‘go down a storm’ when it hits the shelves. It is a ground breaking work, and his handling of the Highgate ‘vampire’ case has been very objective, unlike many stories which have appeared in the popular press. The number of books which have featured this case over the years is astonishing – as is the space they take up in my flat, as people tend to send these to me either because I have contributed or for my general interest. However it is rare to find a text upon this subject which pushes the envelope (or goes the extra mile, however one chooses to phrase it), and presents the facts in a cohesive and fresh style, but above all accurately.
I would like to say well done to Paul for his stoicism and enthusiasm in tackling such a nebulous and misrepresented paranormal case, as well as for completing a book with much broader implications for other cases, some well-known, some obscure – not to mention the impact of literature and movies upon popular culture including my old favourite bugbear, the influence of ‘Hammer Horror’ films!
The launch is taking place at the King and Queen public house in Foley Street, London, from 7.00pm, and full details can be found here.
I look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it on the night!
If you can’t attend, I heartily encourage you to obtain a copy of Paul’s work, which is essential reading for anyone interested in the Highgate ‘vampire’, and vampirism in general. It can be found on Amazon here.