Well as many of you will know by now – especially if you keep tuned into the Highgate Vampire saga and BPOS investigations into the Paranormal around the UK – Muswell Hill held its first ever Geisterfest at Hallowe’en aimed at promoting community spirit and businesses in the local community. I gave a basic report about this in my Blog of November 9th and also gave a brief summary of my appearance on Carrie Kirkpatrick’s Oracle TV on Sunday November 2nd (and I provided a link to this 4-hour programme which touched on the case of the notorious Highgate ‘vampire’), but what I really ‘held back’ was that after the Geisterfest itself, there was another project to complete: a promotional film to promote Della’s new book “Haunted Highgate”, and more importantly to give readers who have never had a chance to visit Highgate to see some of its most haunted locations for themselves – on the eeriest night of the year! The film features Della and paranormal author Paul Adams, and was filmed entirely on location in Highgate.
I thought it best not to mention this at the time because 1) the project had not yet been completed and 2) I wanted to see the finished footage which had not then been viewed, let alone edited! So I decided to ‘err on the side of caution’ before releasing this ‘breaking news’ and attracting accusations from potential critics that we had actually filmed inside Highgate Cemetery at night and amounted to illegal trespass within the cemetery! This in fact, did not happen, although we did go to several different Highgate locations most of which had been the sites of witnessed ‘ghost sightings’, and such-like.
Well, I have since seen the edited footage and, apart from some technical lighting problems, it is now virtually completed, for release in about a week or two. But I’ll let everyone know and provide the playable link.
So, everything seems to have quietened down a little now after the last couple of weeks. Della and I really have been overworked a little during the Hallowe’en period. But we can relax a little now at least, and the only way to do that is with a couple of glasses of wine!
When I compose Blog entries, I usually pick the title last, but this Blog is an exception to the rule! You see, on this day in 1967 something happened which changed my life forever – my first born son came into the world. Jamie.
1967 was a hectic and confusing year. I had returned from Spain with Jamie’s mother, and although we had some fun times together in Highgate, as young parents from different backgrounds and with very different interests we found it hard to integrate our lives together there. Although we cared deeply for each other, and I would never describe our relationship as simply a holiday romance, things seemed so different when we returned from our carefree existence abroad to start a new life together in London. So many rumours were flying around Highgate village about strange, seemingly paranormal goings on at The Gatehouse, and in Highgate Cemetery and Swains Lane, and I immersed myself in them. Having been away for around a year, I also had a lot of catching up to do with esoteric and magical acquaintances, and I threw myself back into my life in Highgate with less care than was perhaps fair for Jamie’s mother – who had quickly and sensibly formed her own circle of friends in the village. Knowing that I was about to come into a large inheritance I was careless with money, and lived for the moment. How things change!
I can’t look back now and revise history; those early years of Jamie’s life were turbulent for me, and I was young and did things very differently from how I would now. I was imprisoned in 1974 as a result of my ‘Witchcraft Trial’ at The Old Bailey, and had last seen Jamie (and his brother, my second son Danny) in 1971. But I never stopped thinking about them, despite the haze of chaos which surrounded me both in and out of prison as my life in Highgate, and my life in general, collapsed around me.
Many years later Jamie contacted me. I was suspicious at first; because of the Highgate case I get so many crank emails, including ones from people giving false hope and offering erroneous information about personal situations. But when Jamie emailed me a scan of his passport I knew instantly that he was for real, and saw the boy I knew in the man staring back at me from my computer screen. I also learned that I was a grandfather, of a charming and well brought up young lady who is the spitting image of Jamie, her grandmother and myself.
Well, happy birthday Jamie : 1967 seems a long time ago now, and we have had a lot of lost time to catch up on. As I say in my autobiography David Farrant : In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire:
Our first son, Jamie, was born in November. There was no shortage of visitors to the flat at this time, and inevitably he had no shortage of attention.
I am sure you have had a lot of attention tonight Jamie, as you always seem to. Like myself at your age (and younger) you are always surrounded by friends. So have one on me tonight, and you can have your proper birthday drink next time you come and stay – and it won’t be a bottle of pop this time!
Well, the Muswell Geisterfest has been and gone, and a very good Halloween celebration it was as well. People turned up in their hundreds to Muswell Hill bringing (it seemed) just as many children but as the whole thing had been scheduled to coincide with the half-term weekend the kids got to enjoy an almost ‘extra holiday’.
The main gathering point was O’Neills pub in the centre of the Broadway, and it was here that Della, Paul Adams and myself were all selling our separate books. Della’s new book Haunted Highgate also attracted a lot of interest and we learned it had already sold out in nearby Muswell Hill Bookshop. They have got some more stock in now which has coincided nicely with local newspaper reports today of the Geisterfest in the “Ham and High” and “Broadway” newspapers which had mentioned the new book and the Geisterfest as well.
We managed to film a great deal of the general activity, and for this purpose we had brought along Dave Milner who has covered much of the Highgate ‘vampire’ story in the past, and Drew Hartley, a Press Officer who was formerly employed by Yorkshire Television.
About 7, Della was asked to go on the stage to say a couple of words about her book which she did admirably. I guess she was saying in essence that she did not intend to bore people with a long speech but the book was available if anyone wanted to go and see it in more detail.
We had to leave around 7.30 to venture forth on another filming assignment at Highgate Cemetery. That filming all went very well and will make the basis of another film which we will be releasing next week – maybe before; but keep watching this space (rather Blog!) for details on that.
But the endless Hallowe’en week was still not over! I had agreed to be interviewed by Oracle Television on Sunday evening by the vibrant Carrie Kirkpatrick (proprietor of the Channel) mainly about Della’s new book but also to clarify some old history about Highgate’s Queens Woods and the well known case of the Highgate Vampire.Also watch out for Gareth J. Medway, and the amazing Ken Rees.
Carrie’s 4-hour programme is now available to watch live on the Internet, and the link is here.
My part was really in the last part of the show. Anyway, hope you enjoy that. Carrie kindly gave me a lift home afterwards – which was just as well as, by this time, I really was getting a little exhausted!
Yet still a lot to do in the aftermath of all that. So a couple of glasses of wine seem appropriate at this time!
I am STILL sticking to my promise of updating my Blog regularly, and I have some exciting news for you all this time.
This Hallowe’en sees the inaugural launch of the Muswell Hill Geisterfest – a unique Hallowe’en festival – cum – local celebration which is taking place on Friday October 31st 2014.
As a resident of Muswell Hill for many decades (and previously Highgate where, in fact, I was born), it was with great honour that I noticed my name had appeared in the Geisterfest posters plastered around Muswell Hill. Well, I say my name, but actually I have been billed as “The Highgate Vampire Hunter” – and I know which old friend on the planning committee is responsible for THAT!
Anyway. the real purpose of this event is to bring the local community together; and to this end organise a series of events and programmes, supported by local people, shops and traders. There are many activities planned to amuse and entertain local children as well as adults, from mask-making to pumpkin-carving competitions, as well as a full performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Activities are planned all around Muswell Hill Broadway, including the Crocodile Café which will be converted into a spooky grotto, Avenue Mews where a Scarecrow Festival is taking place and O’Neill’s public house where a spooky selection of stalls can be found upstairs in the gallery.
It looks set to be a really fun community event, and all of us here in Muswell Hill are really looking forward to it. And Paul, Della and myself look forward to meeting any London-based readers on the day. We will have to wrap up around 7.30pm as we have other Hallowe’en related commitments in the evening, but if you can make it after work then we look forward to seeing you.
All proceeds from the raffle at O’Neill’s – to which we will be donating prizes – go to the charity All People All Places, which supports homeless and vulnerably housed people.
More Hallowe’en events to be announced soon, but for the moment,
October is always a busy time year in the “Land of Farrant” for obvious reasons. The build-up to Hallowe’en always signals the frequent ringing of the telephone and various emails from reporters anxious for a ‘Highgate vampire’ story to run. There will be a few of these in popular magazines over the next couple of weeks, but I better not say which just yet! The new website has many pages which discuss other topics, but to save reporters getting lost in the morass of other sites out there which offer vague and/or incorrect – and sometimes entirely fictious – accounts of what that case really involved I decided to add for the first time a page solely devoted to the subject. Perhaps unsurprisingly this has proven to be the most ‘hit’ page so far since my new site’s launch on Wednesday October 8th. As it seems to be so popular we have added a bit more information to the page, which can be found here: http://davidfarrant.org/the-highgate-vampire/
In other news, as many readers will be aware Della’s new book Haunted Highgate hit the shelves this week, and she has been invited to appear on Nocturnal Frequency Radio hosted by Steve Genier and Alex Rondini tomorrow. The show is very popular on the West Coast, and will be broadcast on Sunday 11pm (EST) – that’s 4am for us in the UK, and you can listen to it here: http://www.newvisionsradio.com/. But don’t worry if you miss it – it will be in the archives. Pity poor Della who has to stay up all night for the show, and has a paranormal investigation connected with Highgate the following night which will go on til cockcrow no doubt! But these things have to be done – at least on the basic principle of investigating matters on the ground, so to speak, as opposed to just attempting research from behind a computer! Best of luck to you guys though, at least you seem to be taking an interest!
Speaking of which, I have sadly had to block one particular ‘dissenter’ from the new website already, who after a few minutes of sitting in shock staring at it proceeded to immediately hit pages which apparently reference himself (http://davidfarrant.org/cabinet-of-curiosities/the-mysterious-magister/ seemed to particularly interest him) before downloading as many pages and pictures as he could bare to look at. Strange, I know, as was this person’s evident interest in associates of mine involved in the Highgate ‘vampire’ case such as John Bradish (who he obviously met in court when bound over for intimidating John’s wife and children) and my friend Rob Milne who challenged him to a duel some years back to redress a similar attempt at intimidating an innocent ‘wee lassie’ as Rob would put it. Anyway this oddball is in the minority fortunately, so please everyone just don’t take any notice of the maniacal claims which he will no doubt be posting on Facebook under his usual aliases accompanied by stolen photographs from the new site. He is to be pitied, really.
I mentioned that Hallowe’en always seems to provoke fresh interest in the Highgate ‘vampire’ case – here is a link to a short radio broadcast which went up yesterday and which some readers may enjoy! I can’t say I agree with all of it sentiments, but it makes some valid observations (and is quite amusing!) and nevertheless I believe in free speech so here it is: http://halloweenhaunt.wordpress.com/
What else? Oh yes, thank you for your photograph Yashkamiko, and I am pleased to learn that various news seems to have spread to Tokyo! Thanks for your email too – I’ll be in touch soon.
More news to follow shortly about forthcoming Hallowe’en shenanigans, but for now everyone,
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!