Well at long last, the long-awaited Highgate Vampire Symposium which shook the very foundations of sleepy old Highgate together with its ‘vampire myths’, has been and gone – and perhaps this would be a good place for me to answer a barrage of queries that have been coming in asking if there is to be another Symposium next year. Without wishing to disappoint the many people who missed this year’s event, I am afraid at this stage the answer must be ‘no’. We simply do not have the time or facilities to spare to organise another event for next year; but it is highly probable that we will be able to do so in 2017. I’ll keep you all posted on that, of course, but should point out that this year’s event in July took no less than five months of dedicated preparation to make it the success that it was.
But all is not lost! This year’s event is presently being transposed to film to be released in relevant sections, and these WILL be available very soon so people will be able to view the proceedings via the Internet. Eventually, these episodes will also be available on DVD for those who perhaps prefer a more ‘personal momentum’. But, as I said, I will keep everyone posted on the film’s progress, as all all that remains now is to immortalise its contents on film.
For Highgate old Village is deserving of some immortality. As many will know this exclusive village has an unique pedigree having long been associated with stories of witchcraft, murders and other political intrigues. And, of course, it harbours on its fringes the infamous Highgate Cemetery which, in more recent times, became the subject of somewhat more bizarre stories involving a ‘blood sucking’ vampire that was supposed to sleep within a coffin within the walls of this Victorian cemetery and which was even said to wander the surrounding area by night, infecting the living with its lethal bite so that these, in turn, became ‘blood-sucking vampires’ too! Or so the story goes . . .
Such was the effect of this story that as recently as the 1970s (at least in the course of a far wider time scale) it was taken seriously enough to be given air-space on national television channels and fill the pages of some sensationalistic newspapers. But most of these claims were theatrical stories and almost certainly influenced by Hammer Horror films who had filmed many of their popular vampire films on location in Highgate Cemetery throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.
One of the people who had followed the ‘vampire saga’ from its infancy was the American writer and radio Broadcaster Gareth Davies. Based in Los Angeles, Gareth also ran the highly popular Mind Set Central and discussion forum Para Talk which often includes cases of UK hauntings in its agenda.
Gareth spent the entire day at the Highgate Symposium in July interviewing attendees, and himself took part on a panel which hosted The Big Ghost Debate at the end of the day.
I agreed to be interviewed by Gareth at my home the following day and perhaps understandably, the events most fresh on his mind were those from the Symposium the previous day.
I have re-published Gareth’s short interview here; mainly to give everyone ‘something to go on with’ until the main filming is ready for release here.
Enjoy everyone! David Farrant.