The photographs in this gallery were all taken in the Cory-Wright mausoleum at Highgate Cemetery in 1971. I took some, and journalists took others, as copyright indicates in the captions.
The mausoleum in question is not as easy to find as some of the grander monuments in the cemetery, hidden away from the ‘tourist’ paths. Its unusual placement presumably played a significant role in its choice as a ritual space for a group of black magic practitioners based in Highgate who were using it during 1971, if not much earlier.
The photographs taken by myself and my society were intended to act as a record of our discovery of this group’s activities, which in light of their choice of location and the sigils and glyphs involved were naturally interpreted by us (I still maintain, correctly) to indicate necromantic and extremely negative magical rituals. Amongst the remains of rituals which we discovered were the burnt down stubs of thick black candles, along with inverted pentagrams and other symbols chalked upon the floor. A heavy marble bust, representing one of the gentlemen whose ashes were interred within the mausoleum had been moved to the apex of a triangle around which these symbols were inscribed, indicating that there had been some potential attempt to communicate with his spirit in a necromantic and entirely unwholesome fashion. Despite the fact that I had openly sent these photographs to the Ham and High in an attempt to put a stop to – or ‘discourage’ – such practices – the photos’ presence in my home some three years later when I was raided by the Police in preparation for what would become my Old Bailey ‘witch trial’ were taken as an indication that I was in some way responsible for these markings. As can be seen from the colour photograph which was published in Man, Myth and Magic, the heavy door to the vault had been left unsecured, meaning that anyone at any time prior to this could have created them. But to a modern, educated and unprejudiced readership that is surely pointing out the obvious …
How do I know that this group were based in Highgate? Well amongst other ‘clues’ (such as the spate of threatening letters which I received after publishing photographs of the remains of their rituals, all of which had North London including Highgate postal stamps) the bottle of methylated spirits which I photographed at the time and which has been included below bore the label of the Highgate Village chemist. I can only presume that this was left in situ because of its helpfulness in keeping a fire alight for a prolonged period of time where the need to represent the element of fire was present.
David Farrant, 2014