During my travels working within “That Space Between” I have the most wonderful opportunities. I constantly come into contact with some very interesting phenomenon regarded as paranormal and at times and I am lucky enough to meet some really interesting people. This case happens to be one of those.
For a Paranormal Investigator as you can imagine, the day to day events or nights I should say, are NEVER ever the same. As every spirit is different therefore so is every individual, or beings very different. No two cases or investigations are alike in any way. I’ve often been asked what interests me most when seeking and investigating things that are a little different or not of our world ? My answer is, “its clearly those that are of the unusual, way out there and very different that attract my attention for investigation and if it involves anything to do with the Paranormal then OK, you have it”.
It is how this case that I am about to present to you became my focus of recent weeks. I would like to present to you, a most interesting interview that I was honored to conduct along with a friend of mine, Stevee Quantill. Who is the person behind the famous London’s Highgate Vampire Case? I was destined to find out.
For those of you that are unaware of London’s Famous Highgate Vampire then a quick Google will provide you with endless pages of information. Now please do be careful as you scan through the endless documentation, reports and blogs. As to deem all the information as the entire Truth and Nothing but the Truth may very well catch you by surprise when you hear that NOT everything you read IS TRUE. This is where I began my research thinking to myself, IS THIS REAL or am I reading about some fictional character here? Its taken me seriously a great deal of investigation and research, wading through the countless drivel of media hype and character assassinations. As well as the out and out garbage thrown around by those wishing to “Cash In” Or sensationalize themselves at others expense surrounding this case. To actually find the real bare bolts as it were of the TRUTH behind the man of “The Highgate Vampire”
It is here I shall begin. Please note that I have only been able to accomplish this with the help and assistance of the actual person involved, he himself.
Mr David Farrant, the famous Paranormal Investigator most notably known for his investigation of the Highgate Cemetery ‘vampire’ scare of the late 1960s and early 1970s
Who is David Farrant ?
A lot has been written about ‘Who he is’ and David himself has quoted, via his own words from “THE HUMAN TOUCH” “Who Am I?”
A lot has been said and written about “who I am”. Unfortunately, the majority of people, who write such things, don’t actually know me; the real me.
I’m not saying this blog is going to be a revelation, but it’ll allow you to understand, that I’m not just the “Guy from the Highgate story” or “Some crazy fool”, but that I’m a person – a real human being with a past, present and future; even if sometimes people blur the lines of that reality to fit their own agenda.
Perhaps you’d care to take my word for exactly “Who I am”?
In my own words, if I was really forced to describe myself (and this is with a gun against my head type of scenario!), I could only say, quite simply, that I’m really just a ‘disciple of life’ and nothing more.“
September 2009 David Farrant ‘The Human Touch’
And so it is, in the beginning…..
David Farrant was born 23rd of January 1946 into a large rambling Victorian house to his mother and Father in Shepherds Hill, Highgate, London. After many miles traveled and many life events and experiences, he is now settled literally a stone’s throw away from where he was first born and grew up. His mother was a member of the local spiritualist church; his Father was a company director. David’s mother was originally from Grantham in the county of Lincolnshire and journeyed to London where she met his Father. David grew up in an affluent family with strong family values and with very diverse backgrounds.
Three door bells to push, not one with a name and no clue of whom or where we are?
That is how our beautiful Saturday afternoon in March began.
In the blaze of what was an exceptionally rare and warm sunny day in London town my colleague and I found ourselves standing outside what seemed at first glance, a very non-descriptive door? The traffic had been easy and allowed us ample time to travel in from the North and locate the address given.
We, my colleague and I, had waited three weeks for this meeting and the anticipation and suspense was killing us both.
The person awaiting our arrival was notoriously well-known, a legend in their own right and one of great controversy and as one could so easily read within newspaper articles and online research available; he was supposedly possessing of one of the strangest dispositions.
The whole of London and the world knows of this person’s supposed life story, being passed along with many a whisper and eventually handed down from mouth to mouth like a ghostly horror story being told around a campfire. Given all the rumors it would of course be true to say that my colleague and I became a little wary of our interviewee and as much as we both tried to keep an open mind, the investigative side of my brain would keep warning us and all those reasons your parents say to you …like a ghostly horror story being told around a campfireas a child about “don’t talk to strangers” began racing through our minds. None the less, the anticipation of meeting someone of a real life horror ghost story straight from the real horse’s mouth so to speak was a challenge that my colleague and I did not wish to pass up.
I had been asked by director friends of mine in the USA to try to obtain the story behind this legend and get to the bottom of it, whatever IT was? Controversy upon controversy had been reported, quoted, written around this individual that involved ghosts, vampires, dark seedy London streets, pubs, a supposed Catholic Bishop; Satan worshiping, witchcraft, Voodoo dolls, rituals, a cat and a cemetery with the police and HMS Prison Service to boot, that there was literally no way I would as any good investigator will tell you; let this one go.
So there we stood, fingers on all the buzzers, not knowing what one was the “ONE” and “WHO” or “What” was going to open the door? So there we are, just my colleague and I armed both with crosses and self- protection and so there we stood eying the escape route awaiting whatever. Suddenly the door was opened with a distinctly beautiful lady standing in the sunlight, with a warm smile and immediately our reservations disappear. It was by David’s wife Della. Della then took us upstairs and introduced us both to Mr David Farrant. We found our host and hostess to be refreshingly honest, open, candid, very down to earth, genuine, sincere and oddly enough, surprisingly NORMAL.
But you the readers must make up your own minds.
As Mr Farrant quotes “A disciple of Life: The real me” …
We all sat and the interview began, tea and coffee quenched our thirst and the nerves that we arrived with flew out of the windows of that sun filled room leaving us feeling like we had just stepped into an old friend’s house.
Mr Farrant (David ) a distinguished gentleman, of slim build, tall with magnificent blue sparkling eyes and a warm and pleasant smile sat across from us, in a white muslin shirt and khaki trousers.
A warm, symbolic, gold necklace hung around his neck. If I had not have known him better already, I would agree, that at first glance, the world would assume that Mr Farrant was not of this era, but some ancient historian that just stepped out of the ‘Old Curiosity Shop itself’.
Even with the eccentric style, as soon as he spoke the depth of his knowledge, wisdom as well as education shone. It is clear that this person that sat in front of us was well educated, well versed in the area of the Paranormal, culture and life itself.
I began my questioning really with questions that I myself would want to know answers to rather than what most might ask David.
From what reasoning do you attribute your interest in the Paranormal, David?
My mother had a very strong interest and involvement with the spiritualist church in Kentish Town and North Finchley, London when I was a child and made regular visits to the church, of which, my father thoroughly disapproved of. My mother was a wonderful person, open and honest and very interested in nature and her environment.
My father’s disapproval was not due to the nature of her visits to the Spiritualist Church but due to the church meetings keeping her away from home until the late hours of the evening that sometimes upset my father. My father was a good provider and an honest hard working caring and very straightforward type of man. My involvement in the paranormal was a gradual process really whilst growing up (I was about 7/8yrs old at the time), through the guidance of my mother of which I give her all the credit for my enthusiasm in this field.
The house I grew up in was, as I stated earlier, a very old Victorian house, pre-war built. As a child I would often see a dark figure in the house; on many occasions it would glide across the bottom of my bed in my bedroom. It was quite an experience and it seemed that I was always awakened right before it would appear. I would always tell my mother and she would try to explain to me what I had seen and make me feel comfortable with my new found abilities as well as calm me and tell me that whatever it was it would not harm me. My mother was always very sympathetic towards my growing interest in the paranormal.
What was your education and schooling like, David, and how did this change your thought processes?
Mainstream schooling during the early fifties was incredibly rigid and strict and one had to conform in one’s actions so to speak, in both learning and in appearance. In 1955 as a (9 year old) I rebelled against the norm. One of my distinct memories is the cut your hair rule, every fortnight was time for hair cutting. My hair at the time would just sit at my collar length and back then it was considered to be long. I remember refusing to have it cut and the school sent a letter to my parents.
As with many a child at school I was an average student, some subjects I was good at, some I was not. I hated maths and could not grasp it. However I loved history and anything to do with ancient scriptures and excelled in those areas.
However at times I felt I had no place in school and a few times the school spoke to my parents telling them that I was not learning anything and seemed quite a bad influence on the other boys. I would tell my mother and she would always sympathize with me, as she always knew my nature and my abilities – but my Father of course was not at all pleased. Consequently, my Father made a decision and decided to send me to a private school in Hendon. Prior to this I was had been schooled locally, which gave me the opportunity to go home for lunch and always I couldn’t wait until I could get home and talk to my mother, I really enjoyed this time with her and being away from school and its confinements.
When I was sent to relatively distant Hendon Preparatory School, some days I would skip school and travel down to a small stream close to the school and watch the ducks and nature rather than attend my class. Due to my skipping school, in time I was expelled from Hendon. I told Mr Williams, the headmaster, during a conversation that I felt no wish to be at his school, as I wasn’t interested in what they were teaching. Williams said that I was I bad influence on the other boys and was disruptive in school. He consequently wrote a letter to my father and I was once again collected and taken home.
My father was furious, and it was decided that I should be sent away yet again to a private school – Hawkhurst Court in Sussex, a boarding school for Boys. My Mother was again very sympathetic and tried to reassure me (even though she didn’t agree with my Father’s choice) that my new school in Sussex would be better for my temperament and learning. My father said that I needed to knuckle down and finish my studies, so that I was better equipped and could be in a good position to obtain employment and social position in the community. Hawkhurst was a special school where each class had only 9 or 10 boys in it, so our temperaments were managed better and more individual emphasis was given to the learning of each individual.
The school was very expensive. It occupied a huge mansion in the middle of the woods, so very remote and naturally with little chance of going home for lunch, as it was over 60 miles away from home. This meant my progression within things paranormal, was kept to the times when I came home at the end of term to talk to my Mother.
During one summer when I was 13 about to return back to school from the summer holidays and my mother had become ill.
Not very long after returning to school the day arrived when my teacher summoned me to the headmasters room to meet with my Father; it was a visit I shall never forget.
It was at this time I had what I would call premonitory dreams, nightmares which left me feeling that my mother had already died in hospital, so that when my Father came down from London to Hawkhurst to tell me my Mother had passed away, I wasn’t surprised at all – I already felt that she had gone.
This must have been a terrible loss for you and a very distressing time?
Yes. My Father took me away from school for a time, but next summer term I had to return; I didn’t want to go back. On my return to school that summer was when I ran away from school for the first time ever, but I only got 4 miles away and was caught; I was only 13 years old -1959. By the time I was returned to school I was already planning to run away again and this time I was successful. Another boy helped me prepare for my next escape, and to accumulate some food and a little money for the journey. Unlike before I avoided the main roads and slept rough in fields and woods.
It took me about a week of sleeping out, before I finally made it to a train station to catch the final part of the journey home. I returned to London with the remaining amount of change I had in my pocket for the train. Being without a place to stay, hungry and without money, meant of course I had to go home to Father. He promptly took me back to the Hawkhurst School and given the loss of my mother they were lenient. My Father convinced me to go back, stating that it was what my mother would have wanted. I knew really that in my heart she would not have wanted that, she knew my strengths were in the natural things in life, “The School of Life.” Returning again to Hawkhurst after my running away, things were no different. I felt the same as I did at Hendon. The only subjects that held any interest for me, other than history, were scripture and divination, and I really needed to get my GCSEs (equivalent to in that time) under my belt, but I just couldn’t seem to knuckle down and again I rebelled.
I was constantly going with some of the other boys to visit the girls at the comprehensive school down the road, nothing serious – just larking about as kids of an age do and a few kisses, typical pre-teen adolescence. Sadly the news of the trips eventually got back to the Headmaster; they had become a talking point and that could not be allowed, whereupon I left the school grounds and went to lie on the beach and completely rebelled against the system. Naturally I was asked to leave and was expelled yet again, my Father was furious and we argued. My Father’s reaction was that he had had enough of my behavior, so at this point I left home. That was really when my adventures began. I left England to hitchhike around France, Italy, Spain and Sicily; I was by now about 15 years old (1961).
What did you do when you returned to Great Britain?
I came back to London and my interest in the Paranormal with thoughts of my mother. I then looked up some of my Mother’s old associates from her spiritualist background and church…to continue with my thirst for knowledge in the paranormal, once ignited by my mother. I came into contact with one of my mother’s friends, a woman called Helen who lived in Barnet, North London. Due of my mother’s interests I wanted to learn as much as I could, and it was this friend of my mothers that began teaching me. I discovered that she was well advanced in the powers of clairvoyance and spiritual teachings of Wicca and the paranormal. It was Helen who really introduced me and later Initiated me to the original and old traditions of Wicca. It was with her, and other people she knew, that I trained and learn t everything I could for the duration of about three years.
Under this friend I would focus upon and study my own self-development; I concentrated further into meditation and was initiated into Wicca in 1964; at the age of 18/19. I became fully involved in Wicca from 1964 – 1982. Then left the Wiccan traditions, although I was still connected to it through the people I knew, but stopped attending the mainstream meetings. This wasn’t an ‘ego thing’. I just felt that I had outgrown had out-grown the physical ceremonies and no longer needed forms of ritual to progress in spiritual understanding.
We don’t want to talk too much about the Highgate affair, because there is so much publicized about that already. However we would like to touch briefly on your feelings about that time and the situation between you and a so called bishop?
Hmm yes. I was first introduced to that individual in 1967- 68. At that time he was playing the saxophone in a small jazz band at the Woodman pub in Highgate. I remember he had an interest in local ghosts and continually approached me asking for information about the subject. I last met him in 1985, I was about 38 years old by then. He has always tried to cash in on the initial ghost investigation in 1969/70 at Highgate Cemetery, informing the media that, in reality, this was really a ‘blood-sucking vampire that he had ‘staked through the heart’ in 1973. The ‘bishop’ thing was just another title he gave to himself in 1990. Before this he was claiming to be an English ‘Lord’ and also directly descended from the poet Lord Byron. We used to chat together, but I never trusted him.
I have never had any thoughts of revenge about him, despite the malicious rumors he has constantly circulated about myself and my friends and family. As far as Highgate itself is concerned my first sighting of a supernatural energy of some kind was in 1969. Shortly afterwards the BPOS, of which I am president, became involved (1970), and conducted an investigation, but I never at any time stated that it was a vampire. The long and short of it was that I was sent to prison for offenses I did not commit and for things which I could not explain. It is my belief and obvious to many that I was used as a scapegoat to ward off others who may have sought to continue the damage being done within the cemetery during rituals or just mindless destruction, of which there was a lot of documented evidence at the time.
A Judge Argyle presided over my case and his conservative views on my type of case were well known at the time. I believe my case was prejudiced from the very beginning due to the fact of his known prejudice towards anything that might be seen as controversial or offending public morality as he saw it. Another case prior to mine was a shining example of his thought process. At the same time there was a local magazine in London called Oz, that had been responsible for printing a joke which was controversial and Judge Argyle sentenced the three journalists involved to prison terms of fifteen, twelve and nine months each.
This was overturned eventually and the persons released immediately. Sadly everything I tried to do to provide proof of my innocence once he had me convicted seemed railroaded somehow. At the court hearing in London’s Old Bailey, I was given the advice that I had three choices: that I didn’t have to say anything at all; I could give a statement without questions, or give evidence from the dock after swearing an oath on the Bible. I chose to give evidence under oath, and thus be subjected to cross examination by the prosecution.
Judge Argyle was incredibly irritated and displeased. I couldn’t possibly swear an oath on the Bible given my supposed activities, he complained. I did however do just that, which seriously upset him. I felt I had every right to do so and it was my right to receive a fair hearing. So many convictions were thrown at me from every angle, that made no sense at all and it was the case of throw as much as they could to see what stuck. I never destroyed property. Yes I did have my Father’s old gun, a war relic- left over from World War II, but it was in its holster and not touched, it was my Fathers and after he died it came to me as a family heirloom.
Yes it was in my home and, yes, it was my Father’s and no I did not use it, things that were outrageous at the time, were amongst my convictions. Judge Argyle was pre-dispositioned to look sternly upon my ‘Voodoo dolls’ charge, having had the experience of witnessing an effigy of himself being burned by protestors outside the Old Bailey, while he was presiding over the Oz trial in 1971. Naturally he was incensed that I had had the audacity to send two ‘respectable’ police officers two effigies myself (Voodoo dolls), both signed by myself and with a note stating similar to that of ‘Three Times Three’, what you do will come back to you. Of course, a stupid thing to do I admit.
The rationale behind my actions at the time, was that of a friend of mine from my circle had been badly beaten up – his head had been smashed against a wall by the investigating officers. There was no threat intended by myself as originally reported.
However, in 1974 Judge Argyle decided that all the vandalism of the burial stones and theft of the lead at that time was due to my activity in Highgate and I was sentenced to 4 years and 8 months in jail. In February 1974 I was sent to Wormwood Scrubs – the first of many prisons I was moved around to, where I did 2 years and 8 months.
How did all this affect you?
My time in jail affected me deeply. After a while the prison inmates themselves sought to use my gift, however there was much envy and malice in jail and I fell out with the governors and those in authority a few times. I didn’t hold any malice however, and tried to prove my material innocence constantly which displeased them. I was refused the right to register as a member of the Wiccan religion – notwithstanding that by this time I had been initiated to the Third Degree which gave me the status of a High Priest – while everyone else was given the opportunity to have their stated religion marked on their doors. I conducted a couple of seances in prison, there were a lot of inmates interested. This got into the papers however, as a prisoner somehow claimed to be possessed as a result of one of these seances. Since I knew one of the trustees in prison, I was able to find out that a London based priest, Christopher Neil-Smith, performed a so called exorcism on this inmate in the prison chapel. He had asked the inmate to kneel down and allow him to drive out the evil powers of ‘David Farrant’.
Due to the obvious unfair treatment and refusal of my rights in prison I did eventually go on hunger strike for a period of seven and a half weeks, in protest at having my incoming and outgoing mail routines stopped or censored, including attempts by myself to make contact with prisoners rights groups, my legal defense and witnesses who could be called in the unlikely event of an appeal being allowed. I also attempted to initiate legal action against the principle police officers who’s perjury had resulted in what I still consider to be a mistrial and my subsequent conviction and imprisonment. All of these letters were stopped.
I eventually took the Home Office to court, principally naming Article 8 which ensured – or was supposed to ensure – that ‘everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.’ I won that case in 1987.
In July 1976 I was eventually released from prison, having been given early parole. If the truth be known this decision was probably based upon the hopes of the prison authorities and the Home Office that I would not die on them. I think they knew that had that happened, someone would have had a lot of explaining to do. Upon my release a friend of mine, a landlord, provided me with a place to rent and I’ve been here ever since.
We have seen a number of media hype/attacks on you and how does this make you feel ?
Sadly Facebook and endless blogging has been used as a tool hurting both myself and my family, including ongoing stalking of myself and of my wife Della. A certain supposed bishop has used up to 70 different aliases to create blogs and overviews and untruths about me, and I hope I have managed to put some of these to bed with my own story to you today.
What are your Paranormal Belief Systems at this point?
Firstly I should say that whilst I am well read on aspects of the occult and paranormal, and agree that psychic investigations should be carried out using appropriate controls, equipment etc, I defer towards forming opinions on actual investigations based on instinct rather than solely from books and an overarching scientific principle – you can’t do it from books alone. And science has a long way to go before it can be relied upon to disprove or prove the existence of phenomena which defies its categorization and explanation.
From a paranormal point of view I believe, after examining the evidence over the years, that paranormal activity/sightings, unexplained phenomena, occurs or sometimes seems to be connected with ley lines; that is lines of energy – albeit it not understood by science – that criss cross the earth’s surface and were known to exist by Ancient Civilizations by their mystical properties. However this theory only goes so far with regard to explaining the paranormal – leys may well act as conduits for psychic energy, but the nature of different entities which manifest in their vicinity are extremely varied. After decades of research I have reached the conclusion that supernatural phenomena can be distilled into three main categories: activity which originates from unexplored facets of the human mind itself; insentient impressions from the past (or present – or perhaps even the future) which are dependent upon certain atmospheric conditions in order to manifest as a form of replay; and a third category – to which the minority of cases belong – which at present defies one consistent explanation.
Swain’s Lane which runs between the older and newer parts of Highgate cemetery has a particular energy which is tangible. It seems that the phenomena reported here and in the immediate area could fall into this darker, less understood category. I have never stopped investigating this and will not.
And plans for the future, David?
I am still President of the British Psychic and Occult Society, but I would like to point out we have investigated many other cases of psychic phenomena all across the country in addition to the case we have touched upon in this interview today. But the Highgate ‘vampire’ case is the one that has mainly stuck in peoples’ minds, for reasons I hope I have explained and briefly touched upon. Plans for the future? Just to keep writing books (I have written many already) and giving Talks about all our psychic investigations. As I said I will give my opinion on actual investigations based on my instincts, if you need further advice or explanation. And maybe make the odd film or two when I can fit it in amidst all the rest. It really is not an easy life being a psychic investigator!
We agreed , “Isn’t that the truth” being paranormal investigators ourselves, separating facts from fiction is at times, most difficult. But if this interview between ourselves and David Farrant is anything to go by, the facts in this case are clearly marked in bright red, as if the writing were upon the wall.
In the Final analysis: Well what are your thoughts? Have you made up your own minds?
I am sure some will have a lot to say and after reading the mumbo jumbo written over the years about David Farrant, we can’t blame you.However most are good at reading between the lines and surely can tell ‘a wannabe’ from the real deal.
From our side we feel we have met a true gentleman who has been kind enough to give his truth of the events that unfolded as they happened and what brought him to become involved in paranormal research itself. Someone perhaps has been much maligned in the process, during a period of Great Britain’s history that had little understanding of the paranormal. It is evident that there were prejudices of all kinds existing and an individual’s rights were ignored at a time when corruption within the police force and other public institutions was its worst – or at least, at its most unaccountable to open scrutiny. It might be true to say that this could very well be a case of David being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the wrong era as such.
We now ask: in the intervening years has anything changed? In some regard, very little.
There is no doubt that research into the paranormal is increasing the need for those that are well versed in its history and with experience will be desperately needed in order to help those that are in need of further understanding and educating. Even in the scientific arena more questions are now being asked of the paranormal with the seeking of further answers.
We tell you this, where would we be if it is not for researchers such as David Farrant?
That are ready to lay down their own life, stand their ground for what they believe in and witnessed refusing to be coerced as so many are. It is evident to us that David Farrant (Investigator, Researcher) has been condemned and harassed in some parts for his commitment to the cause for something that some are just uneducated in and lack understanding of.
David paid a heavy price and still pays dearly for a belief system that is not new and has been around us since before ancient Egyptian times. It is shameful and a true crime in itself to see those that are seeking self-gratification and pomp, who continue to plague and harass his family and himself, stooping low enough to lie and cheat their way to seek out his wife’s family, employment, and other personal information.
It is evidently clear that is this a case of a so called church affiliate that is clearly ‘the hunter’ and David Farrant & Family ‘the hunted’. All indications and proof existing would say yes.
We feel that it is not the Highgate Vampire which is still being most fervently pursued, but sadly David Farrant and his family.
You decide, but I know where my thoughts lay.
Authors: Shazz @ ‘That Space Between’ & Stevee Quantill copyright © 2012