The Return of the Vampire Hunter
An interview with David Farrant by university lecturer Rob Milne about the notorious case of the Highgate ‘vampire’.
University lecturer, Rob Milne, has been an ardent researcher into things classified “paranormal” since the 1970’s. In those early years, he had come to hear of a “vampire” that was said to lurk in Highgate Cemetery in north London.
Without taking such accounts at face value, Rob Milne decided to investigate these reports, and perhaps inevitably, came into contact with David Farrant, a figure who appeared to be at the centre of the controversy about a “blood sucking vampire” that was said to haunt Highgate Cemetery.
He finally recorded Farrant’s testimony of events in July 2002. The following interview (which remains virtually unedited from the original audio tape) makes up the substance of Return of the Vampire Hunter. It is a startling story, and one which Milne captures with both wit and an almost uncanny determination to elicit the true facts surrounding the Highgate Vampire mystery.
RM: What did those ceremonies involve? I mean, I’ve read lot a lot of reports about cat sacrifice, for instance …
DF: No, they do not. They do involve paying homage to Nature, that sort of thing. I know … I know what you’re leading up to! Well, to save you saying it! …
DF: … there were reports in those days, ’73 …
RM: That’s better!
DF: … about …. locally people had obviously found out about these ceremonies. Keepers had gone to the Woods the next day to open it, and found remains and that sort of stuff; I mean, symbols, bits and pieces, burnt candles, chalk marks, charcoal, that sort of stuff, and there were rumours flying around Highgate that we, that’s members of the BPOS, had sacrificed a cat. And Long John Baldry jumped in on the act …
RM: Long John Baldry, the pop singer?
DF: … The pop singer. He used to live in Muswell Hill. He was quite big in those days. He approached the Hornsey Journal – no, it wasn’t only the Hornsey Journal. He approached the Evening News (as it then was) and the Daily Express – saying that the ‘evil David Farrant’ had sacrificed his cat! Its name was printed in the newspapers, “Stupsi”. And, yeah that report appeared. What had actually happened was, his cat – this little tabby cat I believe it was, I don’t know – had disappeared for two weeks. Baldry like many other people had all the rumours and supposition about naked orgies and cat sacrifice, and witches being flagellated in the woods …
DF: … and all this sort of stuff. It was going around like wild fire. It was going around the pubs, getting into the papers; and of course, the papers loved it. Now, I didn’t know this at the time, but two weeks after this story in the local and the national press, Baldry’s cat returned. Stupsi came back completely unharmed. Don’t ask me why it disappeared, it had gone off on the tiles …
RM: I can imagine.
DF: … looking for a mate or something. I don’t know, wanting to have some little cat kittens! I mustn’t be frivolous. I didn’t know this but you know, I had a libel action against the Daily Express in 1980, regarding other matters and they actually called Long John Baldry as a hostile witness against me. And it was only when I was questioning him about all this – what I’ve just told you – he admitted in court that his cat had come back two weeks later. And I said to him … “Well, Mr Baldry, wouldn’t it have been appropriate, in view of all those stories about it at the time, if you had approached the press and said ‘my cat’s come back’?” And he said … “No, I didn’t really think it was important”, he was just happy to have the cat back. And, that’s how that story got completely out of hand. But I didn’t sacrifice Long John Baldry’s cat!
RM: Well. I read things in papers where you’ve been quoted as saying it is a suitable alternative to human sacrifice … Let me think. Wasn’t it something like ‘in the old days it would have been a virgin but nowadays a cat will do’?
|Publisher||British Psychic & Occult Society|
|Date of Publication||01/03/2003|
|Genre||The Occult & Mythology|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Country of Publication||United Kingdom|
|Imprint||British Psychic & Occult Society|
|Content Note||3 illustrations|
|Edition Statement||Second edition|
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