September 2009

“Don’t Do It”!

Hi everyone.  I know, I’m getting slow again!  But at least I left you some pictures to look at last time.

 Did another interview:  this time for “Righteous Indignation”, a radio Podcast on the “Bad Psychics” Forum.  Somebody was here who I showed their initial invitation to, and she nearly had a heart attack!  “Do you know who they are?”, she gasped.  “No”, I replied truthfully.  “They expose fraudulent mediums and psychics”.

 “Well, I’ve got nothing to worry about because I’m not a medium or a ‘psychic’ – I’m a psychic investigator”, I said laughingly.  “Its not funny”, she said seriously,  they just don’t believe in vampires or ghosts”.  “Well I don’t believe in them either.  Certainly not vampires or ‘ghosts’ – in the conventional sense of the word at least!”.  “All I can say is . . .’just don’t do it’.  But knowing you, you  probably will anyway!

 Women can be funny and worry for nothing sometimes, but just to console her, we both looked at the site.

 She was right!  And not just half right, at that!

 “Look”, I said to her, “If I could last nearly 8 months on the James Randi site without being ‘exposed’’ I hardly likely to be worried about one telephone call.

 Well guess what happened everyone!?  I learned on the programme that the bonky one had been invited on, but he quickly refused to do it after he learned I’d been invited.  (Coward!).  But like some spoilt child having a tantrum, he sent them he usual cut n’ pasted rubbish that he persistently circulates around the Internet and elsewhere.

 I was read one of the ‘bonky one’s’ paragraphs On Air and asked about it.  So I told them, and read them a couple of extracts from a certain self-published book dating back to 1985 and how vampires could be ‘staked through the heart’ and turn into ‘giant spiders’!.  You could hear all the disbelief and laughter.  Though whether they’ll edit the laughter out of the finished thing, I just don’t know.

 Well, I was just answering their questions (there were three presenters) so the ‘bonky one’ really can’t complain!  Its as I’ve said on many occasions before folks . . . ‘People in glass Churches just shouldn’t throw stones’!

 Thought that might amuse you all folks!

 Now, onto more serious things:

 I have had some more news about an American production – rather live television thing –  who want to interview myself.  The catch was . . . in New York itself.  ‘No way’ I told them,  how did they expect me to get there? They replied that they were under the impression that I visited the States ‘quite often’.

 Now, I don’t know who told them that . . . but its simply not true.

 Anyway, then they offered to pay my plane fair, taxi and hotel expenses to the New York Studio – on top of quite a hefty fee.

 I told them I just couldn’t do that, but I’d consider doing a TV link from a London Studio.

 Waiting to hear.  Nice to be popular, I suppose!

 Well, everyone, that’s about it.  I’ll sort another picture here for next time.  But at the moment, it’ll have to be ‘pictureless’!

 Craig,  I’m still waiting for that new Banner here!

 For the moment,


More Talk Pics

Photos: with kind permission of Max Sycamore
Photos: with kind permission of Max Sycamore





Have just received a couple more pics. from my Talk on September 16th for the Secret Chiefs- thanks Max.   Anyway, thought I’d post them as they’re still only recent.

 Been a little busy of late, so haven’t really had a chance to write much here.  A lot has been happening, but you know me; I don’t usually like to advertise things in advance until after they’ve happened!  I suppose I’m like a great many authors in that respect; you know’ ‘guarding’ their work until after it has been published.  I don’t only mean written work though,  I’m referring to films and interviews as well.

 I can tell you though, I did another interview a couple of days back.  But there was no movement involved in that as it was filmed here.  I just sat in a chair with a glass of wine, which is how I like it.  No secretary sitting on my knee anymore in a mini dress, but then the last one didn’t do much anyway!

 On that subject, I’d like to offer my sincere thanks again to the sincere team I have around me now,  and obviously that includes you Karen.  Chris and Gareth, thanks to you both as well.  Suppose I’d better include Craig as well.  Though on second thoughts, don’t really see why I should as he still hasn’t done my bloody banner!  Craig, can you please take a night off from the pub; leave the women alone, and get it FINISHED!!

 Anyway, here are the pics. (I hope).  More news soon.

 For the moment


Secret Chiefs Talk
Secret Chiefs Talk

Secret Chiefs Talk

Photo: Chris Cogghill

 Photograph:   Chris  Coghill

 Just received some pictures of my Secret Chiefs Talk on September 16th.  Thanks Chris. As Chris explained, he didn’t use flash to save distracting people, which is why one or two many be on the dark side. But you can see me with my books, which is all that really matters!  (Beginning to sound like ‘Bonky’ here!).

 It was a good turn-out with quite a few new faces.  I determined not to go over the same old ground again so I spoke more about the ‘witchcraft’ Trial and later ‘witchcraft events in prison; which led some Sunday newspapers to adopt headlines such as “Naked Witchcraft in the Nick”!

 As it happened, it wouldn’t really have mattered if I had repeated old material, as it was “fresh” for many people with all the new faces.  I enjoyed it more anyway for this reason   To keep talking about ‘vampires’ when I don’t even accept their existence, is really a bit boring!

 Anway, here is one of Chris’s pictures and I obviously have his permission to use it here (and his full name).

 The only drawback to the whole occasion was that they’d stopped smoking in the Talk room, and I had to go outside for a cigarette.  But with people like Gareth for company, what more could a man want?!  But apart from that, there was plenty of wine to compensate for any lack of cigarettes (as you can see on the table!).  Oh, and thanks again Patsy for that huge glass!

 That’s all really.  Except just remember, the picture is Chris’s copyright just in case ‘certain people’ (‘Yorkshire puddings’ included) get any bright ideas of copying it!

 For now,

 David (Farrant)

Borely Update

Thanks for that Gareth.  Great piece on Borley.  Sometimes your research puts me to shame.  Hope you don’t mind, but I gave your companion a ‘quick cuddle’ when you wern’t looking: as caught on camera!

Why do people keep calling me a “wicked witch” !!??

From left to right Gareth Medway, ??, and David Farrant
From left to right Gareth Medway, ??, and David Farrant

Borley Re-Visited

Borley Re-visited

 Gareth was a little ‘tied up’ last week (and the week before in fact) but here is his summation of the Borley mystery.  Matt is one person who asked a question about this: so now, here is Gareth to qualify it . . .

 David Farrant

 The gist of Matt’s enquiry is, wasn’t ‘The Most Haunted House in England’ all just a fraud concocted by the ghost-hunter Harry Price?  Since books and articles continue to appear on the subject, this is an important question.

Borley Rectory first came to national attention in June 1929, when the rector, Rev. George Smith, wrote to the Daily Mirror saying that there was reason to believe that the house was haunted, and asking to be put in touch with the Society for Psychical Research.  The paper sent down a reporter, V. C. Wall, who reported that they told him of stories of a phantom nun, and an old-fashioned coach that was equally unreal.  He himself saw an inexplicable light shining through the window of an empty bedroom.  Curiously, he reported that the Rev. Smith “does not believe in ghosts”.  The Smiths moved out soon afterwards.

 On 25 July 1929 Price visited the rectory with his secretary Lucy Kay, and Charles Sutton, a reporter for the Daily Mail.  Some stones were mysteriously thrown, one of them breaking a window.  Sutton grabbed Price and found that his pockets were stuffed with stones; he intended to tell the public this, but a libel lawyer advised him against it, so he waited until Price was dead, then related it in the Inky Way Annual.  An unpublished piece by Lucy Kay confirms this by describing Price as preparing for this trip by “stuffing his pockets with anything that would fit in them.”

 In ‘The End of Borley Rectory’, Price included a photograph taken on 5 April 1944, showing a brick apparently suspended in mid-air amid the now ruined building, implying that it was levitated by non-human hands.  But the photographer, David Scherman, and a journalist present, Cynthia Ledsham (both from the American magazine Life), later maintained that the brick had been thrown by a workman involved with the demolition of the building, though Life had itself used the picture ‘tongue-in-cheek’.

 Thus, it seems fairly certain that two supposed paranormal incidents at Borley Rectory were faked by Harry Price.  This is out of hundreds of incidents, with dozens of witnesses, extending over several decades, from the early 1880s (when Price was in his cradle) until the 1940s, and there have been reports of sightings in the neighbouring churchyard up until the 1990s at least.

 The Society for Psychical Research did eventually produce a report in 1955, written largely by Trevor Hall, a conjurer who did not believe in ghosts.  They had interviewed Mabel Smith, widow of the late rector, who told them she and her husband had never thought that the place was haunted, though if so it is curious that they should ever have written to the newspapers to say that  it was.  She did offer possible explanations for one or two phenomena: a mysterious light seen in the windows of a bedroom could have been reflections of lights on passing trains (though Price reported that they were also seen in the window of a bedroom at the end of the new wing, which was on the opposite side of the building to the railway line).  On the other hand, neither she nor the SPR could explain how, looking out of a rear window after having heard a noise, “I saw two ‘headlamps’ … by the light of these lamps I saw the outline of some sort of vehicle.  I did NOT hear any vehicle or car leave.”  This was evidently the phantom coach reported by many other people both before and after this time.

 The next rector, the Rev. Foyster, also reported many strange things, poltergeist phenomena, sightings of eerie figures, and writing that mysteriously appeared on the walls, which Price and many others have suspected to have been faked by his wife Marion.  Yet, as the SPR report notes, all of these things stopped after a Spiritualist group named Mark Tey held an all-night séance there which apparently exorcised them.  I have always thought that the success of an exorcism shows the genuinely inexplicable nature of the phenomena, since an exorcism would not put an end to hoaxing or reflections of train lights.

 In 1978  Hall produced a nit-picking biography, ‘Search for Harry Price’ in the introduction to which he remarked peevishly that despite his brilliant report, some people continued to believe that there had been real ghosts at Borley.  He therefore set out to prove that Price was “a pathological liar with a craving for publicity”.  Some examples: Price stated that his grandfather was born in Shropshire.  This was a ‘flat lie’, said Hall, as in fact he was born in the neighbouring county of Worcestershire.  He said that his own childhood home was in Brockley, south London, when actually it was between Brockley and New Cross, but nearer to the latter, which is more downmarket.  Price stated that the medium Stella Cranshaw was 21 when he first met her, when in fact she was 23, and he always spelt her name Cranshawe.  Price’s bookplates contained coats of arms to which he was not entitled (though since most bookplates include coats of arms, whilst few book collectors are armigerous, this must be a common practice).  Such inaccuracies, Hall considered, showed Harry Price to be a liar in the Baron Munchausen class.  It may be mentioned that Hall himself had claimed in Who’s Who to have a master’s degree from Trinity College, Cambridge, when in reality he had not attended any university, so that it must be admitted that he was an authority on spurious claims.

 Not all of these things even imply dishonesty on Price’s part: he may well have believed that his grandfather was born in Shropshire, Cranshaw may have lied to him about her age, as so many women do, other errors may have  resulted from faulty memory rather than conscious deception.  Price was certainly a publicity seeker (though his media stunts were not so outrageous as those of a certain vampire hunter I can think of), but I see no reason to think that he was more of a liar than the average person (allowing that the average person tells several lies every day).  In any case, the vast majority of phenomena at Borley were reported by other people when he was not there, and I would like to write of these at length, but for the time being I have used up too much of David’s blog.


Gareth J. Medway

More ‘Vampire Talk’ . . .


 This will just be a short Blog just to keep everyone updated on news,  because I’m tied up in other writing at the moment so can’t afford to get too distracted.

 Anyway, I gave a Talk for The Secret Chiefs last night on my new book “David Farrant – In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire”.  There were more people there than I expected, but maybe that’s because the Talk had been circulated in the programme beforehand.  I don’t know, but quite a few people turned out.

 Gareth (count Dracula!) was there and I was glad to see my old friend Chris again who brought one of his TV contacts with him.

 The only slight ‘draw-back’ was I did not have a microphone this time, but I was assured afterwards that everyone had heard me clearly.

 It was filmed with prior permission, but there was no disruption to the audience as the crew filmed from the back without using bright lights.

 Chris and his friend collected me and gave me a lift home afterwards; which was a blessing as I had heavy books to carry (although the bag was much lighter on the way back!).

 I will put up a full account of the Talk here shortly – just waiting for some photographs.

 That’s it really everyone.  Just thought you’d like to know!

 For now though,


 PS  And still waiting for Craig to fix the banner!

Banner Pic



Well Folks,

Just thought I’d put the banner pic here as an ‘interlude’ while the Banner is being re-done.  Can you take a hint Craig!?!

I won’t write anything tonight as I’m a bit tired – apart from which I’ve got a busy week ahead.

For the moment,


“In The Shadow Of The Highgate Vampire”

Well here is Rob Milne’s review everyone with maybe an appropriate pic. at the end. It is really self-explanatory so there is no need for me to say anything else here.

David (Farrant)

As promised, your review of “David Farrant – In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire”

The book’s

titlle, IN THE SHADOW OF THE HIGHGATE VAMPIRE, could not be more apt. The events at Highgate Cemetery in the early seventies were Mr Farrants defining moment. Nothing before or since would have the same impact on his life. The shadow which they cast has proven to be a long one indeed.
Although familiar with the bulk of the material through earlier books and articles, there is enough supplementary information to make this a riveting read. Especially strong are the passages which describe Farrant
s childhood and teens. He manages to evoke the feel of the times and place very well. The chapters which describe his early encounters with the human shadow who would dog him for the next four decades are amusing and beg to be expanded on at a later date. I am less enamoured of his recollections of his amorous adventures as I feel that they dont add a lot to the story.
There are also several aspects of this autobiography that need further clarification. If Farrant has been so honest about his sexual relationships, why is he so coy on the enigmatic
Alison ? Any description of their relationship is couched in ambiguity so that it is difficult for the reader to piece together their story. I can understand that perhaps he finds such memories painful, but given his frankness about other matters the reader does feel slightly cheated.
But such quibbling aside, the real srength of the book is in it
s depiction of Highgate and the surrounding area in another long-gonetime, a subject very dear to my heart. One also wonders how things might have turned out if F arrant had not met certain individuals, one saxaphone-murdering individual in particular. But at least he admits his mistakes. The build up to his arrests and eventual imprisonment reveals a young man who could and should have exercised more caution in his dealings with the press and authorities. Here was a young man who had it all but, as he describes it, he seems to have put the rope around his own neck, albeit with a little help from his freinds. The concluding descriptions of his imprisonment are very powerful and show his sense of shock and lonliness, and obvious regret. I would like to see this final chapter expanded to include info on his hunger-strike, appeals and release. For the moment though we are left with an intriuging tale of how one very long shadow can cast its influence over the span of a mans life. And compared to the alternative history I know which one I prefer.
Rob Milne


Arrest for 'ghost hunting' 1972 style.  Picture (c) Graham Olde
Arrest for 'ghost hunting' 1972 style. Picture (c) Graham Olde




The Ghost Of Hill Hall


David Farrant outside haunted Hill Hall
David Farrant outside haunted Hill Hall



Hill Hall stands rather majestically amidst overgrown grounds near the small village of Theydon Mount in Essex. An Elizabethan Manor House that fell into series decline in later centuries, it was eventually utilised as a women’s’ open prison in the 1950’s, but later closed and renovated in 1986; the purpose, apparently, to open it to the public as an excellent example of 17th century architecture. (The building has massive painted Muriel’s that decorate the walls and ceilings which were apparently a prime object for preservation). It is supposedly haunted by a melancholy white firure; that of a woman who has been sighted in the Hall and outside in the grounds, usually near a large ornamental pond not far from two long since disused tennis courts.

In the early summer of 1986, the members of the British Psychic and Occult Society gathered in the grounds late one night with the intention of spotting – and possibly photographing – this phenomenon.

At precisely 2.15 am a pale figure was seen approximately 150 yards distant emerging from the back of the ruined mansion, which glided quite rapidly across a spacious lawn before promptly disappearing near beside an artificial pond.

As it moved it cast no shadow despite bright moonlight. When it did not re-emerge the site of its disappearance was inspected and, although nothing further was seen, quite unexpectedly a “whispering female voice” echoed quite distinctly across the water.

The actual words, unfortunately, were indiscernible but there was a distinct impression that it intended to be heard, as if trying to convey some message. An attempt was made to photograph this figure but, although this was clearly visible, this was unsuccessful.

Encouraged by the apparent appearance of this spectre, however, later, more thorough enquiries were made about last known occupants of the Hall and its history.

Perhaps expectedly, many stories about the Hall turned out to be unsubstantial or so vague as to be misleading. But as for the ghost itself, this seemed to have become firmly embedded as part of the house’s history:

Essentially, the story went that the ghost was that of an Elizabethan maiden who was doomed to ‘wander the earth’ after her death – penance for causing the death of two rival suitors who fought a duel for her affections, but ended up killing each other.

Whether this story was based on original fact was, of course, impossible to discover.

But the figure itself was witnessed by three unsuspecting people and, ghost or otherwise, this certainly seemed to give it some credence in present day reality.