23 of April, and a lovely spring day in London.The scent of spring is drifting across the road from Highgate Woods, carried along on the evening breeze along with the mating calls of the owls which can been seen silhouetted in the trees against the setting sun.
Della and I decided to go out for a walk this evening into the woods. She’d had a hard day at work, and we both felt like a bit of relaxation. Came back about an hour ago and opened a couple of bottles of wine, which should help us relax even more at the moment!
Seriously though, nothing much to say right now; really just to give you all a link to the latest blog on Kev’s website. It is really self-explanatory and so needs little explanation. But I am pleased to say I have heard from Kev recently and he tells me that his future autobiography on his life (and of course his early life) is over half done; but Raggety has been keeping his Blog up to date as Kev has to do a couple of weeks of heavy training at the moment.
I do have a little other news, concerning future Talks etc, but I would prefer to leave this until tomorrow when I have a bit more time to go into detail.
This article from 1974 covering my Trial for ‘witchcraft’ at the Old Bailey in June of that year, perhaps demonstrates the atmosphere that permeated the entire Trial, throughout which beligerant police officers were making erroneous claims about the Nature religion of Wicca and stating that this really involved ‘nude orgies’, devil worship’ Satanism and black magic. Such statements which were written by the police themselves (and accordingly not signed by myself), were produced as part of the Crown’s prosecution and, being thus introduced in evidence, gave newspapers a ‘free licence’ to reproduce them whilst being immune from the laws of libel. PLEASE READ ON . . .
“CAPERS AMONG THE CATACOMBS
By Tom Davies
Outside the crowded Old Bailey court a young girl sits fingering a wooden cross.Inside the court soft voices are talking of necromancy and vampires and werewolves.
Above, in the public gallery, some members of the public are leaning forward with jaws hanging slightly as details of stakes being driven through coffins are unfolded to a hushed court.
In the dock the accused, David Farrant, looks wan and Byronic.He wears a black coat with sleeves too small for him, highlighting his large hands and long fingers, which he occasionally rakes though his tangled sandy hair.
The atmosphere is unreal and almost medieval; you sense something of what might have happened hundreds of years back.A police inspector says that one of the witnesses was in fear of the accused.‘When I went to see the witness,’ the inspector says, ‘he had salt around the windows of the room, salt around the doorway, and a large wooden cross under his pillow.’
Two girls in the public gallery look at each other: eyes wide in mock horror.Another’s hand rises towards her throat.Later the accused is talking about his Wicca religion and the different rites on the calendar.
He has been talking of necromantic rites and how, when he was trying to raise the ghost of a pirate in a cemetery on Hallowe’en night, all he raised was the police who arrested him on the stroke of midnight.‘Necromancy is the art of raising spirits,’ he explains when, a little later, a fierce buzzing comes out of the court microphone.
‘Can we switch it off, please?’ asks Judge Michael Argyle.‘Some evil spirit has apparently got at it.’After much fumbling the interference persists and the judge calls for an adjournment while the trouble is sorted out.It might be the first time an evil spirit has caused an adjournment at a trial at the Old Bailey.
At the epicenter of the case is Highgate cemetery, that walled romantic rubble in North London where Karl Marx is buried, among its funereal Victorian extravaganzas.The court has heard that stakes have been driven through the hearts of bodies there; 24 vaults have been interfered with and signs on the floors of the vaults indicated that necromantic ceremonies had taken place.
Over the past years neighbours report that, on some nights, they have heard cackling in the dark.Nude girls were said to be dancing around the coffins from which bodies had been removed and in which they had lain undisturbed for more than 100 years.Rather than upset family relatives or risk the spread of contagious disease, the cemetery staff had quietly put the remains back.
But the matter came out when, on 11 January, an architect returned to his car near the cemetery and found a headless corpse propped against his steering wheel.
After a police investigation, David Farrant, of Archway Road, Islington, the president of the British Occult Society, is facing charges of damaging a memorial to the dead on consecrated ground and damaging property, and three further charges of breaking open and entering catacombs in consecrated ground and interfering with and offering indignity to the remains of a body ‘to the great scandal and disgrace or religion, decency and morality.’
Farrant denies all five charges and, although he admits that he frequented the cemetery in search of vampires and other phenomena, says that dead bodies play no part in his religion and the blame for the desecration of the vaults lies with ‘the extremist Satanic cults.’
Farrant dismissed his counsel and is conducting his own defence.Occasionally he has an aside to explain the true symbolism of a broomstick or describe a hunt for a were wolf or the difference between white and black magic, though his visits to the cemetery, he says, were for the purpose of exorcism, not for interfering with the dead.‘My society does no harm.’
In a low voice he says to the jury:“Since the birth of Christ we have been persecuted for our beliefs.Christianity suppressed witchcraft.Persecution came to a head in the sixteenth century.Thousands were tortured for what they believed in.When the crops failed and people were ill, what could it be but the work of the witches?We believe persecution goes on.”
Occasionally Judge Argyle advises Farrant on a point of law.At one stage he insisted that a long lecture on necromancy was inappropriate to the charges.Only occasionally does he allow himself a little jokey comment.When nude dancing in the cemetery was being discussed,he lowered his head and peered over his half-moon spectacles saying ‘I must point out that on the 31st of October it wouldn’t be terribly warm.
The following article appeared in the North London Weekly Post. It is really self explanatory and gives a condensed view of David Farrant’s involvement in the early 1970’s with the so called Highgate Vampire . . .
He was the vampire hunter turned hunted. His dabblings in the occult got him locked up and branded ‘evil’. Time may have healed a few wounds but he is still the target of a relentless hate campaign. Now David Farrant wants to “set the record straight” and has released a candid new book: The Return Of The Vampire Hunter. The Weekly Post’s Russell Vaughn went to meet him to see if he could rattle a few skeletons.
On the face of it Highgate looks like a quiet, leafy North London suburb. But 30yrs ago, it was a hotbed of ghostly goings on. Vampires? Satanists? Nude orgies? Skeletons found in cars? Surely not here?
Well, travel back three decades and you too may have found yourself caught up in a sea of scandal. The chattering classes were chattering all right. Parlour rooms and pubs were rife with sordid tales and net curtains were twitching like never before.
At the centre of it all was a young man called David Farrant. Mention his name now to some Highgate locals and the will recoil in horror.After all, he was their very own vampire hunter or ‘Psychic Investigator’ as David prefers to be known.
Problem was they didn’t call on him to slay the vampire supposedly haunting Highgate Cemetery. Nor did they take too kindly to his witchcraft antics there either. Nor did the police or the courts.
With all this in mind, I felt a little spooked as I made my way to meet the man himself. So I was rather surprised to encounter the slightly shy and retiring figure that met me on a chilly November afternoon. His manner is polite and unthreatening and I soon felt at ease that he was not going to unleash a bad spell on me – even if I was a journalist.
He is open and willing to talk about his past in detail, and of course his book, The Return of The Vampire Hunter.
Expelled from a private school at 15 for refusing to have his hair cut, rebellion seemed a path he was destined for. As did spiritualism. Two years prior to his expulsion his mother had died. But in the time he had known her she had opened the door into this mystical world. Soon after, as he told me, he felt “drawn towards it.”
In his late teens David left Weymouth for foreign fields. He worked his way around Europe by fruit picking and picking up bar work. Three years later he returned home but came back with more than just his backpack. Whilst abroad he met his first wife whom became pregnant with his child. He has since been married once more and has two children.
Luckily for the young couple money wasn’t a concern. A sizeable inheritance meant that David didn’t have to go hunting for work nor consider any graveyard shifts. It was about this time that David’s destiny with White Witchcraft (Wicca) and unexplained phenomena, ie ghosts – two different things bloomed.
But at the end of the 60s and at the start of the 70s it all started to go horribly wrong. For David, the peace and love he had enjoyed in the flower power era suddenly wilted.
His new book Return of The Vampire Hunter picks up the story from here. It begins inevitably with the story of the Highgate Vampire and nicely captures the sensationalism surrounding the arrest and subsequent court case.
David’s further brushes with the law are dug up in full too, including his time in prison and his suspicions that he was framed.
“IN RECENT YEARS, CERTAIN PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ATTACKING ME… I’M INVOLVED IN BLACK MAGIC, I’M A SATANIST, I CONDUCT NUDE ORGIES, I’M A HOMOSEXUAL…IT’S BEEN A HATE CAMPAIGN AND ITS ESCALATED.”
This in-depth discussion was conducted by author Rob Milne. Its interview format gives it a slightly more objective edge. But David insists that the book was born out of accident rather than by design. “ I was approached by Rob and the book came about really spontaneously,” explained David. “He came to interview me about Highgate Cemetery because he was writing a separate book on it. So we decided let’s make a book of it.”
But a lot of those things happened decades ago, so why the book now? I asked. “In recent years, certain people have been attacking me – mainly on the internet,” he replied. “The gist of this stuff was that mainly I’m involved in black magic, I’m a Satanist, I conduct nude orgies, I’m a homosexual (all of which David categorically denies)… It’s been a hate campaign and it’s escalated in the last few years.
It’s got so bad that David called the police. An irony perhaps, but at least it seems to have suppressed some of the bile. But it’s not just his controversial past that he wants to put right. It’s his religion too . . .
Wicca is something that David insists has “nothing to do with Satanism or black magic.” “It’s a religions based on nature worship which is about powers inherent in nature but more importantly powers inherent within yourself and how to develop them, “he explained, but warned: “it’s magic that’s neither white nor black but it’s something you have to learn about before you can being to tap into it.”
David was instrumental in forming the British Psychic and Occult Society (BPOS) which is an organisation separate from Wicca. Its purpose is to “investigate unexplained phenomena.”
But he frowns on the popular use of Ouija boards and Seances and warned: “You should definitely not do it. It’s opening a gateway… I think it’s very dangerous.”
But wasn’t this exactly what he tried to do in the past?I counter.
David becomes slightly agitated. “It’s not a contradiction,” he says”…the whole of this (Wicca) has been a learning process and I hadn’t quite come to that understanding yet (of various categories of unexplained phenomena) and I partially believed that you can make communication by calling it back.”
So were you trying to make this thing (a pirate ghost in one particular incident) appear? “That was the intention, yes. To actually make it appear at the gravestone.” It was exactly this sort of behaviour that ended up attracting the police and ended in arrests, trials and punishment.
First Highgate Cemetery in 1969. After several reported sightings of an unexplained phenomena David decided to investigate and claims to have seen it. “It was the only time in my life I saw as something as concrete as that, “ he says. “It was a definite figure and it looked as if it was suspended in air.”
But later his curiosity was to cost him dear. He returned with others on several occasions, and a year later was arrested by the police – mistakenly as he insists.
So who was to blame? “Vandals and black magicians, the Satanists were using a small mausoleum there…and they’d been there before.” But David’s first court appearance ended in an acquittal from a magistrate – the ironically named Christopher Lea.
He wasn’t to be so lucky after that however. It seemed that the police knew his every move and sure enough more arrests followed.
Finally it all came to head and David found himself in the dock at the Old Bailey in 1974. He was charged with several offences. One was a bizarre incident that resulted in a local architect finding a 130-year-old skeleton in his car. David was later let off but only after high-spirited students came forward and claimed that it was their prank.
But other charges stuck. These were thanks largely to pictures of a naked girl taken by a grave. There was also the matter of the two effigies sent to the police.
He got two-and-a-half years, which made him feel “extremely embittered” Why? “Because I knew I’d been sentenced for things I hadn’t committed, “he remarked ruefully.
So desperate was he to prove his innocence at the time he went on hunger strike. But the authorities didn’t budge and David lost twice – he wasted away to just 7st.
Those dark days may be long gone but David now wants to “set the record straight”. His new book, he hopes will “enlighten people” and “tell the truth.” It may also ruffle a few feathers, I suspect.
Nowadays David’s appetite for ghost hunting is as potent as ever and he continues his work with BPOS and Wicca. Trips to far-flung corners of Britain to track down ghosts are still “fascinating and interesting – and certainly not frightening.”
So if you suddenly start seeing strange sightings or hear things that go bump in the night forget Ghostbusters or Buffy. David Farrant is for real.
Well it has finally arrived! The proposed new cover for the new Japanese “Bishop Bonkers” comic book which has proved so popular in the UK and America (and Canada come to that). The publishing company even sent a draught contract; although that is obviously subject of some detailed negotiation..
The Director, Yoshi, has assured me that the comic books will be marketed in Tokyo as early as the end of the year if all parties are agreeable. Indeed, the copyright owner Cecil Lamont Dwiggins, seems all for the Japanese proposal. Dwiggins is still in the U.S., where he has been living incognito since 2007 when a S.W.A.T. team of sockpuppets was charged with the task of hunting him down and exposing him as a ‘bandwagoneer and Satanic interloper’. But he still keeps in touch, and Skype’d me only this afternoon from his Le Corbusier conceived skyscraper apartment on the West Coast. It seems that Cecil’s artistic temperament has been inflamed by the recent attention from Japan, as he has announced that he is working on a third installment of his famous comic series. When Cecil gets going on a new project he often works through the night, fuelled only by gallons of black coffee and endless packets of imported Gauloises cigarettes. In fact when I spoke with him today he had been working on the comic for 49 hours straight, and seemed somewhat like a man possessed. But who am I to judge an artist’s methods when he produces such excellent results?
Cecil wouldn’t give too much away about the third comic, except to say that there would be the introduction of some new controversial characters, all of whom have played a vital part in the blossoming career of Old Bonky. I can tell you that one of these will be “Comrade Kev”, who is convinced (correctly in a sense) about the existence of “The Dubai Vampire” – and “Br Spliff-on-Sea” who is dispatched from his North Wales home to dispatch the fanged beast and return with some unconvincing Polaroid snaps of its rapid decomposition which will prove (despite no Kodak testing) to the world that vampires really do exist. Will Br Spliff-on-Sea get promoted within the Church of Bonky for his efforts if he returns with his trophy? Will he track down ‘fugitive from justice’ Comrade Kev and give him a good dressing down and deliver him his excommunication papers? Will Sister Sanctimonious bake him enough hash cake to last him on his mission? Will he get through customs when he gets to the United Arab Emirates? Will he end up on ‘Banged Up Abroad’? Which brings us to the mad ‘Egghead’ (who acquired this nickname because of his shiny bald head and NOT his love of birds nests), who, determined to get more pats on the head than Br Spliffage, is plotting the thwarting of his rival in order to remain second lieutenant in the Church of Bonky. Well, it will all be exposed soon in the third volume of Cecil’s comic. But in the meantime, I suppose the Japanese will have plenty of time to familiarize themselves with the first two best sellers. And on that note, I shall close with a reminder of some of the real life events which inspired Cecil to create the first comic back in 2007. Enjoy!
Bishop Bonkers Identifies Farrant as UFO-Conjuring Witch
The small seaside community of Bournemouth is still rocking from what dozens of witnesses claim were “mysterious lights” seen over their skies in June of 2007. A team of experts from the British Occult Ley Line Organisation & Xylophonists headed by Dr. Roger Carp arrived last week to examine the evidence and interview witnesses.
Dr. Carp said, “B.O.L.L.O.X. is devoted to discovering the truth of these disturbing reports”. To this end, his team spent days interviewing active Bournemouth citizen and spunky prelate of the Olde Catholic sect, Bishop Bonkers, who claims he was targeted by the alien visitations. “The interesting thing is,” says Carp, “we found that according to eyewitnesses reports, the mysterious lights were indeed seen travelling east to west in a direction precisely in line with the Bishop’s cottage”.
Bishop Bonkers, a local “character” of some repute, is recalled by many as author of the poorly-received “LowGate Vampire” series of self-published books detailing the evil misdeeds of blood-sucking vampires, giant spiders, and brain-robbing zombies.
However, Carp does not scoff at the Bishop’s notion that the UFO visitations intended to disturb him were the work of a notorious Mushill Well “witch”. “Frankly, science doesn’t understand how the universe works,” admits Carp, “and it is entirely possible that a witch could be using little-understood psychokinetic powers to ‘conjure up’ lights in the sky”.
Carp’s team will continue their work through the winter season, although he complains that “the Bishop insists all interviews be conducted in his outside loo” as “that is the one place he feels he is safe from alien abduction”.
Another cold day in London which can make me a little lethargic with getting on with things. Its not so bad indoors. I have a comfortable flat and can watch the intermittent snow falls through a warm window, but the cold does tend to keep me indoors and to turn down invitations for work that would otherwise necessitate me going outdoors. Two journalists turned up yesterday, for example, who were trying to persuade me to leave the warmth to be photographed in an open cemetery in North Finchley: photographs they said would help to illustrate an interview I’d just given on ghostly phenomena in the North London area. I declined, despite the offer of a lift there and back by car. It wasn’t that comparative comfort that I objected to; it was perhaps standing in a freezing cemetery for perhaps 45 minutes while they decided on a suitable photograph to illustrate my interview. I said if they really required a cemetery location photograph, I had plenty on file, although wasn’t prepared to leave the warm flat while snowflakes were splashing against the window. In the end, they condescended, and settled for me drinking a cup of coffee by the fire. More news on that when the article is released.
As a refreshing change, a friend, Gavin ‘The Fox’ from Wales, has just released an article about the Highgate Cemetery affair of the 1970’s on his Website “Rebel without a Soul”. It was a stirring piece of writing and I believe covered aspects of the occult – and the many groups involved therein – that have been overlooked by the general populace. It was especially interesting (at least to myself) because it covered aspects of my Old Bailey trial for ‘witchcraft’ that occurred in 1974. In fact, that whole thing (the Trial and matters of an occult nature surrounding it) was a farce, and Gavin made essential points about the way the establishment (i.e. the Courts, Police and the ‘Powers the Be’) is capable of reacting to any belief systems that are seen to go beyond the norm. In my own case, I was branded as an ‘evil High Priest of witchcraft’ who had subjugated the ‘accepted norms’ of respectability by acting in a manner that was contradictory to the accepted norms of Christianity . . . at least, so the Trial Judge stated. Needless to say, the late Judge Argyle was a dedicated Christian gentleman who saw ‘evil’ at every corner if it threatened to challenge his own particular brand of established Christianity.
As an amusing aside to this, he took particular exception to me opting to swear on the bible before I gave evidence and suggested that I might prefer to affirm. I declined his invitation saying that I too believed in an ultimate God (by that I meant an Infinite Principle), and that I wished to swear on Oath before I gave my evidence.
But I digress. I feel Gavin’s article is a real ‘eye opener’ for some who believe there is really any truth in the fact people must be ‘Satanists’ or ‘black magicians’ just because they might happen to be psychic investigators who might hold different opinions about an afterlife and question this in the ‘here and now’, as opposed to relying on the privilege of being seated on some ‘privileged cloud’ in Heaven! In other words, surely life is for living and understanding in the present, for any Knowledge can only be developed in the NOW, otherwise its potential only exists as some projected dream of the future. That is the real secret of Mystical progression; the Knowledge that nothing can exist in the future other than as an extension of this moment.. Any other belief (and let us remember, it is a universal one), really only amounts to a fanciful dream that anything can have substance outside this moment.
Of course, life evolves in the present. It always has done and will continue to do so. But the measurement of this movement (called time) is – and always has been – a man-made conception.
But time goes on in the material world: indeed, all humanity seems trapped by it.
Speaking of the material world, I, (well the BPOS actually) have just had a really good financial proposition from Japan. Its early days yet, but they want to buy the Japanese rights to the two picture comics, The Adventures of Bishop Bonkers, the BPOS published and distributed in America and the UK. The comics were originally created by Cecil Lamont Dwiggins but he is quite happy to release the Rights providing this is restricted to the Japanese market. Well, it would have to be really as the picture captions all have to be translated into Japanese and hardly anybody else would be able to read them! But they seem to be deadly serious and the company’s design Director Yoshi, has already been in touch with me. She seems anxious to print the comics in a larger size as she apparently feels this would allow more room for the Japanese text. Anyway, she wants to send me over the cover for approval and, obviously, they would not be altering the original drawings, although I imagine these could be easily enlarged a little to match the text.
Anyway, that’s how things stand at this moment in time, and I will ask her later if I can reproduce the new Japanese cover here as I am aware of the wide interest the original comics have created. I am in them as well, in case anybody has forgotten! And, of course, old Bonky!
Still very cold in London. I feel the need for a hot whisky and herbs coming on!
Another really busy weekend, due to the Easter holiday. My friend Drew was down in London for a meeting at Elstree studios on Thursday, and he stayed for a couple of days and then drove Della, Gareth and myself up to Calderdale early on Easter Sunday in order that I could attend a couple of engagements which I was committed to. It seems that the residents of Brighouse and indeed Huddersfield and Halifax take Easter very seriously, and treat it is a great opportunity for all the community to get together. In fact, people turned out in their droves, despite the bad weather, and the quite atrocious cold. But this did not seem to deter the locals in the least; indeed, even a certain local mad woman was rumoured to have turned up to one of the more lively ‘knees ups’ and was extremely enthusiastic – some might say – gymnastic – despite sporting a heavy plaster cast on her recently injured leg. She had tied her dog to some nearby railings, and its persistent whining and growling in its attempts to join in with the loud ‘pop’ music blasting out of the tannoy system nearly led to her ejection from the event. But she was determined to stick it out until the ‘Lambeth Walk’ came on. Bless her! In fact, I only mention this at all to give you all some idea of the spirit of the occasion. I was surprised that people in Yorkshire even knew what the Lambeth Walk is, let alone are so fond of it. However it seems that all things London connected are ‘the rage’ up there, which is strange because one usually gets the impression that they all hate London really. But they are quite welcome to borrow the Lambeth Walk if it makes them happy – let them have it – in fact they can keep it as far as I’m concerned. For the benefit of anyone who doesn’t know how the dance is performed, here is an example of it being performed in London where it originated: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0O4Mdrj4nYQ
This was a great occasion but Easter was not yet over, for I still had to attend a prize giving function to award prizes to the lucky winners of the Marsden Easter Treasure Trail. As we were in Yorkshire we decided to go and check out an apparently haunted pub afterwards, in which an eighteenth century landlord had murdered his wife with a poker, which is still in evidence in the old fireplace. This took us a good few hours, and by the time Gareth and I felt that our investigation had been conducted to our high standards we were totally exhausted and practically leaning on each other for support! These Yorkshire excursions can really take it out of you; thank God for Drew who had taken us all there (and as designated driver was on orange juice) and without whom we could never had made it there – or back! It’s a hard life being a psychic investigator sometimes.
Still, make it back to Drew’s apartment we did, and managed to get in a relatively early night (or what was left of it) as I had to be up bright and early to cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Hebden Bridge Easter Indoor Bazaar at 10am. We stopped off for a pub lunch on the way back (there are so many haunted pubs in Yorkshire!) but while Drew and I and the rest had a roast dinner, Gareth had to make do with a baked potato and coleslaw as I don’t think they have heard of vegetarianism that far north! In fact Gareth is extremely difficult to feed, and refuses to touch eggs, cooked cheese, pasta, pizza or most vegetables. Obviously bacon is out of the question. Although for some reason he does love vegetarian curry.
We arrived back in London late afternoon early evening, and much to our delight it was still light due to British Summertime starting yesterday. In fact it is still light as I type.
Well I think it will be an early night for us tonight, as I still have some people coming over tomorrow evening. OH for a peaceful life!
Well that’s its for now, everyone, please keep watching this space , as I might have more news of one of the film projects I am currently involved with, although really this concerns the Highgate ‘vampire’ and not the rural, fence girded wastes of Yorkshire.