November 2013

More Personal One For a Change

(c) David Farrant 2013

Well the cold weather has finally come back again, and I think readers of this Blog will remember just how much I hate the cold.  Its mainly because of my back injury quite some years ago now which I believe I mentioned almost as many years ago now.  Can’t quite remember when it happened, but I believe it was around 2001.  It was caused by a slight fall at my home – well, in fact, quite a heavy fall as I succeeded in dislodging a vertebrae.  No.  I wasn’t ‘drunk’ (much as this may come a disappointment to a few of my critics!),  but slipped on some workmen’s tools left on the stairs.  Among other things, they were supposed to be fixing the lighting, but they had somehow managed to set the communal lightings setting down to a minimum, so instead of staying on for 4 minutes or so, the main lights went off after only about 15 seconds.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of this, and my descent on the rather steep stairs where I live (in a flat at the top of a house over-looking Highgate Woods) was suddenly ‘plunged into darkness’.  Result.  I missed the stairs and slipped on some tools which they had neglected to put away before leaving.  I twisted my ankle and fell on the base on my spine – which wasn’t exactly helped by a heavy bang to the head in the process.  There was no pain – at least, if there was, I didn’t feel any at the time.  In the morning my foot was badly swollen and it was impossible to put any weight on it without severe pain; which meant, of course, normal walking was made impossible until the natural healing process had taken its course.

At least, that’s what I thought at the time; maybe two or three weeks trapped in my flat with a total reliance on others to bring me in every necessity from food to luxuries like cigarettes and wine.

The latter, in fact, didn’t bother me so much, as I needed a rest during a busy period and quite relished the fact of catching up on a lot of writing while being to see friends at the same time.

But after only just one week, it seemed I was getting a premonition of complications that were to come into the future . . . My foot was healing up quickly,  but I noticed that something seemed to have ‘happened’ to my back.  I could no longer get into comfortable positions in bed, or even sitting at the computer,  and unwanted feelings of ‘dizziness’ became increasingly common which seemed to have no connection with my injured foot..  When I tried to walk (which I could almost do by this time),  I could no longer do so with normal speed, and if I tried to so, all sense of balance would go so there was a real danger of falling over.

I spoke to a friend of mine about this whom I’d met at a nearby tennis club where I socialized.  Being a doctor he could advise me ‘out of hours’,   and he concluded that there was nothing physically wrong with my foot (which by this time had returned to normal size and not even painful),  but that the dislodged vertebrae was the real problem (which could be felt to be physically out of place) which had somehow affected the nerve endings  that affected walking.  He advised me to go to my own doctor for confirmation and that she would probably refer me to a specialist who may advise that spinal ‘manipulation’ may be necessary – in other words, an operation.

Well, that really decided me in advance.  I already suspected that this might be the problem, and yet I had heard so many horrendous stories about people having spinal ‘treatment’, that I decided to just ‘put up with it’, rather than just complicating the problem.  After all, I reasoned, I was not in any physical pain (which was one major blessing), and it just meant adjusting my physical balance accordingly, although I also realised this would probably mean, I could never walk any faster.

By some quirk of Fate, I had become a ‘semi-invalid’ overnight (quite literally!),  but  (I reasoned, and still do!) it was the lesser of two evils just to accept this gracefully, rather than become a permanent one!  I knew there were many others far worse off than myself, and I only had the disadvantage of being restricted by speed , and I would just have to accept Life’s given proviso.

And I do!

I have no choice.  Yet I have adapted it to fit in with everyday life.  Not so difficult to do in private maybe, but it can become quite inconvenient at some Talks I give when its necessary to travel by busy roads or rail with crowds of people to meet and converse with at the end of it!  But even then, this may be a misnomer.  More than often I’m just seated comfortably in my flat with or without friends around me – but invariably enjoying the work or solitude with my wife Della.

Sorry for any delay in Blogging, everyone.  But I thought you at least might like a more personal one for a change!

David  (Farrant)

An Ancestor Choosing Love Over Money …

David, Nancy and Uwe (c) Della Farrant 2013

As I must have said here quite a few times recently, things have been so hectic (over Hallowe’en at least) that they have really curtailed my ability to do every day blog posts here. Anyway, enough of that, I have already explained that! Suffice to say, the ‘Hallowe’en rush’ with all its commitments now seems to be over.  So I hope to be able to write at a more leisurely pace again, and give you the somewhat more ‘boring’ accounts that go to make up my everyday life; and of course, that includes Della as well who has also been a part of this latest ‘humdrum’ of psychic and media activity.

Most of you will be aware that on Hallowe’en – exactly – Della officially launched her new website “Hidden Highgate”, which was accordingly reviewed and promoted in the Press, including North London’s Hampstead & Highgate Express. The Ham and High telephoned Della and requested an interview about her new site in advance of its imminent release. They wanted to know more about her involvement in local history, and strange phenomenon that had plagued Highgate so for long: which she had promised would be forthcoming on her new site. She had already given two radio interviews about this in the previous weeks (one on Para Talk Radio based in Los Angeles, and one for Mickey Gocool’s North London Paranormal Investigations) both of which had been very successful. But, as she is a ‘local girl’ the Ham and High wanted to have a more personal involvement with Della’s own research and motivations regarding the launching of her new Site. All fine so far, and a lot of people are visiting the site and sending emails as a result of the Ham and High coverage, so thanks, Ham and High! And thanks to your IT department, you know who you are 😉

Another really unexpected development lately, when Nancy Kilpatrick, the well known Canadian folklorist and author from Montreal sent us an email to say that she would be in London for a couple of weeks, and would welcome the chance to visit if this could be fitted into her schedule.  In fact, I have met Nancy previously, in 1997, when she visited me at my home in Muswell Hill with fellow vampirology enthusiast Rob Brautigam. So needless to say, Della and I were more than happy to arrange to see Nancy and her companion Uwe again before she had to return to Canada and he to Germany.

Nancy as many of you will know is the author of “The Goth Bible” (2004), as well as the editor of dozens of anthologies of gothic literature and a fiction writer in her own right.  She has long standing connections with the Count Dracula Fan Club, and we have many friends in common in this regard such as the venerable Jeanne Youngson – it always amazes me how one can develop such long lasting friendships from such unlikely beginnings! But that said, much as I don’t believe in vampires most of the friends I have made in this way over the years do not either! But that is not to say that do not have a sincere interest in writing and reading about them, as well as appreciating and seeking out an aesthetic appreciation of death and the hereafter.

We all had a nice meal together (spinach and ricotta lasagna a la Delia Smith, not blood bags!) and caught up on old times. We were very interested to learn that Nancy has managed to trace a family rumour about her ancestors’ manorial lives in England to verifiable fact, and indeed yesterday she made the journey to Leeds to visit the mansion that could have been her rightful seat if certain decisions had not been made over the years – an ancestor choosing love over money being the primary component. Her detailed research in this area has really born fruit, and we were both happy that she was able to physically visit such a strong link to her roots – and be welcomed personally!

Nancy is returning to Canada in the next few days, but no doubt she’ll be over again to the good ol’ UK soon, in the pursuit of her research.  Nancy has certainly made the most of her time in England, and seems to have found herself invited to private collections at museums and to stately homes wherever she has set foot. That said, she has a long history of very specific research and regularly travels Europe seeking out artifacts which fascinate her. But she is always welcome here, at our humble Highgate abode, and in the summer, Nancy, you might even see the odd bat flitting about above Highgate Woods out the front room window! And we are both really looking forward to meeting you again when you next come to London.

But for now,



Well Done Della! And Welcome To

Hello all,

The 24th of October 2013 was a milestone in Highgate’s history. After years of research and months of hard working ‘getting lost in the code’ (and I mean HARD work – sleepless nights, dedicated research and cross referencing sources and learning the mysterious world of ‘php’ and ‘css’ files, not just copying and pasting articles from Wikipedia like some plagiarists I could mention) Della’s new website finally went live last Friday. It was a mad dash to get it live incase the Ham and High wanted to run a piece on Thursday the 23rd, and a subsequent push to get it ready for the Friday night North London Paranormal Investigations Friday Night Show with Mickey Gocool and Kurt Logsdon, which you can listen to in the archives here.  Della had been concentrating so hard that she was barely speaking, working all day, then working all night on the website, and at the weekends working on the website as well. But suddenly the Sunday before last she downed tools and rushed off to the cemetery shrieking ‘OH my God, I’ve got to meet Polly Hancock’.

I have met Polly myself several times over the years, ironically perhaps the first occasion was when she took a photograph of myself in 2003, to celebrate the launch of my own website.  I think it was called in those days, and I remember long suffering Dave Milner plugging away at that site using a 56k dial up modem. We should also remember that in those early days hardly any functioning websites had videos to watch. But BPOS member (and alleged fugitive from justice) Dave Milner managed to secure about ten for me, all of which constituted interviews with and films about my career as a psychical investigator. For retro value, you can see fragments of the early site here , but Della ‘revamped’ it last year and I think you will agree that the progression of available technology has been a great help.

But back to the present day, and last week in fact. In the meantime Della had somehow managed to find time to record an excellent broadcast with Gareth Davies and Reeves Cooke of Mindset Central and The Para Talk, which you can listen to below.

My old acquaintance Gareth visited Highgate Cemetery himself in the year 2000, and has always been interested in genuine attempts to decipher exactly what if anything haunts the cemetery and its environs.

So, by the time Hallowe’en itself came around, we were enjoying a well deserved lie-in, unaware that just over the road in the newsagents the Ham and High was sitting there on the counter with Della gazing back from it. We didn’t even turn the computer on until the afternoon, and it took a good hour to wade through the responses to the article (and the response behind the scenes on the website!)

Well here is the article itself for you all to enjoy. I think that if you are reading this blog, you will agree that it makes a very refreshing change from endless circular debate about such nonsense as ‘bloodsucking vampires’. Here at last is a Highgate-focused website for grown-ups who are not fantasists, cranks or easily led mental patients (no detriment intended to the latter).

I am very proud of what my wife has achieved with her history and real-life paranormal orientated website, and so I present to you – Enjoy!