Well, here is the promised episode 4 of “Tulpa” by the Sycamore Brothers: a breathtaking film to enlighten interested people as to what really occurred during the official BPOS investigation of a ‘vampire’ (rather ‘vampires’) in late 1969 said to be associated with Highgate Cemetery. I did promise that episode 4 of the film would be released today. I have not forgotten my promise, and so here it is! For the record, let me remind people, I never stated that this ‘ghost’ or earthbound entity was anything to do with a ‘blood-sucking- vampire and that such inventions were just based on some previous Hammer Horror films (“Taste the Blood of Dracula” being just one; ”Dracula AD 1972” being just one other) which were filmed on location at this famous old cemetery. Anyway, here is Part 4 of the film.
I am pleased to announce that Part 3 of our new film “Tulpa” has now gone up on YouTube ahead of schedule as a special inclusion to coincide with Christmas. The remaining installments will revert back to a weekly basis once again with Part 4 being released on Saturday December 28th.
Just think, Christmas will be over by then, but no doubt the ‘Christmas spirit’ will not fully subside until the New year has taken the old one away with a load more celebrations in its wake.
Anyone reading my penultimate Blog “Farrant’s Goose will be Cooked for Christmas”, may be aware that it is only the commercial aspects of Christmas that I am opposed to, and not the genuine meaning behind the festival itself. I made it clear in this Blog (at least, I hope I made it clear) that I am not ‘anti’ any religion or religious beliefs. But I have little tolerance when some of these may be turned into festivities of ‘human indulgence’ and the Divine Godhead is sometimes forgotten. This is not always the case, of course, and many people from different Christian denominations will give priority to ‘Christ’s Mass’ in the very literal sense of that word.
My wife Della, for example, is a dedicated Catholic and always insists on erecting her Nativity collection on my altar in the front room. So out go the wands, the athames, the candles, inscribed parchments and other ritual paraphernalia; and in trots the Virgin Mary, some shephers with some sheep, and three Wise Men laden with chipped and faded gifts (which may as well be 2,000 years old) for the baby Jesus. This year we’ve even got LED palm trees, artificial snow and an English woodland backdrop complete with holly, ivy and silver-sprayed branches all liberated from Highgate Woods. Are we in Bethlehem, Highgate or Las Vegas? I am not sure myself. She’s had the basic parts of this since a little girl, and kept it fondly for display at Christmas. So I usually let her get on with it for a quiet life, especially after my recent ‘outing’ on Facebook by her indoors as an alleged ‘scrooge’, or ‘grinch’ according to one mutual friend who shall remain nameless!
In fact, yesterday I had just finished giving a 2-hour interview for my friend Don Ecker for his Dark Matters radio, and I was quite tired so I settled down to get a couple of hours sleep. At this stage, the room was ‘normal’ but when I awoke she had erected the whole Nativity scene complete with Pound Shop fairy lights for that added touch of class. Well, I did say earlier I don’t approve of big spending at Christmas. After all, it is really the thought that counts! And I must admit it does have a certain naïve charm, which I find far more preferable than the gaudy displays of consumerism which one sees in the shop windows in Oxford Street at this time of year.
Anyway, so nobody can accuse me of being frivolous, here are some pictures of Della’s handiwork so you can all decide for yourselves! Actually, I’m rather fond of Las Vegas, but that’s another story!
I am pleased to announce that the long awaited film “Tulpa” on the Highgate Vampire case and my major part in it in the 1970’s, has now been completed. Filmed by the Sycamore Brothers, Max and Bart, and based significantly on my autobiography “David Farrant – In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire” released in 2009, this 8-part docu –drama shows exclusive scenes from my childhood and later travels around Europe in the 1960’s, including my introduction to the mystical religion in 1963. It goes on to deal with my investigation into the infamous Highgate ‘vampire’ case of the 1970s, and conflicts with the police and courts which this entailed. It also records interviews with witnesses involved in the original investigation and demonstrates the way the tabloid press and television influenced public opinion (or inflated this) about the practices of Wicca, Satanism and black magic.
The film tries to condense all these attributes that are connected with the paranormal and psychic research, but at the same time, attempts to portray these from a ‘human point of view’ as opposed to general misinterpretation and media sensationalism.
I was especially interested in the way Max and his brother reconstructed scenes relating to the Highgate vampire episode; especially scenes where ‘I’ was arrested in Highgate Cemetery in 1970 for ‘hunting a vampire’.
Jamie Sims played the arresting officer; Sean Howard the DS/C who interrogated me at the police station, and Nicholas Wood the ‘unfortunate person’ (i.e. myself) said to be ‘hunting a vampire’.
Patsy Langley, author of “The Highgate Vampire Casebook”, made a convincing interviewee on the film giving her expertise on the BPOS investigation; as did Gareth Medway, an author who exposed the activities of alleged ‘Satanists’ in his best selling book “Lure of the Sinister”. The 1960s ‘Witchcraft craze’ was also referred to in the film, in conjunction with the tendency that some people exhibited in trying to exploit this for their own ends.
Hope you enjoy Part 1 and screencaps from the forthcoming webisodes below.
Well, we seem to be getting closer and closer to the ‘dreaded Christmas period!’.Please don’t get me wrong.I am not just ‘anti-Christmas’ in any religious sense – just the material or secular sense into which this has been turned into.A period of mass commercialism and profit,gaudy advertising which now starts some three months before it is even due; crowds of people bustling on pavements and queuing in shops, and, everywhere you look, an ‘atmosphere’ which you are forced to breathe that is charged with some sort of ‘Christmas spirit’!There is no escaping it, it is almost ‘hypnotic’ – well, for most people anyway.Even sitting indoors, we are swamped with it!Via the Internet and television (I am lucky, at least as I don’t have a television), or Christmas cards from people you hardly know, or at least, you only ever hear fromapproaching the ‘dreaded dat
Della wanted to get a Christmas tree this year.I said ‘no’.She promptly reported me to friends and acquaintances on the Internet (only in fun, I should add!) and I was immediately accused of being a ‘scrooge’ for my trouble (as no doubt I might be here!)… She seemed confused as we had had Christmas perks and decorations here some two years ago.By ‘perks’ I mean’ mince pies, champagne, Xmas lights flickering around the room; cards displayed on shelves, and other silly decorations and tinsel.
“We had them before”, she argued, “So why not again this year?”.
“Because those were just for a ‘Christmas Special film”, I countered.“It was only necessary for that film – they were props . . . it had to look authentic!”.
That was really a lethal thing to say because – being a Catholic – Della had become used to all the usual Christmas trappings, and she seemed genuinely concernedat me trying to explain that I simply didn’t want any around me!I felt a bit mean then.I have never intendedto mock peoples’ genuine sense of joy during the period,but I was a bit ‘trapped’ into explaining why!Without otherwise hurting someone’s feelings, that is.
So, there are still two weeks left, and already, I have half given-in.But I’ll definitely put my foot down if it comes to purchasing one of those mass slaughtered turkeys!I don’t mind going back in time (Victorian time, I mean) when a goose was the standard traditional delicacy,and if she could find one of them,be nice to try that out for a change!I shouldn’t relay have said that, as knowing her, she probably will!Then I’ll have no choice but to eat it!Then people could honestly say . . .“Farrant’s Goose Will Be Cooked For Christmas!”
On to less ‘Christmassy news’ now,I am pleased to announce that my friend, Gareth Davies, that prolific radio presenter from “Mindset Central” based in Los Angeles, has just released an interview with myself about my involvement in the Highgate case which grasped world headlines at fever-pitch throughout the 1970’s (and beyond).
The interview itself was very relaxed and informal (at least I like to think!), and did touch on the Highgate ‘vampire’ craze which was also exploited by the media in the 70’s.But to save me summarizing it here,it is on episode 76 on Mindset Central’s Para Talk so go enjoy the whole thing.
I like talking with Gareth.He is very laid back and relaxed, as is his co-presenter, Reeves Cook.It does make a pleasant changewhen people are not bombarding me with persistent questions about the ‘bloody Highgate vampire’, but take things a little more seriously!Della has already been on his show discussing her new Website “Hidden Highgate” on October 22nd in Episode 70, and I know she feels the same way as well.
So, back to the comparative peace of my humble existence . . . with Christmas looming upon us!For now everyone
Just a very short Blog to follow my last one, and to prove that I DO answer my fans and critics! I have received quite a few enquiries recently about Ronald Hutton’s book ‘The Triumph of the Moon’, in which he covered my 1974 Trial at the Old Bailey for ‘witchcraft offences’ for which I received four year imprisonment.
That is now history, but a lot of people apparently missed the text of the book (not so surprising really considering the price) and have been emailing me about it. So, I reproduce the section which deals with my own involvement here. The text is really self-explanatory.
Incidentally I am pleased to inform you all that the author, in his professional capacity as a writer for Oxford University Press, saw fit to make his book a ‘Manchester-free zone’, presumably concluding that events in Highgate Cemetery in the 1970s were of far more relevance than any deviation to the grotty fictional stories originating from the Manchester era.
So do read on, and have fun!
The Triumph of the Moon
In the early 1970s, also, the nocturnal desecration of graveyards reached a spectacular climax, in events which have been made the subject of a full scholarly study by Bill Ellis. After the spate of attacks on churchyards and churches in 1963-64, there was something of a lull, punctuated by incidents at Tottenham Park Cemetery, London, at Hallowe’en 1968, and at a burial ground at Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in the following February, which press reports interpreted as evidence of ‘black magic’. Thereafter, public attention began to focus upon a single site, the famous, sprawling, decaying, and overgrown Victorian cemetery of Highgate in North London. From 1966 onwards this became a regular venue for groups of young people, holding parties and seeking entertainment. One of these grew into a British Occult Society, the most prominent member of which was a youth with fragile blonde good looks and a taste for foreign au pair girls called David Farrant. During the early 1970s he recklessly courted press publicity, playing up to his growing image as a witch, magician, and necromancer. He also made enemies of the local police, most obviously with a stunt in which he sent voodoo dolls to detectives who had questioned one of his associates, warning them that he would use his magic against them if they repeated the offence. In 1973 they charged him with arson after catching him holding a ‘Wiccan’ ceremony around a fire in a derelict house, only to see him acquitted by the jury.
The following year they tried again, this time charging him with most of the increasingly spectacular and grisly japes with tombs and corpses which had been occurring at Highgate. Farrant had always taken care in his statements to distinguish himself from Satanists, and now claimed that he was a Wiccan, concerned with doing good to living and dead and being accused of offences actually committed by devil—worshippers. He faced a hostile judge, was pilloried in the press coverage, and had to reckon with a prominent writer on ritual magic, Francis King, who informed the court that a photograph of graffiti left on one tomb in the cemetery proved that a ritual had taken place there to restore life to a dead body. Farrant was acquitted of the most serious charges but found guilty of a set of minor offences, and gaoled for four years. He has always maintained his innocence, and Bill Ellis’s careful analysis of the case suggests that he be given the benefit of the doubt – although it also demonstrates that there is actually no evidence that real Satanists ever operated in Highgate, and that the damage there may all have been the result of adolescent misbehaviour. It makes clear also how much Farrant brought his fate on himself – however unjust it may have been – by playing up to the newspapers and provoking the police. His trial remains the most sensational one involving a self-professed Wiccan in the alleged practice of the religion, and gave a very bad public impression of it . . . national events such as the Farrant trial, and the broader cultural developments discussed above, it does seem that press coverage of witchcraft in Britain was distinctly harsher in the 1970s than it had been in the previous decade.
Professor Ronald Hutton, The Triumph of the Moon, Oxfordshire University Press, 1991