Well Easter has come and gone, but seems to have left us with some nice weather. Nothing much to report really, except I’ve had a lot of feed back after the showing of the Highgate vampire film on “Forbidden History” on their “Yesterday Channel”. This was shown on March 11th and repeated on March 17th; although it can still be viewed online (approx. 45 mins) in case anybody missed it.
I got the usual point put to me (from the same old person actually) asking why – if I clamed not to believe in ‘vampire’ – I appeared on the television (and newspapers and magazines) holding a cross and a stake in Highgate Cemetery in 1970 as if ‘hunting a vampire’? The person invited me to publish his remark so I am doing this here in case any curious people may have missed my explanation on this point which has been published widely in the media, on numerous occasions.
The main point is that I DO NOT, nor ever have, accepted the existence of ‘blood-sucking vampires’. These only exist in Hammer Horror films, or in the imaginations of some gullible people who may be influenced by such films..
What happened was, the police arrived while a group of us were in the process of preparing to conduct a ‘magical communication ceremony’ one night in Highgate Cemetery in August 1970: its purpose to try and discover the nature of the unexplained phenomenon (or ‘ghost’) that had been witnessed there. For this purpose we had with us a psychic medium and several ceremonial implements, including charcoal and incense and small celtic crosses There was also a pointed piece of wood, engraved with Kabbalistic symbols and attached to a length of white cord. The intention of this was to cast a protective Circle on the ground and then summon the entity to visible appearance.
But the police arrived before all this could take place, and once realising they were approaching by seeing intermittent flash lights and the sound of loud voices echoing through the quiet night, members quickly headed for Swains Lane just outside the cemetery where two cars were parked. I headed for the back wall as I knew a short cut through a private back garden which backed onto the cemetery. Unfortunately, I was arrested before I could reach this and taken to Kentish Town Police Station where I was interrogated about ‘vampires’ ended up with being charged with . . . ‘Being in an enclosed area for an unlawful purpose’. The essence of this charge was really the part about ‘unlawful purpose’. For the police were later to claim in Court that my real intention was to search through coffins – opening them if necessary – until I found the ‘vampire’ when I would have ‘staked it through the heart’ and then ‘run away’. As ‘evidence’ to support this, the police officer conducting the case Det.-Sgt. Neville Brown had written out a statement on my behalf (in his own handwriting) giving his interpretation of what had been said at the interview and produced the stake and the white cord that had been intended to cast the protective Circle and said I really intended to ‘stake the vampire’!
In fact, Neville Brown had almost certainly got this impression from a television programme I had appeared in some five months previously talking about the Highgate ghost, but confused myself with another individual who had also appeared on the programme and stated that the reported ghost was really a vampire. To this end, he produced a large crucifix and a wooden stake for the cameras and proceeded to explain the best remedy to destroy a vampire. He said, once found, the vampire should be staked through the heart with a wooden stake (like the one he was holding), decapitated with a grave-diggers shovel and its remains then incinerated. Hence the interpretation that the reported ghost was really a ‘vampire’ had been firmly implanted in the minds of the police. The other section in the charge relating to being in an enclosed area was hardly given serious mention in the Court case – the Stipendiary Magistrate himself later admitting the cemetery may not be an enclosed area ‘in the strict legal sense’.
Perhaps not surprisingly when Neville Brown’s statement was read out on oath, some newspapers had a ‘hey day’ with all this ‘vampire sensationalism’.
The Daily Express the next day reporting . . .
VAMPIRE HUNTER – I won’t rest until HE does
Students of Count Dracula would recognise the scene immediately …
A man climbing over the wall of Highgate Cemetery, London. And in his hands a crucifix and a sharpened wooden stake.
Yesterday Farrant, founder of the British Occult Society, denied entering enclosed premises for an unlawful purpose – to cause damage to coffins. Afterwards Mr. Farrant said “I won’t rest until I catch the vampire of Highgate Cemetery. I know he is there.” After his arrest Farrant told the police about the vampire, and went on “I think he sleeps during the day in a coffin in the catacombs. Being that there is a full moon, I was certain to see him tonight when he emerges from one of the catacombs.
He has to be destroyed. He is evil. I was going to follow when he returned.
Having established the exact catacombs the vampire would have entered, I would have got into the catacomb, and searched through the coffins until I recognised the vampire asleep in one. And then I would have driven my wooden stake through his heart, and then run away”
[Daily Express, August 28th 1970]
Following the publication in the Express – and other National newspapers – I was contacted by BBC television who wanted to interview myself and film a reconstruction of my ‘vampire hunt’ at Highgate Cemetery. I agreed to this; not because I was actually ‘vampire hunting’, but because I knew the police had attempted to ‘set me up’ and get me found guilty of the more serious charge of intending to break open coffins. Yet I had been found not guilty of the charge and was assured that the BBC had obtained permission for the filming and so I didn’t have to worry about further legal consequences.
So the filming went ahead and was transmitted at peak time on the “24 Hours” news programme on October 16th 1970.
It is an ironical point, perhaps, that this programme is sometimes taken as absolute ‘proof’ by a small handful of people that I MUST believe in ‘vampires’, when nothing could be further from the truth!!!
Eerie Swains Lane that runs alongside Highgate Cemetery