The Highgate Vampire
Vampires. The internet is full of them, squabbling, attention-whoring, pairing up and falling out.
But what of vampire-hunters? Surely this plague of cyber-bloodsuckers should be pursued by a stake-wielding fanatic driving a fire-truck full of Holy Water?
It's complicated, but the easiest way to picture things is if you imagine that Count Dracula had in fact been hunted by not one, but two Professor Van Helsings who hated each others guts and feuded so ferociously for years that meanwhile Dracula slipped away unnoticed and successfully filled the world and thus the internet with his devil-spawn.
Welcome to the absolutely epic saga of The Highgate Vampire.
The London suburb of Highgate's local cemetery (pictured above) is famous throughout the world as the resting-place of numerous nobles, notables and other assorted attention-whores, but during the 1960s it had fallen into neglect and was regularly invaded by the ancestors of today's Goths and fans of the paranormal. One of the latter was a guy called David Farrant.
Farrant spent the night of 21 December 1969 on a "vigil" in Highgate Cemetery, where he claimed to have seen something strange. To be precise, he claimed to have seen a ghost and discovered the corpses of numerous foxes. He wrote a letter to the local newspaper, asking readers if they had seen anything strange too. The newspaper was immediately inundated with letters from readers describing so many different visions and apparitions that no two accounts were the same and none of them matched Farrant's. Rather than conclude that the whole thing was therefore rumours and nonsense, Farrant decided that all the accounts were true and that Highgate Cemetery was the ghost version of Grand Central Station.
In February 1970, another local called Sean Manchester (actually "Seán" but who cares) came forward to announce that he agreed that there was an evil presence in the cemetery, but that it wasn't a ghost. Oh, no. It was a vampire. And not just any vampire, it was 'a King Vampire of the Undead', a medieval Romanian noble into black magic who was buried in Highgate by his devil-worshiping disciples. Manchester claimed that this final boss of all vampirekind had been woken up by modern Satanists, and he proposed to dispatch the undead evildoer in time-honored fashion. Asked where he got his information, Manchester said "Look over there!" and jumped out of the window.
The next month, March 1970, had a Friday 13th. Due to their massive lulz value, Farrant and Manchester were interviewed for that night's TV news, completely disagreeing about the Highgate entity but agreeing that tonight would be a night for locals to be on guard against malevolent molestation.
Within two hours of the broadcast, Highgate Cemetery had been invaded by hundreds of thrill-seekers from all over London, who broke down the gates and overwhelmed a police cordon that had been set up to prevent such things.
Manchester then claimed that during this chaos he and his acolytes had slipped into the cemetery and headed straight for one particular tomb to which he had been led by a sleepwalking psychic, where they found empty coffins which they filled with garlic and Holy Water. Things then went quiet for a bit.
"Has the sinister exsanguinator been exorcised effectively?" was the question on everyone's minds.
On 1 August 1970, a woman's burned and decapitated corpse was found in Highgate Cemetery, near the very tomb Manchester claimed to have entered. The murderer remains unknown. The local cops, showing the common sense for which the po-po are famous, immediately put out a statement saying that they suspected Black Magic was involved, which was sensationally reported across the entire UK, and the whole thing kicked off again. Fairly soon after this, Manchester was arrested in the cemetery carrying a crucifix and a wooden stake, but the case was later dropped for unclear reasons. Farrant was heard muttering to himself in annoyance.
And shortly after that (according to Manchester) he was led to another tomb (by the same sleepwalking psychic) where he found one of the coffins from the original tomb (which he believed had teleported to this second tomb) which this time proved not to be empty but to contain a genuine vampire (described as "gorged and stinking with the life-blood of others"). Manchester was just about to stake the vamp when one of his assistants told him not to. So naturally, with the vampire at his mercy at last, Manchester didn't bother staking it after all and went home to bed. The entire affair went quiet again.
Friday 13, Part II
It appears that Farrant was believed by Manchester to be spreading gossip about him, damaging his good name as a remover of revenant Romanians, because on Friday 13 April 1973, Manchester challenged Farrant to a magicians' duel.
The duel never happened, which was a relief to locals who foresaw a decline in neighborhood property values. The next year, Farrant was V&&B& for disturbing graves at Highgate Cemetery and desecrating corpses, although he claimed local Satanists were the real culprits. Manchester was spotted nearby, looking at his shoes and softly whistling a tune to himself.
The feud between the two men has lasted until the present day and is largely fought on the internet. Every time one of them does something that annoys the other one, the drama kicks off all over again. When Manchester published The Highgate Vampire, Farrant rushed into print with Beyond the Highgate Vampire. They formed competing paranormal investigation societies, whose members hated each other with fanatical venom. They have also challenged each other to a number of duels throughout the last few decades, although both men appear to still be alive so it's not clear what the outcomes were.
This rivalry has spilled over into their media appearances too. In 2002, Manchester complained twice to the UK's broadcasting regulator that he wasn't taken seriously as a Bishop in two radio interviews. The regulator came down on Manchester's side, but he wasn't so lucky in 2006 when he complained again, this time about being referred to as a 'weirdo', and the regulator agreed that he was in fact a weirdo.
Sean Manchester now has his own blog, upon which he denounces his rivals and critics in general and David Farrant in particular. Make that two blogs. Actually, three if you count this one run by 'his friends'. And there's this one, in which a blogger calling himself "Alexander Lucard" chronicled alleged harassment by the good bishop up to and including Manchester's accusation that the blogger was Dracula himself.
David Farrant meanwhile runs his own 'Highgate Vampire' blog and publishes a webcomic with the suggestive title "The Adventures of Bishop Bonkers." Farrant is said to be suspicious about the identity of a reviewer on Amazon.com, who gives his books very bad reviews but seems to be a great fan of Manchester and with intimate knowledge of the bishop's private life. The Amazon reviewer also seems to have his own website, which exposes (what else?) Satanism in the London area and beyond, with a particularly specialised retail line consisting of the complete published works of Sean Manchester.
Students of the Dark Arts are encouraged to approach these powerful mages for insight into other realms. And at some stage, the vampire community and/or Twitards will discover this pair of morons, or vice-versa both and/or either ways, and Hell on Earth will result.
- Vampires obviously
Srsly, the above account barely scratches the surface of the lunacy.
- "Sex-mad witch" David Farrant to raep young virgin amid 200 orgy-goers!
- Bishop Sean Manchester exposed as guerrilla crypto-Nazi and Hitler-worshipper
- Defamation, excommunication, time-lapse decomposition, a faked death, and a giant vampire were-spider (PDF)
- Manchester denounces Farrant's "publicity-seeking shenanigans" over Yorkshire vampire that haunts Robin Hood's grave
- Stormfront members approve Farrant's attempt to get elected on a "Wicca Workers' Party" ticket with a strangely-familiar manifesto
- Ex-Manchester fanblogger harassed off the internet with DMCA, 'stalking' claims (lives in another hemisphere), and sockpuppetry galore (Cached page of deleted original)
- Farrant and Manchester's pal and local vampire-hunting vicar/exorcist in the 1970s, who was the missing link between Highgate Cemetery and the Amityville Horror
- "Manchester's Evil Cabal Exposed"!
- Blog by "Della Farrant" (yeah, right) with possible links between the Highgate Vampire and 'Spring-Heeled Jack'
- ... or was it Jack the Ripper?, asks another familiar-sounding writer
- Sean Manchester, who is descended from Lord Byron, reveals unpromising sideline as figurative/abstract/expressionist/god-awful painter
- Archived BBC 'live chat' with Bishop Bonkers
- Amazingly amateur vampire-vaunting video by Farrant and a pal called Gareth Medway who doesn't have internet access For Some Reason: creepy, but not in the way they intended
- Gareth Medway (priest of Themis in the Fellowship of Isis) publishes book about Satanic Ritual Abuse, the real agenda of which is to defend Pagans against child abuse claims
- The founder of "The Old Catholic Church" and his very, very, close links to paedophilia and white supremacism
- Manchester posthumously excommunicates the "Old Catholic" archbishop who defrocked him (see previous)
- JREF poster starts thread asking who Sean Manchester is and soon regrets it, as Manchester himself arrives as a sockpuppet, followed by Farrant, Manchester is banned, legal threats ensue, and the thread runs for seven years and extends to 24 pages
- Sir Oswald Moseley, the Holy Grail, and a secret Hitler shrine - and a seriously almighty flaming between you-know-who in the comments section
- David Icke's fantards start a promising Highgate Vampire thread which comes to a screeching halt when a poster called "British Occult Society" turns up with thinly-veiled threats
- Manchester on Youtube, including archive footage of his tall tales from 1970s
- "The Vampire Research Society"
- TOW article on the Highgate Vampire descends into verbose and retarded edit war after Farrant and a user called "Vampire Research Society" pitch up
... etc, etc
The Highgate Vampire
is part of a series on