Friday, 13 March 2020

The Last Adieu

This book outsells all others I have written by at least one hundredfold; yet I refuse to be defined by it. Half a century ago on Friday 13th March seems permanently etched onto the nation's psyche, and to some degree the sensational nature of that historic occasion will have obvious and lasting public appeal. It marked, of course, my television debut, and events later that night at Highgate Cemetery.

A more meaningful and pivotal Friday 13th for me would occur three years later in April at Easter. This was my first ascent of Parliament Hill. It was attended by a crowd of hundreds, not unlike the crowd spontaneously triggered by my television transmission on 13 March 1970. I was not expecting such a vast number to assemble all over the hill on Hampstead Heath on Good Friday 1973, but it was nevertheless a pleasing sight. Before a makeshift altar with candles on a bench at the very top, I inaugurated the founding of Ordo Sancti Graal. Tapers, incense and food were handed out. This began a pilgrimage, concentrating on London and its environs over the Easter period, and eventually spreading further afield. A lay order of twelve was instituted from those who attended and followed.

There came a second ascent of Parliament Hill in 1984 which, while attracting a good few people, plus a radio station wanting to cover the occasion live, had also come to the attention of the self-proclaimed (since the age of eleven) atheist Leader of the Greater London Council, Ken Livingstone who ordered my arrest due to an obscure piece of legislation that forbade the utterance of religious words after dusk. I was thus arrested at nine minutes before nine o'clock, taken to Hampstead Police Station under police escort, and made to feel comfortable by all concerned. When I prepared to leave without charge some time later, after a cup of tea and a pleasant chat with the Chief Superintendent, the officers all lined up to shake my hand. The date was Friday the 13th of July. It was a full moon.

A third ascent of Parliament Hill occurred on Good Friday 1993 in a heavy downfall of rain and the odd rumble of thunder. We were soaked to the skin in our white robes, but spiritually vibrant. Bemused onlookers caught sight of us, as we made the procession for the final time up the rain-soaked hill, having begun this final pilgrimage in Hertfordshire on foot. My mother had slipped into God's safekeeping months earlier. I decided to depart from London, which I did the following year.

On the forty-first anniversary of a headline on 27 February 1970 that would catapult me into the limelight for an uncomfortably long period of time, I agreed to give my final television interview at home. It was recorded using three cameras for a Canadian production company. The edited film was first broadcast on 1 April 2011. Thereafter it was repeated in many countries throughout the world.

On Friday the 13th of December 2013, a statement containing a plea for privacy was published by me on social media where it was widely viewed, and occasionally paraphrased. I reiterate it with mild adjustment because seven years later some of the time periods would not make sense for 2020.

I find today's world, particularly the cyber-world, all too frenetic and reactive. This jars with my own desire for creative contemplation instead of the tumult I see around me which being a public figure only serves to exacerbate. This reflective approach to everyday existence is at odds with being under public scrutiny, somewhere I have found myself for the past half a century. What most brought me to public attention were the television and radio programmes I regularly appeared on, and also the books and documentary films associated with topics which hold the public imagination in thrall. It is for that reason I have not submitted a book for publication since the beginning of the 21st century. Likewise, I scaled back my broadcasts in the media to a point where I no longer make them. I ceased giving interviews to the print media decades ago and only then in quality magazines. Moreover, it is quite some time since I declared I am no longer prepared to provide interviews on matters relating to Highgate et al. What there was to say has been said many times over. I found myself answering the same questions over and over again; questions which invariably are already answered in my published accounts. One of the problems, I quickly came to realise many years ago, is that interviewers, regardless of the subject, simply do not know the right questions, and the questions are every bit as important as the answers. Another problem in the new century has been one of trust. Seldom have I encountered an interviewer in recent years who keeps his or her word. Consequently, any condition I might have set for providing a contribution was frequently and almost inevitably compromised. Without trust and a sense of honour there is nothing. I cannot interact in that way and would rather stay silent than witness yet another contract broken. I am still having to regularly turn down television and radio interview requests, along with a plethora of other invitations to partake in projects that would maintain a perception of me remaining on the public stage, which, I accept, is exactly what I have been for most of my life. What made me so, however, is very much in the past. The memoir I began to write some time back will not now see the light of day. This is for the best if I wish my privacy to be respected. The concomitants of being a public figure have slowly eroded over the last couple of decades to a point where I stand on the threshold of finally achieving meaningful privacy. Hence, I have now stepped over that threshold and become a private individual. This will not affect my episcopal duties, sacerdotal ministry, art and music etc, but involvement in secular preoccupations and the expression of views on same in the public hemisphere is now at an end.    

†Seán Manchester

Highgate Cemetery Vampire Hunt Anniversary

Friday 13th March 2020 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the largest vampire hunt ever to take place in the British Isles. It occurred at Highgate Cemetery on the evening of 13 March 1970, following reports in local and national newspapers, plus a television interview with various witnesses earlier on a programme called Today, Thames Television. Notwithstanding many amateur vampire hunters inflicting themselves on the cemetery with home-made stakes, crosses, garlic, holy water, but very little knowledge about how to deal with the suspected undead if they encountered it, I made an appeal on the Today programme at 6.00pm requesting the public not to get involved, nor put into jeopardy an investigation already in progress. Not everyone heeded my plea. Over the following weeks and months a wide variety of independent vampire hunters descended on the graveyard — only to be frightened off by its eerie atmosphere, and what they believed might have been the supernatural entity itself. Some were promptly arrested by police patrolling the area. None, however, caused any damage. I advised the public that a full-scale investigation was already taking place, and that individual efforts by those merely seeking thrills only served to endanger all.

On the Today programme, 13 March 1970, I warned one self-styled vampire hunter in particular, who had appeared on the same programme as one of several witnesses, to leave things he did not understand alone. Apparently he had received “a horrible fright” a few weeks earlier when he allegedly caught sight of the vampire by the north gate of Highgate Cemetery and immediately wrote to his local newspaper about the experience, concluding with these words: “I have no knowledge in this field and I would be interested to hear if any other readers have seen anything of this nature.” (Letters to the Editor, Hampstead & Highgate Express, 6 February 1970). In the following month the same individual revealed to the media that he had seen something at the north gate that was “evil” and that it “looked like it had been dead for a long time” (as told by him to Sandra Harris on the Today programme). I warned on the same programme that this man’s declared intention of staking the vampire alone and without the proper knowledge went “against my explicit wish for his own safety.”

The Hampstead & Highgate Express, 13 March 1970, under the headline The Ghost Goes On TV, reported: "Cameras from Thames Television visited Highgate Cemetery this week to film a programme ... One of those who faced the cameras was Mr David Farrant, of Priestwood Mansions, Archway Road. ... 'It was tall and very dark grey. But it didn't appear to have any feet. It just glided along.' He intends to visit the cemetery again, armed with a wooden stake and a crucifix, with the aim of exorcising the spirit. He also believes that Highgate is 'rife with black magic.' ... [Seán] Manchester is opposed to [David] Farrant's plans. 'He goes against our explicit wish for his own safety,' he said. ‘We feel he does not possess sufficient knowledge to exorcise successfully something as powerful as a vampire, and may well fall victim as a result. We issue a similar warning to anyone with likewise intentions'."

The mass vampire hunt on the night itself was not attended by David Farrant who spent his time in the Prince of Wales pub before repairing home to Archway Road and the bunker of an acquaintance.

The hunt went ahead, as chronicled in The Highgate Vampire book, and what was thought to be the vampire source and its resting place was discovered, along with empty coffins, in the catacombs.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

"Does a Wampyr Walk in Highgate?"

Most everyone has a story to tell, and mine, up to that point, became public on 27 February 1970 when, albeit reluctantly, I revealed some of that story in a front page feature article. From that moment, I ceased to have a private life, especially following the Reuters News Agency getting hold of it, and my being interviewed by a television programme, transmitted on Friday 13 March 1970, a short time later. I quite literally woke up and found myself famous. Yet it was a wholly unwanted celebrity.

Up until the end of the last century, notwithstanding one or two attempts to treat me in a lighthearted manner, I was received with impartiality and respect by film production companies, television and radio programmes, quality glossy magazines, including an appearance on the cover of The Sunday Times magazine, and others besides. As we entered the new century it became abundantly clear that people's beliefs, particularly belief in the supernatural, had fast begun to erode and become eclipsed by an aggressive form of atheism, often dressed up as something else, eg humanism etc. Interest in me did not lessen, however, but suddenly I was now, according to a new generation, see RationalWiki, and others of that ilk, "an unhinged British author." I was being painted as "unhinged" for one reason only: I was continuing to tell my story, but it no longer chimed with the atheistic, anti-everything supernatural, clique who dismiss such things. My story now earned their opprobrium on a grand scale, and they were not slow to make their extreme displeasure known.

“Ever since I became aware that Highgate Cemetery was the reputed haunt of a vampire, the investigations and activities of Seán Manchester commanded my attention. I became convinced that, more than anyone else, he knew the full story of the Highgate Vampire.”

~ Peter Underwood, ghost hunter & author, The Ghost Club Society, London, England

“I am very impressed by the body of scholarship you have created. Seán Manchester is undoubtedly the father of modern vampirological research.”

~ John Godl, paranormal researcher and writer, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

“Seán Manchester is to be congratulated on this fine piece of research work which I confess to enjoying to the extreme.”

~ Professor Devendra P Varma, vampirologist & author, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada

“Fascinating in its subject matter and magnificent in the quality of its prose. Seán Manchester’s literary style is refreshingly reminiscent of the Gothic genre.”

~ Paul Spencer Vickers, Dept of English Literature, University College, London, England

“Seán Manchester is the most celebrated vampirologist of the twentieth century.”

~ Shaun Marin, reviewer and sub-editor, Uri Geller’s Encounters magazine, England

“A most interesting and useful addition to the literature of the subject.”

~ Reverend Basil Youdell, Literary Editor, Orthodox News, Christ the Saviour, Woolwich, England

“This book will certainly be read in a hundred years time, two hundred years time, three hundred years time ~ in short, for as long as mankind is interested in the supernatural. It has the most genuine power to grip. Once you have started to read it, it is virtually impossible to put it down.”

~ Lyndall Mack, Udolpho magazine, Chislehurst, England

Friday, 7 February 2020


To access the answers to Francisco Garcia-Ferrera's four questions click on the images above.

To access Francisco Garcia-Ferrera's article click on the images below.

Francisco Garcia-Ferrera drew himself into the controversy that has existed long before he was born.

Having chosen to publish what amounts to misinformation, falsehood and factual inaccuracy, he now wants to wash his hands of any responsibility for what he has written and published on the internet.

†Seán Manchester's response to Francisco Garcia-Ferrera's less than "rounded" article now follows:

Where do I start?

Francisco Garcia-Ferrera approached me as late 2019 became early 2020. I directed him to a private forum (click on image at the top of the page to access) where I told him I would answer any queries.

I also advised him that much he probably sought to know was already contained in my book The Highgate Vampire. He confirmed that he had not read it.

He asked only four short questions. I offered to address any supplementary or additional queries he might have. There were none.

Consequently, the article he produced is riddled with misleading statements, false claims and error.

Straight away, I am  described as "a self-proclaimed exorcist, vampire hunter and bishop of the mysterious 'Old Catholic Church'."

The description "exorcist" is quite obviously an accurate one in view of the fact that I entered the minor order of Exorcistate in early 1973, and had been performing exorcisms bohth before that date and, of course, long after it.

How can the description "vampire hunter" be "self-proclaimed"? This is how I was accurately dubbed by academics, authors, researchers, interviewers and the media generally over the last half a century. I did not "proclaim" myself as such. I had no such need. It was apparent to my readers and most others.

How does he deduce that the Old Catholic Church is "mysterious"? There is nothing mysterious about it. His statement is based on ignorance, ie a lack of ecclesial understanding, information and knowledge. This is probably not the place to elaborate further, but I will gladly do so elsewhere.

Next we are told that "the story officially ended in 1973, when Manchester claimed to have driven a stake through the vampire's heart in the nearby 'House of Dracula' in Crouch End."

The year is incorrect. It was not 1973. The term "House of Dracula" was coined by a local newspaper (the Hornsey Journal). I dubbed it as a house of evil, and "Hell House." The property where the exorcism took place is actually situated on the border of Highgate and Hornsey, not Crouch End. The story did not, of course, end with the 1974 exorcism, as anyone who has read my book will know.

"While Farrant had presided over The British Psychic and Occult Society, Manchester founded the British Occult Society," it is erroneously claimed.

David Farrant's British Psychic and Occult Society was created by him circa 1982-1983. There is no evidence of its existence prior to that date. The British Occult Society was not founded by me. I became its president in June 1967. The British Occult Society was originally formed as an umbrella organisation circa 1860. Much of its activity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century is shrouded in mystery. The BOS came out of the closet, however, in the mid-twentieth century before finally disappearing in 1988 when it was dissolved under my presidency. During that period  I placed emphasis on investigating the claims of the occult and the study and research of paranormal phenomena. Out of this history sprang the Vampire Research Society (formerly a specialist unit within the BOS).

Next we are told: "Both parties heavily advertised a 'magical duel,' which was to take place on Parliament Hill in Hampstead, before cooling down and calling off the clash."

I advertised nothing, and the occasion, which I attended, was not called off. According to the media it was to be a "duel." It was made clear in that from my perspective it would be an attempt to exorcise and heal. David Farrant did not attend for reasons he made known to the local and national press.

"Manchester remains in no mood to relinquish his grip on ownership of the case – it is, after all, almost his entire life's work – while also not exactly forthcoming when it comes to interview requests," Francisco Garcia-Ferrera claims.

The absurdity of the article is summed up in the above sentence. I am approached almost every week, certainly every month, of the year to do a piece to camera, or speak on radio, about this case. Each time I have rejected any attempt to involve me in continuing to publicly fuel more interest in the case, something that was a tiny part of my life's work which is so much more than just one solitary case.

Garcia-Ferrera then says that I "am not exactly forthcoming when it comes to interview requests." That's because I don't give interviews, and haven't done so for many years. But he already knew that.

"I tried to reach Farrant's long-term partner, Della – but she chose not to respond," says Garcia-Ferrera. How do you define "long term"? Della came onto the scene ten years ago, and quickly made a beeline for Farrant. They claimed to be an item from 2013 when on Hallowe'en of that year they had pictures taken at his Muswell Hill Road address. These were allegedly images of a witchcraft "handfasting," even though Farrant had stated back in 1982 that he had outgrown witchcraft. When interviewed by Andrew Gough in December 2009, he said: "I left Wicca in 1982, actually." He self-identified as a Luciferian privately in the 1970s, and publicly in the 1980s, until his death in 2019.

Francisco Garcia-Ferrera ends his piece with this paragraph:

"I'm not really sure what I expected when I asked Sean Manchester for some thoughts on his old rival, but it certainly wasn't a link to a relatively magnanimous self-penned eulogy. Perhaps I should have already realised that, when it comes to the Highgate Vampire, one should leave any reasonable expectations at the door."

A eulogy is piece of writing that praises someone highly, especially a tribute to someone who has just died. The link I provided, having explained that I would "not pursue this infelicitous matter beyond the veil of death," took the reader to an obituary, not a eulogy.  A nuance that is perhaps lost on one who writes for and is published by something called VICE?


Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Vampire Hunt at Highgate Cemetery

It began like most days when the cold winter won't go away. The bitterness of former weeks not only intensified as the unseasonal snow refused to melt away, but somehow seemed to be growing worse.

Today is the forty-eighth anniversary of a Friday the 13th that would go down in the annals of history as the largest vampire hunt of the twentieth century. How did it arise? What led up to it happening?

Gerald Isaaman, editor of the Hampstead & Highgate Express in those far off distant days, recently recounted his meeting with Seán Manchester in February 1970: "Manchester arrived at the office wearing a black cloak lined with scarlet silk and carrying a cane." Isaaman forgot to mention the top hat and tails that were included with the opera cloak and cane. There was also an accompanying young lady, also not mentioned, who was equally formally-attired. It was late in the afternoon and Seán Manchester had no idea how long the interview that had been requested of him would take. 

He and his lady friend were dressed ready to go on to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, from the Hampstead offices of the Hampstead & Highgate Express. He frequently attended the opera in those days and continued to do so whilst in London, always preferring the correct dress code. 

The elderly and now ex-editor reminisced in Jauary 2009:

"The story of the Highgate Vampire [in a recently published book about London's folklore] is attributed to 1970 reports in the Ham & High, where I was then the editor. It recalled the fantastic events of a few months that year and the following one, which culminated in a TV programme inviting people to decide for themselves what was going on. That resulted in three hundred people, allegedly armed with home-made stakes and Christian crosses, storming the cemetery that night to kill the demon vampire lurking among the decaying tombs."

In fact, there was considerably more than three hundred people on the hunt that night for Highgate's vampire. They were there because of a broadcast earlier that evening which brought the case to a much wider audience. There was no announcement by the team officially investigating the mysterious happenings at the cemetery that they would be embarking upon a vampire hunt that night even though that was the case. The official hunt had been planned in private for some time.

The night of Friday 13 March 1970 witnessed in England the largest vampire hunt of the twentieth century by members of the public. It bordered on hysteria and led to local police having their leave cancelled to contain it. Just how many were involved would be difficult to estimate, but certainly hundreds. In the preceding weeks, the Hampstead & Highgate Express (a local newspaper) told of unearthly goings-on at Highgate Cemetery. Its February 27th issue ran the headline "Does A Wampyr Walk in Highgate?" The front-page headline of the following fateful week's edition told of the matter being discussed on television that very evening by Seán Manchester who recounts the event in his bestselling book The Highgate Vampire.

"... attempts to shoot the interview by the north gate were abandoned and the actual filming took place outside the main gate further down Swains Lane. Some independent witnessed, including several children who had seen a ghostly manifestation, were also interviewed for the programme. One person said: ' Yes, I did feel it was evil because the last time I actually saw its face and it looked like it had been dead for a long time.' Another witness commented: 'It seemed to float along the ground.' One of those interviewed who claimed to have seen the vampire was a certain David Farrant, a pathetic figure whose infatuation with the Highgate haunting was to earn him an undeserved notoriety and send him on a helter-skelter into the abyss of the dark occult. The programme was transmitted at 6.00pm on Friday 13 March 1970: the eve of the proposed vampire hunt. Eamonn Andrews introduced the viewing audience to a report on the Highgate Vampire. Within two hours Highgate was the scene of utter pandemonium as crowds of onlookers flocked to Swains Lane. The number multiplied as the evening progressed. Police on foot and in cars were unable to control the swarming mass of those who had arrived to witness the discovery of a modern-day vampire infestation in their midst. And its eradication! While chaos and frenzy continued to erupt in Swains Lane, a group of hand-picked researchers led by myself, constituting the official vampire hunt, made their way to the catacombs in the inky darkness of the cemetery." ― Seán Manchester (The Highgate Vampire, pages 76-77). 

Seán Manchester appeared on the Today programme (Thames Television) at 6.00pm on Friday 13 March 1970:

The night of 13 March 1970 witnessed scenes of utter pandemonium as people gathered in large numbers along the steep lane running alongside London’s Highgate Cemetery. At 6.00pm a television programme had confirmed that a vampire contagion was evident in the graveyard, and that a vampire hunt was imminent. The crowds multiplied in hopeful anticipation of locating the resting-place of the undead entity. Police were present to control those arriving, but it was an almost impossible task. By 10.00pm an assortment of independent amateur vampire hunters had joined the onlookers. Principal among the freelance brigade was a schoolteacher, fortuitously named Alan Blood, whom Matthew Bunson, as recorded in his The Vampire Encyclopedia (1993), deemed to be an important player in the unravelling case. Bunson, an American who had no contact with Blood, or indeed anyone else contemporaneous to the events at Highgate in the 1970s, relied on yet another American, Jeanne Keyes Youngson of the New York Count Dracula Fan Club aka Vampire Empire who, in turn, depended on second-hand reports amounting to personal speculation from people who were not present and played no part in the investigation.

Youngson’s influence on Bunson initiated the error in his and thereby subsequent accounts. The primary source, however, is the London Evening News, 14 March 1970, front page report “Mr Blood Hunts Cemetery Vampire.” The brief quotes attributed to Blood in this sensationalist report are notably rebutted by Blood himself in a longer interview given to the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 20 March 1970. This latter interview, reproduced in Seán Manchester’s account about the case, has been totally ignored by commentators such as Bunson who seem to have scant regard for the facts in public archives.

An authentic account of Alan Blood’s part, such as it was, in the affair is given in Seán Manchester’s The Highgate Vampire (pages 77-79) from which the following is revealed: “By 10.00pm [on the night of 13 March 1970] the hundreds of onlookers were to include several freelance vampire hunters, including a history teacher, Alan Blood, who had journeyed from Billericay to seek out the undead being.” Blood had seen a report on television some hours earlier that evening and immediately set off for Highgate. On his arrival in Highgate Village, he entered the Prince of Wales pub on the High Street, where he remained until joining the crowd outside the north gate. However, Seán Manchester, featured earlier on the Today programme as the principal investigator, was nowhere to be seen because he was already inside the cemetery with his research team.

Alan Blood in Swains Lane on 13 March 1970. 

Blood eventually left the pub and joined a steadily growing crowd of several hundred people in Swains Lane. It was while in Swains Lane that Blood, wearing a Russian-style hat with his beard, was noticed by an Evening News photographer and a reporter. They spoke to Blood, and also to a 27-year-old Hampstead resident, Anthony Robinson, who had ventured to the cemetery gate “after hearing of the torchlight hunt.” Robinson is alleged to have told the reporter: “I walked past the place and heard a high-pitched noise, then I saw something grey moving slowly across the road. It terrified me. First time I couldn’t make it out, it looked eerie. I’ve never believed in anything like this, but now I’m sure there is something evil lurking in Highgate.” Yet it was Blood, who saw and did nothing, whose photograph was to appear on the front page of next day’s Evening News. He is described at the head of the report as “a vampire expert named Mr Blood who journeyed forty miles to investigate the legend of an ‘undead Satan-like being’ said to lurk in the area.” Alan Blood had not claimed to be a “vampire expert,” and would readily confirm in a more soberly conducted interview with the Hampstead & Highgate Express, that he was “by no means an expert on vampires.”

None of which would stop American author Matthew Bunson publishing some twenty-three years later: “The focus of the media attention turned to … Allan [sic] Blood, vampire expert who led the search. [He was] convinced that a vampire was sleeping in one of the vaults and were determined to find it and kill it. … As is typical of such incidents, stories based on rumour and on unconfirmed sightings soon spread, and the tabloids and newspapers ran exploitative reports. No vampire was ever publicly discovered.” (The Vampire Encyclopedia, page 121).

Apart from his reference to press exploitation, not a single statement in Bunson’s entry for the Highgate Vampire case is accurate. The focus of the media did not turn to Alan Blood. After 13 March 1970, he completely disappeared off the scene. Blood never stated that he was “determined to find and kill” the vampire. Seán Manchester would add in The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook (pages 66-67): “Interestingly, Jeanne Youngson’s name crops up in Bunson’s acknowledgements as having assisted with this book [The Vampire Encyclopedia]. Why does that come as no surprise? Peter Hough follows in Bunson’s errant footsteps in Supernatural Britain (1995) and repeats the misinformation … whilst ignoring the actual investigation. When contacted through their respective publishers, neither deigned to reply. Their publishers also refused to answer any correspondence on the matter.” This refusal to address significant error placed on record is a matter of concern.

Bunson and Hough are followed by the journalist Tom Slemen whose latter-day paperback Strange But True (1998) claimed that “Alan Blood organized a mass vampire hunt that would take place on Friday 13 March, 1970. Mr Blood was interviewed on television. … The schoolteacher’s plan was to wait until dawn, when the first rays of the rising sun would force the vampire to return to his subterranean den in the catacombs, then he would kill the Satanic creature in the time-honoured tradition; by driving a wooden stake through its heart. … In an orgy of desecration [the crowd] had exhumed the remains of a woman from a tomb, stolen lead from coffins, and defaced sepulchres with mindless graffiti.”

None of which is true. Blood did not “organize a mass vampire hunt.” Indeed, Blood organised nothing. He was an interested onlooker. It was not the “schoolteacher’s plan to wait until dawn.” There was no “orgy of desecration” etc. No damage whatsoever occurred on the night of 13 March 1970. What Slemen is probably alluding to is an entirely different incident that took place five months later, as recorded on the front page of the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 7 August 1970, where the discovery of the headless body of a female and signs of a satanic ceremony were made by two fifteen-year-old schoolgirls as they walked through the graveyard on a sunny August afternoon. Police viewed it to be the work of Satanists and investigated it as such. Some weeks later a man was arrested prowling around the graveyard at night.

These misleading accounts by Bunson, Hough and Slemen contaminated some others that have found their way onto the internet. Sadly, some sites are simply too lazy to do anything more than copy extant error from elsewhere with scant regard for accuracy. Others have an entirely different agenda, which is to distort what really happened. Bunson’s claim that no vampire was found is patently untrue, as originally recorded in Peter Underwood’s The Vampire’s Bedside Companion (Frewin Books, 1975) and The Highgate Vampire (British Occult Society, 1985; Gothic Press, 1991).

Author and exorcist, Seán Manchester, president of the Vampire Research Society.

The tomb of the Highgate Vampire was located by the Vampire Research Society in 1970, as revealed by Seán Manchester in the 24 Hours programme, a  BBC television film documentary, transmitted on 15 October 1970, and later confirmed in Peter Underwood's anthology The Vampire's Bedside Companion (1975) and Exorcism! (1990), plus J Gordon Melton's The Vampire Book: Encyclopedia of the Undead (1994), and Seán Manchester's The Highgate Vampire (1975, 1976, 1985, 1991). Three years and three months after the BBC 24 Hours television documentary, the Highgate Vampire itself was properly exorcised by Seán Manchester with an assistant named Arthur. Several 35mm photographs, some of which are reproduced in The Highgate Vampire book, were taken of the vampire in its final moments of dissolution. These pictures were later transmitted and discussed on various television programmes in the UK.

These are the known and recorded facts about the then 25-year-old schoolteacher Alan Blood who, on 13 March 1970 travelled from Billericay to Highgate in London, having seen a report on television earlier that evening, to satisfy his curiosity. He was not a vampirologist, nor did he ever claim to be. He was one of hundreds who had turned up to see what was happening. After talking to the press he was not heard of again in this or any related context. Yet his name, perhaps understandably given the subject matter and the overwhelming interest it generated, entered a legend all of its own.

The full story of the case can be read in Seán Manchester’s bestselling book, a reliable account by a first-hand witness, participant and investigative researcher with expertise in both vampirology and exorcism. For ordering information, click on the book’s cover:

The Last Adieu

This book outsells all others I have written by at least one hundredfold; yet I refuse to be defined by it. Half a century ago on Frid...