†Seán Manchester was born at a time when the world was at war and the obscure figure who preceded him in the field of operative vampirology, Montague Summers, was still alive and soon to hand a vampire protection medallion to the author and paranormal researcher Peter Underwood. He, in turn, would later bequeath the medallion to Seán Manchester who treats it as a curiosity worthy of display, but nothing more than that. His own armoury of accoutrements is rather more sophisticated and certainly rooted in known and proven objects intended to repel demons of the predatory kind.
He nevertheless studied the works of Montague Summers while still a teenager, and has always shown his appreciation to the Edwardian vampirologist for this introduction to the subject matter. He would later dedicate the expanded and revised hardback edition of his bestselling book The Highgate Vampire (1985 & 1991) to Montague Summers whose ecclesiastical career was not so very dissimilar to the man who would become the last authentic vampire hunter. He was not baptised until he chose to become so himself, and, while still at school, joined an Anglican choir, eventually being made head choirboy. During this time he was increasingly disillusioned with the vagaries of the Church of England whom, he felt, seemed uncertain about almost everything. He studied Catholicism and was received into the Roman Catholic Church, but it was at a time when Liberalism and Modernism were being ushered in by Vatican II. Everything was changing. He became a borderline Sedevacantist, and would eventually take Holy Orders in the traditional wing of an independent Old Catholic jurisdiction. This enabled him to lead an autocephalous jurisdiction that is known within the United Kingdom as Ecclesia Vetusta Catholica. As a Bishop (he was consecrated on 4 October 1991) he is able to carry out exorcisms unfettered, and also appoint others to do so. During his life, as his faith grew stronger, many people were becoming less inclined to believe in anything, much less the supernatural. He sees himself, therefore, as an antidote to this non-belief, and has remained steadfast in that resolve.
Seán Manchester founded the Vampire Research Society on 2 February 1970. He is its president and was also president of an occult investigation bureau from 21 June 1967 to 8 August 1988 (when the B.O.S. was formally dissolved). For most of his life he resided in London where he met and married a performing arts graduate, who is also an accomplished sculptress, on 8 August 1987. He has no children. They now reside on the English south coast at a private retreat. He does not give interviews.
(Click on the image above to order a copy of The Highgate Vampire)
Seán Manchester's spiritual odyssey and the history of his church can be found in The Grail Church.
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