The air around him had suddenly turned icy cold. This seemed to be the same entity he had heard about. In particular, the reports of Satanists performing black magic and sacrificing animals at the cemetery.
The Highgate Vampire
The publicity attracted the attention of Sean Manchester, an eccentric and flamboyant figure that claimed to be a bishop in an obscure church. Not only was he a bishop, according to Manchester, he was also a vampire hunter. Travelling to England, he had somehow ended up buried in what would become Highgate. Manchester told the paper that the vampire had been revived by the activity of the Satanists that were said to operate at the cemetery.
Manchester repeated his florid account of the King Vampire, and after goading Farrant, said he would personally be leading a vampire hunt at Highgate that very night.
The Highgate Vampire – How It All Began – by David Farrant
A mob of people, in scenes reminiscent of a Hammer Horror film, soon descended on the cemetery. Hundreds of people climbed over the gates and walls to witness the hunt. It turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. The hunt failed to find, least of all stake, a vampire. Several of those that took part did, however, report seeing a strange dark figure in the grounds of the cemetery.
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Farrant and Manchester continued to investigate Highgate and its supposed Vampire. Farrant was even arrested later in near the cemetery carrying a crucifix and wooden stake.
In the years that followed, the pair would publish numerous books about the affair and their rivalry would grow more bitter. In it, he sensationally claimed to have hunted the vampire for a further 13 years, before finally staking, beheading and burning it. The modern vampire mythos originated in Eastern Europe in the 16th and 17th century. Jure Grando, a Croatian peasant, died in and became one of the first historical figures to be described as a vampire.
Grando was said to have come back to life as a blood-sucking undead corpse to terrorise the residents of his village. He was eventually put to rest after a plucky village cut his head off, a stake through the heart having failed to stop his rampage. During the 18th century, a number of supposed vampire outbreaks caused widespread panic in Prussia and Serbia. Exhumations and stakings became common. Dracula would go on to inspire innumerable films, books, tv shows and other media, and it seems, the principal players in the Highgate vampire saga.
In , Canadian biochemist David Dolphin suggested a rare blood disease called porphyria may be the real source behind vampire legends. Porphyria sufferers lack a vital pigment in their blood, and Dolphin suggested the ingestion of blood in vampire lore may be an attempt to replace this.
Furthermore, porphyria sufferers can be acutely sensitivity to light, to the extent that their skin can blister and burn in sunlight. Spanish neurologist Juan Gomez-Alonso had an alternative explanation. In , he noted that the symptoms of vampirism bore a striking resemblance to rabies. The 4 ringbinders full of pre-internet hand-completed membership forms still extant gives some indication of the popularity which this grassroots and contribution-led organisation achieved during its lifespan.
After all, the case of the so-called Highgate phenomenon is not really a private issue or one that can be affected by personal views or interpretations.
About Blog Contact. The Highgate Vampire Society. In the summer of , David Farrant, another amateur vampire hunter, entered the field. He claimed to have seen the vampire and went hunting for it with a stake and crucifix—but was arrested. He later became a convert to a form of Satanism.
He was later convicted on two charges of breaking into tombs at Highgate. In he denounced the vampire as a hoax he had created by himself in Meanwhile, in , Manchester began an investigation of a mansion near Highgate Cemetery that had a reputation of being haunted. On several occasions Manchester and his associates entered the house. In the basement they found a coffin, which they dragged into the backyard.
Opening the casket, Manchester saw the same vampire he had seen seven years before in Highgate Cemetery. This time he conducted an exorcism by staking the body, which disintegrated into a slimy, foul-smelling substance, and burned the coffin.
He had destroyed the Highgate Vampire. Soon after this incident, the mansion was demolished and an apartment house was erected in its place. The consequences from the Highgate Vampire did not end with its death, however. In reports of dead animals found drained of blood began to appear in Finchley. Manchester believed that a vampire created by the bite of the Highgate Vampire was the cause. He contacted many of the people he had met in and eventually targeted a woman he called Lusia as the culprit. He discovered that Lusia had died and been buried in Great Northern London Cemetery, and he had dreams in which she came to him.
One autumn evening in , Manchester entered the cemetery.
There he encountered a large, spiderlike creature about the size of a cat. He drove a stake through it. As dawn approached, it metamorphosed into Lusia—she had only now truly died.
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