Sunday, 31 January 2016

Over the Hill and Far Away

"I do sometimes wonder, for all of the conflict and bluster between Farrant and Manchester, how each reflects upon their relationship with the other. It is clear there certainly was some form of acquaintance, friendship even, between them. They frequented the same pub and had a mutual friend in Anthony Hill. Also, David [Farrant] has told Kev Demant of the occasions he was invited over to Sean [Manchester]’s home for meals." - Trystan Lewis Swale (9 July 2015)

1. David Farrant and Seán Manchester became acquainted from early 1970 following Farrant's published letter in the Hampstead & Highgate Express in February 1970 claiming three sightings by him of a ghost near the North Gate of London's Highgate Cemetery. The two men were never friends.

2. They did not "frequent the same pub." It is understood that Farrant used a number of pubs in the Highgate area at that time, often flitting from one to the next in the course of a single evening. Seán Manchester was not a regular at any pubs, preferring a different kind of social activity. However, sometimes he did occasionally arrange to meet people to discuss matters concerning the case in restaurants or pubs in the evening, and Lauderdale House at Waterlow Park during the daytime.

3. David Farrant and Seán Manchester did not have "a mutual friend" in Anthony Hill. Due to the complexity surrounding the history of Anthony Hill, it merits further discussion at greater length.

4. David Farrant, despite what he might have told his colluding friend Kevin Demant, was never "invited over for meals" at Seán Manchester's home, and there is no evidence to the contrary.

5. Trystan Lewis Swale of Orchard Way, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was (a) not born when the Highgate Vampire case was making headlines, (b) has never met Seán Manchester, and (c) is entirely reliant on unsubstantiated allegations originating solely with David Farrant and nobody else.

Throughout most of the 1960s Seán Manchester ran a photographic studio by day and was a professional musician by night.  What follows is based on his testimony, corroborated by Hill.

Anthony Hill did not introduce Seán Manchester to David Farrant in The Woodman pub or anywhere else. Seán Manchester was told that Farrant was in The Woodman one Friday night when he was performing with a jazz group, but it would have meant nothing to him. In any case, the name Farrant went by was "Allan" and that is how Hill would have referred to him if he did refer to him. Surnames were not used. The context of this history must be viewed through one important and often ignored fact: Hill's pursuit of the then recently married Mary Olden, a barmaid in The WoodmanSeán Manchester was aware of Hill's infatuation with the barmaid. He later learned that Mary Farrant, the barmaid, was married to "Allan," but he still didn't have a clue who Farrant was, as the latter was not a friend of Hill. He was, if anything, an obstacle to Hill's ambition, ie Mary, but not for very long. 

Hill (himself married to a female also known to Seán Manchester) and Mary ran off together in 1968. Seán Manchester made clear his disapproval and there came a falling out between the pair. Moreover, Hill worked part-time for Seán Manchester in the darkroom at his studio. In the mornings, Hill was a milkman. He worked afternoons at the studio. Seán Manchester was inconvenienced by Hill's affair with Mary. They had run off together to Devon and Hill's employment was abruptly terminated. The schism did not resolve for some considerable time. When Hill eventually returned to his wife and Mary returned, pregnant, to Farrant in 1969, it was not long before things took an irrevocable turn which set into force a history most interested people are more familiar with today.

Farrant was made bankrupt in the summer of 1969 and also evicted from his London flat on the corner of Archway Road and Southwood Avenue. Mary returned to her parents in Southampton where she married someone with the surname "Coster" after divorcing Farrant. The children stayed with Mary in Southampton. The first, Jamie, was sired by Farrant; the second, Danny, was not. The children wanted nothing to do with Farrant. Then Jamie sought him out in the second decade of the new century. He now assists his father with the vendetta against Seán Manchester. Both Farrant and his son Jamie are idle, crude and vulgar. Danny wants absolutely nothing to do with Farrant.

Farrant, decades later, claimed he knew Seán Manchester (or knew of him) prior to 1970, but Seán Manchester was not part of that clique. Farrant had and still has no real interest in music, much less modern jazz which it is understood he absolutely detests. Seán Manchester was certainly not known to Farrant's tiny circle. Mary might have heard about Seán Manchester from Hill, but Hill, of course, was not involved in any of Seán Manchester's investigative pursuits and paranormal interests. Indeed, Hill was dismissive and sceptical about such things. Seán Manchester's encounter with Farrant came about solely because of the latter's correspondence in the Hampstead & Highgate Express which put the cat among the pigeons as far as his own research and hitherto private investigation at Highgate Cemetery was concerned. Seán Manchester nevertheless remained on friendly terms with Hill's wife. She resented Farrant's presence in her coal bunker, and gave Seán Manchester access to the cellar in which Farrant was ensconced. This occurred within days of Seán Manchester meeting Farrant at Highgate Cemetery so that the latter could point out where he had seen his "ghost," as confirmed on the front page of the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 6 March 1970. Seán Manchester's first impression of Farrant was that he was a tramp whose claims were unimpressive, confused and contradictory. In those early days, he put this down to the large quantities of alcohol Farrant consumed. As time passed, he realised Farrant was a charlatan.

Seán Manchester informed Farrant of nothing whatsoever when he spoke to him in the coal bunker. He merely asked a few questions which led to Farrant agreeing to show him where he had supposedly witnessed something ghostly and supernatural. It was the editor of the Hampstead & Highgate Express who told Farrant about the ongoing vampire investigation and put it to him in a brief interview, which was published on 6 March 1970. There was also the front-page revelations under the headline Does A Wampyr Walk In Highgate? that had appeared on 27 February 1970.

Anthony Hill had no affection for Farrant even though he took many of the incriminating photographs of Farrant at Highgate Cemetery, inside catacombs etc. Farrant disingenuously appealed in the media for someone by the name "Hutchinson" to come forward when he was seeking to overturn certain of his criminal convictions. He described "Hutchinson" as the journalist who took photographs of him in tombs, and that he alone could confirm that the damage was already extant. 

The truth is that there was no "Hutchinson," only Hill whom Farrant did not want to be found, as it would have resulted in his credibility being shot to pieces. It was Hill who took the graveyard pictures of Farrant, save when newspaper staff photographers took pictures of him in Highgate Cemetery, which they did on a number of occasions. When David Farrant became homeless in August 1969, it was Anthony Hill who offered the now destitute Farrant his coal bunker (part of a large communal cellar where each tenant was provided with their own coal bunker) beneath his ground floor flat.

Hill's thinking was to keep his friends close and his enemies closer. He always regarded Farrant as his enemy and Farrant, in turn, as the man cuckolded by Hill, must have felt considerable resentment for his new landlord. It was toward the end of that year that Farrant decided upon a prank to fool the public and media alike. He did so in the presence of Hill, Hill's wife and various visitors during the relevant period. Some of these acquaintances agreed to allow their names and addresses to be used on fraudulent correspondence to a local newspaper. The author of the correspondence was Farrant who falsely attested to a "ghost." Hill agreed to the prank only in so far of it being an exercise to expose the gullibility of the media and general public. He wanted it to last no more than a few weeks. The problem for the pranksters was that there had been a history of unearthly manifestations being sighted in or near Highgate Cemetery. It reached back to not just the mid-1960s, but also Victorian times. This served to confuse matters as genuine correspondents writing to the Hampstead & Highgate Express mixed with fake ones in the early weeks of 1970 with Farrant boarding the vampire bandwagon, as he perceived it. At which point, Hill became exasperated and washed his hands of the whole business. Farrant was arrested in the cemetery on 17 August 1970 and thereafter did not return to Hill's coal bunker, his next place of residence being Brixton Prison. Hill is someone Farrant wants to airbrush out of the story for any number of reasons. Hill is content with him doing this because he has always avoided publicity and prefers to remain under the radar.

Hill, many years later, passed all his 1970 negatives of Farrant to Seán Manchester, and told him to do whatever he liked with them. Copyright was signed over when Seán Manchester took possession of the negative film showing Farrant cavorting about in Highgate Cemetery and pretending to be a ghost etc. Seán Manchester also acquired pictures taken at the vampire infested house in order to keep a record of what was going on, as this was a seminal moment, ie Farrant betraying symptoms of somebody demonically possessed. His diabolical lieutenant - John Pope - was already totally unhinged. Pope and Farrant were arrested at the house while attempting to summon a demon. Pope was later convicted of molestation of a minor. Farrant, in the same year, was convicted of numerous offences that included threatening witnesses with black magic and performing black magic at Highgate Cemetery, vandalising a mausoleum, desecration and offering indignity to corpses.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Top Hat Tantrums

"Could Farrant be telling the truth about attending a party in Christmas 1970? Based upon weather alone, the Met Office report is rather vague. London Weather says ‘sleet and snow fell at times’ during the last week of December. Once again there is no mention of how much snow settled. Hmm. So I am no closer to solving the mystery of when those Farrant-in-a-top-hat photos were snapped." - Trystan Lewis Swale (20 January 2016)

Highgate Vampire obsessive Trystan Lewis Swale includes a copyright protected picture from the British Occult Society's blog that provided the material he filched and used just to confuse matters even further. Notwishtanding Swales' cynical exploitation and infringement of the 1970 top hat photograph of Farrant pretending to be a ghost, this is what David Farrant said on 9 March 2015:

"The black and white photograph or photographs of myself taken at the top gate of Highgate Cemetery in the snowy winter of 1970 were [of] a small group of us [who had] left the Prince of Wales pub in Highgate Village en route for a Christmas fancy dress party about half a mile away. To get to the house, we walked down Swain’s Lane, a steep hill that runs past Highgate Cemetery."

In fact, none of the pictures were taken in Swains Lane (apart from one taken by Gerry Wood with Tony Hill's camera when Wood happened to be passing the North Gate in Swains Lane himself).

There are also photographs of Farrant clambering over the cemetery's North Gate wearing his ghost make-up in readiness. There is no question or doubt about what he was doing in the graveyard when he was glaring through the wrought iron bars.

No group of people were in evidence on that or any other occasion. Hill, the only other person present, has confirmed that Farrant's theatrical appearance had nothing to do with "a Christmas fancy dress party." How could it? All the images reveal deep snow. Therefore, it was either late February or early March.

There was no settling snow in the general area of London and Highgate, a North London suburb, in January 1970, some slight snow from mid-February 1970 and well above average snow during March 1970. There was some occasional sleet with very light and infrequent flurries of snow that didn't settle during Christmas 1969 through to January and the first half of February. Late February to March, when there would have been significant snow to be seen on the ground, is hardly the season or time of year for revellers in fancy dress to attend a Christmas party!

Once again, Farrant has been hoist by his own petard.

Meteorological Office records for January, February, March 1970, confirm that snow that would settle on the ground only fell in the area from late February onward:

Breaking into near hysteria, enhanced by an unnecessary burst of capital letters, Farrant posted the following on his blog on 24 January 2016:

"My over-arching point, and one which certain ‘bandwagoneers’ to coin a bonky phrase seem to miss is this: I NEVER CLAIMED IN MY LETTER TO THE HAM AND HIGH IN JANUARY 1970 THAT THE ENTITY I HAD ENCOUNTERED WORE A TOP HAT. The verifiable top hat sightings, save for a letter from a Mr Docherty ... published in the spring of 1970."

Here are some salient reminders for our seventy-year-old ghost hoaxer whose memory is not as lucid as it once might have been:

Farrant first wrote a letter about his sightings in February 1970, not January. 

He did not mention anything about a top hat in that letter, but for years afterward referred to a ghostly figure in a top hat.

Someone named "R Docherty" wrote in a published letter in the Hampstead & Highgate Express (soon after Farrant's was printed) about "a tall man in a hat who walks across Swains Lane and just disappears through a wall into the cemetery."

This became a familiar theme that Farrant was not slow to adopt.

In his recent response of January 24th, Farrant also alleges:

"This bonky person [a reference to Seán Manchester] is now attributing [Tony Hill] to have been the sole photographer of this set of photographs; but wait just a minute, to ‘back this up’, he publishes one of these photographs of [Hill] bowing (taking his turn) with the top hat. Whoops! [Hill's] hands are in full view and he is clearly not holding a camera."

Apart from where Tony Hill is in a photograph holding the topper in his hand taken by amateur photographer and ghost-seeker Gerry Wood (but with Hill's own camera), Tony Hill was the sole photographer. He did not wear the top hat in any shots, and Gerry Wood seemingly had a regular presence at the time in Swains Lane, as confirmed by the Hampstead & Highgate Express.

The top hat, in fact, belonged to Tony Hill who allowed Farrant to wear it for the purpose of the photographs he took of Farrant trying to appear like a ghost to enable a hoax. Hence Hill is holding it in the image below while Farrant can be seen gawping through the cemetery gate's iron bars. Within less than a handful of years, of course, he would be peering through iron bars of a different kind.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Soporific Symposium Fizzles Toward End

(Click on image to view video)

"Since their inception in the mid-1970s, the Friends of Highgate Cemetery have had little time for rumours of supernatural incursions on their patch." - Della Farrant (5 January 2016)

That might easily be explained by the simple fact that the entity known as the Highgate Vampire was successfully exorcised by early 1974. Why would the Friends of Highgate Cemetery, not formed until 1975, have regard for the supernatural? There was nothing supernatural extant at Highgate Cemetery by the time they took over the running of the graveyard, and it is perfectly understandable why they would eschew the vampire topic in the wake of the panics and hysteria caused by its prior presence.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Farrant's New Year Message

"Well, the New Year is nearrly [sic] here, and once the crazy celebrations are out of the way tomorrow, we hope to catch up [...] Unfortunately, as many of you know by now,  a certain ‘Bonky person’  took exception to the Truth coming out and tried to suppress the coverage as this didn’t suit his frivolous ‘vampire story[.]’ But it didn’t work and so people will be free to watch the whole film saga in just a few weeks. It appeared the person just got tired of playing with his Hornby train set in his bungalow and wanted to spoil the enjoyment of others,, [sic] not least by releasing photographs of himself stuffing down his displayed Christmas dinner and surrounded by cheap Christmas decorations instead!  All photographed for self-publicity and some sympathetic effect, of course! But anyway, life goes on, and we do hope that you can join us all for the New Year, and perhaps take solace in the more serious issues that life has to offer! Happy New Year when this inevitably comes now the day after tomorrow . . . David [Farrant]." (31 December 2015)

It is wondered who Farrant is referring to when he says "we" (obviously he is only speaking about himself)? He certainly doesn't belong to the aristocracy or royalty, which permits this formal usage.

The "Bonky person" in Farrant's perverse lexicon, of course, is meant for Seán Manchester. It's difficult to imagine that in three weeks' time the man using such an infantile term will be seventy!

What Seán Manchester took exception to is Farrant's blatant copyright theft of an image used in a video posted on YouTube. The image was not representing a vampire; rather it was a photographic representation of a ghostly figure. A copy of it was also held by the late Peter Underwood.

The original 35mm negative is held by Seán Manchester and the photograph itself is filed in the British Occult Society archive. Peter Underwood was a member of the British Occult Society. The copyright owner is Seán Manchester and nobody else. The person who is lying over this is Farrant.

Seán Manchester couldn't care less about the remainder of the video; only his copyrighted picture. He was content to just have the few seconds when the stolen image was on screen removed.

How a small number of pictures (showing the celebration of Christmas at his home with his wife) can be construed as "self-publicity" or trying to extract "sympathy" simply beggars the imagination!

Seán Manchester does not reside in a "bungalow" and has never lived in a bungalow in his life. This is bed-sit dwelling Farrant's envy bubbling to the surface yet again; as is his reference to "cheap decorations." Below is a comparison between Farrant's Christmas decorations (this picture is shown under Fair Use, as he raised the issue as criticism and his falsehood is being challenged pictorially) and some of those (there are many more) at Seán Manchester's rambling house over Christmas.