The Vampire of Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery was constructed in London, England in 1839 as a burial place for the elite. After many years of neglect, the cemetery is now allegedly the home of a terrifying vampire. According to The Highgate Vampire Society, the sightings started in the late 1960s. A tall figure with red eyes was spotted and repeatedly reported, launching an investigation into the area and these claims.
The strangest and most disturbing sighting came in 1971. A young girl passing the cemetery was attacked by a very tall, white-faced dark figure that threw her to the ground so hard that she suffered from scrapes on her arms and legs. Luckily, the shadow figure immediately disappeared when a car pulled up to the scene. The girl, who was in a state of shock, was taken to the police station and eventually told her own story. That story supported the sightings reported by so many other members of the community, and sightings of the “vampire” continue to this day.
Highgate Cemetery is a place of burial in north London, England. There are approximately 170,000 people buried in around 53,000 graves across the West and East Cemeteries. Highgate Cemetery is notable both for some of the people buried there as well as for its de facto status as a nature reserve. The Cemetery is designated Grade I on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. It is one of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries in London.
A group of young people interested in the occult visited the cemetery in the late 1960s, a time when it was being vandalized by intruders. According to a report in the London Evening News of 2 November 1968:
On the night of Halloween 1968, a graveyard desecration by persons unknown occurred at Tottenham Park Cemetery in London. These persons arranged flowers taken from graves in circular patterns with arrows of blooms pointing to a new grave, which was uncovered. A coffin was opened and the body inside was “disturbed”. But their most macabre act was driving an iron stake in the form of a cross through the lid and into the breast of the corpse.
Though the identities and motivations of those responsible were never ascertained, general consensus at the time linked the desecration to events surrounding the Highgate Vampire case. Then, in a letter to the Hampstead and Highgate Express on 6 February 1970, David Farrant wrote that when passing the cemetery on 24 December 1969 he had glimpsed “a grey figure”, which he considered to be supernatural, and asked if others had seen anything similar. On the 13th, several people replied, describing a variety of ghosts said to haunt the cemetery or the adjoining Swains Lane. These ghosts were described as a tall man in a hat, a spectral cyclist, a woman in white, a face glaring through the bars of a gate, a figure wading into a pond, a pale gliding form, bells ringing, and voices calling.
Sean Manchester claimed the figure was a vampire and the media quickly latched on, embellishing the tale with stories of the vampire being a king of the vampires, or of practicing black magic.
The ensuing publicity was enhanced by a growing rivalry between Farrant and Manchester, each claiming that he could and would expel or destroy the spectre. Manchester declared he would hold an exorcism on Friday 13 March 1970. ITV interviewed Manchester, Farrant, and others who claimed to have seen supernatural figures in the cemetery. These were broadcast on ITV early on the evening of the 13th; within two hours a mob of ‘hunters’ from all over London and beyond swarmed over gates and walls into the locked cemetery, despite police efforts to control them. Some months later, on 1 August 1970, the charred and headless remains of a woman’s body were found not far from the catacomb. The police suspected that it had been used in black magic Farrant was found by police in the churchyard beside Highgate Cemetery one night in August, carrying a crucifix and a wooden stake. He was arrested, but when the case came to court it was dismissed.
A few days later Manchester returned to Highgate Cemetery. He claims that this time he and his companions forced open the doors of a family vault (indicated by his psychic helper). He says he lifted the lid off one coffin, believing it to have been mysteriously transferred there from the previous catacomb. He was about to drive a stake through the body it contained when a companion persuaded him to desist. Reluctantly, he shut the coffin, leaving garlic and incense in the vault.
Chill Adventure Seeds
- Reports of sightings of the vampire have been increasing following a renovention project of the cemetery. S.A.V.E decides to send the envoys to investigate these reports.
- a corpse of a homeless person is found by the cemetery caretaker prompting public uproar. The coroner determined that the cause of death was from blood loss from a massive wound in his throat.The daughter of David Farrant reaches out to S.A.V.E to investigate before anyone else is hurt.