The Highgate Cemetery vampire case coverage starts approximately 3.13 minutes into this video.
These are some edited highlights from the BBC's coverage of the Highgate Vampire case in 1970 with footage shot at the headquarters of the investigatory team having been completely deleted. The narrator's mention to Farrow as "a former associate" of Seán Manchester merely refers to their meeting at the cemetery some months earlier (covered by the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 6 March 1970) initiated by Farrow's letter to his local newspaper claiming three sightings. Seán Manchester met as many witnesses as he could and would ask them to show him where they had spotted their alleged supernatural encounter at Highgate Cemetery, but he would quickly distance himself from Farrow after realising the man was a publicity-seeking charlatan in search of a convenient bandwagon. Seán Manchester had already warned against Farrow's solitary activities and threats to invade the graveyard on a Thames Television programme and also in the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 13 March 1970. Their "association" had been little more than them meeting at the cemetery to establish what Farrow had seen. This turned out to be nothing more than an opportunity for Farrow to jump on a perceived bandwagon that he would exploit incessantly for the rest of his life.
"On the morning of 27 February 1970 I awoke and found myself famous due to a banner headline across the newspapers — 'Does A Wampyr Walk In Highgate?' — quickly followed by appearances on television and in a host of periodicals." — Seán Manchester, (The Highgate Vampire, page 15)
Seán Manchester had informed the public on 27 February 1970 that demonic disturbances and manifestations in the vicinity of Highgate Cemetery were vampiric. Shortly afterwards he appeared on television on 13 March 1970 to repeat his theory. The suspected tomb was located and an exorcism performed in August 1970. This proved ineffective as the hauntings and animal deaths continued. Indeed, they multiplied. All manner of people were by now jumping on the bandwagon; including film-makers, rock musicians and sundry publicity-seekers. Most were frightened off. Some who interloped became fascinated by the black arts with disastrous consequences. In the meantime, Seán Manchester and his colleagues pursued the principal source of the contagion at Highgate until it was properly exorcised in the ancient and approved manner. It was a nightmare journey which took them into a nether region inhabited by terrifying corporeal manifestations.
. “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, 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 the most celebrated vampirologist of the twentieth century.” — Shaun Marin, reviewer and sub-editor, 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
. “The Highgate Vampirewill 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 (aka Jennie Gray), Udolpho (magazine of the Gothic Society), Chislehurst, Kent, England
. “Seán Manchester, the most authentic vampire hunter in the world today, penetrated the very heart of the mystery whose necrogenic setting has such impressionistic power that within the shades of dark ebon the most disbelieving sceptic will witness something spectral in the ghostly whiteness of moonbeams shining on marble tombs.” — Devendra P Varma, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
. “Seán Manchester is, unsurprisingly, very well read in both classical and more recent sources on vampires and vampirism, and cites them with great authority.” — Joe McNally, contributing editor, Fortean Times magazine, England
. “His lectures at universities and organisations led to my inviting him to address members of the Ghost Club Society which he duly did. We met at that time at the Swedenborg Hall in Bloomsbury and the President of the Vampire Research Society arrived, suitably attired, and gave a memorable and in many ways remarkable lecture. Certainly we had had nothing like it before and have never had anything like it since; not a few members at the crowded meeting revised their opinion on vampires and vampirism after that evening.” — Peter Underwood, President, The Ghost Club Society, London, England
. “One of the most notable figures to visit the haunted site under cover of darkness was Seán Manchester, who has been called one of Britain’s foremost vampire hunters and exorcists.” — Craig Miller, associate editor, Fate magazine, Minnesota, USA
. “I believe Seán Manchester is this country’s only genuine vampirologist.” — Nicole Lampert, journalist, features department, The Sun newspaper, London, England
. “Seán Manchester doesn’t just acknowledge the possibility; he knows that vampires exist.” — Stephen Jarvis, author and researcher of strange pursuits, England
. “First thrust into the public eye in the Seventies after a spate of gruesome reports about North London’s Highgate Cemetery, Seán Manchester is now acknowledged as a serious vampirologist with a God-given mission.” — Frances Hubbard, features’ writer, IPC magazines, London, England .
“Seán Manchester has been called in to investigate ghoulish visitations at former Liberal leader David Steel’s Scottish castle and an old estate in Yorkshire where a dark, demonic spook is terrifying locals.” — Pam Bentley, features’ writer, Sunday magazine, London, England .
“Seán Manchester has spent a significant proportion of his life pursuing reports of vampiric and necromantic activity. His visceral account of his pursuit and termination of a vampire he discovered entombed in Highgate Cemetery’s Egyptian columbarium in the ‘70s, The Highgate Vampire, even includes a photograph of the staked beast in its death-throes.” — Stevan Keane, features’ writer, City Limits magazine, London, England .
“The shadow of a stone angel stole across Seán Manchester’s face as he laid out the tools of his trade: old Italianate crucifixes, holy water ... Traditional instruments of protection. … Risking life and soul is all part of a night’s work for Manchester … the founding president of the Vampire Research Society.” — Beverley d’Silva, features’ writer, Sunday Times magazine, London, England
. “Seán Manchester, billed as ‘Vampirologist and Exorcist,’ pops up in a graveyard [on London Weekend Television’s South Bank Show] with groovy long hair and crucifix of cinematic proportions.” — Suzy Feay, sub-editor, reviewer and critic, Time Out magazine, London, England .
“Seán Manchester’s Vampire Research Society grew out of his previous leadership role in an occult investigation bureau [the British Occult Society]. The society investigates all aspects of ‘supernatural vampire phenomena,’ a task that has led to a variety of research projects, including the famous Highgate Vampire.” — J Gordon Melton, chronicler of vampire topics, Santa Barbara, USA
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." He 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 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 he lived in London. The old (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." .
. The mass vampire hunt at Highgate Cemetery on 13 March 1970, following reports in local and national newspapers, plus a television interview with various witnesses earlier that evening on British television, led to a spate of amateur vampire hunters inflicting themselves on Highgate 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. The president of the British Occult Society had made an appeal on the Today programme at 6.00pm to request the public not to get involved, nor put into jeopardy the investigation already in progress. Not everyone heeded his words. Over the following 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 vampire. Some were quickly arrested by police patrolling the area. The public were advised that a full-scale investigation was taking place. Individual efforts by those merely seeking thrills, however, served only to endanger all concerned and frustrate the official hunt.
Simon Wiles and John White armed themselves with a crucifix and a sharpened stake, and set off to see if they could locate the vampire’s tomb. Like others who followed in their wake, they were arrested by police who found their rucksack and its contents: an eight inch long wooden stake, sharpened to a point. White later explained at Clerkenwell Court: “Legend has it that if one meets a vampire, one drives a stake through its heart.” He was wearing a crucifix round his neck and Wiles had one in his pocket. They were eventually discharged.
Thus began a trend. A 25-year-old history teacher from Billericay, Alan Blood, also descended on Highgate after seeing the Today report, but he, at least, had the good sense not to enter the infamous graveyard. Though described by the Evening News, 14 March 1970, as a “vampire expert,” Blood, in a later interview given to the Hampstead and Highgate Express, 20 March 1970, admitted that he was no such thing. “I have taken an interest in the black arts since boyhood, but I’m by no means an expert on vampires,” he told them. Following a drink in the local pub, Blood joined a crowd of onlookers outside the cemetery’s north gate, but he did not enter.
The British Occult Society's president (on the Today programme, 13 March 1970) warned one particular amateur vampire hunter, 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 he 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). Seán Manchester gave a warning on television that this man’s declared intention of staking the vampire alone went “against my explicit wish for his own safety.”
Police searching the cemetery arrested the amateur vampire hunter five months later. He was found to be in possession of a wooden stake and a crucifix. Charged with being in an enclosed area for an unlawful purpose, he was later released because, in the strict sense of the wording, Highgate Cemetery is not an enclosed area. The lone intruder had made his television debut five months earlier, employing on that occasion the name on his birth certificate. Now he adopted a pseudonym which appeared in many (but not all) of the newspaper reports covering his arrest and court appearance. When the American vampire aficionado Donald F Glut came to write his book True Vampires of History (1971) he referred only to "Allan Farrow who was arrested for trespassing in a London Graveyard." Others also innocently employed the "Farrow" nomenclature until it became clear this was not his real name. Ironically, the genuine surname of the lone would-be vampire hunter of 1970 has the same first four letters as "Farrow" and is, therefore, remarkably similar. "Allan" is not even close to his real forename. Even so, forty years ago, he was known locally by the name "Allan."
There exists a letter on headed prisonnotepaper from Farrow, prisoner number 087665, which he sent to Seán Manchester. The letter contradicts much later claims made by Farrow whose lone antics heralded worse days ahead for the amateur vampire hunter. It should have ended at that point. Several people had either been cautioned or arrested in the area when discovered to be engaged in freelance vampire hunting. Nothing more was heard of them once they retreated into their former obscurity, but some persisted. Farrow belonged to the latter category. Had he heeded the public warning given by Seán Manchester on Thames Television's Today programme, and also in the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 13 March 1970, he could have probably avoided many of the problems that would blight his life in the following years, including a four years and eight months jail sentence.
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 [Farrow], 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.' ... Mr Manchester is opposed to Mr [Farrow]'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'."
Farrow's arrest in Highgate Cemetery on 17 August 1970 by police searching for black magic devotees was the beginning of the end for him. What the police discovered was a would-be amateur vampire hunter stalking the graveyard with a crudely fashioned wooden stake and a cross. He was acquitted on this occasion because Highgate Cemetery was demonstrably not an enclosed area, but by the end of the year he had abandoned his predilection for hunting the Devil’s undead and adopted what ostensibly appeared to be the trappings of black magic; entering the graveyard again in 1971 to raise the vampire by conducting what to all intents and purposes was a necromantic occult ritual with a naked female in a mausoleum. Photographs discovered by police who raided his flat led to a long trial at the Old Bailey and a prison sentence of almost five years which included such crimes as tomb vandalism and offering indignities to remains of the dead, as well as making black magic threats to witnesses who had received from Farrow voodoo effigies impaled with pins. It was quickly deduced by those close to the case that Farrow was an inveterate attention-seeker who would do absolutely anything to attract publicity to himself. Everyone else reached a similar conclusion.
Allan Farrow at Highgate Cemetery in 1970.
Farrow's absurd claim that he was somehow part of a serious investigation into the supernatural goings on at Highgate Cemetery is exposed to the light of day when anyone who actually knew him at the time is heard. His first wife gave testimony under oath at her husband's notorious trials at the Old Bailey, as recorded by The Sun newspaper's court reporter on 21 June 1974:
"The wife of self-styled occult priest [Allan Farrow] told yesterday of giggles in the graveyard when the pubs had closed. `We would go in, frighten ourselves to death and come out again,' she told an Old Bailey jury. Attractive Mary [Farrow] - she is separated from her husband and lives in Southampton - said they had often gone to London's Highgate Cemetery with friends `for a bit of a laugh.' But they never caused any damage. `It was just a silly sort of thing that you do after the pubs shut,' she said. Mrs [Farrow] added that her husband's friends who joined in the late night jaunts were not involved in witchcraft or the occult. She had been called as a defence witness by her 28-year-old husband. They have not lived together for three years."
"Mr P J Bucknell, prosecuting, said Mr [Farrow] had painted circles on the ground, lit with candles, and had told reporters and possibly the police of what he was doing. 'This appears to be a sordid attempt to obtain publicity,' he said."— Hampstead & Highgate Express, 24 November 1972 .
The concensus view forty years ago was that this man amounted to nothing more than a lone publicity-seeker in search of a convenient bandwagon to jump on. This widely held opinion was arrived at due to the plethora of first-hand evidence from his contemporaries who knew his claims to be bogus. His publicity stunts nevertheless landed him in jail with a prison sentence of four years and eight months.
"[Farrow] was a fool. Fascinated by witchcraft ... he couldn't keep his interests to himself. He was a blatant publicist. He told this newspaper of his activities, sent photographs and articles describing his bizarre activities." - Peter Hounam, Editor, Hornsey Journal, 16 July 1974
“I cannot believe for one moment that he is a serious student of the occult. In fact I believe him to be evil and entirely to be deplored.” — Dennis Wheatley, Daily Express, 26 June 1974
. “I think he’s crazy.” — Canon John Pearce Higgins, Daily Express, 26 June 1974
The jury were shown folders of pictures of naked girls and corpses, and told about a black-clothed altar in [Farrow's] flat with a large drawing of a vampire's face. When questioned, [Farrow] said: 'A corpse was needed to talk to spirits of another world'.” — George Hunter & Richard Wright, Daily Express, 26 June 1974
“The judge [Michael Argyle QC] said any interference with a corpse during black magic rituals could properly be regarded as a ‘great scandal and a disgrace to religion, decency and morality’.” — The Sun, 26 June 1974 .