The late 1980s saw the re-emergence of a ‘new’ vampire craze that swept into England from the U.S. and saw the formation of many ‘vampire clubs’ and sects whose activities and meetings were soon to catch the attention of tv talk shows and the popular press.
Made up mainly of the ‘gothic genre’ (or in other words the young), its members would attire themselves in long-flowing cloaks hanging loosely over Victorian dress; wear deathly pale make up that contrasted sharply with heavy dark eye shadow, and spout artificial vampire fangs as if to convince the squeamish that they were more than capable of ‘sucking human blood’.
Perhaps influenced by the antics of the glamourous buffy, or even some craving to emulate ‘immoraltality’ (no that’s not a spelling mistake!), such groups rapidly created a new ‘vampire culture’ to add to the resurgence of a spreading interest in all things ‘occultique’ and ‘vampiric’.
Whatever the reason, interest and concern was certainly evoked from a much wider public, and my personal mail bag – or more accurately, that of my newly formed the Highgate Vampire Society – became filled with requests from anxious parents or guardians concerned about the influence of this ‘spreading craze’ among the young.
I answered many of these letters and requests as and when i could, but it proved an unenviable task ; especially when i had already been on public record denouncing any literal belief in ‘blood-sucking vampires’!
Below is one such letter that I received from one such parent in the USA, with my reply beneath it.
It is titled quite simply . . . Letter from America.
Dear David Farrant,
I am writing now as a fan of entertainment that titillates from fear of the unknown, and as a concerned father of a son who believes he is a vampire.
With great respect for you as an authority figure in this horrific world, I would beg you to consider your responsibility as an intellectual who promulgates excitement with narrative and story to young people who perhaps have learning disabilities and/or low intelligence quotients. I am sure you are not in your endeavors trying to create misanthropes or haters of mankind. Actually, you have a wonderful opportunity here to elevate the field you portray successfully.
If you would be so kind as to write a few lines to me, for my son and explain your intent and belief as to the nature of vampires.
Does this folklore, myth and legend represent Reality? Should we all become vampires who live only in the night to hate humans and behave as instruments of the Devil? Is there not a benevolent God who also loves us? Are not vampires at best science fiction, albeit that science fiction can become science? Should we kill humans or hate police officers or be terrorists?
Please answer some of these questions for us in a realistic, responsible manner to help guide those young people who don’t actually comprehend the subtle intellectualisations manifest in your narratives.
Appreciating that you have the power to guide the world views necessary for community life of impressionable and susceptible individuals, your statements (for your great fans) would be important. In some cases, as my son’s, you could formulate the framework for his whole, actual life.
Please help a concerned parent and a big fan with reality about vampires.
Dr. Jerry Jacobson.
P.S. You may publish this letter with your responses.
Jupiter, F1 33477, USA.
Dear Dr. Jerry Jacobson,
Thank you for your letter of December 12 regarding ‘vampires’ and their possible relationship – or rather non-relationship – with reality. I do not know which particular narrative you may have read or seen of mine in America so it would be difficult to comment on that, except to say that sometimes comments I have made on the subject of vampirism have been misunderstood and taken out of context, even misquoted. I think the latter is because many people tend to be attracted to the sensational aspects associated with ‘vampirism’, and to many extents, we have the movie industry or overzealous writers to thank for that.
I think the simplest way to deal with your letter rather than writing a prolonged thesis (which in any event I would not have the time to do), is to take your questions in order, although even then, due to the complexity of the whole subject (and I am not just referring to vampirism but the whole field of psychic phenomena in general), much can not be detained in an initial letter.
You say …
Does this folklore, myth and legend represent reality?
I think it is appropriate that you spelt ‘Reality’ with a capital ‘R’, for this really, in essence, (or rather the understanding of it) is the fundamental key to the understanding of all existence. In relation to ‘vampires’, that is the mythical being that is supposed to sleep in a coffin by day, survive on human blood by night and which can be destroyed by being staked through the heart, the simple answer is ‘no’. They have no real existence outside the fantasies or speculation that can sometimes accompany very human existence. This not to say that there do not exist other forms of energy (psychic energy for want of a better word) that are not dependent on life as we know it. But that is really an entirely different matter.
Should we all become vampires who live only in the night to hate humans and behave as instruments of the devil?
The answer to this question is really explained above. It is not possible to become something that does not exist. Any attempt to do so can only result in fantasy and self-delusion; which is not to say that many people do not choose to live their lives in such a manner, not necessarily only in relation to ‘vampires’. As regards allowing ourselves to be used as “instruments of the Devil” (I prefer the word “evil”), many people do allow themselves to be used as such instruments; again, not only in relationship to vampirism. You only have to look at the world in general to see that this is the case. But this does not supply any evidence for the existence of ‘vampires’ – only proof for the illusions and man-made beliefs that make up human nature.
Is there not a benevolent God who loves us?
This is surely a ‘loaded question’, and is impossible to answer in its present form. It all depends on your definition of the word ‘God’. What may represent ‘God’ to you, may be interpreted entirely differently by someone else. It would therefore be impossible to attempt to answer an unknown concept or interpretation, and even if I understood your own particular viewpoint, such an answer would be way beyond the scope of a letter.
Are not vampires at best science fiction, albeit that science fiction can become science?
While it is true that the science fiction of today (or some of it) may prove to be fact in the future, this can only be true of material fact which is yet waiting to be discovered. It is not true of fact that is non-material in the first place. In other words, illusion can never become reality. It would be like trying to mix fire with water. Where you have one, the other is not.
Should we kill humans or hate police officers or be terrorists?
I would have thought the answer to this is obvious. Humans should never kill one another; although sadly, they do. The act of killing only comes about because of a basic lack of understanding about the sanctity of life. The tiniest insight into this would be enough to prevent its happening. And, of course, we should not forget that this includes all life; police officers are living beings too.
Well, I have tried to answer your questions as concisely as has been possible. You may appreciate that the whole subject of vampirism (what with all the myth, legends, varying interpretations, beliefs, and so on) is a very complex subject. But you may have gathered that I do not accept the fundamental principle that ‘vampires’ exist as ‘blood-sucking beings’.
The legends (myths) exist, that I do not dispute. But the existence of a belief, does not necessarily give it substance in reality.
Thank you again for your letter, and I hope the above has been of some help.
David Farrant, President,
BPOS/The Highgate Vampire Society.
Links I promised Della
Hats with pompoms, Sorry no red and white stripey ones, but you can buy one of these for £15 if you want, just email me
My dear Sir,
how the devil are you ? While you’re busy waxing nostalgic, I was wading through some very old files recently and something related to both Highgate Woods And the Swain’s Lane Wonderland piqued my curiosity. Did you ever meet a man called Robert Cochrane back in the 60’s ? Not looking for any confessionals or online discussion. Just intersested to know if you did. I await your consideration.
Your’s from the jaded halls of Ennui,