Satan Riddle of Open Tomb – Evening News, 14th March 1970
This article, published in the Evening News in March 1970, covers just some of the carnage which had ensued in and around Highgate Cemetery the night previously (Friday 13th).
The events of that night were wholly triggered by an extremely irreponsible individual who had stated on the television earlier in the evening that I (David Farrant) would be returning to the cemetery that same night to hunt out and stake a vampire that dwelt among the tombs there. This was all pure fiction, of course, because this remark was never made or agreed with by myself on the television program, but rather attributed to me by another man who was also being interviewed. However, the ‘vampire hysteria’ which ensued involved hundreds of would-be vampire hunters converging on the cemetery and scaling its walls, and causing untold amounts of damage. Police eventually had to be called to c ontrol the stake-wielding mob, and evicted many of these thrill seekers from the cemetery (a lot of them drunk) using police dogs.
Alan Blood, a history teacher from Chelmsford, had also seen the ITV program, and had come to Highgate Cemetery with a dozen or so of his students who also wanted to join in this ‘mass vampire hunt’. Alan Blood approached me in the Prince of wales pub in Highgate, but I advised him that the conditions that had resulted following the transmission of the TV program really made it impossible for any psychic investigation to take place. Subsequently, I advised Alan Blood that I would not join in this charade which had been instigated at my expense. But I nevertheless sent three people down to Highate Cemetery to give me a report on the situation (two of them can be seen – at least the backs of them can – in the Evening News photograph).
That Alan Blood is described erroneously as a ‘vampire expert’ when in reality he was (and maybe still is!) a rather more innocuous school teacher, is entirely congruous with the inaccurate statement attributed to him that he had seen me on TV announcing my plan to stake the vampire through the heart with a wooden stake. But such sensationalist press attention continued throughout the early 1970s, seemingly observing my every move, and usually due to the machinations of the aforementioned individual who had appeared on ITV presuming to speak on my behalf. It has been observed elsewhere that as a direct result of this adverse and inaccurate sort of publicity, the jury at my Old Bailey Trial of 1974 – let alone the judge and the general public – were hardly in a position to afford me a fair and unbiased Trial. Anyway, here is the article for the archive.
Enjoy! – David