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1980s Newspaper Reports

The 1980s were upon me, and I was now hoping that the whole episode of the Highgate ‘vampire’ – or at least the negative ways in which it had impacted on my freedom and my personal life – would eventually just ‘go away’.  But this was not to be, or not entirely at least.

Of course, my interest in gaining some understanding as to the true nature of what was – and remains – a genuine yet intangible entity ‘inhabiting’ the environs of Highgate Cemetery was still very active and remains so.  Despite by the late 1980s having investigated hundreds of allegedly haunted ancient sites and private homes all over the UK, I was by now accustomed to being asked primarily about the Highgate ‘vampire’ by national newspapers and broadcasting networks.   But as the 1980s had progressed, and the sensationalist value of my trial waned in the popular press, I found it easier to publish articles and requests for information in regional newspapers during the course of my research work within The British Psychic and Occult Society.   This was also helped by the public’s fading interest in ‘vampires’ – which I had never been remotely interested in anyway.

Building upon the original aims of the B.P.O.S. – which had continued throughout my incarceration of 1974 to 1976 and after – our society organised serious field investigations as far afield from Highgate as Rochdale in Greater Manchester; Denbigh , Beaumaris and Deiniolen in North Wales; Netley Abbey in Hampshire; Whittington Castle near Oswestry in Shropshire; Bere Regis in Dorset; obscure parts of Dartmoor in Devon; Gisborough Priory in Cleveland; and many parts of Surrey to name but a few.   Being based in North London we also continued researching ‘haunted’ locations closer to home in nearby Hertfordshire and Essex. Some of the local responses to these investigations are reproduced below.

1987 was a particularly significant year, when, as reported by Quentin McDermott in City Limits magazine, The European Commission of Human Rights upheld my case against the Home Office to the effect that whilst in prison the prison authorities (upon the HO’s instructions) had illegally interfered with my attempts to prove my innocence. Specifically this was achieved by preventing me from corresponding with judicial figures, cabinet ministers, potential witnesses, legal representatives, and prisoners rights groups.  Their actions in this regard rendered an appeal impossible, as well as kyboshing my right to launch criminal prosecutions against the police officers who had already been forced to admit that they had perjured themselves in court, provided unsigned statements and tampered with evidence.

In this section readers will also find some articles regarding a now closed missing persons case pertaining to Highgate and the possibly tragic consequences of a young mother’s involvement with a dark occult group known to have been operating out of Highgate village itself for over a decade.  Rita had visited me circa 1981 expressing her concerns about her involvement with this group, who still appeared to be completely under the police radar, as evidenced by the Met’s professed bafflement about exactly who her associates were in their statements to the press. 

Evidence of my own intimidation by a black magical group operating in the area had mysteriously vanished during the police raid on my flat in 1974, with all the analyzable signatures in blood, postal marks and fingerprinting opportunities which these would have afforded.  With these matters in mind I attempted to draw attention to Rita’s case in the local and national press.It is interesting that Quentin was the only journalist in the UK who seemed to find this newsworthy, despite the fact that my successful case with the ECHR led to substantial reforms within the British prison system and aspects of the Criminal Evidence Act which are still in place in 2014.   Whether there was an unofficial press embargo on the story I do not know, but in light of the not-so-subtle pressure exerted by the government upon the journalists who dared suggest my innocence upon my release in 1976 it is quite possible.  Quentin today works for a large broadcasting network in Australia, and has unsurprisingly been nominated for the Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission’s Television Award.  I doubt that The Sun journalist who came up with the vastly more popular frontpage headline ‘King of Black Magic guilty’ has achieved such prestige.

David Farrant – 2014