2000s Newspaper Reports
Early 2000s press coverage got off to a positive start with national and regional reviews of my autobiographical works Dark Secrets and Shadows in the Night, Dark Journey – a compendium of a paranormal cases which I had researched over the previous decades, and The Vampyre Syndrome.
In 2003 The Ham and High published an article about the launch of my first website, which had been launched the previous year. This was a labour of love on the part of B.P.O.S. stalwart Dave Milner, who even managed to embed videos on the site – something practically unheard of back then when the web was relatively young and there were no sites such as Vimeo or YouTube where this can now be done relatively easily.
Contrary to popular opinion it should in fact be pointed out that I had always maintained a fairly cordial relationship with the The Ham and High, despite some of their more outré articles about myself in the 1970s. Indeed there was a nod to some of their goodnatured silliness in a 2004 piece about the second edition of Dark Journey, when they rigged up a ‘ghost’ behind me in a tree in Highgate Wood during a photocall. Of course I knew it was there, but they were only following a popular newspaper trend to report ghost stories lightheartedly, and for the sake of nostalgia I agreed once again to play along with them, as long as they gave me some serious editorial – a promise which they honoured. Former editor Gerald Isaaman had now moved onto pastures new, and I got a lot of support from the Ham and High during the mid 2000s, as they began once again to keep the residents of Highgate up to date with my investigations, including fresh sightings of a tall dark figure in Swains Lane in 2005 (you just can’t keep a ‘good’ ghost down it seems!). Sightings in 2012 were also covered by local newspapers including The Haringey Independent and can be read about below.
But on a less paranormal note, back in 2002 the local press were also keen to cover my arrest by the Bournemouth Police, who drove all the way to Highgate to investigate allegations which had been made by an old adversary of mine. These were to the effect that I had been ‘harrassing him’ by sending unwanted items to his private address – including, believe it or not, a homemade device containing ‘suspicious white powder’ which exploded in his face when he opened it! I better not name the person here to save his blushes, suffice to say that a BBC documentary now available on YouTube shows him playing with his chemistry set as far back as 1970 … The Police obviously later got this powder analysed due to the terrorist anthrax scare at the time, but originally concluded that this still constituted harassment even though I had not actually sent it! It was quite an amusing incident actually, and became known on the internet as ‘The Talcum Powder Plot’! But whatever, I was required to attend court in Bournemouth, where the Police had lodged the charges. On the first occasion the case was adjourned due to technicalities, but on the second the DPP informed the magistrate that they were dropping the charges due to lack of evidence. I was not happy with this decision, as they intended to leave the matter on file, and I informed the stipendiary magistrate that I would be reintroducing this allegation into court whereby I wanted witnesses present for questioning, whom the person had also involved in supporting his allegations. I also reminded the Judge that in 1971 the complainant had been bound over to keep the peace on the sum of £200 after indirectly harassing myself by intimidating a young housewife with threats of black magic, and that I had also had previous cause to attempt to redress in court other examples of his personal harassment of myself including theft of my property.
I returned to court a month later, prepared to deal with the allegations face to face with the complainant who had so far failed to appear in court, and the DPP informed the court adamantly that they had absolutely no intention of proceeding with the case. Presumably convinced that the ‘Talcum Powder Plot’ was just more example of the complainant’s bizarre behaviour, the stipendiary magistrate announced my formal acquittal of the allegations, and I was awarded full costs which covered my time, the preparation of my case and my travel expenses to Bournemouth.
With madness such as this to contend with, who knows what pieces will be added below as the 2000s progress??!
David Farrant, 2014