Friday, 26 October 2012

A Dispatch from the Viper’s Den.




“I've got better things to do than join a den of vipers even if there are only six of them.”–
The Vampirologist, November, 20th, 2011.


Well, well, well... just look how far my Facebook forum: ‘The Highgate Cemetery Vampire Appreciation Society’ (THCVAS) has come since that rather withering commentary!  We have reached our first anniversary and now exceed one hundred members. Furthermore, we’ve not had to spam a single one of them, or ship them in from other forums; in order to get them to join us. Unlike some quarters I could mention. But you dear reader are of course already well familiar with their underhand tactics by now!

To be honest it’s been a hard and long slog and we have faced quite bitter opposition, and have fought the occasional flame war along the way. Sadly, we still do face quite active opposition. The clone group co-administered by Sean Manchester unfortunately still remains, and that is in spite of our best efforts to petition the Facebook administration to have it taken down. Or, at the very least, have it forced to change both their name and mission statement. Nevertheless, we are still being targeting by their group's (not so) anonymous trolls. Whom, when not busy quoting us out of context and failing to cite us, are posting up ad hominem attacks on various hate blogs; all in an attempt to undermine both our credibility and personal reputations.

Still, if anything our trials and tribulations tell me that we must be doing something right. So enough with all the maudlin introspection; for it is a time for celebration; as well as a chance to look back on the past twelve months with a more retrospective eye.

It has certainly been a very eventful period. We have had a couple of revelations along the way: most notably the extract from Kev Chesham’s forthcoming biography which detailed Sean Manchester’s penchant for neo-fascism [1] – accompanied with photographic evidence of a Nazi shrine, and the discovery of an early narrative by the man on the Highgate Vampire case [2]. In the interest of balance Manchester has stated that he is a collector and trader of wartime memorabilia, and that Chesham was being rather selective in publishing only photos of the Nazi material on sale [3]. However, we could not fail to note that this Nazi material covered quite a large section of a wall, and included items that were most definitely not militaria. One such example was a framed Daily Mail news cutting from as recent as 2007! To date we have yet to see photographic evidence of the 'other' (allied) militaria) that is (or has been) claimed to be in Manchester’s possession.

The article find was just as explosive in my opinion, for Manchester not only identifies ‘Lusia’ as his former girlfriend by name; her encounter with the Highgate Vampire was a very different one to what we have officially been told. ‘Vebjørn’, the Bishop’s most notorious sock puppet has dismissed it a mere extract from the Highgate Vampire book; conveniently ignoring the fact that it was published a good twelve years before, and that it gives a very different take on his established account. Personally I view it as yet more evidence that Manchester’s Highgate narrative was one that had simply evolved over the ensuing decades.

David Farrant, the other major proponent of the Highgate Vampire case (a good friend and Manchester’s ‘arch enemy’), has since joined our forum; but not long after Manchester ‘agreed’ to join and then co-administer our rival (albeit fake clone) group. Since then it has led to a little revisionism from the Manchester camp that somehow we are merely some mirror opposite of theirs: whilst they are fervently pro-Manchester, we are now being portrayed as pro-Farrant (and anti-Manchester). But that couldn’t be any further from the truth. We are (and will remain) a neutral and inclusive platform: where open, uncensored and unfettered discussion is always welcomed. A mutual forum that respects, considers and debates all the relevant topics, accounts, various opinions and viewpoints. In short, ‘a broad church.’

Sadly (but all too predictably) these are qualities that have not been imitated by our ugly sister of a clone. As was most recently experienced by Raymond Williamson; a member of both groups who was very recently censored and banned for merely asking just a few quite reasonable questions; as well as defending both Anthony Hogg and myself from any further misrepresentation and slurs on our respective characters. 

Speaking of David Farrant, in the summer I had the great pleasure of interviewing him at his home [4]. The interview – which took thirteen or so hours (!) is in five parts, and is now available to watch via David’s ‘you tube’ page; while a DVD-ROM (which will include un-transmitted material) is currently under discussion. So watch this space!

All in all, co-administrating the forum with my dear friend and colleague Anthony Hogg has provided both its own rewards and challenges, and whilst we have had both our fair share of personal and professional differences, it has been a fruitful collaboration and long may it continue. One such possible positive result of our combined efforts is that we may soon see the case’s two main proponents submitting to a polygraph (lie detector) test; so we all may at last determine the truth. 

Anthony and I will both continue to gather information on the case and seek out new sources and avenues of enquiry. Most notable of our efforts has been our request for more witnesses to the phenomenon to come forward, as well as appealing for historical or more contemporary sources of information; both online and via the popular press (see below). And though it has so far failed to produce any results, we remain ever hopeful and vigilant. So without more to add, here’s to year two and whatever it may bring. Cheers to you all and...  well, bring it on! 



Picture source: 'Ham and High', January 12, 2012 (p.20)


References. 

  1. Hogg, A. 2012, ‘Ja, mein Bischof!’, Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate?, weblog post, 8 March, accessed 8 March 2012, <http://dawwih.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/ja-mein-bischof.html>.

  2. Hogg, A. 2012, ‘An interesting find’, Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate?, weblog post, 21 January, accessed 21 January 2012, <http://dawwih.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/interesting-find.html>.

  3. Hogg, A. 2012, ‘Rebutting the Nazi Room’, Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate?, weblog post, 9 April, accessed 9 April 2012, <http://dawwih.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/rebutting-nazi-room.html>.

  4. In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire Part 1, 2012, online video, David Farrant, accessed 1 September 2012, <http://www.youtube.com/watchv=vbj9IX7Kjq8&feature=plcp>.


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