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The Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery, London

In the 1970s, there was a media sensation surrounding reports of ‘supernatural activity’ at Highgate Cemetery which gave birth to the legend known as The Highgate Vampire. Since then, many books about supernatural creatures have mentioned this supposed vampire. In fact, there was even a book called The Highgate Vampire, which was based on these phenomenal events.

The story of the Highgate Vampire can be traced back to media reports by two journalists, Sean Manchester and David Farrant. The story of the vampire begins on 21 December 1969 when David Farrant, spent the night there. On the 6th February 1970, he wrote a letter to the Hampstead and Highgate Express, which got published. In that letter he said that when passing the cemetery on 24 December 1969 he saw “a grey figure”, which he considered to be supernatural. He then asked if readers had seen anything similar. On the 13th of February, several people replied, describing a variety of ghosts which haunted the cemetery or the adjoining Swains Lane. These ghosts were described in many different ways: a tall man in a hat, a cyclist, a woman in white, a face staring through the bars of a gate, a figure walking into a pond, a pale floating form, bells ringing, and voices calling. The only thing that was certain in all these reports was that no one gave the same story.

Another local man, Seán Manchester, who believed Farrant’s sighting, wanted to identify and eliminate supernatural entity in the cemetery. The Hampstead and Highgate Express reported him on 27 February 1970 saying that he believed that ‘a King Vampire of the Undead’, a medieval nobleman from Romania, had been brought to England in a coffin in the early eighteenth century by followers and was buried on the site which was to become Highgate Cemetery. Manchester claimed that modern Satanists had woken him up. He said the right thing to do would be to stake the vampire’s body, cut of the head, and burn it! Of course, these things are illegal, and vampires don’t exist. Nevertheless, the public enjoyed these reports and the stories continue up to this day.

The Highgate Vampire is regularly featured in books and internet sites on occult subjects. On Halloween, many people, mostly occultists, fans of gothic fiction, and open-minded individuals visit Highgate cemetery to try to catch a glimpse of the Highgate Vampire, or maybe get an Interview with the Vampire (yes, I know… another vampire book/film) as well. Who knows how lucky you might be? Visit the cemetery and check around some of the notable gravesites of people who are buried there. Is the vampire behind the large bust of Karl Marx’s grave? Or sitting next to legendary singer, George Michael’s grave? One thing is for sure. A visit to the Highgate Cemetery is worth it!!

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