Bishop Seán Manchester & David Farrant

 

 

David Farrant wearing one of his anti-Bishop Manchester T-shirts.

 

David Robert Donovan Farrant (born 23 January 1946) of Muswell Hill, London, stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to stalking and harassment. Farrant has spent the last four decades disseminating gross defamation about one particular person; seeking to cause him maximum insult and injury. Family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances of this man have not been immune from Farrant’s behaviour. May have received poisonous pamphlets through the post as well as some of them being maligned themselves in these hate tracts which often include infringed images stolen from books and websites. Farrant’s life-long target for malicious abuse is the intended victim of his “Bishop Bonkers” T-shirt, as illustrated in the first image (above). The infantile insult on Farrant's T-shirt is aimed at the well known author and exorcist Bishop Seán Manchester who first met Farrant in 1970, but has had no contact with him since the 1980s when their last meeting took place following threats made by Farrant in the post. Bishop Seán Manchester’s adversary nowadays has claimed: "I dare to say that ridiculous ‘fanged vampires’ simply do not exist! If there is any ‘feud’ at all, that is the main reason for it: simply because I have said publicly – and repeatedly – that such entities simply do not exist." His curious allegation appears on Andrew Gough's Arcadia. Is it true? Not as far as the person they refer to is concerned. The bad blood between them, according to the bishop, was triggered in late 1970 when Farrant made black magic telephone threats to someone known to him (but not to the bishop) who later committed suicide. Farrant attempted to convince his victim and her husband that Bishop Seán Manchester was the offender. The couple either fell prey to Farrant’s attempt to frame the bishop, or colluded in Farrant’s scheme. This nevetheless led to an assault on Bishop Seán Manchester at the entrance to the north London offices of the British Occult Society and a subsequent court case which the bishop won. It was during this case that Bishop Seán Manchester learned about the black magic threats and naturally realised what had happened. Farrant sat grinning inanely in the public gallery as it slowly dawned upon him. This is where the decades of antipathy really has its origin.

 

 

The Right Reverend Seán Manchester, Bishop of Glastonbury.

 

David Farrant claims that he first met Bishop Seán Manchester in “late 1967.” The bishop, meanwhile, is adamant that he first met David Farrant in "early 1970." Farrant conveniently slips all manner of unsubstantiated allegations into this three years discrepancy. For example, he has latterly claimed he was entertained with a screening of an 8mm horror movie made by and starring Bishop Seán Manchester, and that a papier mache vampire he claims appears in that alleged movie is what also appears in photographs of the corporeal shell of the exorcised vampire in the bishop's published account The Highgate Vampire (British Occult Society, 1985; Gothic Press, 1991) and in subsequent transmitted television programmes featuring images from that book. Bishop Seán Manchester strenuously denies this and invites anyone who saw such a movie as described by Farrant to come forward and be identified. No such movie was made and Farrant is not someone he would ever have considered entertaining in his home. Even when they did eventually become acquainted in March 1970, the bishop only visited Farrant at Tony Hill's coal bunker in Archway Road and later, following Farrant's term in prison, an attic bedsitting room in Muswell Hill Road.

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David Farrant, on the other hand, alleges in an entry on his blog for 2 July 2009:

 

“I first met [Seán Manchester] in late 1967 in a pub called The Woodman in Highgate. I had brought Mary back from Spain to London in March 1967 after she had discovered that she was pregnant. We got married in a Roman Catholic Church in September 1967 and it was around this time that we used to frequent The Woodman pub just across the road from where we were living in Highgate. Mary had become friendly with a young mother nicknamed ‘Zibby’ who was married to a man named Tony [Hill] and sometimes the four of us would go into The Woodman and spend a few hours there. Now, at this time, a small trio jazz band used to play in the Saloon bar from a make-shift wooden platform at the back. There was somebody on drums, an electric guitarist and another individual [Seán Manchester] who played the saxophone.”

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There is no mention of them meeting so far. In one of Farrant’s self-published autobiographical booklets, however, which first made its appearance in 2009, he claims: “I learned that he had an avid interest in ‘ghosts’ and the supernatural, although he was later to say that his ‘speciality’ was vampires. He suggested that we must all meet up again when he wasn’t playing, and have a chat about the subject.”

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This claim is contradicted by Mary Farrant who refuted her husband's interest in the supernatural under oath in 1974 when called as a defence witness to one of his trials. She might eventually have become aware of Bishop Seán Manchester from whatever might have Tony Hill told her when they spent time together, but she met the bishop only once when Hill and Mary called on Bishop Seán Manchester at a time when they first decided to run away together. They wanted him to put them up for the night, but the bishop would not become involved. He was also acquainted with Elizabeth Hill and did not want to be compromised by their action which, as it happened, would only last six months. When Hill returned to his wife and Mary returned briefly to her husband it was not long before Farrant was declared bankrupt and was evicted from his flat. By which time Mary Farrant had left her husband with their two children and returned to her parents in Southampton. She would remain in that area. David Farrant would have learned of Bishop Seán Manchester’s paranormal interests from Hill with whom Farrant was only superficially acquainted to Hill’s interest in Farrant's wife who worked as a barmaid at The Woodman. Though Hill would have known nothing about any supernatural investigation his old employer was involved in he was aware that this was an interest of Bishop Seán Manchester’s who was neither acquainted with Farrant or Farrant’s wife, but knew Tony Hill from the time Hill worked part-time at the bishop’s darkroom in the 1960s when the latter ran a photographic studio in Islington. Hill was otherwise employed in the mornings as a milkman in North West London.

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When she was called as a defence witness on her husband’s behalf, Mary confirmed under oath that David Farrant had no interest in ghosts, witchcraft or the occult, and that Farrant's visits to Highgate Cemetery were for nothing more than "a bit of a laugh and a joke and to look round." Court reports of Mary Farrant’s testimony published in newspapers in June 1974 can be found at the foot of this page.

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Bishop Seán Manchester’s version of events is recorded in his introduction to The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook (Gothic Press, 1997):

 

“It was whilst blowing a long jazz solo on the tenor saxophone in The Woodman, Highgate, where [Farrant’s] wife worked some evenings as a barmaid, that Farrant first caught sight of me in 1968. I would remain oblivious of him, however, until the beginning of the next decade. Who knows what went through his mind as he listened to my improvised harmonic structures, accompanied by a perspiring rhythm section, in that dimly lit venue for modern jazz aficionados? It was not his kind of music, but he mentioned it when I interviewed him in 1970.”

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On pages 62-63 of The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook, Bishop Seán Manchester reveals:

 

“His alleged sightings of the vampire were to coincide with the time when he was ensconced in [Tony Hill’s] coal cellar. His wife was gone and so were the people who had helped him squander his money. His interest was not the occult at this time, but pub-crawling and the collecting of exotic birds; mostly cockatoos, parrots and macaws. This earned him the nickname ‘Birdman.’ Ironically, Hill had the nickname ‘Eggman.’ Relishing the attention he was now receiving, following his alleged sightings of a vampire, he took foolish risks and ended up being arrested in August 1970 for being in an enclosed area for an unlawful purpose. His ‘vampire hunting’ days were over.”

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The Hampstead & Highgate Express, 6 March 1970, records the first meeting between David Farrant and Bishop Seán Manchester on its front page, under the banner headline “Why Do The Foxes Die?” The newspaper recounts:

 

“David Farrant … returned to the spot last weekend and disovered a dead fox. 'Several other foxes have also been found dead in the cemetery,' he said at his home in Priestwood Mansions, Archway Road, Highgate. 'The odd thing is there was no outward sign of how they died. Much remains unexplained, but what I have recently learnt all points to the vampire theory being the most likely answer. Should this be so, I for one am prepared to pursue it, taking whatever means might be necessary so that we can all rest.' The vampire theory was suggested last week by Mr Seán Manchester, president of the British Occult Society. … Mr Farrant and Mr Manchester met in the cemetery at the weekend.”

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The British Occult Society (1860-1988) was an investigation bureau which existed solely for the purpose of examining occult claims and alleged paranormal activity. It gave birth on 2 February 1970 to the Vampire Research Society, which still survives. Farrant carried out his threat to "pursue [the vampire], taking whatever means might be necessary" and was arrested on the night of 17 August 1970. The Daily Express, 19 August 1970, reveals Farrant’s explanation:

 

"‘My intention was to search out the supernatural being and destroy it by plunging the stake [found in his possession when arrested in Highgate Cemetery by police] in its heart.’" The report continues: "David Farrant pleaded guilty at Clerkenwell, London, to entering St Michael's churchyard, Highgate Cemetery, for an unlawful purpose. Farrant told police he had just moved to London when he heard people talking about the vampire in Highgate Cemetery. In a statement he said that he heard the vampire rises out of a grave and wanders about the cemetery on the look-out for human beings on whose blood it thrives. Police keeping watch for followers of a black magic cult arrested him. He was remanded in custody for reports. Last night, Mr Seán Manchester, leader of the British Occult Society, said: ‘I am convinced that a vampire exists in Highgate Cemetery. Local residents and passers-by have reported seeing a ghostlike figure of massive proportions near the north gate.’"

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View Farrant's latter-day self-revelations in a French television interview he gave in 2008: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ezDZBOZZcVQ

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The video begins with Jean-Paul Bourre, a French diabolist who befriended Farrant in December 1979. Together they concocted all manner of skullduggery for media consumption and their own self-aggrandisement. This included Bourre “sacrificing” cockerels during what he describes as a “Red Mass” at night in Père-Lachaise cemetery, Paris, footage of which was also transmitted on a French television programme which can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYtYAudHH0s. The shambling shell of Farrant shuffles onto the screen some minutes into his own video (click to view N) as he nervously speaks from outside the north gate of Highgate Cemetery. The next scene is at his Muswell Hill bedsitting room where viewers are shown photograph albums containing naked females he had duped into his malefic publicity stunts involving phoney witchcraft and pseudo-occultism. One of these females is Martine de Sacy whose nude image in a mausoleum containing satanic symbols became a part of vital evidence used successfully to prosecute Farrant at London's Old Bailey in 1974. He appears totally oblivious to the implication of what he is displaying on screen and is clearly without remorse for any of his past outrages.

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Bishop Seán Manchester over the years has appeared in many film documentaries and innumerable television programmes. He is the author of several books, some of which deal with the case of the Highgate Vampire and the growing problem of the dark occult. He has also written historical biographies, a treatise on the British Church, and a novel based on some of the untold history at Highgate in the last century.

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To view some of the bishop’s current books (available from Gothic Press from where they can be ordered) click on the images below from newspapers that record David Farrant’s vampire hunting exploits. The Evening News (below, left) referred to him as “Allan Farrant” in their caption because he had given police the false name of “Allan Farrow” when arrested. He was also known locally as “Allan.” Some newspapers reported him as “Farrow” while others managed to unearth his correct name, ieFarrant.” The Evening News, 29 September 1970, settled for the hybrid “Allan Farrant.” His correct name is “David Farrant.”

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David Farrant published on his blog, 2 July 2009: "I first met [Seán Manchester] in late 1967 in a pub called the Woodman in Highgate." However, on the same blog one week later, 9 July 2009, Farrant claimed: "You asked how I first actually spoke to [Seán Manchester] ... I believe it was in early 1969." Such revisionism and the layering of one falsehood on top of another is reminiscent of Farrant's self-proclaimed sightings of the spectral vampire phenomenon at Highgate Cemetery. His earliest published statement was in the form of a letter he wrote to the editor of the Hampstead & Highgate Express which appeared on 6 February 1970. In that published letter, Farrant claims to have witnessed "a grey figure" no less than three times:

"The first occasion was on Christmas Eve. ... The second sighting, a week later, was also brief. Last week, the figure appeared, only a few yards inside the gates. ... I have no knowledge in this field and I would be interested to hear if any other readers have seen anything of this nature."

If we roll forward some three decades and read Farrant's self-published pamphlets, forum messages and blog comments, we discover he had only two sightings. Now roll forward almost four decades from that first letter to a local newspaper and listen to a blogtalk interview Farrant gave in 2009 where he claims to have had only one sighting of what became known as the Highgate Vampire. That, at least, is what he told Steve Genier when interviewed in June 2009. He would reiterate the alleged “one sighting” he had when interviewed by Andrew Gough for Arcadia later in the same year. The reality is rather more prosaic. Farrant had no sightings and merely boarded what he obviously perceived to be a convenient publicity bandwagon for his compulsive attention-seeking.

Let us return to Farrant's blog of 9 July 2009 because in it he continues when he allegedly met Bishop Seán Manchester in "early 1969," having suddenly revised his "late 1967" claim from a week earlier:

"He [Seán Manchester] said that the ‘ghost’ I had been reported as witnessing at Highgate Cemetery might indeed be one such ‘real’ vampire!"

Yet David Farrant first "reported" his ghostly apparition in February 1970, not late 1969. And he did so to the Hampstead & Highgate Express. This was his overture in the press prior to which he had not reported anything to anyone. The casual observer is obliged to agree that Bishop Seán Manchester and David Farrant first met in March 1970 and that their meeting came about solely because of the latter’s alleged sightings of a spectral figure in a letter he had published in the Hampstead & Highgate Express. According to Tony Hill, that letter was an attempt by Farrant to hoax a ghost story in his local newspaper after having heard tales in the pubs he frequented of a vampire said to haunt Highgate Cemetery. These tales of a vampire had been circulating for many years. Farrant’s “ghost” was an invention of his own and was part of an elaborate hoax in which others colluded. In early 1970 he took to wearing ghost-like make-up and frightening people as they walked past the graveyard. This was one of the “silly games” he played which Mary Farrant referred to when she appeared as a defence witness at the Old Bailey in June 1974. Little did Farrant realise that, while he was playing at being a “ghost,” a genuine supernatural entity lurked nearby.

Readers letters to the Hampstead & Highgate Express in early 1970 included reports of a ghost wearing a top hat that had been seen in Swains Lane and just inside the gates at Highgate Cemetery. With the benefit of hindsight we now know that some of these letters bore the names and addresses of close acquaintances of Farrant. Fraudulent letters were sent to the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 13 February 1970, using the names and addresses of Farrant's friends Audrey Connely and Kenneth Frewin. Farrant used the names and addresses of friends with their consent. He used his close friend Nava Grunberg's address in Hampstead Lane, but her name was changed to a pseudonym. He also used Nava Grunberg, now adopting the nom de plume "Nava Arieli," when she used an address in Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, belonging to a friend of hers. Others might have witnessed Farrant in his familiar black mackintosh pretending to be a ghost. He wore an old grey topper and ghostly make-up to convince local people that the cemetery was haunted by a “ghost.” The vampire sightings and experiences by others were genuine enough. Farrant was not. His part in the saga was utterly phoney. He pretended to be a "vampire hunter" for the next few months before turning his attention to malefic pseudo-occultism which guaranteed a far bigger return in the publicity stakes. This led to criminal convictions which included indecency in Monken Hadley churchyard under the Ecclesiastic Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860. Victoria Jervis was also found guilty. Her revelations under oath when called as a witness during Farrant's Old Bailey trials two years later are damning, to say the least. This is what she said: "I have tried to put most of what happened out of my mind. The false letters I wrote to a local paper were to stimulate publicity for the accused. I saw him almost every weekend in the second half of 1972 and I went to Spain with him for a fortnight at the end of June that same year. I was arrested with him in Monken Hadley Churchyard. That incident upset me very much. Afterwards, my doctor prescribed tranquilisers for me." Facing  Farrant in court to address him, Victoria Jervis added: "You have photographed me a number of times in your flat with no clothes on. One photograph was published in 1972 with a false caption claiming I was a member of your Society, which I never was." On another occasion, she recalled, how she had written psuedonymously to a local newspaper at Farrant's request "to stimulate publicity for the accused."


During their case where Victoria Jervis and David Farrant were both found guilty of indecency in Monken Hadley churchyard, "Mr P J Bucknell, prosecuting, said Mr Farrant had painted circles on the ground, lit with candles, and had told reporters and possibly the police of what he was doing. 'This appears to be a sordid attempt to obtain publicity,' he said." (Hampstead & Highgate Express, 24 November 1972).

 

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David Farrant in February 1970 playing games as a “ghost” at Highgate Cemetery. (Copyright © protected images)

Things began to spiral downwards at an alarming rate as Farrant turned to what ostensibly appeared to be diabolism, but in truth was just further attention-seeking for the sake of the media. He nonetheless engaged in theatrical stunts of an occult nature in churchyards, cemeteries, woods and derelict houses which took on an increasingly satanic appearance. This led to him being charged, tried and convicted for offences which included malicious vandalism to tombs, interfering with and offering indignity to remains of the dead through the use of black magic, and attempting to pervert the course of justice by threatening police witnesses with voodoo death dolls impaled with pins. By which time Bishop Seán Manchester decided to get to know him properly for the purpose of discovering exactly what was going on and try to and resolve whatever lay behind the enmity evinced toward him by Farrant. This occurred some time after Farrant had invited what he describes as a "satanic force" to enter him in a nocturnal necromantic ritual he claims to have staged at Highgate Cemetery in 1971 with a naked female. The ritual is described at length by Farrant in an article he wrote while serving a four years’ eight months’ prison sentence. It was published in the fourth issue of New Witchcraft magazine. The person Bishop Seán Manchester discovered was nevertheless a fraud who believed only in his own self-aggrandisement and the amount of newsprint his manufactured stunts might achieve; a man, moreover, who did not believe in his own rectitude. So, rather than resolve anything, the bishop getting to know Farrant only served to make matters worse because Farrant understood that Bishop Seán Manchester was someone who was aware of his insincerity and fakery. The bishop all along has not ruled out the possibility that by engaging in theatrical Satanism and phoney witchcraft for the benefit of newspapers Farrant might very well have become possessed by something demonic in the process, especially when going through the motions of a satanic evocation where blood was drawn in Highgate Cemetery.

In an article called "Witch Report," (Penthouse magazine [UK], Vol. 8, No. 8, 1973, page 19), David Farrant mentions helping a man of diminutive stature — "a midget" — who was being evicted from a controlled tenancy and allegedly suffered harassment as a consequence. Furthermore, the man's wife was apparently pregnant and not coping with the stress of the situation. Farrant "wrote to the landlady saying politely but bluntly that if she didn't stop we would deal with her our own way." She was sent an amulet "consecrated" by Farrant along with a rhyme intended to convey that "once she'd touched it we'd have power over her, and we performed a ceremony in which we cast forces on her wishing her all she wished on the midgets."  Two days later, according to Farrant"she went into the hospital and lost her baby." 

In that Penthouse article, Farrant states: "Satanists worship Lucifer, the supreme power of evil, whereas witchcraft is a neutral thing — it's only evil if practised for an evil purpose." Like several of his Luciferian acquaintances, Jean-Paul Bourre amongst them, David Farrant, who publicly stated that he abandoned witchcraft in 1982, describes himself as someone who “accepts Lucifer as an important deity” and that he “worships Lucifer.” His words are heard on The Devil’s Fool CD (Gothic Press) which comprises thirty-two interview extracts of Farrant from as many years of his infamous career as a publicity-seeker.

This video shows Jean-Paul Bourre in Farrant’s London Muswell Hill bedsitting room in 1985 performing what they euphemistically describe as a “Red Mass”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUcp1GvuVho

Here is another depraved video featuring Farrant where he is celebrating Christmas 2011. It culminates in the decapitation of Bishop Seán Manchester’s head in effigy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYUr15UwO7A

"Au pair Martine de Sacy has exposed the fantasy world of David Farrant, self-styled high priest of British witchcraft, for whom she posed nude in front of a tomb. Farrant was convicted last week by a jury who heard stories of Satanic rites, vampires and death-worship with girls dancing in a cemetery. Afterwards, 23-year-old Martine said: 'He was a failure as a lover. In fact, I think his trouble was that he was seeking compensation for this. He was always after publicity and he felt that having all these girls around helped. I'm sure the night he took me to the cemetery had less to do with occultism than his craving to be the centre of something.' ... While Martine told her story in Paris, customers at Farrant's local — the Prince of Wales in Highgate, London — chuckled over the man they called 'Birdman.' One regular said: 'He used to come in with a parrot on his shoulder. One night he came in with photos of Martine in the nude. We pinched one, and when she next came in, we told her he was selling them at 5p a time. She went through the ceiling.' ... Farrant called his estranged wife Mary, in his defence. She said: 'We would go in the cemetery with my husband's friends when the pubs had closed. We would frighten ourselves to death and come out again. It was just a silly sort of thing that you do after the pubs close. Nobody was involved in witchcraft or the occult'." (News of the World, 30 June 1974).


“I cannot believe for one moment that he is a serious student of the occult. In fact I believe him to be evil and entirely to be deplored.” (Dennis Wheatley, Daily Express, 26 June 1974).


“I think he’s crazy.” (Canon John Pearce Higgins, Daily Express, 26 June 1974).

 

“But for the results of his actions, this scruffy little witch could be laughed at. But no one can laugh at a man who admits slitting the throat of a live cat before launching a blood-smeared orgy. Or at a man who has helped reduce at least two women to frightened misery.” (Sue Kentish, News of the World, 23 September 1973).


“The jury were shown folders of pictures of naked girls and corpses, and told about a black-clothed altar in Farrant's flat with a large drawing of a vampire's face. When questioned, Farrant said: 'A corpse was needed to talk to spirits of another world'.” (George Hunter & Richard Wright, Daily Express, 26 June 1974).

 

“The judge said any interference with a corpse during black magic rituals could properly be regarded as a ‘great scandal and a disgrace to religion, decency and morality’.” (The Sun, 26 June 1974).


“Judge Michael Argyle QC passed sentence after reading medical and mental reports. He said that Farrant had acted ‘quite regardless of the feelings of ordinary people,’ by messing about at Highgate Cemetery.” (Hornsey Journal, 19 July 1974).

Further details can be found in The Highgate Vampire, From Satan To Christ, and The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook. Click on each title, or order directly from the publisher by clicking here: Gothic Press.