Talk:Highgate Vampire/Archive 1

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1. I suggest that everybody should start writing his/her contributions below the other. Currently, this talk page is extremely confusing and impossible to read for anyone uninvolved.

2. I also want to urge everybody to start signing his/her posts by typing four tildes (or else pressing the third button on the right above the text), which generates a signature and time stamp, and preferably separate his/her comments from the preceding ones by starting with a colon. For example: Comment.-- 20:56, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Comment.-- 20:56, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Comment.-- 20:56, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Comment.-- 20:56, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

This makes reading much easier.

3. "Wikipedia" doesn't "want" anything, and I don't represent Wikipedia here any more than anybody else. What counts is Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, notably Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:No original research (Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not can also be useful). Every contributor should be familiar with them and observe them. If these and other rules are violated in an blatant way, administrator intervention can be expected. Otherwise, those who determine what is to be done are the editors of a page, and they are supposed to reach some kind of consensus. Personally, I think that it's okay to mention that religious scholar J. Gordon Melton, believes Manchester's version to be true (if he does), and add the reference.

4. The page was protected from editing by non-registered users due to vandalism by multiple IPs (apparently used by Dennis Crawford), which also violated the three-revert rule. This is a standard procedure on Wikipedia, when the administrators see no other way to stop the vandalism. Currently, any user who has been registered for some time is allowed to contribute to the article. However, if a registered user does the same things that the IP-user(s) did, s/he too will be blocked from editing, too. For example, it is indisputable that obvious polemic parenthetical comments may not be inserted to disrupt the text of an article. It is likewise indisputable that relevant and sourced information may not be deleted en masse. Also, my interpretation of Wikipedia:Neutral point of view and Wikipedia:Verifiability is that an extreme minority view held mostly by non-scholars (in this case, that vampires exist) can't be represented in the article, and that Manchester is not a reliable source. However, this last opinion is subject to discussion, I might be wrong about this, and other Wikipedians might disagree with me. Perhaps Manchester's and Farrant's versions of the events should be mentioned in separate sections. My reason to doubt it is that vampire belief is an extreme minority view, which is even rarer than general belief in ghosts or the paranormal, not only in science but also among ordinary people.

Excerpt from Wikipedia:Neutral point of view: Articles that compare views need not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views, and may not include tiny-minority views at all (by example, the article on the Earth only very briefly refers to the Flat Earth theory, a view of a distinct minority).

Excerpt from Wikipedia:Verifiability: Articles should rely on credible, third-party sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. For academic subjects, the sources should preferably be peer-reviewed. Sources should also be appropriate to the claims made: outlandish claims beg strong sources. -- 20:56, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Jacqueline Simpson claims in her entry for the Highgate Vampire: "The fullest account is given by a folklore scholar, Professor Bill Ellis, in the journal Folklore." This is false. Ellis' article is a few pages and depends largely on newspaper cuttings which he later admitted were inaccurate and an interview with David Farrant in July 1992 which, in private correspondence to Seán Manchester, he admitted was unreliable. The fullest account is given in Seán Manchester's The Highgate Vampire (Gothic Press), but even accounts given elsewhere by Peter Underwood in The Vampires Bedside Companion (Leslie Frewin Books) and Exorcism! (Robert Hale) are significantly fuller than Bill Ellis' little article. "Other narratives which treat these purported happenings as fact are available in the books and websites of Sean Manchester and David Farrant," claims Simpson. Yet Farrant's pamphlets (they are not books) deny the existence of a vampire at Highgate Cemetery and whitewash his lone "vampire hunting" in 1970 with revisionism. Likewise, Farrant's website only serves to deny all claim to his belief in or pursuit of the Highgate Vampire. He is hardly another source.

"On 21 December 1969 one of their members, David Farrant, spent the night there. In a letter to the Hampstead and Highgate Express on 6 February 1970, he wrote that he had glimpsed a very tall figure with inhuman, hypnotic eyes, and asked if others had seen anything similar," claims Simpson. Nowhere in Farrant's letter does he say he "spent the night there" or that the spectre had "inhuman, hypnotic eyes." The complete and unexpurgated version of the original letter published by the Hampstead & Highgate Express on 6 February 1970 actually states: "Some nights I walk home past the gates of Highgate Cemetery. On three occasions I have seen what appeared to be a ghost-like figure inside the gates at the top of Swains Lane. The first occasion was on Christmas Eve. I saw a grey figure for a few seconds before it disappeared into the darkness. The second sighting, a week later, was also brief. Last week, the figure appeared long enough for me to see it much more clearly, and now I can think of no other explanation than this apparition being supernatural. I have no knowledge in this field and I would be interested to hear if any other readers have seen anything of this nature."

"He told the Hampstead and Highgate Express on 27 February 1970 that he had seen the bodies of foxes drained of blood," states Simpson. Nowhere in that article does Seán Manchester or anyone else mention "foxes drained of blood."

"Manchester declared that he would hold an 'official' vampire hunt on Friday 13 March," claims Simpson. This was not publicly announced. It was privately conveyed to the team of investigators accompanying Seán Manchester. Jacqueline Simspon read about this in Seán Manchester's account, but then gives the false impression that it was made public.

"Press and TV duly responded. Interviews with both men were broadcast on ITV early that evening, and within two hours a mob of 'hunters' from all over London and beyond swarmed over gates and walls into the locked cemetery, and were with difficulty expelled by police," states Simspon. The media responded to the growing public concern. They had no knowledge of a proposed vampire hunt. The public did respond to the television programme. The police, however, made no attempt to expel anyone from Highgate Cemetery on the night of 13 March 1970. This has been invented by Jacqueline Simpson.

"In later years, Manchester wrote his own account of his doings that night (The Highgate Vampire 1985; 2nd rev. ed. 1991). According to his narrative, he and some companions entered the cemetery, unobserved by the police, via the damaged railings of an adjoining churchyard, and tried to break open the door of one particular catacomb," says Simpson. In fact, Seán Manchester had written an account that was published in 1975, ten years prior to the first unexpurgated edition. Nowhere does Seán Manchester's account state that he "tried to break open the door of one particular catacomb."

"Some months later, on 1 August 1970, the charred and headless remains of a woman's body were found not far from the catacomb. The police suspected that it had been used in black magic, but it seems likely that this was another, more drastic, attempt at vampire-slaying," claims Simpson. There is absolutely no evidence to support this allegation. The police did not treat it as such and nor did anyone else. The official view held by the police was that "black magic devotees" were responsible for this desecration. At no time did they or anyone else consider that it might have been "vampire slayers."

"He claims that this time he and his companions did succeed in forcing open, inch by inch, the doors of a family vault," states Simpson. The door was not "forced" and Seán Manchester's account does not say that it was forced.

"The feud between Manchester and Farrant remains vigorous to this day; each claims to be a competent psychic researcher and exorcist," claims Simpson. Seán Manchester has not claimed to be a "psychic researcher," only a researcher. Neither has David Farrant claimed to be an "exorcist." While he did say in 1970 that he would stake the vampire (something he now denies saying), Farrant since that time has only attempted to raise ghosts, demons and vampires in Highgate Cemetery.*

  • A court report in the Hornsey Journal, 16 November 1979, under the headine, "Ritual sex act and cat sacrifice," reveals: "Self-styled 'high priest' David Farrant told a High Court jury this week of the night he performed a ritual sex act in an attempt to summon up a vampire in Highgate Cemetery. He also admitted that he had taken part in the 'sacrifice' of a stray cat in Highgate Wood." Summoning up a vampire is not the work of an "exorcist." Quite the opposite, in fact.

7 July. Quick reply to one of DC's points. I took out the reference to Melton because it would be dishonest of me to appear to say I used him as a source when I did not. 'Source' means precisely that, not 'another book for further reading'. Also, looking at it from the reverse angle, if Melton endorses SM's views, he would probably object to being invoked as a 'source' for the rationalistic interpretation that I favour. If the reference has been reinstated, I shall remove it again, at least until I have seen Melton's text and can decide whether it tells me anything further that I would want to put in -- in which case it would after all become a 'source'. Jacqueline Simpson.

So only Jacqueline Simpson is allowed to contribute to the entry for the Highgate Vampire? That is patently absurd. She only quotes second-hand and third-hand sources to support her biased viewpoint. Meanwhile, those who actually investigated and researched the case itself have been deleted and prevented from posting anything. Readers will smell a rat! And who elected Simpson as the arbitrator, judge and jury over whether or not J Gordon Melton's encyclopedia can be used as a resource?

Still 7 july. Right, I've found Melton's encyclopedia (wonderful public library!). The Highgate entry is 99% a summary of SM's book, though Farrant is also listed among the references. There are 2 points on which it contradicts SM, but I'm pretty sure they are errors. First, Melton says that when SM and his companions entered the first vault [sic] they did so 'before an assembled crowd', whereas SM says the crowd was in Swain's Lane, and he and his companions were unobserved. Secondly, Melton says that SM entered the second vault 'while the police were distracted by amateur vampire hunters', which SM does not say. It looks like a detail transposed from the occasion when SM entered the first vault. I prefer to follow SM's account, this being a primary source. Melton's encyclopedia seems to be a good reference book for vampires in both folklore and fiction and film, but since it covers far, far more than Highgate I would suggest that it be mentioned at the general entry on 'Vampires' (if wikipedia agrees). Jacqueline Simpson

What is Bill Ellis' book other than something "far more than Highgate"? There is just one chapter (out of ten chapters) on the "Highgate Cemetery Vampire Hunt" which Ellis himself now accepts relies to some extent on inaccuarte newspaper reports and Farrant whom he considers unreliable. Sean Manchester declined speaking to Ellis once he knew that Farrant would be involved. This would be par for the course with any serious researcher. And Sean Manchester is a serious researcher, albeit NOT a "psychic researcher" as incorrectly alleged by Jacqueline Simpson. Yes, there are a couple of errors in Melton's account, but these pale into near insignificance when comparing his account with Bill Ellis' "Folklore" article, "Raising the Devil" and Jacqueline Simpson's "The Lore of the Land" coverage of the Highgate Vampire case.

I still feel it would be dishonest to say I used Melton as a source when I didn't. But if Wikipedia wants to add a 'further reading' listing after the 'sources' listing, it could go there, couldn't it? Jacqueline Simpson

What I would like to know is the following:

(a) Why has the contribution from the only authetic source, ie those who were part of the investigation at the time of the vampire contagion at Highgate, regarding this old case been deleted in its entirety?

Because this so-called investigation has been conducted by an organisation that can by no means be regarded as a mainstream reputable source (no offence meant). No "vampire hunting" organisation can be regarded as such. Of course, Manchester's account is of some interest, but I do believe that the current text reflects its essence (alleged sightings, intrusion in the first "vampire" tomb, tracking the "archvampire" and staking him): I don't think that more detail is needed. If you notice significant inaccuracies in the way Manchester's account is delivered here, please point them out, citing the source and preferably quoting it. Jacqueline Simpson has provided citations. If you disagree about what the cited passages actually describe, then you can argue by means of quotations. I doubt that it's worth the trouble, though - these are mostly unimportant details. -- 09:33, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
The reputable, academic and scholarly roots and executive membership of the Vampire Research Society appear near the bottom of this page. They are every bit as impressive as that of the Folklore Society to which Jacqueline Simpson belongs. All she is doing is confusing and muddling facts she has found in Sean Manchester's account. She has no facts or original material of her own. The citations she provides are risible. No scholar would rely on such references, eg newspaper hacks and ex-convicts. What might be regarded as unimportant to you might not be regarded as unimportant to someone wanting to learn about this case.
I disagree. To be blunt - open any mainstream encyclopedia and you'll see that vampires are legendary creatures. No "vampire research" exists, science doesn't research vampires, it researches belief in vampires. I'm sorry, but the VRS can only be the object and not the subject of research. -- 13:56, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

(b) Why has a reputabe source reference from an academic been deleted while an illegal self-published tract full of libel and copyright theft written by someone imprisoned for desecration and vandalism at Highgate Cemetery been allowed to be inserted by Jacqueline Simspon?

What reputable source reference from an academic are you referring to? As for Farrant's account, it is cited in the same way as Manchester's, and I don't see on what grounds you can require that the two be treated differently as sources. Both have entered tombs, one has been convicted for it. Both have been active as "vampire-hunters". Farrant's alleged libel and copyright theft have not been proved in court, and even if they had been, I don't think that would have changed his credibility as a source as compared to Manchester. -- 09:33, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
She has deleted a source written by an academic and Methodist minister: J Gordon Melton's encylcopedia which accurately portrays the case. The grounds on which David Farrant and Sean Manchester should be treated differently are that Farrant was a lone vampire hunter for less than six months in 1970. Since that time he has completely denied being a vampire hunter and has claimed that there was no such thing as the Highgate Vampire. Farrant illegally entered tombs for the purpose of necromantic black magic involving a nude girl for which was found guilty and sentenced to a term of imprisonment on desecration and vandalism convictions. He also has other convictions for which he was further sentenced and jailed. Sean Manchester had permission from the private cemetery company to conduct his spoken exorcism at a tomb and has never been convicted of any crime in his entire life. He is an ordained priest and consecrated bishop within Ecclesia Vetusta Catholica. How can you possibly say that the credibility of these two people is comparable?
I haven't read Melton, but if he reiterates Manchester's version as a fact, then I suppose that can be mentioned. I must say that I would want to see an exact quotation before believing even that. If he does, I think he represents an neglectably small (one-person?) minority in the academic community. The reason why the reference is gone is probably because it hasn't been used as a source for the current text of the article. I don't know Wikipedia's policy on that issue, I suppose the reference can be added. I'm doing it at the moment. -- 13:56, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

(c) Why has Jacqueline Simpson been permitted to include irrelevant items that do not concern the Highgate Vampire case, eg alleged "magician duels" that did not happen, and "feuds" etc?

Because these items are relevant, inasmuch as they concern the same persons who were involved in the case and as they are apparently caused by the case. Your attitude towards Farrant seems to be another proof that the "feud" is still a fact.

-- 09:33, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

David Farrant was not "involved in the case." He jumped on what he perceived to be a publicity bandwagon from March 1970 to August 1970. Most of the incidents in the case took place when Farrant was out of the country, on remand in prison, or serving a lengthy prison sentence. The "magical duel" alluded to by Simpson did not take place. It was the product of collusion between newspapers and a self-publicist. Nothing more. It would still have had no bearing on the Highgate Vampire case had there been more to it because it stemmed from Farrant's court case in November 1972 for indecency in a Barnet churchyard where he and a girl were allegedly involved in necromantic rituals to raise a spirit. Sean Manchester, originally called as a professional witness for the Crown, made a challenge after the court case (in which Farrant had been found guilty) for Farrant to prove his so-called "powers" before neutral observers. None of which is remotely connected to the Highgate case. A feud does exist but it has nothing to do with the Highgate Vampire case. It largely stems from Farrant's anti-Christian position and Sean Manchester's anti-witchcraft position. Vampires do not come into it.
Interesting. If you can source your version of the events leading to the never-realised "duel", it should certainly be mentioned. As for what caused the feud - it seems difficult to prove, but Manchester's denial (which should also be sourced) can be mentioned, too. -- 13:56, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

(d) Why is an overtly biased and self-evidently inaccurate version based on the opinions of a couple of latter-day bandwagoneers who are mostly reliant on flawed press cuttings and the revisionism of a convicted felon allowed to stand while the contribution from the Vampire Research Society who actually investigated the case at the time is censored?

(Dennis Crawford, International Secretary, Vampire Research Society)

I have already answered this (see (a)). Any folklore scholar and most newspapers are more reliable than a "Vampire Research Society" by definition (again, sorry to be rude). The only real mainstream "vampire researchers" are folklore scholars like Paul Barber and Michael Bell. Also, since we regard the story as a sociological phenomenon, an example of myth formation, the rumours that were published are at least as relevant as any actual facts. And you haven't proved that the press-cuttings are flawed.

-- 09:33, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

I cannot believe I am reading what you have stated above. Do you not realise that these same "scholars" consult Sean Manchester and his Vampire Research Society archive when they come to do their research? Even Jacqueline Simpson's own Bill Ellis requested a meeting with Sean Manchester in order to write his article for "Folklore" and his chapter in "Raising the Devil" but Sean Manchester did not like Ellis' approach, eg Ellis referring to the thirteen year VRS investigation as the "Highgate flap" etc. Also, Sean Manchester could not take seriously anyone willing to interview and include the likes of Farrant. He found Ellis flippant and his reliance on tabloid press cuttings unsafe in the extreme. In private correspondence, Ellis admitted that neither Farrant nor sensationalist press cuttings provided by Farrant used in both Ellis' article and his book could be considered reliable. Copies of this correspondence can be made available. Leading scholars and authors on vampirisim invariably try to enlist the help of Sean Manchester and his associates, as do major television companies making serious film documentaries on the subject. They do not approach Jacqueline Simpson.
This is ridiculous.
I am trying to do all sides justice, but I really can't spend any more time on this issue. Note, however, that vandalism and unsourced and/or POV edits will not be tolerated. -- 13:56, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Tuesday, 4 July. I have now addded the requested references to the primary sources.

I have also cleaned up the entry, which had acquired parentheses from another hand, and comments apparently transferred from this 'talk' page which were creating a ding-dong of clashing viewpoints. I do not wish to suppress the opinions of Manchester's supporters, but sandwiching them among mine makes for dire confusion. They should appear as a separate item, clearly indicating that they are from a different contributor. Better still, why doesn't Manchester create an entire wikipedia entry about himself, and simply say it all there? Because the case of the Highate Vampire is Sean Manchester's and his Society's case - not Jacqueline Simpson's case.

I have made one or two very small changes of wording to satisfy the other participant in this debate, e.g. 'catacomb' onstead of 'vault'. Jacqueline Simpson.To satisy "the other participant"? Nothing I suppose to do with the fact that Simpson is incorrect? Because she is incorrect.

Thanks to whoever reinstated my article, you've saved me some tedious retyping. I'll come back tomorrow with references to primary sources (I hope I can work out how to put in notes!) Notes that include sources such as inaccurate newspaper articles and an illicit tract containing copyright theft written and self-published by someone jailed for desecration and vandalism at Highgate Cemetery

You should be able to prove that the article is inaccurate, or at least cite Manchester as having claimed that. You haven't done any of that. Currently, you are reverting sourced information on no gounds at all. -- 14:51, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Meanwhile, those who think I'm misrepresenting SM by saying he was stimulating publicity, and breaking into vaults, should reread his book (1991 edition). On pp. 69-70, he wrote that preceded by "reluctantly, I decided to acquaint the public with the real situation so that those under the fatal malignity could be contacted 'it only remained for me to encourage those who recognised the symptoms [of vamiprism] to come forward [in Feb. 1970],' having established that he did so after it had already entered the public domain and was being discussed in the press so he gave an interview to the Highgate & Hampstead Express on 27/2/70 announcing that a vampire was at work the newspaper actually says "might be a vampire" but also misquotes Sean Manchester thereon with its own journalistic embellishment. On p. 75, 'I set the date for the official vampire hunt to take place on [Friday] 13 March' the point is this was not a public announcement - only the team involved were privy to this date. On p. 77, about the first vault this was the entrance to the catacombs - it was not a vault, 'The large iron door ... could not be opened. Try as we might, it would not budge an inch', so they went in through the hole in the roof this aperture already existed (originally to allow light be cast inside) so there was no breaking or forcing involved. On p. 85 there's a long account of how he and his assistants forced the door there is no mention of a door being forced of the second actually the first and only vault [in August 70]. The coffin he found there was not open (as is now claimed), for he specifically says he 'raised the massive lid'. I did not say the coffin was open - I said the lid was loose and required no "wrenching" as erroneously claimed by Jacqueline Simpson.

Yes, the iron door to the vault was rusty and heavy and opened only slowly, but it was not "forced" as Simpson claims. Sean Manchester confirms this on page 85: "... inch by inch, it creaked open and we gained entry." Nowhere does he say the door was forced. Paranormal researcher Jane Goldman also states on page 171 in the second volume of "The X Files: Book of the Unexplained" (Simon & Schuster, 1996) that "Sean Manchester, head of the UK's Vampire Research Society, was permitted to peform a ritual in a vault." This is accurate as the private cemetery company had allowed a spoken exorcism to take place at the vault and had also allowed the BBC's filmed reconstruction of that exorcism rite which was eventually transmitted on 15 October 1970. (Dennis Crawford, International Secretary, Vampire Research Society)

My reply to 'Bela Lugosi' wasn't research, just a rapid answer to what appears to be his genuine curiosity. The identity of the vampire is not given by SM (1991), nor in anything I've seen by DF. I'd be interested to know myself. This identity is discussed on Sean Manchester's various Highgate Vampire forums. Please tell us, with ref to this 'easily accessible source', please. As for the two vaults, there are photos in SM's book (1991), which might help identifiaction on the spot, but the name of the families they belong to are not given. And, as I say, I would not wish to help in identifying them, out of respect for their owners.

As for closing the site, well I was the one who opened it, so ...

Jacqueline Simpson, 3/7/6

Reverting a page does not involve retyping, it's a matter of seconds. However, it should be avoided (discussing and compromising is encouraged instead) and may not be done by the same user more than three times within a 24-hour period (Wikipedia:Three-revert rule|the Three-revert rule). And, speaking of rules, I think it would be less confusing if everybody wrote their comments at the bottom of the talk page, as people usually do here. Also, parts of the talk page shouldn't be deleted, as I notice somebody has been doing here; past discussions are preserved and archived. That said, I can only wish everyone happy editing! -- 20:10, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Calm down people

This edit war is ridiculous. I don't know who any of the combatants are in this battle, but I do know that the resultant article is not good. I live only a couple of hundred yards from Highgate Cemetery, so I have a interest in this article and other local history. But arguing about the individuals who reported and investigated this occurence and what they did doesn't help any Wikipedia readers.

A few starting points:

Beest 19:14, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

[I agree with 'Bela Lugosi', this has got bogged down in irrlevancies. I hereby promise not to get sidetracked onto ecclesiological issues henceforth. On his 3 specific questions: (a) Nobody has proposed an identification for the H. vampire, so far as I know. (b) what it did -- contemporary press reports are very mild; Farrant says it glared at him with hypnotic eyes, Manchester that there were dead foxes in the cemetery, drained of blood. But Manchester's retrospective writings tell a sensational story, too long to give here, but echoing the Dracula story. (c) I do not know exactly which graves were involved, and if i did, I wouldn't tell. These are, after all, real family vaults in which real people's ancestors lie.

I hope to have time next week to re-edit the article and reinstate my original account, which was clear and factual. If it is then once more deleted, I suggest that the moderators of Wikipedia close down the topic entirely. Jacqueline Simpson]

(a) Wrong. An identification has been proposed which any researcher making the most cursory examination of this case would have discovered.

(b) Wrong. Both Sean Manchester and David Farrant said the vampire phenomenon "glared." Both Sean Manchester and David Farrant reported seeing foxes drained of blood as recorded in the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 6 March 1970, which, having established that he found one such fox, quotes Farrant as follows: "Several other foxes have also been found dead in the cemetery. The odd thing is there is no outward sign of how they died. Much remains unexplained, but what I have recently learnt all points to the vampire theory as being the most likely answer." There is nothing "retrospective" in Sean Manchester's three accounts. One was published at a time when the case had barely begun. The second was the unexpurgated account, but journalisitic in its delivery. The expanded account was published to include the aftermath more comprehensively and to introduce a much more personal element. Most people agree that this third rendition is by far the fullest and most satisfactory as it has the opportunity to reflect on events already distant. Almost any vampire account could be accused of having Draculesque echoes, especially if it takes place in some of the places Bram Stoker drew upon for inspiration. Stoker, of course, researched vampire lore for his gothic masterpiece.

(c) What sort of contribution is: "as far as I know" and "I don't know exactly" etc? Jacqueline Simpson should leave the factual recounting to those who do know and were actually present during the investigation. But she does not want to do that, which is why she has suggested shutting the topic down unless she gets her way by promoting the expoitative works of Bill Ellis and herself, neither of whom know anything about the case, yet both of whom feel qualified to speak as if they did. This is transparent banwagoneering. It is not proper research. (Dennis Crawford, International Secretary, Vampire Research Society)

The article on the Highgate Vampire was originally written from the viewpoint of contemporary/urban legend study, in an objective manner. It is my understanding that Wikipedia wants dispassionate, non-partizan entries. However, this topic does still arouse passions, and my entry has now been twice deleted by somebody preferring to express the Sean Manchester viewpoint and publicise his books and his self-appointed role as an exorcist. I do not wish to censor the contribution of Manchester or his followers adding to the entry, and have therefore left it unchanged, while reinstating a very brief version of my own. I trust the moderators of Wikipedia will allow both to exist side by side, together with anything David Farrant wishes to add, if he wants to join in! [Jacqueline Simpson]

Jacqueline Simpson has absolutely no business referring to Sean Manchester's role as an exorcist as being "self-appointed." He entered the minor order of Exorcistate at Easter 1973 and was appointed by the church in which he later took holy orders. (Dennis Crawford, International Secretary, Vampire Research Society)

[We are talking about 1970, not 1973. At that time SM had no holy orders whatever. Did any Apostolic church, i.e. RC, C of E, Old Catholic, Orthodox, authorise him to instigate the 'vampire hunt' and attempted exorcism at Highgate Cemetery, or later in the house where he says he found a vampiric corpse in the cellar? He has not claimed such authorisation, at any rate in his published books. So 'self appointed' is completely accurate. Moreover, the rank of 'exorcist' to which [Dennis Crawford] refers is a very minor one, normally conferred on young boys in the course of training to be altar servers. In the RC church, if I remember right, it means you can carry the holy water vessel and aspergillium which the priest uses in the processional entry at High Mass. It does NOT entitle the lad to exorcise possessed persons, or vampiric corpses. Such tasks are rare, and are allotted only to very senior, well-balanced, and highly trained priests -- only one or two per diocese. - Jacqueline Simpson]

Jacqueline Simpson is out of touch with facts concerning both minor orders and the Highgate case. Sean Manchester makes clear on page 44 of "The Highgate Vampire" (with a source reference) that "any Christian layman can perform the act of exorcism if no duly-ordained exorcist can be had." In the case of the Highgate Vampire no duly-ordained exorcist was willing to fulfill the task. Even so, Sean Manchester had begun to enter minor (not holy) orders by the turn of the Seventies which would include the Order of Exorcist by Easter 1973. These are not "normally conferred on young boys in the course of training to be altar servers." They are conferred ONLY on candidates who have the intention of becoming priests. They are described as "minor" because they are not sacraments and, unlike holy orders, do not place the recipient under any further obligations in consequence of the orders received if the person later decides on another state of life. In other words, far from being conferred on young altar boys, minor orders are a preparation for the major orders and recall the fact that the priest is the responsible guardian of the house of God and of all the functions performed therein. Her claim that "the rank [sic] of 'exorcist' referred to is a very minor one" is, again, completely erroneous. It is the second highest of the minor orders. So much for self-proclaimed "scholars"! (Dennis Crawford, International Secretary, Vampire Research Society)

[As there used to be seven orders in all, four minor and three major -- the number has since been reduced -- being third from the bottom is indeed pretty Minor! I do not know what is the situation in SM's church, it being a splinter group of the English branch of the Old Catholics, which is an offshoot of the original Old Catholics of Utrecht, themselves schismatics from Rome, but in the RC church alter servers DID used to have minor orders. Being a girl, I never was an altar server, but brothers of friends of mine were, in the 1940s and 50s, and there was never any question of them going on to become subdeacon, deacon, or priest. (I remember teasing one of them, he being about 12 at the time, by telling him my house was haunted and he would have to come and deal with it, because that was what his rank _really_ ought to mean. Which was unkind of me, I admit, but kids do tease.) A 'Student's Catechism' of the 1920s which I have lists all seven orders, minor and major, under the general section 'Holy Orders', but that later changed at Vatican Two, which recognises only Diaconate, Priesthood, and Episcopacy. I do know whereof I speak. - Jacqueline Simpson]

There are five minor orders. Holy (major) orders are quite separate. In order (starting with the first) they are Tonsure, Porter, Reader, Exorcist, Acolyte. The minor and major orders are linked by the Order of the Subdeacon which is still not a sacrament. Is Jacqueline Simpson seriously suggesting that altar boys were tonsured which means the cutting of their hair and their crown shaven? The following is quoted directly from "Ordinations" (published May 1942) which details the minor orders and the major orders for those preparing to receive minor orders: "The historical development of these orders was not the same throughout the Church and, moreover, their functions underwent considerable modifications according to the exigencies of the times. Gradually they lost their original importance. But, although for centuries already many of the functions of the minor orders are performed by laymen, the orders have remained. They now form a fitting preparation for the major orders [deacon, priest, bishop], and recall the fact that, after all, the priest is the responsible guardian of the house of God and of all the functions performed therein; and that, if laymen are employed in rendering such services, the priest must see to it that worthy persons are chosen and that they perform their offices in the proper way."

Sean Manchester's jurisdiction is NOT "a splinter group of the English branch of the Old Catholics." How insulting does Simpson want to become? What she doesn't know about these matters is monumental. All Old Catholic jurisdictions outside the modern Utrecht Church and its satellites (which denomination is now Protestant despite its name) are autocephalous (independent). Sean Manchester's Ecclesia Apostolica Jesu Christi comes within the traditional Old Catholic group of churches who prefer the Old Rite Mass and continue with minor orders etc. The Old Rite and minor orders were left behind and abandoned by the post-Second Vatican Council Roman Catholic Church and modern/liberal Old Catholic churches. Sean Manchester is a radical traditionalist which is why the autocephalous nature of Old Catholicism suits his ministry and leadership. His orders and sacraments are regarded as valid (albeit irregular) by the Roman Catholic Church. He was invited in 1990 to become a Roman Catholic priest by the late Cardinal Basil Hume's ecumenical advisor, Fr Michael Seed, when he accepted an invitation (one of several) to Westminster Cathedral by the cardinal. He chose not to accept priesthood within the RC church because of his inability to reconcile non-negotiable scriptural statements with some of RC doctrine. He was at the time already an Old Catholic priest and happily so. (Dennis Crawford, International Secretary, Vampire Research Society)

['Splinter group' is not insulting, since it leaves open the possibility of a genuine link to the Old Catholics. There is a website and an email address for the London HQ of the Old Catholics in England. I recently enquired there whether the Ecclesia Vetusta Catholica, aka Apostolic Church of the Holy Grail, was affiliated to them, and whether they knew of SM being ordained in the Old Catholic Church. The reply was negative to both questions. Not that this is relevant to the Highgate legend itself, but one does get curious ... - Jacqueline Simpson}

It is not merely the incorrect reference to a "splinter group" made by Simpson, it is her whole attitude and put-down approach, eg "third from the bottom" etc, which, incidentally, is also inaccurate. She cannot see that terms such as "leaves open the possibility of a genuine link to the Old Catholics" are of themselves insulting. Sean Manchester was episcopally consecrated by three Old Catholic bishops, all with recognised successions, orders and jurisdictions. How can it be a "possibility"? It is a fact and one that Jacqueline Simpson obviously has difficulty in grasping. All churches in the traditional Old Catholic discipline belong to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church; as do all Eastern Catholic, Roman Catholic and some other jurisdictions. None are "splinters" as they all form part of the Body of Christ. It was ever so, not least in the Apostolic Age. Hence the ecumenical nature of the Catholic Church which is not just "Roman" but comprises of various manifestations. This matter of ecclesiasticism was first introduced by Simpson in order to cast aspersions on the character of the man who led the Highgate investigation from beginning to end. She doubtless has her own motives for doing so, but they serve nobody other than herself and hardly fit the topic under discussion which is the Highgate Vampire.

A previous entry which Simpson tampered with and sometimes deleted reflected facts as recorded by the orgainsations involved in the case itself, namely the British Occult Society and the Vampire Research Society. Sean Manchester was a leading figure in both societies. Peter Underwood also held membership in both societies as did other influential and greatly respected researchers, eg Devendra P Varma. All three wrote and published material about the Highgate Vampire. Jacqueline Simpson, Bill Ellis and David Farrant owed no connection to the investigation as it is understood by the wider public. (Dennis Crawford, International Secretary, Vampire Research Society)

Sorry to see that you have been having a few minor problems over your extensive research into the so-called Highgate Vampire Case. Well, you might have gathered, I was right at the centre of this hence the reason for this acknowledgement now. Keep up the good work, and do not be deterred by interloping charlatons whose only knowledge in the case (or vampires in general) is what they have ascertained or plagurised from pulp fiction. (David Farrant President of The British Psychic and Occult Society and The Highgate Vampire Society)

Exchanging insults is something that was hoped could be avoided. That seems impossible in certain quarters, as evinced by the "interloping charlatan" remark above; a term, ironically, that has frequently been applied by serious researchers to describe the person making that remark. The entry from Jacqueline Simpson, however, is based on a chapter in Bill Ellis' book "Raising the Devil." It ought to be understood from the outset that Bill Ellis is largely a satanic ritual abuse denier which is evident from his published work. By a curious coincidence, magazines in which Ellis makes journalistic contributions, eg Fortean Times, are invariably hostile towards Christians. (Dennis Crawford, International Secretary, Vampire Research Society)

[This is quite untrue of 'Folklore', where Ellis's work on Highgate first appeared in 1993, and of which I was Editor at the time. To those of you who don't have access to a university library stocking this journal, can I suggest you read as many back issues as you wish on the internet, via JStor. As for my own attitude, I, like Ellis, am a lifelong committed active Christian, and in my writings I have repeatedly made the point that many folkloric beliefs and customs are Christian in their symbolism and origins. - Jacqueline Simpson]

Bill Ellis contributes to publications that deny satanic ritual abuse and occasionally promote occultism. Meanwhile, Sean Manchester has consistently been denied any right of reply when misrepresented in these same journals, eg Fortean Times. No explanation for this apparent censorship has been forthcoming. Ellis nonetheless sought and gained an interview with David Farrant in 1992 on which he placed complete reliance for what he published about the Highgate Vampire case in his article in "Folklore" and a chapter of his book "Raising the Devil."

Bill Ellis describes himself as “a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America” and, moreover, someone “who has taken leadership positions and on occasion taught adult Sunday school and led services [RTD pxii].” Notwithstanding this claim, when contacted the ELCA stated that they had no knowledge of Bill Ellis and “cannot confirm whether he is a member of the ELCA or one of the other Lutheran bodies.” He is clearly not the “leader” he imagines himself to be. He is nonetheless an associate professor of Anglo-American Studies at Pennsylvania State University, USA. He is also a member of the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research. For the “Evangelical Lutheran” Ellis, exorcism is “a means of temporarily inducing an alternative personality … beneficial to some persons for whom conventional psychological or psychiatric therapy fails [RTD p282].” For Sean Manchester, at whom he is more than willing to cast an aspersion [RTD p238], exorcism is the act of casting out demons (Mark 16: 17). It is not alternative therapy for failed psychology. Sean Manchester has specialised for much of his life in the ministry of exorcism, opposing satanic cults and their rising influence, and is now the bishop of an autocephalous jurisdiction within the Catholic Church. A recommendation of his work in this ministry may be found in the Reverend Kevin Logan’s "Satanism and the Occult" (Kingsway, 1994, p163). Sean Manchester was president of the British Occult Society from 1967 until 1988 when the BOS was formally dissolved. The BOS investigated the occult and associated phenomena. It did not engage in, nor did it countenance, occult practices. Sean Manchester is also the founding president of the International Society for the Advancement of Irrefutable Vampirological and Lycanthropic Research (also known as the Vampire Research Society). He has contributed to multifarious television and radio programmes, including many documentaries, over the last three and a half decades. He is consulted for television documentary projects concerned with supernaturalism, vampirism and much to do with the occult, as well as being the author of books that cover these and other topics.

Bill Ellis has not met nor spoken with Sean Manchester or anyone else seriously involved in the investigation of the Highgate Vampire. Simpson completely relies on Ellis for her own comments here and elsewhere on a case in which she also was not involved and for which she relies on unsafe second and third-hand misinformation from dubious sources. (Dennis Crawford, International Secretary, Vampire Research Society)

[Of course I wasn't 'involved'! I'm a scholar of folklore, not a paranormal researcher. Nor was I present when Dick Turpin rode to York or Dick Whittington heard Bow Bells, if they ever did. But I put them in the book too, as it's about publicly known legends and tales, how they begin, how they spread. SM and his friends seem quite unable to grasp the nature of legend study, though it's clearly set out in the book that has so annoyed him, and in many other places too. It is "The Lore of the Land", by Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson, currently available from Penguins as a massive hardback, but due to become a paperback later this year. - Jacqueline Simpson]

Quotes from "The Lore of the Land" by Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson (published 2005) found on pages 472-473 with corrections from the Vampire Research Society that are not to be found in the book:

1. "When the apparition was first discussed in the local press in 1970, it was merely called a ghost."

1. It was called all manner of things when it was first discussed, but had always been described as a vampire from 1965 locally. What Simpson is alluding to is the plethora of readers' letters in the Hamsptead & Highgate Express where correspondents spoke of a figure, spectre, ghost and vampire. The Vampire Research Society, too, often use the term "spectre" as does Sean Manchester in his published account, but this does not contradict it being vampiric. What Simpson is blurring is the fact that vampires have a spectral nature.

2. "The publicity was intitiated by a group of adolescents calling themselves the British Occult Society."

2. An adolescent is someone aged between childhood and adulthood. Sean Manchester was twenty-six years of age at the time of the initial media interest and television interview in 1970. Most of those actively engaged or having interest in the Highgate Vampire case within the British Occult Society were considerably older. This comment is inaccurate, unfair and misleading. The offence is compounded by Simpson's next catastophic blunder.

3. "... David Farrant, their leader, spent the night there ..."

3. David Farrant did not "lead" the British Occult Society. He owed no connection to the British Occult Society. The British Occult Society was originally formed as an umbrella organisation circa 1860. Members who were mine and Sean Mancjester's colleagues included Dennis Wheatley, Peter Underwood, Devendra P Varma and similar luminaries. Prior to its dissolution on 8 August 1988 it was presided over by Sean Manchester. He featured in a programme on 13 March 1970 (Today, Thames Television) to represent the Society’s investigation into reported happenings in and around Highgate Cemetery that had been accumulating since early 1967. A number of witnesses to an alleged vampire spectre were also interviewed by Sandra Harris. These consisted largely of children and a young man who was captioned "David Farrant." Sean Manchester was captioned "President, British Occult Society." There was no confusion as to who "led" the British Occult Society. Farrant did not claim any association at that time.

4. "Hardly two informants gave the same story."

4. What was notable, apart from one or two dubious entries that were probably disingenuous, was the similarity in the accounts recorded by the mass media, including the local press. They virtually all spoke of a tall, floating figure with evil, staring eyes.

5. "... another local youth, Sean Manchester ..."

5. The Oxford Dictionary defines "youth" as "adolescence" and "inexperienced" etc. Sean Manchester was none of these.

6. "... a 'King Vampire from Wallachia' ..."

6. The newspaper in question did not use that precise term, and Sean Manchester did not say anything of the sort. He has explained in a book of his own which Simpson read almost a decade ago, and also in correspondence concerning serious errors in a Folklore Society's Journal article in the mid-Nineties, that the term "King Vampire" was a journalistic embellishment falsely attributed to him.

7. "... both conducted rituals of exorcism ..."

7. Sean Manchester has only once carried out an exorcism at Highgate Cemetery. This was in August 1970 with the permission of the private cemetery owners. It was reconstructed by BBC television two months later for a documentary.

8. "... Manchester challenged Farrant to a 'magical duel' on Parliament Hill on Friday 13th April 1973 ..."

8. Sean Manchester did not challenge Farrant to a "magical duel" as confirmed by statements made by him at the time and coverage of this occasion in the Hampstead & Highgate Express (articles in April and May 1973) and in "From Satan To Christ" (Holy Grail, 1988) where the invitation to exorcise Farrant was incidental to the event itself. Farrant inevitably cried off and failed to appear. The Parliament Hill "Ring of Prayer" on 13 April 1973 had nothing to do with a "magical duel" though some of the tabloid media exploited it as such due to the misinformation they were fed by another party. Onew newspaper was obliged to publish a retraction following a complaint by Sean Manchester.

9. "... Farrant ... was jailed in 1974 for damage to memorials ..."

9. David Farrant was sentenced to four years and eight months imprisonment in June 1974 for malicious damage, ie tomb vandalism, at Highgate Cemetery by inscribing black magic symbols on the floor of a mausoleum; offering indignities to remains of the dead, ie desecration, via black magic rites in Highgate Cemetery where photographs were taken of a naked female accomplice in a tomb where satanic symbols were marked out on the floor; threatening police witnesses in a separate case where his black magic associate, John Russell Pope, was subsequently found guilty of indecent sexual assault on a minor (on his current website, Pope describes himself as a “master of the black arts”); theft of items from Barnet Hospital where Farrant worked briefly as a porter in late 1970; possession of a handgun and ammunition kept at Farrant's address which also contained a black magic altar beneath a massive mural of a face of the Devil that had featured in the press, not least full front page coverage of the Hornsey Journal, 28 September 1973.

10. "... Manchester also founded an Apostolic Church of the Holy Grail of which he is the bishop."

10. At Easter 1973, Sean Manchester founded Ordo Sancti Graal (Order of the Holy Grail), but he is an episcopally consecrated bishop within Ecclesia Vetusta Catholica which ordination took place on 4 October 1991. His ecclesial jurisdiction is known both as the Apostolic Church of the Holy Grail and Ecclesia Apostolica Jesu Christi. A church is where two or more disciples (followers) are gathered in His name. Up until 1991 Sean Manchester came under an extant Old Catholic obedience which, though in communion, by the very nature of Old Catholic churches outside of Utrecht is separate from the autocephalous jurisdiction of Ecclesia Apostolica Jesu Christi of which he is both primate and bishop. Anyone reading "The Grail Church" (published by Holy Grail in 1995) would be aware that the Apostolic Church of the Holy Grail was founded by Jesus Christ. Sean Manchester, therefore, could only hope to restore and revive this ancient jurisdiction. How could he possibly "found" it?

Simpson, who has not met Sean Manchester or communicated with him for research purposes, published the above misleading and inaccurate allegations about him as recently as 2005. Many of Ellis' statements in "Raising the Devil" (published in 2000) are even more inaccurate and some of the press cuttings referred to in his book are misquoted and falsely attributed. This is what Ellis wrote in response to Sean Manchester when the latter brought these facts to his attention:

"... we agree that the contemporary press handling was often inaccurate, and that most subsequent discussions were even more distorted. ... Mr Farrant, since he brought the matter into the papers and was repeatedly arrested for his activities in and around Highgate, clearly was 'central to events' in this sense. Credible, I don't say: I give his explanations for what they're worth and expect that most readers would also recognize that a judge and jury found them unconvincing."

[Two days ago I posted information as to which of these {corrections} of {the Vampire Research Society} have already been dealt with in preparing the paperback version of 'Lore of the Land', as {t}he{y} know perfectly well from correspondence with the publishers and myself. Lo and behold, he (or Crawford) prefers to delete them! Why this insistence on suppressing other people's side of a correspondence? {The case of the Highgate Vampire was executed exclusively by the BOS/VRS. It has absolutely nothing to do with Bill Ellis or Jacqueline Simpson who have exploited it to sell their books}. Even when people are bending over backwards to politely accommodate his objections? I will now recap:

Points 2 & 5. Wording changed to 'young people' and 'young man'.

Point 3. Name of organisation dropped, Farrant referred to simply as a 'member' of 'a group of young people interested in the paranormal'.

Point 6. Words 'which the paper called' inserted. (SM told us this 'is completely acceptable') {Perhaps, but I am not SM}.

Point 8. No reference now to who did the challenging. Instead, neutral phrasing in allusion to press reports: 'rumours spread that a magical duel ...'

Point 10. The name I gave for SM's church was taken from SM's own headed notepaper of a few years ago (photocopy available if requested). I'm interested to see that he (or Crawford) now accepts that this is one of its names (see above), because only a few months ago he was listing my use of it as one of my errors! However, this matter is not relevant to the legend discussion, and I have dropped any mention of the church from the revised article. {So, having referred to his episcopal status in her first edition, Simpson deletes it altogether from her paperback edition. The point Sean Manchester was probably making is that his jurisdiction is most recognised by the nomenclature Ecclesia Apostolica Jesu Christi}.

The other points are rejected, and no changes will be made there. - Jacqueline Simpson]

Though some minor adjustments were made to Ellis' chapter on the Highgate Vampire case (which had been published as an article in Simpson's journal "Folklore" some seven years' prior) it remains fundamentally flawed and a polemic for his extremely subjective viewpoint expressed thousands of miles from the scene of the contagion by a person who came to hear about the case decades after it was closed and the malign influence had been successfully exorcised. (Dennis Crawford, International Secretary, Vampire Research Society)

Readding another anon's comment that got censored; he makes a good point

This discussion is rubbish, and so is the article. We came to Wikipedia to read about this vampire and all we get is people plugging their own books and slagging off one another's, but telling us nothing. And what has all this stuff about churches and choirboys got to do with it? - Who was this vampire, what did he do, which is his grave? If you know anything, tell us. Or else go away, all of you. You're a waste of space. - BELA LUGOSI

You're dead right there. The 'debate' that seems to be surrounding this topic is total nonsense. Neither the article nor this talk page are any use at all. I've added the controversial tag to this page and the confusing tag to the article itself. Beest 19:54, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

This article

The pro-Manchester version of the article violates almost any wiki policy, including wp:npov and WP:NOR (he is neither an impartial nor a reputable source) [THIS IS A LIBELLOUS COMMENT], and it contains almost no info about what actually happened [NOT TRUE IF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THE ENTRY FOR THE HIGHGATE VAMPIRE - IT PROVIDES A COMPREHENSIVE SYNOPSIS OF WHAT HAPPENED], but, in practice, only a lot of advertisements for [Bishop] Manchester's books (Wp:not#Wikipedia_is_not_a_soapbox). I'm going to request a wp:semi-protection, so that you people register; then nobody is going to use shared IPs and getting blocked for policy violations will get much easier. -- 15:13, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Now you have added more info, but presenting the vampire story as the undeniable truth. Take a look at Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:Reliable sources. A folklore scholar like Ellis is mainstream and reputable, his work could be published by a mainstream scholarly journal etc.. A society/organisation that is based on the assumption that vampires exist is not mainstream and its publications wouldn't be published by anybody but itself and other such organisations, + sensationalist press. -- 11:08, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Bill Ellis is neither more reputable nor more acceptable. Ellis published one chapter about Highgate in his book and placed total reliance on someone convicted of tomb desecration and vandalism, plus flawed and (by his own admission) inaccurate press cuttings. He was not commissioned to write "Raising the Devil" and at least one publisher turned it down due to its unsafe content (as Ellis himself revealed). Innumerable statements made by Ellis as "fact" have been demonstrated to be fiction. When the church in which Ellis claims to hold a leadership role was contacted they stated in no uncertain terms that they had never heard of him. "Folklore" (an annual journal) can hardly be described as being any more "a mainstream scholarly journal" than any other journal that proffers the biased viewpoints of its contributors. Ellis and Simpson have absolutely no real knowledge about the Highgate Vampire case as demonstrated by their false assumptions and misplaced reliance. When "Folklore" published Ellis' original article it was so libellous and full of error that a statement was published (on page 108 of the 1996 issue) on behalf of Sean Manchester, recommending his published works for those interested in the Highgate Vampire. The Vampire Research Society is not based on the "assumption that vampires exist." It is based on an agenda of study, research and investigation. Sean Manchester's written accounts about the Highgate Vampire have been published by Leslie Frewin Books, Coronet Books, British Occult Society and Gothic Press. Sean Manchester does not talk to the press, sensational or otherwise, unlike the source on whom Ellis placed reliance, and has only been profiled in reputable newspapers, eg the Sunday Times magazine and various media publications for television.
I'd like to inform you about some rules on Wikipedia. Here, you are supposed to cite reputable sources (Wikipedia:reliable sources). If there is a controversy, you are supposed to describe all points of view (Wikipedia:npov), in a proportion corresponding to their aceptance among scholars and others, whithout stating whuch one of them is "the truth". Manchester, Underwood etc. aren't researchers recognised by mainstream science. You seem to be right that Ellis does not belong to mainstream folklor studies either, but this is nothing in comparison to Manchester's position. If no reliable, neutral source is available, then this article shouldn't exist at all and must be deleted.
In your last edit, you claimed that some parts of Ellis' description of Manchester's account are inaccurate. If you can prove that, citing Manchester's books (including chapter and verse, see Wikipedia:references) about the way to do that), then you are encouraged to do so. Now, concerning "foxes drained of blood", "the police cover-up of the vampiric nature of the incident" etc., you may not state that as facts unless it is generally acknowledged (which it isn't); you may only point out that "X claims/asserts/states that... Y". -- 14:41, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Nothing Ellis adds to the discussion is reliable. How could it be when he depends on sensationalist newspaper reports and a man convicted of crimes at Highgate Cemetery? Nobody has mentioned a "police cover-up of the vampiric nature of the incident." The police and Sean Manchester were in complete agreement about the satanic nature of the incident. The foxes drained of blood was reported in the media and investigated by the RSPCA who could not acquire sufficient blood for a forensic examination. An RSPCA inspector stated in the press that he could not explain how the blood-drained animals had died. All of which is recorded in Sean Manchester's book "The Highgate Vampire." All Bill Ellis and other late-comers have done is jump on a perceived bandwagon to increase sales of their own books. They have contributed nothing beyond what anyone else could have found for themselves; just subjective opinion which everyone holds. Nothing Jacqueline Simpson has contributed is neutral. She has regurgitated Sean Manchester's account mainly and put her own subjective spin on it which is not what people wanting to read about the Highgate Vampire should find when they consult Wikipedia. They can make their own minds up, but they surely want to read an account by someone actually present during the case and who provides a first-hand witness report. Reference link:

You haven't cited sources to substantiate your claims. The fact that Manchester "was present" is countered by the fact that he might be misrepresenting the facts - if he should happen to be a charlatan - and that most of what he wrote can't be confirmed by others. In fact, given the fact that vampires are regarded as legendary creatures by mainstream science, it seems pretty likely that he was lying, and Wikipedia should reflect the position of mainstream science. -- 16:55, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Wikepedia is not a scientific journal. It is an encyclopedia. Wikepedia includes entries on religious faiths and even obscure denominations and cults. That being so, why should it not have an entry about a supernatural phenomenon which existence is supported by some people in certain faiths? Wikepedia does not reflect mainstream science when it covers Christianity, miracles or saints etc. Regarding charlatanry, why is this yardstick not applied to others? Who is to say that Bill Ellis and Jacqueline Simpson, for example, are not misrepresenting the facts? How can they even know the facts given that they had nothing to do with the case? All they are doing is propagating their subjective opinions.

In articles on faiths, Wikipedia describes faiths in a neutral way, without propagating them. If "The Highgate Vampire" were a religious belief, then it would have been okay to describe it as a belief - but not as a fact. Now, in fact, it is not a religious dogma of some sect, it is above all an alleged fact. So the question is which facts we can trace to reputable sources.
As for Bill Ellis, I don't know how reliable he is, but at least his article has been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal (if I'm interpreting this correctly). I'm sure that Manchester's account hasn't. In any case, if Ellis' account isn't accepted as a reliable source, then we are left without reliable secondary sources, and the article should either be deleted altogether, or reduced to a short, neutral and primary source-based overview of what newsstories have appeared, what claims have been made and what interpretations have been proposed. -- 20:03, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

You are seriously mistaken in all your assumptions. "Folklore" is not "a peer-reviewed scientific journal." "Folklore" is the annual journal of the Folklore Society which, by any stretch of the imagination, is not a scientific body. It is the equivalent of The Ghost Club and its journal.

Sean Manchester's account has been well received and published in some of the most respectable journals and periodicals. In fact, too many to list here. His account has enjoyed the support of university professors, eg the late Professor Devendra Prasad Varma, and many other academics. Journalist Mike Hallowell, an ex-policeman, wrote in the "Shields Gazette" 7 December 2000: "The VRS has a strong Christian ethic which warns against dabbling in aspects of the occult which bring nothing but distress and fear." Hallowell correctly observes in this full-page feature: "Seán Manchester is actually the Old Catholic Bishop of Glastonbury and writer of the aforementioned book [The Highgate Vampire] which has been reviewed positively by experts. One [Peter Underwood, author of fifty books and president of the Ghost Club Society] commented that Bishop Manchester's work was 'probably the most remarkable contemporary account of vampiric activity and infestation ~ and cure.' . The same expert, after reviewing Bishop Manchester's findings, added, 'The evidence seems to be overwhelming and the author is to be congratulated on his lucid account of the case which is likely to become one of the classic works on this interesting and mystifying subject'."

Neither Bill Ellis' nor Jacqueline Simpson's attacks on Sean Manchester have received respectable support save in their own publications which they edit and self-publish. Ellis' account is risible in its catalogue of error. Others have also commented on the unreliability of his account.

The most damning piece of evidence against Ellis is his private correspondence to Sean Manchester where he admits that the press cuttings he employed in his "research" were unreliable as was the only person he interviewed for his account. Ellis blames Sean Manchester for not providing an interview but, as already stated, Sean Manchester is very selective in giving interviews and did not like Ellis' approach.

Jacqueline Simpson has taken to systematically deleting additional contributions from me to the Wikepedia entry on the Highgate Vampire. Her own contribution includes misrepresentation, falsehood and libel.

I am reasonably certain that Simpson wants the entry itself to be cancelled and removed. Hence the abusive and untrue remarks about Sean Manchester introduced by her. It cannot be accepted that she is allowed to allude to desecration and vandalism, accuse Sean Manchester of breaking open doors and wrenching off lids when none of this happened.

I know what I am talking about. I accompanied Sean Manchester, who I have known for most of my life, as part of the team in the incidents mentioned. It can categorically be stated here and now that there was no need to break open any door because such doors were unlocked and open. There was also no need to wrench off any lid because the lid in question was loose. These are defamatory claims employed by Simpson to inflame the situation. She cannot state anything she is saying, none of which is neutral, as being fact. She is merely publishing her opinion, albeit a derisory one, about matters she could not possibly know about because she was not present and has not spoken to anyone who was. She has proved herself to be a trouble-maker out to close the entry, something she might now succeed in doing. I would like to be informed of the procedure for reporting abusive and libellous contributions such as made by her.

1. First of all, I'd like to point out that you are prefectly free to make constructive edits to the article. According to Wikipedia rules, in which you have been refusing to show any interest for two days now, you are perfectly entitled to mention Manchester's counterclaim about the door etc., provided that you cite your source (Manchester's book, page number etc.). Similarly, if Simpson doesn't provide her source for that claim (Ellis, with page number), it can be deleted (normal practice is to put a {{Fact}} tag beside the statement, then wait some time and, if no source is provided, move it to the talk page). However, what you are engaging in now is vandalism (inserting parenthetical comments, using totally non-neutral language etc.), and that's why a perfectly uninvolved Wikipedian, User:Discospinster has been reverting your edits yesterday. The only reason why you haven't been blocked yet is probably because you are using a shared IP address. So I'd like to invite you one more time to become acquainted with Wikipedia rules and policies and then contribute to the article in accordance with them.
Now - for the other things:
2. The fact that you have been part of the team etc. is not an argument on Wikipedia, because using your own experience qualifies as original research (see Wikipedia:no original research). Your sources must be verifiable by anybody.
3. Calling Peter Underwood or any other "ghost expert" "a serious and respected researcher" is ridiculous. This has nothing to do with mainstream science. The fact that Underwood is willing to vouch for Manchester and vice versa doesn't make any difference. If, say, Encyclopedia Britannica had been willing to describe the "findings" of these gentlemen, that would have been a different story.
4. About the Folklore society, here is what a brief "research" with Google gives us. The site of the Journal Folklore itself says that it is peer-reviewed. Its editor is Prof. Patricia Lysaght, an Associate Professor of European Ethnology. According to their site, members of the Committee include Dr Marion Bowman, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Religious Studies at The Open University, Dr Elaine Bradtke (the author of several books on Folklore), an Honorary Research Fellow at the National Centre for English Cultural Tradition at the University of Sheffield, Dr James H. Grayson, a scholar of Korean religion and other religions at the same university, etc.. Thus, there seems to be a difference between The Folklore Society and the Vampire Research Society (let alone the fact that at least the subject of the first society is known to exist :)). -- 15:23, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

The Vampire Research Society evolved out of the British Occult Society (1860-1988) in February 1970. Both societies were presided over by Seán Manchester. The Ghost Club Society, British Occult Society and Vampire Research Society have kindred roots. There has been cross-fertilisation of membership and some executives, notably Peter Underwood FRSA and Dr Devendra P Varma, shared high office in all three societies. Seán Manchester is an Honorary Life Member of the Ghost Club Society and founding President of the Vampire Research Society, having been President of the British Occult Society from 21 June 1967 until dissolution of that society on 8 August 1988.

1851 The Ghost Club Society founded in Cambridge. Members include E. W. Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury and Arthur Balfour, later Prime Minister.

1862 The London Ghost Club. Members include the Hon. A.Gordon, Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick: a Canon of Westminster and the Registrar of Cambridge University.

1882-1936 First revival. Members include Sir William Crookes, Sir William Barratt, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Oliver Lodge, W. B. Yeats and Harry Price.

1938 -1947 Second revival. With Harry Price as Chairman. Members include Lord Amwell, Algernon Blackwood, Mrs K. M. (Mollie Goldney, Sir Ernest Jelf, K. E. Shelley QC, Sir Osbert Sitwell, Dr Paul Tabori and Peter Underwood.

1954 -1993 Third revival. With Peter Underwood as President. Members K. E. Shelley QC, Dr Christabel Nicholson,Dr Paul Tabori, Donald Campbell MBE, Peter Sellers,Dennis Wheatley, Dr George Owen, Lord Dowding, Ena Twigg and Sir Julian Huxley. Honorary Life Members include Dennis Bardens, Mrs Michael Bentine, Colonel John Blashord-Snell, Miss Sarah Miles, Miss Jilly Cooper, Dr A R G Owen, Miss Dulcie Gray, Sir Patrick Moore, Mr Uri Geller, and Bishop Seán Manchester. Peter Underwood is Life President and Colin Wilson is vice-President of the Ghost Club Society.

At various times from the mid-19th century until 1988 when the British Occult Society was formally dissolved there has been membership cross-fertilisation between the British Occult Society and the Ghost Club Society.