Seeking Vampires in London

Circle of Lebanon, Highgate Cemetery, West Cemetery. (Erin Chapman)

On Aug. 21, 2014 my other half and I decided to plan an impulsive, last minute trip to England. We were originally planning to go this Christmas so we could do the whole family thing, but due to the high cost of flight tickets, we decided to pack up and go with a week to plan and get ready, taking advantage of the end of the summer deals.

To make matters more complicated, “getting ready” didn’t just involve the usual preparation for work, packing my suitcase, taking the turtles to the babysitter (my mum) or sorting out tickets; for the record, I have been to the UK about seven times now. What made this trip unique was I had an ulterior motive. Vampires, of course!

Last November, when serendipity smiled on me and I met Anthony, he opened my eyes into the whole Highgate Vampire saga. I was totally intrigued from the start. I am sure many of you are familiar with the case, but if you’re not according to Wikipedia,

Many popular books on ghosts, like the book called “The Highgate Vampire”, mention a vampire which purportedly haunted Highgate Cemetery in the early 1970s. The growth of its reputation, which can be traced through contemporary media reports and subsequent books by two participants, Seán Manchester and David Farrant, is an example of modern legend-building. The most academic account is given by a folklore scholar, Professor Bill Ellis, in the journal Folklore. He writes from the viewpoint of sociological legend study; this concerns public perceptions of a real or purported event, and how these are shaped into a narrative by processes of rumour, selection, exaggeration and stereotyping.

Anthony has been actively studying and researching the case since 2006. One of the first articles I read on the subject was on his blog, Did a Wampyr Walk in Highgate?: “Vampire$” (Sept. 9, 2013) I also recommend checking out a podcast interview he did with Trystan Swale for Fortean Radio, “Episode #3 – Anthony Hogg” (Mar. 2, 2013), which he explains how he became involved with the case.

Speaking of Swale, he wrote a brilliant summary of the case on Mysterious Times called, “The Highgate Vampire – An Exercise in Deception?” (Mar. 27, 2014) This one is a must read! Now, I could spend pages getting into the drama associated with this case and as Anthony explains it, the three narratives: the media phenomenon, Sean Manchester and David Farrant. But we aren’t here to discuss that.

Through our discussions, Anthony expressed the challenging bit of researching a topic that was so active in the media occurring over 40 years ago, was all sources are super-expensive and not easily obtained. We are talking more newspaper articles than you can shake a stick at people!

So in order to help out a friend, I offered to slot in a visit to the British Library. But to make matters more complex, I was only going to be in London for two days before heading to Devon for the duration of our trip. Since I was going to be in London, the other priority for me was visiting Highgate Cemetery to see where it all went down.


We had to contact the British Library in advance, because you can’t just walk in and pick this stuff up off the shelves. I was armed with a list of newspaper and magazine article citations so I knew what I was looking for, but I also had to plan my itinerary for the trip including travel directions, book a hotel and train tickets, and coordinate other places I wanted to see in the two days.

To add to the stress level, I had just gotten the green light for a phone interview the day before I flew out with Charles Runels, the Vampire Facelift creator, which meant Anthony and I had to create interview questions. Phew! I can tell ya, it was a strenuous week, and this didn’t even include my obligations at work.

The business with the library started with some quick research on their site and an inquiry email. On Aug. 16, 2014 I contacted the London Library initially, to see if they had the material we were looking for and they confirmed the best source would be the British Library. I emailed them again later that day, and two days later I had my answers:

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 7.39.19 PM

The sucky part was their entire hard copy newspaper collection was in the midst of a gigantic move. Argh! So this meant the only avenue was microfilm. I wanted to ensure what we needed was available on microfilm so I sent the library assistant I had been emailing a list of 113 citations. She must have crapped herself when she saw the list:

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She was extremely helpful and thorough: she actually went through my entire list and provided the shelf marks for each source that they had available and also explained the complex process of ordering materials. Due to time constraints on my end, Anthony was delegated with the task of ordering all the microfilms, which took him hours.

We created an account for me and went from there. The next task was to create a “priority list” for the preferred articles, since there was no way I could locate 113 titles in a three hour window. By the way, this was the only time frame I could squeeze in.

The night before I left, we went over everything. I had a folder containing maps, directions, hours of operations, itinerary details and a well marked up and highlighted list for the library. Also to prep me for Highgate, Anthony recommended getting a copy of Paul Adams’ Written in Blood: A Cultural History of the British Vampire (2014), which touched on the Highgate Vampire. Getting a physical copy was out of the question so a Kindle version had to suffice.

Visiting the British Library

The British Library
The British Library, St. Pancras branch. (Erin Chapman)

To set the scene for my library adventure, we flew out on Aug. 28 at 1:35 p.m. For some reason, I have this weird aversion to sleeping on planes, always have done. So I stayed up super late the night before chatting with Anthony till about 3:30 a.m., hoping that by the time we were on the plane I would simply fall asleep because I was exhausted. No dice!

I slept maybe an hour so by the time we landed in Gatwick, it was 7 a.m. on Aug. 29. I had basically been awake for over 24 hours now, with only a one hour nap and four hours of sleep the night before we left, so to say I was knackered was an understatement.

We made our way through the airport, caught our train to London. The one hiccup in my planning was I didn’t bank on being caught in rush-hour on a Friday morning in downtown London. The tube station was overflowing with people worse than the Olympics when they were downtown Vancouver, and trying to make your way to the ticket booth was ridiculous. Thankfully we only had our backpacks and my camera case to carry. We had dumped the luggage at the airport with some relatives.

After a long wait we had our day pass for the Tube and caught the train to the British Library’s St. Pancras branch, where the library’s newsroom is located.

We got there early and since they don’t open until 9:30 a.m., we headed across the street to a little Irish Pub called O’Neills in King’s Cross for some brekkie. I have to say my veggie breakfast had the best mushrooms I have ever eaten!

So, having never have visited the library I wasn’t familiar with their procedures. I figured, logically, go the the Newsroom on the second floor and I would go from there. Boy, was I wrong! When I walked in I felt like I had just entered Fort Knox. I would have taken a picture, but that was on one of the signs, no photographs.

There was a huge waiting room and then through a set of glass doors a security guard watching who went in and out, like a bank. I had my print out with my account number and right away he asked for my Reader Pass. I explained I didn’t have one, so he sent me downstairs to administration to obtain one. He said no one enters without it.

We went back downstairs, found the right place, then I had to wait my turn. The lady asked if I had registered, so I gave her my ID number and she explained you had to have photo ID to get into the reading room. I had to get my own library card done before heading back upstairs.

My first thoughts were awesome! I haven’t showered in 24 hours or slept and you want to take my photo! After about a 10 minute wait, I was officially a member of the British Library. Funny enough my bad photo ID badge is one of my favourite souvenirs of my trip.

My favourite souvenir!
My favourite souvenir: my very own British Library card! (Library card number ‘shopped off for privacy purposes) (Erin Chapman)

The lady gave me this pamphlet and advised us to put all our belongings in a locker, since you’re not allowed to even bring a handbag into the Reading Room. We then searched and found the locker room in the basement level and made our way back up stairs with only my Reader Pass, file folder and my pockets stuffed with my wallet and iPhone.

Reading Room
Reading Room requirements pamphlet. (Erin Chapman)

This time, the security guard was way more helpful once I showed him my pass and he directed me to the info counter where reserved materials can be picked up. The one thing we didn’t count on was my other half was not allowed in the Reading Room with me because he didn’t have library ID.

The guy was not going to budge on this one, so he had to sit in the waiting room, with his cell phone to amuse him. Let’s say he wasn’t too impressed and either was I. We made the assumption he was going to help me and be more efficient with our time. Guess not.

I told the woman my name and right away she was like, “Oh, we have been expecting you.” She knew my last name because all the material Anthony had ordered covered an entire shelf. She expressed how no one EVER orders this much and I must plan on being there for a week.

I am not gonna lie: I was a little overwhelmed when I saw all the boxes and was thinking what did I get myself into? What did Anthony do? First off, you are only allowed to take six microfilms from the desk at one given time so this slowed everything down a bit too.

She took me over to a microfilm station and gave me a quick tutorial on how to use the actual machine and the software. In my current sleep deprived state, I didn’t absorb much and had to go ask for help a few times after that. It wasn’t until a new woman came on shift about 20 minutes later that my search sped up.

She explained the reason I had so many films was Anthony ordered for the entire year instead of just being specific and getting only say one month. In his defence, we both looked at the site and didn’t see an option for this. She said most people don’t know, you just put a “note” in the request.

She looked at my four page priority list of 26 entries—which Anthony had trimmed down from his complete list—and took out all the boxes that were redundant. This cleared out half of the shelf right away. By this time, I had been there already an hour so I knew I had to make more efficient use of my time.

I scanned the list and went searching for the articles he had specific dates and page numbers for. Some article citations were only descriptions and phrases. Scrolling through the actual newspapers, seeing what was published back in the day was amazing and I couldn’t help but think how much Anthony would have enjoyed it.

Each time I found one, I got a little excited like a kid finding stuff on a scavenger hunt. To actually print the articles once I found them, you had to go back to security and put cash on your library account. Each print out was 26 pence and came out at the other end of the room, but to print it you had to select it on the microfilm machine first, go to another computer, log in and select from the print queue and then wait. They didn’t make this easy at all!

By the time I was done, my three hour journey through the world of the Highgate Vampire, David Farrant and Sean Manchester, I had collected 13 out of 26, but the bonus was I stumbled upon a few extras Anthony hadn’t seen before. I knew he would be super-excited to see these treasures, but that would have to wait till later.

Read ’em and weep! (Erin Chapman)

At this point, I was beyond exhausted mentally and physically. I have no idea how I pulled off finding what I did because I felt like a zombie. I think I got on an adrenaline high and just kept pushing myself. Who would have thought you could get one of those in a library of all places?

I returned all the unused materials and thanked the mystery lady behind the counter for all her help. She asked if I would be back tomorrow and explained I came from Canada and had no time. I apologized for all the unused materials and she said it was no problem.

We picked up all our stuff from our lockers and I tucked away my little gems in a folder I brought with me. By the time we left, lets say my other half was not thrilled with how long it took me despite warning him before we went so we had words outside.


Downtown London. (Erin Chapman)

We still had three hours to kill before we could check into the hotel, which was all the way over by St. Paul’s Cathedral. Instead of taking the Tube, which was my preference we ended up walking and along the way made some touristy type stops at Trafalgar Square, the Parliament buildings, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey.

In total, by the time we reached the hotel my Fitbit reader said we clocked 24 km that day, not bad considering I still had evening plans. I desperately wanted to shower and the deal was we would have an hour nap and then head out again, if we were both able to wake up.

About 6:30 p.m. we woke up and ventured to my other favourite place in London, the British Museum. Due to my planning, I was fortunate they were open till 8:30 p.m. on Friday evenings. We spent a couple hours of mostly me wondering the exhibits taking photos as he tagged along, which is a quick walk through considering when I went there last time about 13 years ago I spent two days just at this museum.

Honestly I was too tired, but it was my only chance to go so had to make the most of it. By 9:30 p.m., we were back at the hotel chilling out watching TV, having some much-deserved alcoholic beverages and for me catching up on my Facebook notifications. Being without my iPhone was killing me! I felt so disconnected. Not to mention taking things for granted like looking up directions or info while we were out and about. I didn’t even make it half way through my first drink and I passed out.

Due to my fucked-up time clock with time zone changes and jet lag, I woke up at 3:20 a.m. and was glad to see Anthony online. I sent him some screen shots of my research with my phone and he was as happy as a kid in a candy store. I didn’t end up going back to sleep that night, so stayed up chatting for a bit, then watched some TV and ventured outside about 7 a.m. looking for some place open for brekkie.

Visiting Highgate Cemetery

My ticket to visiting Highgate Cemetery. (Erin Chapman)

We found a quaint little diner up the street called Gerry’s Cafe and each had a full English, mine the veggie option of course. We had to kill time since Highgate didn’t open until 11 a.m. so we checked out and made our way to the Tower Bridge for some photos before catching the Northern Line to Highgate.

We got out of the station and walked up Highgate Hill past the uni and a number of shops. According to the map you could take a seven minute bus ride or a 20 minute walk.

Map courtesy of
Map of Highgate Cemetery. (Highgate Cemetery)

Due to lack of sleep and being knackered from the lengthy walk the day before we opted for bus and walking. We went two stops and got off across from Waterlow Park with a number of other people. An older couple asked if we were going to Highgate Cemetery so she said they would tag along with us. The trail for the park comes out just across the entrance to the cemetery.

Main Gate, Highgate Cemetery, West Cemetery. (Erin Chapman)

I went in the chapel to purchase our tickets and managed to get a spot on the 11:30 a.m. tour. On the weekends, you simply show up and buy tickets for the next available time. If you go on a weekday you have to book in advance as they only offer one tour per day.

The place is only run by volunteers, so I am assuming that is why the lack of tours on weekdays. The man behind the desk was super friendly and asked where I was from, on account of my unusual accent. Something I get quite a bit over there. I think it is cute how people tend to look at Canada as a small place.

He told me a little story of how his wife and him visited Banff this summer and asked if I had been. For anyone not from here, Banff is located in the next province over from where I live about 850 km away, so not really that close.

West Cemetery

Colonnade, Highgate Cemetery, West Cemetery. (Erin Chapman)

As we waited outside with the other people in the courtyard by the Colonnade for the guide to start the tour, my ears perked at the mention of Sean Manchester and I smiled to myself. These two old women were discussing how the cemetery was famous from back in the day and how they saw him in the media. Funny thing is before I left, Anthony advised me NOT to mention the “vampire” on the tour.

Apparently, they don’t take to kindly to the whole topic and its rumoured they could kick you off the tour so I wasn’t going to take any chances. Reminds me of the movie Fight Club. First rule of Highgate, is no one talks about the vampire!

Finally, a very short, stocky man came out in a bright pink shirt, introduced himself and went over some rules. There was about 15 people on the tour and he said they usually max out at 20 only. Everyone was supposed to stick together, no straggling would be tolerated. No venturing off the trail because due to the current state of the cemetery you could end up getting injured.

He said if you are going to take pictures you have to be quick and stay with the group, since we only had an hour to get through the entire cemetery. There was also a few places you were forbidden to take pictures of as well. This included the the Beer Mausoleum and the Terrace Catacombs.

We went up the path on the left of the Colonnade and made a brief stops along the way. The only difficult part I found was trying to listen to the guide, who was extremely knowledgeable and knew his shit and take as many pics as I could at the same time. I did end up missing big chunks of it, but it was for a good cause.

I’m not going to try to explain the ambiance of the cemetery as my pictures speak for themselves, besides saying the whole experience was breath taking. For me it was like taphophile goodness overload! Everything looked natural, undisturbed and as it should.

Path leading from Main Gate, Highgate Cemetery, West Cemetery. (Erin Chapman)

I enjoyed hearing about the symbolism for all the gravestones, explaining why people chose what markers they did. Grapes signified the blood of Christ, poppies signified eternal sleep, bibles and books symbolized someone devoted to religion or a member of the clergy. Also hearing the history about the cemetery was fascinating. Apparently at one point, women weren’t even allowed to come and pay their respects back in the day.

Another little bit of prep work Anthony helped me do was put together a pdf document of some key locations in the cemetery that directly linked to the Highgate Vampire case. I actually had this printout stuck in my pocket and kept referencing the whole time.

Egyptian Avenue
Egyptian Avenue, Highgate Cemetery, West Cemetery. (Erin Chapman)

We made our way up Egyptian Avenue, at the top of the main path. As you can see from the picture it is gorgeous in itself. Apparently there used to be a roof to the actual structure, which over the years deteriorated. As you walked up each side was lined with eight private vaults and each vault had the ability to house 12 coffins. Back in the day, the assumed this would be popular with customers, but turned out to backfire as none of the vaults are completely full.

The Circle of Lebanon
Circle of Lebanon, Highgate Cemetery, West Cemetery. (Erin Chapman)

The top of Egyptian Avenue connects directly with the Circle of Lebanon, which is you guessed it a large circular structure housing 20 chambers. In the centre is a towering cedar tree that was thought to be at least 100 years when it was constructed. This is where I accidentally found one of my reference pics I was on the look out for.

We were standing at the bottom of the steps at the Circle of Lebanon and right away I recognized the structures and out of the corner of my eye I spotted the tomb of Charles Fisher Wace.

Almost missed it! Charles Fisher Wace 1872 tomb.
Charles Fisher Wave vault, on left. (Erin Chapman)

You may be wondering why this is significant? Sean Manchester claimed this was the tomb the infamous Highgate Vampire temporarily rested in. Again, I didn’t want to get in shit so while he was talking I snuck off to the side a bit and got the best shot I could without being obvious.

Tomb comparison, Highgate Vampire (updated)
Left: Charles Fisher Wace vault. (Erin Chapman) Right: Originally, you would have seen two pictures of Sean Manchester visiting the “vampire” tomb, i.e. the Charles Fisher Wace vault, courtesy of an extract from Sean Manchester’s The Highgate Vampire: The Infernal World of the Undead Unearthed at London’s Famous Highgate Cemetery and Environs (London: British Occult Society, 1985), p. 61. However, Manchester doesn’t want us to show it to you, so we’ve been forced to remove it.

As you can see, it’s no longer bricked up. However, contrary to Manchester’s claim it was “bricked up and sealed with garlic,” it’s much more more likely it was bricked up to protect it from cemetery vandals who plagued the cemetery during the 1970s. Our guide led the tour around the other way, which I have a feeling he did this to avoid this tomb, but I am just speculating.

This area of the cemetery ended up selling out, so they decided to add an outer circle that held another 16 vaults, which each could accommodate 15 coffins. In 1894, one of the vaults was turned into the Columbarium, a place for cremated folks to reside.

Columbarium, Highgate Cemetery, West Cemetery. (Erin Chapman)

The next stop was the Terrace Catacombs and I have to admit, it was the only real spooky part of the cemetery. This was one area where we were asked to turn off all cameras and when we filed through the door we were greeted by a musky darkness with only the volunteer’s flashlight illuminating the way.

Entrance to the Catacombs
Entrance to the Terrace Catacombs, Highgate Cemetery, West Cemetery. (Erin Chapman)

You could only walk about a 100 feet and they had barriers put up to prevent people from exploring further. It was built in 1838 and has 825 spots in the walls for the undead. It was like going back in time as everything was undisturbed and dusty.

If you were inclined you could reach out and open some of the coffins that poked out from the wall. Some actually were cracked open and it blew my mind that so many dead bodies were stacked like books in a shelf.

Outside the Catacombs was the Beer Mausoleum and again we were told photos of the actual structure is fine, but we weren’t allowed to attempt an pics through the small glass windows. This was a shame, inside was a beautiful angle delicately holding a little girl, again frozen in time.

The Beer Mausoleum
The Beer Mausoleum, Highgate Cemetery, West Cemetery. (Erin Chapman)

Construction of the mausoleum began in 1836 and to date it is the most extravagant monument in the entire cemetery. Julius Beer (1836–1880) purchased the plot back in the day for only £800 and spent another £5000 to construct the magnificent structure that is still standing today. The child being held by the angel is meant to be his daughter Ada, who passed on at age eight.

Besides being a glorious work of art, this structure is relevant to the case due to a “mix-up.” Sean Manchester photographed a woman he named “Lusia” standing outside a tomb that supposedly housed the vampire, the same tomb he supposedly had bricked up. However, as David Farrant reveals in a blog post called, “The Wrong Tomb!” (Mar. 28, 2011):

Gareth [Medway, Vice-President of the British Psychic and Occult Society] got a ‘surprise’ picture for me himself, which showed him pointing to the grilled gateway below the Julius Beer mausoleum; where ‘Lusia’ had apparently led an intrepid group of self-styled ‘vampire hunters’ in 1970 (in fact it was claimed she was ‘sleepwalking’ one night) and that she said   that the ‘vampire’ lived inside. This photograph of ‘Lusia’ was actually used in a self-published book on the subject [Sean Manchester’s The Highgate Vampire: The Infernal World of the Undead Unearthed at London’s Famous Highgate Cemetery and Environs] released with ‘best-seller’ anticipation in 1985; and this fictional work  claimed to tell the full story of the mysterious Highgate ‘vampire’.  (Hmmmm!)

Problem is,  its author was going on an erroneous assumption that the Julius Beer mausoleum was in fact an entrace to the Terraced Catacombs  towering some 20 feet above.  He failed to release that the Julius Beer vault was completely self-contained and that the entrance (Gareth is pointing to) was in fact, a ‘dead end’.  Or in other words, the ‘sleeping Lusia’ had been asked to pose outside the wrong vault!

Beer tomb comparison (updated)
Left: Originally, you would have seen “Lusia” pointing at the supposed vampire tomb c. 1970., courtesy of an extract from Sean Manchester’s The Highgate Vampire: The Infernal World of the Undead Unearthed at London’s Famous Highgate Cemetery and Environs (London: British Occult Society, 1985), p. 31. We have been forced to remove the image. Right: Gareth Medway points to the same tomb in 2011. (The Human Touch)

The last leg of the tour led us down a path that hosted new burials. This was the only section of the cemetery where new plots could be purchased. Again we were asked to take no pictures until we made it to the bottom of the hill beside the War Memorial.

As we stood at the bottom and the guide wrapped up a tour I noticed a cat come strolling up until he was in the middle of everyone and then dropped to the ground and started rolling around. We were told the cat was pretty vicious and not to pat her. He said she just kind of lives in the cemetery and wonders around, she isn’t officially anyone’s cat. He then showed us a little memorial plaque on the Colonnade for the last cat they had that died.

After the tour, I made bee line for the church as I noticed some books they had on sale when I purchased our tickets. I picked up a couple of copies of Jane Bulmer’s Highgate Cemetery: Saved by Its Friends (2014). One copy for me and another one to send Anthony.

This was a book you would only be able to buy here, so I knew he would appreciate a copy. Essentially, it was a guide book to the cemetery full of recommended famous graves to visit along with some historical tidbits and facts. I also picked up a copy of Trevor Yorke’s Gravestones, Tombs & Memorials (2010; rpt. 2014). Spent £17 in total, so not bad considering I got three books out of the deal.

East Cemetery

Map of the East Cemetery. (Erin Chapman)

So, the bonus of your ticket to the West Cemetery was it granted you entrance to the East Cemetery, located across the street. We crossed the street, went through the ticket booth and picked up a free map. I wasn’t as interested in this side, but it was a cemetery so I was in my element.

By this time it was getting pretty hot out and the midday sun was making it uncomfortable carrying my heavy backpack so we hurried along, this time searching for some specific graves my other half wanted to check out. We went on the hunt and found the graves of Karl Marx (1818–1883), Malcolm McLaren (1946–2010), and Jeremy Beadle (1948–2008).

Path leading from the East Cemetery entrance. (Erin Chapman)

This side definitely didn’t have as much character and garden overgrowth as the West side, but it was still beautiful. It was more modern and as you made your way towards the back, you could see some older sections resembling the ambiance of the West side. We did a giant loop and ended back at the entrance and I had one more mission left as per Anthony’s instructions.

The North Gate

I needed to get a photo of the famous North Gate of the West Cemetery. I consulted my map and discovered it was up a massive hill near the top of Swain’s Lane. My other half took one look at the hill, laughed and was like, “you’re on your own.” So he found a park bench in Waterlow Park and planted himself with our bags so I could make it up and back faster.

I tell you that was one steep ass hill! No joke, by the time I reached the top I was dripping with sweat and out of breath. I pulled out the picture I had printed in my pocket to ensure I was in the right place and was happy to discover I was. I snapped a couple of photos, trying to avoid the cemetery workers that looked like they were taking a lunch break.

The North Gate, Swains Lane. (Erin Chapman)

If you are unfamiliar with the case, you may be wondering why the North Gate is so important. This key location is extremely significant because it is where David Farrant claims to have seen the “vampire” for the first time on December 24, 1969, in a letter to the Hampstead & Highgate Express (Feb. 6, 1970):

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, only a few yards inside the gates. This time it was there 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.

Farrant’s letter triggered off other responses, which eventually lead to Sean Manchester declaring the “ghost” was actually a vampire. Public interest lead to a famous mass vampire hunt on Mar. 13, 1970. As I walked down Swain’s Lane towards the park, I admired the high walls of the cemetery and imagined what it looked like 44 years ago.

from David's site
Extract from “Satan Riddle of Open Tomb,” Evening News (London) (Mar. 14, 1970), p. 1. (Evening News/David Farrant)

I have to say, I had an overwhelming sense of accomplishment at this point. I had travelled all the way from Vancouver, Canada, to relive part of history and in the last two days I managed to obtain some research for Anthony and see first hand where the whole Highgate Vampire saga took place.

Finishing this article was the last piece to my vampire travel adventure and overall, I consider the trip a success. Planning was the key to pulling this off in such a short window and I couldn’t have done it without Anthony’s help. I’ve discovered I love the chase and what I mean by that, looking for answers.

In this case, I ventured into the field, mind you pretty far from home, and found what I wanted to know. Writing for this website has sparked an investigate fire I didn’t know I had and I can tell you this won’t be the only travel segment. Who knows where research will take me next?

If you’re planning on visiting the British Library, check out its website for information about access to its collection. They’re also currently hosting an exhibition called, Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination, which runs until Jan. 20, 2015.

If you want to visit Highgate Cemetery, check out their website for pricing and to see when tours are running. The cemetery prefers to focus on its famous residents instead of the Highgate Vampire account, which triggered a wave of vandalism the cemetery’s still recovering from. So, a good rule of thumb is “don’t mention the vampire”!

Speaking of vampires, “Lusia,” a supposed victim of the vampire, was actually one of Sean Manchester’s former lovers, Jacqueline Cooper—who’s very much alive. Let’s say the Highgate Vampire case has more holes than a sieve.

Erin’s phone interview with Dr. Charles Runels was published last month. If you want to see more of Erin’s wonderful cemetery pics, click this link.

Update: Nov. 19, 2014

Due to a “Notification of Copyright or DMCA Infringement Complaint” issued by Sean Manchester to our webhost, we’ve been forced to take down three photographs originally featured in this article. The first two featured on the right side of Erin Chapman’s Charles Fisher Wace vault photograph. Both pictures were taken from a book which was given full credit. 

They were intended as a side-by-side comparison to Erin Chapman’s Charles Fisher Wace vault photograph, originally captioned: “Left: Charles Fisher Wace vault. (Erin Chapman) Right: Sean Manchester visits “vampire” tomb. Extract from Sean Manchester, The Highgate Vampire: The Infernal World of the Undead Unearthed at London’s Famous Highgate Cemetery and Environs (London: British Occult Society, 1985), p. 61. (Sean Manchester).” The caption has been revised to reflect the photograph’s removal.

The third photograph was another side-by-side comparison which incorporated a photograph from the same book. The comparison photograph was originally captioned: “Left: ‘Lusia’ points at the supposed vampire tomb c. 1970. Extract from Sean Manchester, The Highgate Vampire: The Infernal World of the Undead Unearthed at London’s Famous Highgate Cemetery and Environs (London: British Occult Society, 1985), p. 31. (Sean Manchester) Right: Gareth Medway points to the same tomb in 2011. (The Human Touch).” The caption has also been revised to reflect the redaction.

We believe we have used the photographs in context with “Fair Use” provisions (specifically commentary and criticism clauses) and will be contesting Sean Manchester’s claim. We shall keep you posted on our web host’s legal department’s ruling.


  1. Interesting article. I missed Highgate Cemetery on my last visit to London. I used to live there, but moved to Canada in 1994 where I current live (Calgary). I currently own two books that cover this subject, Peter Underwood’s “Vampires Bedside Companion”, and Sean Manchester’s ‘The Highgate Vampire.’

    If you are visiting Highgate Cematery again, may I suggest that you take a pair of private investigator glasses? This will allow you to film inside the Terrace catacombs without arousing suspicion. Another useful tool is a spy pen, which will also record your surroundings very discreetly.



    I use a camera watch which is just as good, but the glasses will do the trick and record everything you are looking at.

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