"Sean was always very reluctant to discuss the Highgate Vampire case at group dinners et cetera, but I do remember that often, just when the conversation was being diverted away, he would find some reason to slip in one of his favourite Goebbels quotes; that is: "If you tell a big enough lie and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." I never had much interest in the vampire business by which Sean made his name, but I do recall that whenever he used this phrase, even in unrelated contexts, he and Eggmanne would smile and exchange knowing looks, which made the rest of the party feel rather left out and uncomfortable through their ignorance." — Kevin Chesham (February 2012)
Though I have might have used that phrase in the context of David Farrant repeating his falsehoods in the hope that if he repeated them often enough folk would believe him, the quote about telling "a big enough lie" was one actually made by Kevin Chesham in correspondence, dated 10 December 2001, to Keith Maclean:
Furthermore, Tony Hill (aka "Eggman") was only ever in the company of Kevin and Beverley once at my home. This would have been in July 2007 when the topic of Highgate was not raised by anyone. I have no recollection of Tony and Kevin speaking to one another, and it is unlikely they did. Furthermore, Tony and I could not have "smiled and exchanged knowing looks" because Tony Hill had no involvement in the Highgate case; though he was all too aware of Farrant's attempts in early 1970 to hoax a ghost story in the press. Tony can be seen on the far right of the photograph of some of the guests at that occasion (at the top of the page). Kevin can be seen in the middle at the far end of the table, seated with three guests either side.
The Highgate case was never raised and certainly never discussed with Kevin, not even after he had received "The Highgate Vampire" in the 1990s. Nor did his wife, Beverley, ask any questions about the case, but on their last visit as guests at my coastal retreat in 2007 she did ask my wife questions about David Farrant when they were alone together in the kitchen. These included such as "Have you ever met him?" and "What caused the vendetta?" etc. My wife has not met Farrant despite him sending her and her family his malicious pamphlets about me and, to a lesser extent, about herself. It was significant, however, that Beverley did not seek to ask questions of this kind of me. The cause of Farrant's vendetta, as anyone who has an interest in the case will know, was my unwillingness to be exploited in Farrant's bid to attract attention to himself in 1970. I distanced myself from such stratagems, and felt obliged to publicly refute Farrant's fraudulent association with the research society investigating the case and, of course, distance myself from him.
David Farrant (pictured above) was not part of the Highgate investigation, but attempted to interlope what he perceived to be a publicity bandwagon by making false and sometimes bewildering claims. These led to arrests, court cases and a four years and eight months prison sentence that only served to intensify his vendetta which had been made worse in my view by Farrant flirting with diabolism to the extent of possibly becoming demonically possessed in 1971 and again in 1973. These were occasions when he executed mock satanic rituals at Highgate Cemetery in September 1971 and at a derelict house in December 1973 at a time when both locations were seething with demonic contagion.
In a strange sort of way, it was indirectly the Highgate case, or rather Farrant's fabricated, self-promotional claims about it, which brought about the present situation. In the latter part of 2009, Kevin Chesham began to receive unsolicited mail through the post from Farrant comprising hate-filled pamphlets about me.
Kevin wrote to Keith Maclean about it on 14 December 2009:
Kevin wrote to Keith Maclean about it on 14 December 2009:
"Do you remember David Farrant had found my address from the excommunicated Illtyd Thomas? At the time I was concerned as dear Sean and his wife had suffered years of abuse from him. Well, I started to receive self-produced booklets from this person. The first was on its own without anything accompanying it. It was a book of lies about Sean who has suffered the slings and arrows of this man for so long. But why send it to me? He has been sending me things for months while I have been abroad. Then I started to receive emails from the 'British Psychic and Occult Society' which turns out to be David Farrant again."
I proffered my advice (and by no means for the first time), which was to ignore David Farrant at all costs, and I did so again at a later stage on my blog where the full version can be read:
"My immediate advice, provided the law has not been broken and lives are not put at risk, would be to ignore this person and anyone he might use in the ruthless pursuit of his vendetta. Our enemies should not be the people of this world, but rather the spirits of evil that have entered this world. He is a lost soul who has very likely attracted something spiritually malevolent early in his life which has ever since influenced him and darkened his thoughts. I first met him almost forty years ago when he contacted his local newspaper after making certain claims about an apparition he had sighted. It soon became clear he was more interested in the limelight than anything genuinely paranormal. He also developed a fascination with me which quickly turned into an obsession. By which time he had taken to emulating me to no small degree. When I distanced myself a few months later, he turned unpleasant and court cases ensued. This was followed by his fraudulent adoption of my title and the name of the research society I then presided over. Things began to spiral downwards at an alarming rate as he turned to what ostensibly appeared to be diabolism, but in truth was just further attention-seeking for the sake of the media. ... I prefer to deny him the oxygen of publicity where I am concerned and ask others to do the same. So my advice to those who feel enraged by his behaviour and personally want to confront him is to remember he is still one of God's creatures and to pray for him. Pray for his state of mind and endangered soul. If you are unable to do that, just ignore him."
Readers letters to the Hampstead & Highgate Express in early 1970 included reports of a ghost wearing a top hat that had been seen in Swains Lane and just inside the gates at Highgate Cemetery. With the benefit of hindsight we now know that some of these letters bore the names and addresses of acquaintances of David Farrant (pictured above at Highgate Cemetery in early 1970). Fraudulent letters were sent to the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 13 February 1970, using the names and addresses of Farrant's friends Audrey Connely and Kenneth Frewin. Farrant wrote those letters in order to give his hoax some credibility. He used the names and addresses of friends with their consent. He used his close friend Nava Grunberg's address in Hampstead Lane, but her name was changed to a pseudonym. He also used Nava Grunberg, now adopting the nom de plume "Nava Arieli," when she used an address in Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, belonging to a friend. Others might have witnessed Farrant in his familiar black mackintosh pretending to be a ghost. It has since been confirmed that he wore an old grey topper and ghostly make-up to convince local people that the cemetery was haunted. Then Farrant heard tales of the legendary vampire in pubs he frequented and decided to board what he perceived to be a publicity bandwagon. The rest is history. The vampire sightings and experiences by others were genuine enough. Farrant was not. His part in the saga was utterly fraudulent. He pretended to be a "vampire hunter" for the next few months before turning his attention to malefic pseudo-occultism which guaranteed a far bigger return in the publicity stakes. This quickly led to criminal convictions which included indecency in Monken Hadley churchyard under the Ecclesiastic Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860. Victoria Jervis was also found guilty. Her revelations under oath when called as a witness during Farrant's Old Bailey trials two years later are damning, to say the least. This is what she said:
"I have tried to put most of what happened out of my mind. The false letters I wrote to a local paper were to stimulate publicity for the accused. I saw him almost every weekend in the second half of 1972 and I went to Spain with him for a fortnight at the end of June that same year. I was arrested with him in Monken Hadley Churchyard. That incident upset me very much. Afterwards, my doctor prescribed tranquilisers for me."
Facing David Farrant in court to address him, Victoria Jervis added:
"You have photographed me a number of times in your flat with no clothes on. One photograph was published in 1972 with a false caption claiming I was a member of your Society, which I never was."
On another occasion, she recalled, how she had written psuedonymously to a local newspaper at Farrant's request "to stimulate publicity for the accused."
Back in 1972 during the indecency case, "Mr P J Bucknell, prosecuting, said Mr Farrant had painted circles on the ground, lit with candles, and had told reporters and possibly the police of what he was doing. 'This appears to be a sordid attempt to obtain publicity,' he said." (Hampstead & Highgate Express, 24 November 1972).
Speaking at the April 1996 Fortean Times Convention, Maureen Speller commented: "The programme came up with ‘His investigations had far reaching and disturbing consequences’ which I said meant he’d been arrested a lot. Strangely enough, this is more or less what he said. God, I felt old being the only member of [my] group who could remember this nutter being arrested every few weeks.”
“The wife of self-styled occult priest David Farrant told yesterday of giggles in the graveyard when the pubs had closed. ‘We would go in, frighten ourselves to death and come out again,’ she told an Old Bailey jury. Attractive Mary Farrant — she is separated from her husband and lives in Southampton — said they had often gone to London’s Highgate Cemetery with friends ‘for a bit of a laugh.’ But they never caused any damage. ‘It was just a silly sort of thing that you do after the pubs shut,’ she said. Mrs Farrant added that her husband’s friends who joined in the late night jaunts were not involved in witchcraft or the occult. She had been called as a defence witness by her 28-year-old husband. They have not lived together for three years.” (The Sun, 21 June 1974).
“All he talked about was his witchcraft. He was very vain.” (Julia Batsford, an ex-girlfriend of Farrant quoted in the Daily Mail, 26 June 1974).
"Au pair Martine de Sacy has exposed the fantasy world of David Farrant, self-styled high priest of British witchcraft, for whom she posed nude in front of a tomb. Farrant was convicted last week by a jury who heard stories of Satanic rites, vampires and death-worship with girls dancing in a cemetery. Afterwards, 23-year-old Martine said: 'He was a failure as a lover. In fact, I think his trouble was that he was seeking compensation for this. He was always after publicity and he felt that having all these girls around helped. I'm sure the night he took me to the cemetery had less to do with occultism than his craving to be the centre of something.' ... While Martine told her story in Paris, customers at Farrant's local — the Prince of Wales in Highgate, London — chuckled over the man they called 'Birdman.' One regular said: 'He used to come in with a parrot on his shoulder. One night he came in with photos of Martine in the nude. We pinched one, and when she next came in, we told her he was selling them at 5p a time. She went through the ceiling.' ... Farrant called his estranged wife Mary, in his defence. She said: 'We would go in the cemetery with my husband's friends when the pubs had closed. We would frighten ourselves to death and come out again. It was just a silly sort of thing that you do after the pubs close. Nobody was involved in witchcraft or the occult'." (News of the World, 30 June 1974).
“I cannot believe for one moment that he is a serious student of the occult. In fact I believe him to be evil and entirely to be deplored.” (Dennis Wheatley, Daily Express, 26 June 1974).
“I think he’s crazy.” (Canon John Pearce Higgins, Daily Express, 26 June 1974).
“But for the results of his actions, this scruffy little witch could be laughed at. But no one can laugh at a man who admits slitting the throat of a live cat before launching a blood-smeared orgy. Or at a man who has helped reduce at least two women to frightened misery.” (Sue Kentish, News of the World, 23 September 1973).
“The jury were shown folders of pictures of naked girls and corpses, and told about a black-clothed altar in Farrant's flat with a large drawing of a vampire's face. When questioned, Farrant said: 'A corpse was needed to talk to spirits of another world'.” (George Hunter & Richard Wright, Daily Express, 26 June 1974).
“The judge said any interference with a corpse during black magic rituals could properly be regarded as a ‘great scandal and a disgrace to religion, decency and morality’.” (The Sun, 26 June 1974).
“Judge Michael Argyle QC passed sentence after reading medical and mental reports. He said that Farrant had acted ‘quite regardless of the feelings of ordinary people,’ by messing about at Highgate Cemetery.” (Hornsey Journal, 19 July 1974).
In the summer of 1974, David Robert Donovan Farrant was convicted of malicious damage in Highgate Cemetery by inscribing black magic symbols on the floor of a mausoleum, and offering indignities to remains of the dead via black magic rites in Highgate Cemetery where photographs were taken of a naked female accomplice amidst tombs. Threatening police witnesses in a separate case where his black magic associate John Pope was subsequently found guilty of indecent sexual assault on a young boy. Pope, on his current website, describes himself as a “master of the black arts.” Farrant was also convicted of theft of items from Barnet Hospital where he worked briefly as a porter upon his release from Brixton Prison where he had been on remand in August 1970. He was further convicted of possession of a handgun and ammunition kept at his address, which also contained a black magic altar beneath a massive mural of a vampiric face of a horned devil that had featured in various newspapers, not least full front page coverage of the Hornsey Journal, 28 September 1973.
David Farrant received a prison sentence of four years and eight months. Two libel suits brought by him resulted in the News of the World (who had quoted his girlfriend's claims that his publicity-seeking antics were compensation for him being a failure as a lover) failing to produce their principal defence witness due to Farrant making sure she remained in her native France, and him losing against the Daily Express (who had accused him of being a black magician and also of being insane) where £20,000 court costs were awarded against him. He had also brought suits against Canon Pierce Higgins and Dennis Wheatley (who sadly died prior to the court case) that failed. In the News of the World action, which he won on a technicality, he was awarded the derisory sum of £50 and ordered to pay costs. The newspaper’s star witness who failed to appear for their defence was Martine de Sacy, his ex-girlfriend who had been identified as the naked female in the infamous “nude rituals trial” at the Old Bailey in June 1974. Farrant persuaded her not to appear, causing the News of the World to lose their star witness.
Farrant's blatant bandwagoneering was a perverse parody aimed at garnering maximum publicity. It fooled nobody, but, unfortunately, his concoted claims gave the press something sensational, ie "naked virgins," to write about. This is what an article in the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 15 October 1971, recorded:
"Despite a warning from police that he could be prosecuted, occultist David Farrant said this week he might return to Highgate Cemetery to 'exorcise a vampire' and fight a black magic sect. In the early hours of last Friday Mr Farrant ... performed an exorcism ceremony involving six other young men and two naked girls at a chapel in the cemetery. After the ceremony, one of the girls claimed she saw a shadowy figure which Mr Farrant said was the cemetery's vampire, 'the king of the undead.' ... Armed with a crucifix, a bible, herbs such as camomile, dill and garlic, and holy water taken from St Joseph's Church in Highgate Hill, and accompanied by six other society members, he had climbed over the cemetery wall just before midnight ... etc."
Later in the article one of the alleged naked females is identified as Farrant's girlfriend Martine de Sacy. The newspaper reported: "He denied the ceremony involved sexual practices." Then it quoted Farrant explaining: "That's black magic, which involves getting your rewards before you die — wealth, prosperity, sex. Christian belief is that you get your reward after death. The elaborate things involved in the exorcism were purely symbolic, the most important thing was to have people present who believed in God and the bible. The girls were naked as symbols of purity — they were virgins."
This, at least, is what he had told the Hampstead & Highgate Express in October 1971. Four years later, however, he told readers of New Witchcraft magazine, issue #4, something far removed from the supposed exorcism with naked girls which did not involve sexual practices, as had been fed by him to the Hampstead & Highgate Express. When describing the same ceremony is an unedited article penned at the behest of the magazine's editor from his prison cell, David Farrant now claimed:
"The intrinsic details regarding this part of the ceremony however, must remain secret; suffice it is to say here that the entity (in its now omniscient form) was to be magically induced by the ritual act of blood-letting, then brought to visible appearance through the use of the sex act. ... I disrobed the Priestess and myself and, with the consecrated blood, made the secret sigils of the Deity on her mouth, breast, and all the openings of her body. We then lay in the Pentagram and began love-making, all the time visualizing the Satanic Force so that it could — temporarily — take possession of our bodies."
On his 1975 article, Farrant later recalled (to his friend and collaborator Kevin Demant): "When I had time to spare I wrote a few articles. I sent one to New Witchcraft which was used, and I mean, every single word was used. It was written on old scraps of paper, anything I could get together because obviously, they wouldn't have given me official writing paper to do that, apart from which, it would have been stopped anyway. That was smuggled out and used. I also wrote one for Penthouse, because ... they'd played up the sex angle in court and all the papers were implying ... I thought, well, it's a magazine, they could be half-serious. I mean, bloody hell, it was sold in W H Smiths!"
Farrant had turned to what ostensibly appeared to be diabolism in 1971, but in truth was just further attention-seeking for the sake of the media. He nonetheless engaged in theatrical stunts of an occult nature in churchyards, cemeteries, woods and derelict houses which took on an increasingly satanic appearance. This led to him being charged, tried and convicted for what the media called black magic offences. By which time I decided to get to know him properly for the purpose of discovering exactly what was going on and try to and resolve whatever lay behind the exceptional enmity he evinced toward me. This occurred some time after Farrant had invited what he describes as a "satanic force" to enter him in a nocturnal necromantic ritual he claims to have staged at
In an article called "Witch Report," (Penthouse magazine [UK], Vol. 8, No. 8, 1973, page 19), he mentions helping a man of diminutive stature — "a midget" — who was being evicted from a controlled tenancy and allegedly suffered harassment as a consequence. Furthermore, the man's wife was apparently pregnant and not coping with the stress of the situation. Farrant "wrote to the landlady saying politely but bluntly that if she didn't stop we would deal with her our own way." She was sent an amulet "consecrated" by Farrant along with a rhyme intended to convey that "once she'd touched it we'd have power over her, and we performed a ceremony in which we cast forces on her wishing her all she wished on the midgets." Two days later, according to Farrant, "she went into the hospital and lost her baby."
In that Penthouse article, Farrant states: "Satanists worship Lucifer, the supreme power of evil, whereas witchcraft is a neutral thing — it's only evil if practised for an evil purpose." Like several of his Luciferian acquaintances, Jean-Paul Bourre amongst them, David Farrant, who publicly stated that he abandoned witchcraft in 1982, describes himself as someone who “accepts Lucifer as an important deity” and that he “worships Lucifer.” His words are heard on The Devil’s Fool CD (Gothic Press) which comprises thirty-two interview extracts from as many years of his infamous publicity-seeking career.
A video made by and featuring David Farrant at Christmas 2011 culminates with the decapitation of my head in effigy. It can be viewed at tis link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYUr15UwO7A
Kevin Chesham's correspondence of December 2009, which proved to be his last to Keith Maclean, ended with these fortuitous words:
Unknown to the rest of us at the time, Kevin's "struggle" had long since taken a different and more sinister direction — one that took him into the clutches of David Robert Donovan Farrant.
Keith Maclean's observations in a letter to my wife and I about the collusion between Farrant and his new found friends follows:
Keith Maclean's observations in a letter to my wife and I about the collusion between Farrant and his new found friends follows:
Nota Bene: "B.K." stands for "Brother Kevin" who would address Keith Maclean as "Brother Keith" in personal correspondence (see below). "K.C." (also employed by Keith Maclean above) are the initials of Kevin's first and last name. The portrait mentioned in the above correspondence is an oil on canvas painting of Kevin finished shortly after his last last meeting with my wife and I in December 2007.