Strange & Unusual Spotlight
The Highgate Vampire
Let’s be honest: vampires have never gone out of style. Since their initial appearance in folklore from Eastern Europe to modern day tales from Anne Rice, people have always been fascinated with vampires. But few have experienced Vampire Mania as those living in London in 1970 when the hunt for the Highgate Vampire was on.
The cemetery opened in north London in 1839 and is the final resting place for over 170,000 souls. Today it is a nature preserve and a part of the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. However, by the 1960s, it had fallen into a state of disrepair thanks to vandals which led to the discovery of something otherworldly lurking among the tombs.
According to legend, the vampire of Highgate is the “King Vampire of the Undead.” A nobleman who practiced black magic, he was brought from Wallachia (modern-day Romania) to England in the 19th Century (definitely doesn’t sound like a ripoff of Dracula). He was buried on the site that would become Highgate Cemetery and eventually roused by a group of local Satanists. When a young man named David Farrant snuck into the cemetery in 1969, he witnessed a shadowy figure lurking through the graveyard. What came next is the stuff of legends that led to the great vampire hunt of 1970 (not 1570… not 1770… not even 1870… 1970).
Farrant and a fellow vampire hunter, Sean Manchester, were rivals in their hunt to destroy the vampire they both believed was lurking in the cemetery. Headless bodies were found in the cemetery, Farrant was arrested, and Manchester claimed to find the crypt of the vampire. But as he was about to pound the stake through its heart, he changed his mind, laid garlic and incense in the tomb, and left.
The vampire was never seen again, only to become the thing of myth and urban legend. However, in 2012 the vampire was supposedly caught on camera while a tourist was roaming the Highgate Cemetery while on a tour. The hazy ghostly image of the specter can be seen on the left-hand side of the image beneath the tree. There’s a debate among paranormal investigators going if this is the infamous Highgate Vampire or merely another of the lost souls wandering the grounds of their eternal resting place, but either way, it’s an eerie image that definitely makes one think that maybe, just maybe, Highgate Cemetery is haunted.
There’s no way to tell if the Highgate Vampire ever indeed existed or if it was simply the result of superstition and overactive imaginations. But, if nothing else, it offers a fun, creepy legend of one of London’s most haunting and beautiful cemeteries.
Have you ever visited the Highgate Cemetery? Have you ever sensed anything among the gravestones? Do you think the vampire could exist? Let us know in the comments below!
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