The Vampire's Bedside Companion is a riveting compendium of new facts and fiction on the undying' theme of vampirism.
Here is a new theory on the genesis of Dracula (surely literature's most compelling and macabre figure?); thoughts on allusions to vampirism in Wuthering Heights; first-hand experience of vampires in Highgate and Hampstead, London, by Seán Manchester who renders the first account of the Highgate Vampire in print up to and including his attempted exorcism in the summer of 1970; publication for the first time of the story of a fifteenth-century vampire protection medallion that Montague Summers presented to the author; an account by Professor Devendra P Varma, Dalhousie University, of a visit to Transylvania — The Vampire's Bedside Companion contains these and a wealth of other hitherto unpublished material on a subject that is of enduring interest: the vampire legend.
To many people, vampires are creatures only of legend and fantasy with no reality outside the pages of books. Others, who have studied the folklore of many countries and the continuing reports of vampirism, maintain that there is extensive evidence not only that vampires once existed but that, in fact, they still do exist. In this fascinating book the author, himself an acknowledged expert on these occult matters, presents true accounts of vampire infestation in England, America, Ireland, Hungary, China and France. Records of vampires and vampirism are, he claims, as old as the world and as recent as yesterday.
Four new, exciting and authentic vampire fictional stories by Peter Allan, Crispin Derby, Richard Howard and James Turner complete this compelling companion for dark nights, solitude and howling winds!
Illustrated with many striking photographs, The Vampire's Bedside Companion also contains original and evocative drawings by Geoffrey Bourne-Taylor.
In the following year, Coronet published a paperback edition. Its front cover appears below:
"This book is not about fictional vampires of the Bram Stoker’s Dracula genre, but real life blood sucking monsters. It should also be pointed out that there is a long tradition of people who hunt down and kill vampires. This book is not for the faint-hearted, or those people who live alone in rambling houses located on deserted moors." — Shaun Marin (Encounters magazine)
"Seán Manchester is, unsurprisingly, very well read in both classical and more recent sources on vampires and vampirism, and cites them with great authority while taking the reader through a brief tour of vampire lore and mythology. This is a book I’d recommend to anybody with an interest in the author or vampires. The parts which deal with vampires are obviously based on years of substantial research and personal experience." — Joe McNally (Fortean Times magazine)
The vampire has been defined down the ages as an accursed body which cannot rest in the kindly earth, but nightly leaves its grave to prey on sleeping men and women through whom they are believed to maintain a semblance of life by sucking thence the warm blood of such victims while they sleep. Sir James Frazer in the second volume of his work The Fear of the Dead in Primitive Religions (1934) is in no doubt that vampires are “malicious ghosts who issue from their graves to suck the blood of the living, and stringent measures are deemed necessary to hinder or arrest this horrible proceeding.”
They are, of course, demonic. In certain circumstances (though these are few and far between) those who expire from the parasitic undead's visitations and quaffing of their life-blood will themselves be at risk of becoming undead in their turn. This does not occur where the person is in a state of grace; where any mortal sin that stains their soul has been absolved. And by no means are the great majority of victims destined to return as undead. It would seem that those who become undead in this way are fewer than might be imagined. This nevertheless remains an enigma where probable candidates are those who have led a life of more than ordinary immorality and unbridled wickedness; where the individual has possessed a surfeit of selfish passions, evil ambitions and cruelty. Such undead, however, are thought to be those who have delighted in blood and devoted themselves during their life to the practice of diabolism and the black arts. Thus an undead is more likely to result from exceedingly base and cruel actions; especially where devil worship and devotion to the black arts has occurred.
The supernatural agency is demonic and, whilst human beings cannot actually transform into demons themselves, they may be possessed by them, and thus appear transformed. In the case of contamination followed by expiry of a candidate there exists the possibility that their malevolence sets in action forces which might prove powerful for terror and destruction even beyond the grave. It is hardly to be supposed that such persons would rest undisturbed while it is less difficult to contemplate the existence of this hideous life in death where the demonic is extant and seemingly manifests itself as a corporeal form. The smallest drop of blood can be employed by a demonic entity, enabling the wraith to form in a tangible manner. Such revenants are attracted to blood which allows them to effect their purpose. The ancient Israelites would not eat the blood of any flesh at all, because the life of the flesh is in the blood. The Hebrew word that translates as “life” in Deuteronomy 12: 23 (“Only be sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life”) also signifies “soul.”
The undead partakes of the dark nature and mysterious qualities of both revenant and demon. The exorcist must always be mindful of these alarming characteristics - not least the undead's terrible blood lust — and must never go unprotected when putting himself at risk during operative field work. Manifestation via the blood is the undead’s means of metamorphosis into a form often indistiguishable from a corpse. Since the undead do not exist in time — they dwell in what is described as "anti-time" - they will cast no shadow, nor will their reflection be seen in a mirror or water’s surface. The crucifix symbol itself is utterly abhorred by them, and indeed all forms of evil. The object and what it is made of does not possess any power, yet it is so strongly symbolic of the triumph of good over evil that it alone repels evil and whatever is an emissary of evil. However, when employed by a person the intent and faith of the person employing it is paramount. This might seem like a paradox. Christian items and holy places utterly repel evil people who oftentimes delight in their sacrilege. Likewise supernatural evil shuns these holy items.
It is indubitably unwise for these sacred symbols to be adopted as mere fashion accesories. Similarly, of course, it is unwise in the extreme for diabolical symbols to be adopted and worn. So the power of the crucifix exists, but will be magnified one thousandfold when supported by faith. Exorcism does not "kill" the demonic agent. It rids our sphere or dimension of the supernatural predatory wraith. The corporeal host once exorcised obviously returns to its true state and is no longer plagued by the apparent supernatural ability to manifest as though it were living.
“Whether we are justified in supposing that cases of vampirism are less frequent today than in past centuries, I am far from certain. But one thing is plain — not that they do not occur, but that they are carefully hushed up and stifled.” — Montague Summers (The Vampire in Europe, 1929).
An alarmingly abridged version of BBC television's 24 Hours programme has been uploaded onto YouTube by David Farrant. It reveals the bandwagoneer contradicting virtually everything he nowadays claims about his arrest at Highgate Cemetery while he was prowling amongst the tombs on the night of 17 August 1970 and exposes him as a revisionist at best and a liar at worst. His addiction to publicity makes anything which includes him to be suitable for dissemination, even when it exposes his contradictory claims. The bulk of the original programme focussed, of course, on Bishop Seán Manchester's investigation into the mysterious case of the Highgate Vampire at its inception. Mr Farrant obviously does not want anyone seeing this material and has therefore deleted all the footage where Bishop Seán Manchester features and also all reference to the British Occult Society, an organisation to which Mr Farrant owed no connection whatsoever despite his fraudulent claim to the contrary in the years that followed. Some of the material showing Bishop Seán Manchester deleted by Mr Farrant appears above in the Italian language version of a Discovery Channel programme's inclusion of the original 1970 television footage. Mr Farrant's highly selective version of the programme appears below.
“I have spent most of my life studying accounts of vampirism, and have indeed visited Highgate Cemetery on numerous occasions. How it has changed over the years! I am interested in research into any accounts of actual vampirism, from the writings of Dom Augustine Calmet through to modern day accounts. I have a copy of The Highgate Vampire [by Seán Manchester] which I found very interesting. I remember the events at the time they happened and the various newspaper reports. It was then that I first came across the name ‘David Farrant.’ I met him once in a pub near Highgate and found him to be a compulsive liar and there was something shifty about his mannerism. I have since warned many people to stay clear of him.”— Andy Pryce, Paranormal Researcher, (19 February 2001)
"Mr P J Bucknell, prosecuting, said Mr Farant 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
“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 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 (ex-girlfriend quoted in the Daily Mail) 26 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 .
“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 [Michael Argyle QC] 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 — self-styled High Priest of the British Occult Society [sic] — had acted ‘quite regardless of the feelings of ordinary people,’ by messing about at Highgate Cemetery.”— Hornsey Journal, 19 July 1974
“The programme [for the Fortean Times Convention 1996] 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.” — Maureen Speller (April 1996)
"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 four decades ago when he contacted his local newspaper after making vague 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 this man the oxygen of publicity where I am concerned and advise others to do the same. Those who feel enraged by his behaviour should remember he is still one of God's creatures, and if possible they should pray for him. Pray for his state of mind and endangered soul. Otherwise, please just ignore him." — Bishop Seán Manchester (November 2009)