I am very pleased to announce that my new book, Haunted Highgate, is now available. The culmination of several years of painstaking research, I hope that it satisfies those with an interest not just in Highgate’s infamous haunted cemetery, but in the many other ghosts which are said to walk its ancient lanes, houses and public spaces. Thank you SO MUCH to all the people who helped make this book possible, whether through their true-life contributions of startling paranormal experiences, historical clarifications, or their support and encouragement. You all know who you are!
The ancient village of Highgate in North London has had a supernatural reputation for centuries. It has become forever associated in the public consciousness with the supposed ‘vampire’ panic of 1970. But many real supernatural occurrences have been reported over the years, and terrifying encounters with the unknown continue to this day.
In this compendium of Highgate’s many alleged hauntings – the only one of its kind – Della Farrant examines old and new cases of spectral incursions at private houses, local pubs, cemeteries, churches and even council flats. The author has tracked down many new witnesses of paranormal phenomena, whose stories are told here for the first time.
Poltergeists, tall dark figures in Swains Lane at night, neighbours who come back from the grave, an invisible incubus and a menacing spectre who threw its human counterpart down the stairs all feature in Haunted Highgate, along with many more creatures of the night …
Haunted Highgate is available on Amazon and signed by the author at http://www.davidfarrant.org/publications/haunted-highgate-by-della-farrant/
Foreword by Alan Murdie, LL.B, Barrister, Chairman of the Ghost Club of Great Britain & Head of the Spontaneous Cases Committee of the Incorporated Society for Psychical Research.
For many years members of the Ghost Club have taken an interest in the ghost stories that have circulated concerning Highgate Cemetery, the vast Victorian necropolis which opened in 1839. Indeed, one of my predecessors as chairman of the Club, Tom Perrott (1921-2013) lived nearby for many years at Muswell Hill and thus was conveniently placed to monitor how rumours of sinister apparitions appearing in the Victorian cemetery expanded to the point that even a vampire was claimed to be prowling the area.
Tom Perrott was not alone in being surprised and sceptical concerning such stories, the general view amongst most British ghost hunters being that cemeteries and graveyards are largely unhaunted. Despite popular associations in folklore and fiction, very few people have been known to die in graveyards and as veteran investigator Andrew Green (1927-2004) observed in Ghost Hunting: A Practical Guide (1973) “because the association does exist in people’s minds, quite normal occurrences on the site, or in the new buildings constructed on it, are often assumed to be paranormal phenomena.”
What happened at Highgate, however, could hardly be described as normal. Wild rumours of menacing phantoms and vampires flourished, fuelled by excited media coverage and claims of occult rituals practised after dark. Following one TV broadcast in March 1970, hundreds of people spontaneously descended upon Highgate Cemetery in a mass ghost/vampire hunt worthy of the ending of a horror film, until the police restored order. For some it was a great irony that the arch-prophet of materialist philosophy Karl Marx, who had once written of the ‘vampire of capitalism’, should have his tomb at a place where so many supernatural stories accumulated.
With many conflicting versions and accounts of these events in circulation, what has long been needed is a serious book sifting out, so far as possible, facts from fantasy concerning ghost experiences in Highgate. In this fascinating book, Della Farrant succeeds admirably in this delicate and complex task.
Writing from the unique perspective of being the wife of a key participant in some of the events described, she has also embarked upon extensive and independent research, tracing original sources and seeking out witnesses and corroborative evidence. Whilst part of the job of a serious writer on ghosts is to quash exaggerated rumours, at the same time the opportunity to record contemporary beliefs and experiences should never be missed. Indeed, it must be recognised that folklore and popular stories can sometimes provide clues to the presence of genuine phenomena. As readers will soon realise, not all in this book can be ascribed to imagination or urban myth.
In Haunted Highgate Della Farrant firmly establishes that people do indeed have strange experiences, in no way limited to just the cemetery and its environs. In recording these accounts here she restores much-needed balance to the study of ghosts in the Highgate district, as well as providing a wealth of fascinating new stories and material for readers to analyse, ponder and enjoy.
CHAPTER ONE – SWAINS LANE – HIGHGATE’S MOST HAUNTED THOROUGHFARE
A top-hatted Victorian ghost ?
The ghost that tried to hitch a ride
A nocturnal encounter in Waterlow Park
Locked gates present no barrier in Cholmeley Park
A hiss in one’s ear on a warm summer night
A nineteenth century encounter with the man in black
A top hat helps identify an 1865 suicide victim
A cowled figure abroad in swains lane
A young nurse is assulted by the ‘ghost’
The entity frightens a motorist
Ghosts in the machine?
The ghost of a bodysnatcher
CHAPTER TWO – HIGHGATE CEMETERY WEST
A hooded figure peering over the wall
Spirit voices recorded on tape
A 1969 sighting near the Circle of Lebanon
The ghost confronts some more of its neighbours
A fiend with red glowing eyes?
An early investigation into the phenomena
A modern intrusion
Black magic among the monuments
Enter the vampire
A ghostly figure on film?
The ghost interrupts a guided tour
A spectral incursion at a youth hostel
“Elemental forces” from highgate cemetery
Romano-celtic hooded spirits in north london
A seventeenth century suspect
CHAPTER THREE – HIGHGATE CEMETERY EAST
A “mad old woman” searching among the graves
CHAPTER FOUR – HAUNTED PUBLIC HOUSES
Ye Olde Gatehouse
Old Mother Marnes frightens the police
Mother Marnes’s missing cat
A seventeenth century burglar on the prowl
“Landlord george sees a ghost”
The ghost of a smuggler
More disturbances in the ballroom
A haunted theatre, and a ghost with a shoe fetish
A nocturnal menace in the restaurant
Friendly ghosts in the cellar
A fleeing cavalier
Secret tunnels and chambers
A Jacobean ghost on the monk’s bench
Old May’s lost cottage
A tragic spanish barmaid
CHAPTER FIVE – HAUNTED HOUSES
The house that dripped blood
A golf course with a sinister secret
A haunted council estate
A wailing ghost in Holly Village
The police are perplexed by a poltergeist
Ritual remains discovered in Lauderdale House
A haunted scout hut
A racketing ghost in Elthorne Road
A playful ghost at Cloisters Court
An unsuccessful exorcism in Cromwell Avenue
Saved from death by a ghost?
A brooding spectre on Suicide Bridge
The Hornsey Lane poltergeist
The ghost who jumped out the window
The ‘House of Dracula’ on Avenue Road
The Hornsey coal ghost of Ferrestone Road
CHAPTER SIX – SOME ANIMAL GHOSTS
An invisible horse and rider in Swains Lane
A phantom coach and six
The frozen chicken of pond square
CHAPTER SEVEN – HAUNTED WOODS
A moonlit pursuit in Cherry Tree Wood
A tall dark figure gliding between the trees
Woodland sprites coming in from the cold?
A plague victim’s ghost in Queens Wood
The ‘mothman’ of Queens Wood