Haunted Highgate by Della Farrant

Haunted Highgate was published in 2013, 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!

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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 – I examined 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


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.

Check out a preview on Google Books here


Full Contents


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



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



A “mad old woman” searching among the graves



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

The Flask

A fleeing cavalier

Secret tunnels and chambers

A Jacobean ghost on the monk’s bench

Old May’s lost cottage

A tragic Spanish barmaid



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



An invisible horse and rider in Swains Lane

A phantom coach and six

The frozen chicken of pond square



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


Please do check out other areas of this site for more background information about Highgate’s history and ghosts … there is loads on here to discover!