The Vampire Theory
In October 1970 the Evening News first coined the phrase “The Highgate Vampire”. Unfortunately for serious paranormal researchers who have taken an interest in unexplained phenomena in the locale of Highgate Cemetery over the proceeding decades, the name has stuck.
Indeed, the popular concept that a ‘wampyr’ once walked in Highgate has clouded discussion about the entity ever since.
During this session we will be discussing the origins of Highgate’s vampire mythos, and asking: does the theory that the Swain’s Lane ‘ghost’ is really a ‘vampire’ have any substance?
We are joined by Paul Adams, our compère, and author of Written in Blood : A Cultural History of the British Vampire, who has examined the case in great detail, including corresponding with contemporary exponents of the vampire explanation. He is also the official cataloger of the estate of the late Peter Underwood, one of the only paranormal authorities to give the theory credence.
Highgate historian Patsy Langley will be discussing her meticulous research into the history of the house, which once occupied the land upon which Highgate Cemetery was built, and inviting the audience to compare inconsistencies between historical evidence and the primary ‘vampire’ narrative pertaining to Highgate.
Jon Kaneko-James will be joining the panel, to share his research into the little understood concept of the English revenant, and inviting the audience to compare his subject’s traits with what we know about the behaviour and appearance of the Swain’s Lane entity.
We are also honoured to be joined by Dr. Jacqueline Simpson of The Folklore Society, who will be revisiting the extraordinary events of the night of March, Friday 13th, 1970, when hundreds of youths descended upon Highgate Cemetery in search of an alleged blood-sucking vampire, and exploring the traits in the human psyche which drive us to go ‘monster hunting’ – or indeed, monster creating.