Highgate Cemetery was probably the inspiration for the cemetery in DRACULA wherein Lucy Westenra gets staked and beheaded by Van Helsing and his cohorts, a scene that was possibly inspired by the real-world exhumation of Elizabeth Siddals, mistress of Dante Rossetti, in 1869. Highgate also allegedly had its own real-life vampire at large in the 1970s. Challenges as to the veracity of those claims, primarily made by Bishop Sean Manchester, by modern researchers like Carol Page and Anthony Hogg, continues to fuel acrimony to this day. (Just this past week Hogg and Manchester were trading verbal punches on social media. I remain committed to staying out of that one, only reporting on the developments. I am vampire studies Switzerland.) The story of the Highgate Vampire inspired the clunky out-of-continuity Hammer “classic” DRACULA AD 1972. TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA and FROM BEYONG THE GRAVE were filmed at Highgate. Highgate Cemetery is chock full of vampire cred.
A plan is underway to reuse empty or abandoned graves at Highgate for new burials. Wait, empty? How did they get to be empty? How many vampires are there at Highgate anyway? And abandoned? Does this mean that the vampires found better digs (heh) someplace else? Considering that only graves at least 75 years old or older are eligible for this “repurposing,” it’s more likely that the remains of the people buried in those plots and the wooden coffins that contained them have simply returned to dust with age. Bound to be a few bones left, though. Could make for a messy job.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless.
Denn die totden reiten schnell!