History time! Today’s post won’t be about vampire lore though, but rather a vampire event that happened a while back …and by a while back I mean 1970. Today you’ll learn about a modern case of vampire hysteria, the Highgate Vampire. There have been loads of vampire hysteria cases throughout history, where there was a break out of mass vampire fear spreading through town after town. People being deathly afraid of the supposed vampires roaming their streets and whatnot. But what is different about this case is that it didn’t happen way back in the 1600’s, it only happened about 40 years ago.
In March of 1970 it was widely reported that there was a vampire living in Highgate Cemetery in London. This became so big that even the news covered it. Once this vampire story got really big The London Evening News reported that over a hundred people had one night, underwent a full out vampire hunt. In 1970 over a hundred people trotted through the dark and gloomy cemetery in search of a vampire. Seriously.
The media focused on two men throughout the hunt, David Farrant and Allan Blood, the vampire experts that lead the search. Both of these guys were convinced that the vampire was living in one of the cemetery vaults and were determined to find it and kill it. Know what happens when you go vampire hunting in in graveyard in modern times? You get arrested for trespassing and desecrating graves. That’s what ended up happening to Farrant, but he was later acquitted on the grounds that the cemetery was open to the public.
Just like most media driven things like this the news took the story and ran with it. Basing all their stories on gossip, unconfirmed sightings and rumors. They wrote story after story, spreading the chaos, exploiting the madness (just like they do now). While I wish I could say “dude, they totally found a vampire!” I can’t because no vampire was ever discovered. People said they saw a man dressed in black leave the cemetery at night and that a woman nearby fell victim to this vampire but once again, those were rumors. Once the media grew bored with the story so did the people and the Highgate vampire chaos was put to an end. Just goes to show you that even in modern times, with the help of the media, you can have pandemonium based off of a rumor.