Afflicted Places

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dear Bishop, I read with great interest your fascinating book on the Highgate vampire, and visited Highgate Cemetery. However , I was unable to find the remains of the neo-gothic mansion, which should not be far from the cemetery? I could't find Crescent Road on the plan. Could you be kind enough to give me the precise address? I must also admit that the visit to the cemetery was so quick that I couldn't identify the sealed vault in the Lebanon Circle  just a question of curiosity. Thank you so much for your answer. God bless you. With best regards, Olivier Kourilsky.

The ne-gothic mansion was demolished many years ago and only a ruin façade of the original building remains. This façade has been incorporated into the approach to the purpose-built dwellings now standing on that site at number one Avenue Road on the corner of where it technically joins Crescent Road.

There are certain places that remain seemingly afflicted even in the wake of the original contagion being successfully extirpated, leaving a sense of tremulous fear and sometimes an aura of evil so powerful it makes people feel queasy and faint. Two such places thus afflicted I am occasionally asked about are the Western Cemetery at Highgate, and number one Avenue Road N6 on the borders of Highgate and Hornsey. The latter is seen in the above picture from the first edition of my book The Highgate Vampire. The mansion was subsequently demolished following the exorcism about which I write in my book. In the early 1970s, there was much talk of satanic ceremonies, ritual sacrifices, demon raisings and, worse still, number one Avenue Road was confirmed to be the final resting place of the demonry that had contaminated Highgate Cemetery for many years prior.

The Hornsey Journal, 7 December 1973, recorded: “Neighbours talk of strange goings-on at night and mysterious flickering lights in upper windows. … Investigating the reports, Journal reporter Roger Simpson and photographer Ted Stormer came across unmistakable signs in a top floor room of a witchcraft ceremony. The Journal understands that this was a bizarre attempt to raise the horned god in a black magic ceremony. … Residents refuse to walk past the house, which looms behind overgrown trees.”

In my book, I recounted:  “Something evil was said to have taken residence and now stalked the lonely corridors. Mysterious lights were occasionally seen flickering behind vacant windows which stared down like eyeless sockets. … Eventually, the crumbling neo-gothic mansion was demolished and in its place twelve flats were built whose design incorporated the façade of the original mansion as though to act as an eerie reminder of what once stood at this site. But few need any reminder. … Many visitors … have reported feeling frightened as the chill atmosphere pervades the warmest of days. It is as if the very bricks retain the memory of its evil past.”

All that remains today, as seen in the above photograph, is the neo-gothic façade of the former building which locals clamoured to have razed to the ground following a series of demonic disturbances and, of course, a highly dramatic exorcism that took place in early 1974.

Another place still causing a certain sense of dread — in some even panic and nausea — among visitors is the afflicted tomb that once housed the demonic manifestation at the heart of the disturbances and deaths attributed to supernatural evil in and around the Western Cemetery at Highgate. The tomb, temporarily bricked-up following the exorcism ritual I performed in 1970, can be seen at the far end of the Egyptian Avenue leading to the Circle of Lebanon in Highgate Cemetery in the pictures above and below. Today visitors are not allowed to roam the Western Cemetery, and have not been allowed to do so since the mid-1970s. Visitors can nevertheless take a guided tour organised by the Friends of Highgate Cemetery where they will, understandably, be closely monitored.



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