Thursday, 13 November 2014

Farrant's Prison Correspondence to Seán Manchester

 Missing words from the dog-eared and worn top of the second page are:

"... speak  for  me. I  don't  know  if  they  have ..."

Reproduced above is a letter on headed prison notepaper from David Farrant, now calling himself “A D Farrow” (a pseudonym adopted by him when arrested at midnight by police in Highgate Cemetery on 17 August 1970), to the president of the British Occult Society, Seán Manchester.

David Farrant’s (aka "Allan David Farrow") prison correspondence completely contradicts later claims made by him about his relationship with Seán Manchester and indeed the British Occult Society. It is quite obvious he was in awe of Seán Manchester and sought his assistance. It is also glaringly obvious from this correspondence that Farrant held no membership or association with the British Occult Society.

Written three days before it was posted on 21 August 1970 from Brixton Prison where he was being held on remand for psychiatric reports, Farrant’s own statements leave no doubt where he stood in relation to what was happening. The psychiatric reports would prove inconclusive. It could not be agreed whether he was sane or not. He was nonetheless judged fit to appear in court.

According to the scores of tracts and pamphlets self-published by Farrant from 1991 until the present-day, he now claims to have “founded” the British Occult Society in 1967, and by 1970 his “investigations” were supposedly three years old. This is clearly not the case when reading his prison correspondence of August 1970.

Farrant’s letter explains that his arrest was the result of not listening to Seán Manchester's public warning to him and others engaged in similar behaviour to not interfere with the ongoing investigation being carried out by the British Occult Society. Farrant then claims to have information about a cult meeting in Highgate Cemetery. This did not prevent him entering it with a cross and stake, however, which he overlooks mentioning. He apparently wanted “to find some further evidence of [the cult’s] existence.” He admits going against the wishes of the Society and Seán Manchester. He then promises to forward all the facts about his lone escapade; something he apparently did not do.

Farrant reveals that he has now changed his plea to the court from one of guilty to not guilty, and requests Seán Manchester's appearance as a character witness to speak on his behalf. He expresses concern over how the court might react when they realise he sought publicity in connection with Highgate Cemetery over the six months prior, and now wants Seán Manchester in court “to say you have warned people” about the very behaviour he had engaged in. He claims to appreciate that Seán Manchester is “a busy man,” but nonetheless would like Seán Manchester to visit him, or, at least, send somebody else.

He then asks for Seán Manchester's advice, concluding his letter with the following statement: “Well that’s all, please forgive me for being in this trouble and having to ask your help. I would be grateful if you could write immediately.” Seán Manchester did not write, nor did he allow himself to be exploited for Farrant's court case with the inevitable media coverage to follow, but he did visit Farrant at Brixton Prison. This was the only time Seán Manchester ever visited Farrant in prison and the prison letter written by Farrant and sent on 21 August 1970 was the only correspondence from jail that Seán Manchester has ever received from this man.

The visit left Seán Manchester in absolutely no doubt that Farrant was trying to rope him into some sort of dubious attention-seeking scheme, and that Farrant wanted it to be made all the more plausible by what might be seen as Seán Manchester's seal of approval. Farrant was told in no uncertain terms that it was not going to happen. The court case against Farrant on this occasion was dismissed because Highgate Cemetery, in the strict sense of the wording of the charge, is not an enclosed area, and Farrant had been accused of being found in an enclosed area for an unlawful purpose. Thereafter compulsive publicity-seeker Farrant continued to seek attention and make a general nuisance of himself.

David Farrant's prison correspondence was sent to an address in Archway Road.
It was duly forwarded to Seán Manchester whose address Farrant did not know.

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