BISHOP SEÁN MANCHESTER responds to a Spooky Isles article written by Kai Roberts, author of Grave Concerns: The Follies and Folklore of Robin Hood’s Final Resting Place. The Roberts article referred to alleged vampire activity that was noted near the supposed grave of Robin Hood in Kirklees, Yorkshire.
Kai Roberts wrote in his article: “Then in the late 1980s and early 1990s, people began to witness the phantom of the murderess Prioress herself. One illicit visitor to the grave encountered ‘a wraith with red eyes, staring and horrible,’ whilst another described ‘black nun’s robes flapping eerily while her eyes flashed red and venomous.’ These reports were exploited by Bishop Seán Manchester-who had famously investigated the Highgate Vampire two decades earlier-to suggest that a vampire was loose at Kirklees.”
How is it possible for me to “exploit” reports essentially written about me and colleagues who accompanied me? There were, of course, reports of a medieval nun spectre stretching back to 1963 when Roger Williams encountered it while taking a stroll with a friend, but Kai Roberts identifies the 1980s and early 1990s, a time when I was enagaged in the investigation of the mysterious happenings and supernatural phenomena at and around Kirklees, West Yorkshire.
In my concise vampirological guide, The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook, page 29, is found: “A number of finger-width holes had been observed in the earth above the tomb in the winter of 1987. Animals drained of blood had been discovered in the immediate vicinity and nearby villagers had been obliged to call in priests to exorcise their homes of a malignant force.”
The description given of a wraith by Kai Roberts is taken verbatim from page 34 of my work The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook, so how could I possibly “exploit” my own recounting first-hand of what happened on the night of 22 April 1990?
Kai Roberts then proceeds to falsely allege: “This led to the gravesite becoming a new battleground in Manchester’s long-running feud with David Farrant, another former player in the ‘Highgate Vampire’ saga.”
Yet David Farrant did not engage in his publicity-seeking shenanigans concerning the Kirklees grave until 20 April 2005 (when some semblance of a pseudo-occultic “witchcraft” ceremony took place as night fell and cameras inevitably clicked). This latter-day occurrence was 15 years after my own presence and the aforementioned encounter by one of my colleagues with a wraith; by which time I had long since ceased to investigate or involve myself with the Kirklees situation.
I cannot help having the distinct impression that Kai Roberts is interested more in creating a sensational impression to promote his recent book about Kirklees rather than stick to what he knows to be accurate where I am concerned.
Kai Roberts made known to me prior to his book’s publication that he was going to cover the Highgate Cemetery happenings of forty or so years ago to provide some background about me. I was not at all comfortable with this proposition in view of the fact that he also intended to include David Farrant. There has been so much controversy and misrepresentation of such distant events and the part played in them by those concerned; so much so, that I regard this as an area best avoided. So, naturally, I find Kai Roberts’ involving me in his book and using my name in its promotion regrettable in the extreme.
I do not wish to be exploited or misrepresented by Kai Roberts who holds antipathetic opinions about my Faith (I am a devout English Catholic) which are bound to influence what he writes. Hence my considerable disappointment at witnessing the regurgitation of my name in factually inaccurate references in his article “Where is Robin Hood’s Grave?” on The Spooky Isles website.