An Interview With Theresa Cheung

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13 Responses

  1. Vampire Research Society says:

    Re: An Interview With Theresa Cheung
    Any account written by those investigating the supernatural will be “subjective.” How could it be otherwise? It is not good enough to claim that an account is “flawed” without actually explaining what the flaws are and why the allegation is being made.

    The Highgate Vampire case does not remain “open” because the supernatural manifestations were successfully exorcised. There have been no similar occurrences reported since that time by anyone who can be identified as a credible witness. The case was formally closed by the Vampire Research Society in 1982. Theresa Cheung was not present when the case was unfolding and has not been privy to the archive of evidence held by those who carried out the investigation. On what grounds does she claim the case must remain open? “Unexplained events” in the supernatural realm are by definition beyond rational explanation. Can she provide one example of genuine paranormal phenomena which has been “explained” to the satisfaction of science?

    Absolutely nothing supernatural can be “proven,” which, of course, is why an open mind is essential when considering vampires or anything else outside the natural universe.

  2. DavidFarrant says:

    Re: An Interview With Theresa Cheung
    That is entirely wrong. Reports about the supernatural entity reported in and around Highate Cemetery are still forthcoming. Strange atmospheres have been reported, a figure glimpsed, reports of mobile phones cutting out (or refusing to work with fully-charged batteries) are all too common.
    Indeed, I have a report frm somebody from 2005 who actually witnessed a figure standing ouitside the main gate of Higate Cemetery as he was on his way home. The figure – or whatever it was – just glided across the narrow lane before suddenly disappearing through the main gates of the cemetery.
    It would appear the unexplained entity seen back in the late 1960’s is still active there.

    David Farrant, President, BPOS

  3. Vampire Research Society says:

    Re: An Interview With Theresa Cheung
    There have been no verified reports of the supernatural entity known as the Highgate Vampire. Graveyards frequently contain atmosphere, especially Victorian gothic cemeteries such as Highgate, and there might easily be some other phenomena detected. But the vampiric entity seen as far back as Victorian times, and reported widely in the media from 1970 onward, no longer haunts that place. It was successfully exorcised in early 1974. Everyone who can remember that far back, including those who witnessed it back in the 1960s and 1970s, is satisfied that Highgate Cemetery is free of the malevolent presence which caused pandemonium forty years ago.


  4. DavidFarrant says:

    Re: An Interview With Theresa Cheung
    You are perfectly right in your obvious declaration about certain atmospheres and other psycic impressions may very well linger on in old graveyards.

    But that is as far as I can agree.

    When you speculate:


    But the vampiric entity seen as far back as Victorian times, and reported widely in the media from 1970 onward, no longer haunts that place.

    Yes, you are right in that too . . . but only because that ‘blood-ucking vampire’ never existed in the first place!

    David Farrant, President, BPOS

  5. Vampire Research Society says:

    Re: An Interview With Theresa Cheung
    “… the vampiric entity seen as far back as Victorian times, and reported widely in the media from 1970 onward, no longer haunts that place. Yes, you are right in that too . . . but only because that ‘blood-ucking vampire’ never existed in the first place!”

    If it never existed in the first place what were you doing armed with a cross and stake in Highgate Cemetery on the night of 17 August 1970?


    Why, if it never existed, did you tell the Hampstead & Highgate Express, 6 March 1970, that you thought the vampire was probably responsible for the death of foxes in the graveyard and, quoting you from that newspaper, that everything “points to the vampire theory as being the most likely answer. Should this be so, I for one am prepared to pursue it, taking whatever means might be necessary so that we can all rest”?


  6. Ian Topham says:

    Re: An Interview With Theresa Cheung

    There are some one point I would like to make here.  Nobody really knows what ghosts are and nobody really knows what this vampire or psychic entity reported at Highgate is, but, (sorry to stamp on any beliefs here)  as far as I know there is no scientific evidence that suggest exorcisms work.  Therefore it could quite possibly be the same phenomena being reported.

  7. Vampire Research Society says:

    Re: An Interview With Theresa Cheung
    Sorry to stamp on any scientifically-minded paranormalists’ beliefs in ghosts and the like, but there is absolutely no scientific evidence to suggest anything whatsoever supernatural exists or has ever existed, including ghosts.

    I have seen no scientific evidence anywhere to suggest that ghosts (discarnate spirits of the dead) are actually real.

    Have you seen anything?

    The Society for Psychical Research (founded in London in 1882 as a group of prominent scholars for the purpose of investigating “that large body of debatable phenomena designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical and spiritualistic”, and to do so “in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned enquiry which has enabled science to solve so many problems”) have discovered no evidence to support the existence of ghosts. This comes after more than a century and a quarter of painstaking research and investigation by the Society for Psychical Research.

    “The fact is so improbable that extremely good evidence is needed to make us believe it; and this evidence is not good, for how can you trust people who believe in such absurdities?”

    – Edmund Gurney (19th century SPR committee member, writing about ghosts)

    “Ghosts are the mind’s way of interpreting how the body reacts to certain surroundings, say UK psychologists. A chill in the air, low-light conditions and even magnetic fields may trigger feelings that ‘a presence’ is in a room – but that is all they are, feelings. This explanation of ghosts is the result of a large study in which researchers led hundreds of volunteers around two of the UK’s supposedly most haunted locations – Hampton Court Palace, England, and the South Bridge Vaults in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dr Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, and his colleagues say their work has thrown up some interesting data to suggest why so many people can be spooked in the same building but provides no evidence that ghosts are real.”

    – Aaron Frood (BBC News)

  8. Ian Topham says:

    Re: An Interview With Theresa Cheung
    Feel free to stomp away Vampire Researcher.  I am a bit of a skeptic actually and agree that there is little scientic evidence for ghosts, but I do try to keep an open mind.  Anyway, hence my skepticism about exorcisms.   Actually I have seen a apparition in a joint experience under controlled conditions, however, whether it was some kind of hallucination or not is still open to debate.

  9. Vampire Research Society says:

    Re: An Interview With Theresa Cheung
    And I have seen an exorcism in a joint experience under conditions that led me to believe it actually worked.

    It is always healthy to retain an open-mind, but if something works why dispense with it just because science has a hard time coming to grips with the supernatural?

  10. Ian Topham says:

    Re: An Interview With Theresa Cheung
    I think your right Vampire Researcher, as long as the exorcism does no harm (such as the type we see causing physical harm in some cultures, or cause undue stress).  It is not something I have any experience in and I must admit that I have never considered suggesting an exorcism to someone.  I am more interested in investigating claims of hauntings etc that ending them.

  11. Vampire Research Society says:

    Re: An Interview With Theresa Cheung
    The problem with people who dabble in spiritualism and the occult is that they can open portals to malevolent forces which they are then unable to control. This can also occur when the person dabbling isn’t a medium or an occultist and is just doing it for thrills. Either way, it can lead to psychological breakdowns, even suicides, and there have been, in extreme cases, possession leading to death.

    When all other avenues have been exhausted and have clearly failed, the exorcist is usually then called upon to solve the disturbance created by the release of something sinister into our realm.

    If exorcism did no good and had no more effect than failed psychology, exorcists (who should be experienced and in holy orders) would have become redundant a long time ago. According to church sources, including the Vatican, their expertise has never been more needed than now.

    In a front-page headline story in the Roman Catholic newspaper The Universe the Pope warned of the serious growth of occult practices and satanic sects that has led to an unprecedented rise in demand for exorcists.

  12. DavidFarrant says:

    Re: An Interview With Theresa Cheung
    “People who have no apparent problem with ghosts seem to balk at the thought of vampires. Yet there has always been more evidence to support the existence of vampires than there is to support the existence of ghosts, which even the Society for Psychical Research has not managed to establish after investigating them continually since 1882. That is not to say we shouldn’t keep an open mind about ghostly apparitions of the dearly departed, but at least afford vampires the same open-minded approach when researching”
    I usually visit David Farrant’s home on a Friday evening, but this weekend I have other commitments because it is the Summer Solstice, so I have come here on Thursday instead. He showed me this piece alleging that there is more evidence for the existence of vampires than of ghosts, an assertion that I cannot help but challenging. The Society for Psychical Research have collected a lot of evidence for the existence of ghosts, but not absolute proof; because, as Gurney put it, an exceptional amount of evidence is needed for such a claim.
    By contrast, I do not think that the SPR have found the slightest evidence for the existence of ‘vampires’. Greek and Roman writers did indeed describe ‘striges’ (vampire owls) and ‘lamiae’ (female vampires), but these were nearly always in poetic works which were probably not meant to be taken seriously. The one exception is Philostratus’s ‘Life of Apollonius’, which tells how a man was rescued at the last moment from a Lamia, but, though this was purportedly true, it was only written down two hundred years after the alleged event – hardly an eye-witness account. Admittedly, the classical stories about ghosts are no more nearly first-hand.
    Sixteenth and seventeenth century English writers gave numerous cases of reports of ghosts, and of what we now call poltergeists – though then the latter were usually termed ‘devils’ or ‘witches’, as in the celebrated Civil War pamphlet ‘The Just Devil of Woodstock’. The only instances they knew that could be related to vampires were one or two, in Germany, of ‘shroud-eating’, that is, an exhumed corpse was found to have eaten part of its winding sheet, but this is probably evidence for premature burial rather than vampirism.
    Vampirologists often quote Augustin Calmet’s 1746 book, but if you bother to read it, you will find that he was impressed by the evidence for ghosts, but not by that for vampires, and suggest that supposed vampires were actually ghosts, and that, since some ghosts have been reported as looking solid, people mistakenly thought that the physical bodies had come of their graves. Earlier still, Martin Del Rio, in his ‘Disquisitionum Magicarum’ (expanded edition, 1603), concluded that it was certain that the souls of the dead can appear to the living – so much so that it was possibly heresy not to believe it – and gave twenty folio pages of examples; but declared that it was impossible for demons to raise up the bodies of dead men. (See Book II, Questions 26 and 29.)
    Coming down to the last century, an absolutely huge number of books and articles have appeared about investigations of hauntings. In 1925, for instance, the Daily News asked their readers to write in with their ‘True Ghost Stories’, and were able to fill a largish volume with the responses. Most of what we have heard about vampires in the same period, by contrast, has been fiction, indeed primarily film fiction, comparable to the Roman poet Ovid’s verses about ‘striges’!
    Evidence may not be proof, but Roman poetry and Hammer Horror films are not even evidence.
    Gareth J. Medway.

  13. Vampire Research Society says:

    Re: An Interview With Theresa Cheung
    “I do not think that the SPR have found the slightest evidence for the existence of ‘vampires’.”

    That is due to the fact the SPR were not studying, researching, investigating or even vaguely looking for vampires.

    French vampirological and biblical scholar Dom Augustin Calmet (who entered the Benedictine Order in 1688, becoming ordained into the priesthood in 1696, after which he was offered consecration to the episcopate by Pope Benedict XIII, but turned it down) is remembered for his 1746 work on vampires: Dissertations sur les Apparitions des Anges des Démons et des Espits, et sur les revenants, et Vampires de Hongrie, de Boheme, et de Silésie.

    Calmet’s findings were inconclusive. He did not state, however, that the reports could be explained away by natural causes, but he shrank from proposing an alternative answer. In other words, he left the entire matter unresolved. Yet he seemed to favour the existence of vampires by noting:

    “… that it seems impossible not to subscribe to the belief which prevails in these countries that these apparitions do actually come forth from the graves and that they are able to produce terrible effects which are so widely and so positively attributed to them.”

    Calmet had posed five possibilities for all the accounts he had considered. Three of these he dismissed. The remaining two consisted of the possibility that vampires are the result of the Devil’s interference, or just superstition.

    No firm conclusion was apparent until the third and last edition, published in 1751, where in his bestselling work he makes clear that he could conclude naught save that such creatures as vampires really did return from the grave.

    Tales of the undead craving blood are found in nearly every culture around the world, including those most ancient. Vampiric spectres called the Lilu are mentioned in early Babylonian demonology, and the bloodsucking Akhkharu even earlier in the Sumerian mythology. These female demons were said to roam during the hours of darkness, hunting and killing newborn babies and pregnant women. One of these demons, named Lilitu, was later adapted into Jewish demonology as Lilith.

    In India, tales of the Vetalas, demons that inhabit corpses, are found in old Sanskrit folklore. A prominent story tells of King Vikramāditya and his nightly quests to capture an elusive Vetala. The stories of the Vetala have been compiled in the book Baital Pachisi. The vetala is an undead, who like the bat associated with modern day vampire, is associated with hanging upside down on trees found in cremation grounds and cemeteries.

    The hopping corpse is an equivalent of the vampire in Chinese tradition; however, it consumes the victim’s life essence (qì) rather than blood.

    The Ancient Egyptian goddess Sekhmet became full of bloodlust after slaughtering humans and was only sated after drinking alcohol colored as blood.

    The strix, a nocturnal bird that fed on human flesh and blood is mentioned in Roman tales. The Romanian word for vampires, strigoi, is derived from the word, and so is the name of the Albanian Shtriga, but the myths about those creatures show mainly Slavic influence.

    As an example of the existence and prominence of similar legends at later times, it can be noted that 12th century English historians and chroniclers Walter Map and William of Newburgh recorded accounts of revenants that arguably are little different to East European vampires.

    The vampire, as we know it, is most strongly rooted in East European and above all Slavic folklore where vampires were revenants accused of killing people, often by drinking blood. A vampire could only be destroyed by cutting off its head, by driving a wooden stake into its heart, or by burning the corpse.

    Vampires in Europe were thought to be hideous undead from the grave. They were usually believed to rise from the bodies of suicide victims, criminals, or evil sorcerers; though in some cases an initial vampire thus “born of sin” could pass his vampirism onto his innocent victims. In other cases, however, a victim of a cruel, untimely, or violent death was susceptible to becoming a vampire. Most of Romanian vampire folk beliefs (except Strigoi) and European vampire stories have Slavic origins.

    Belief in vampires persists to this day. Forty years ago there were rumours that a vampire haunted Highgate Cemetery in London. Amateur vampire hunters flocked in large numbers in search of this troublesome undead, but it was the founder of the Vampire Research Society who finally succeeded in tracking the creature down and exorcising it, as recounted in his bestselling book The Highgate Vampire.

    In the modern folklore of Puerto Rico and Mexico, the chupacabra (goat-sucker) is said to be a creature that feeds upon the flesh or drinks the blood of domesticated animals, leading some to consider it a sort of vampire. The chupacabra hysteria was frequently associated with deep economic and political crises, particularly during the mid-1990s.

    During late 2002 and early 2003, hysteria about alleged attacks of vampires swept through the African country of Malawi. Mobs stoned one individual to death and attacked at least four others, including Governor Eric Chiwaya, based on the belief that the government was under vampiric influence.

    In Romania during February 2004, several relatives of the late Toma Petre feared that he had become a vampire. They dug up his corpse, tore out his heart, burned it, and mixed the ashes with water in order to drink it.

    In January 2005, rumours began to circulate that an attacker had bitten a number of people in Birmingham, England, fuelling concerns about a vampire roaming the streets. However, local police stated that no such crime had been reported. This case appears to be an urban legend.

    In 2006, Costas Efthimiou and Sohang Gandhi published a piece that uses geometric progression to attempt to disprove the feeding habits of vampires, stating that, if each vampire’s nourishment depended on making even one other person a vampire, it would only be a matter of years before the Earth’s entire population was among the undead or vampires died out. However, this notion that a vampire’s victims must themselves become vampires does not appear in all vampire folklore, and is not universally accepted by modern vampire believers. This theory also assumes that a single bite turns the victim into a vampire, which is not generally the case in most vampire lore.

    During the late 18th and 19th centuries the belief in vampires was widespread in parts of New England, particularly in Rhode Island and Eastern Connecticut. In this region there are many documented cases of families disinterring loved ones and removing their hearts in the belief that the deceased was a vampire who was responsible for sickness and death in the family. The deadly tuberculosis, or “consumption” as it was known at the time, was believed to be caused by nightly visitations on the part of a dead family member (who had died of consumption him/herself). The most famous (and latest recorded) case is that of nineteen-year-old Mercy Brown who died in Exeter, Rhode Island in 1892. Her father, assisted by the family physician, removed her from her tomb two months after her death. Her heart was cut out then burnt to ashes.

    By comparison, ghosts are described as all manner of possibilities, including time warp glimpses of living people from the past, but no evidence as remotely substantial as that we have for vampires has ever been forthcoming.

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