With over 170,000 people in 53,000 graves, Highgate Cemetery sprawls across 20 acres of grassy hills. Opened in 1839, Highgate Cemetery quickly became the most sought-after burial spot in London. To cater for demand, the cemetery company opened the East side extension in 1860. Famous residents include George Eliot, Karl Marx, Douglas Adams, and the parents of Charles Dickens.
The West Cemetery is home to impressive architectural features of the Chapel, Colonnade, Egyptian Avenue, Circle of Lebanon, Terrace Catacombs and the mausoleum of Julius Beer, access to the west side of Highgate Cemetery is by guided tour only.
Hidden deep within the heart of the cemetery, evidence of Satanic masses were found. David Farrant (President of the British Psychic and Occult Society) confirmed the magical signs and symbols used, could only be applicable in a Rite dedicated to one of the most malign Deities to rule amongst the Old Kings of Hell.
Stories of apparitions at Highgate Cemetery date back to the Victorian era and, interestingly enough, many of them had 'vampiristic' connotations.
Perhaps the most famous sighting in the necropolis is a sinister phantom described by witnesses as a 7-foot-tall, dark male figure with piercing, hypnotic eyes and wearing a long black coat and high top hat; known as the Highgate Vampire, he seems to vanish into thin air or mysteriously disappear through the cemetery wall.
In 1970, on Friday 13th March ITV broadcast interviews with local witnesses of the Highgate Vampire. Within a couple of hours, a mob of 'hunters' from all over London and beyond swarmed over the gates and walls of Highgate into the locked cemetery seeking to catch a glimpse of the Highgate Vampire while others were there to slay him.
There have been multiple sightings and encounters that continue today including:
However, a massive restoration project in the 1980’s by the “Friends of Highgate Cemetery” attempted to reverse the neglect of the previous decades. As they cleared the pathways and uncovered, once more, many of the spectacular tombs the ghostly activity began to fade.