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Vampire Research Society

So you think vampires are only fictional monsters from books and movies? Guess again! They're all around us, lurking in the dark corners of the night…in fact, many of the hauntings and possessions that take hold in forlorn areas may not actually be ghosts, but vampires.

Or at least, that's how the Vampire Research Society sees things. These guys have spent the past thirty to forty years obsessively chasing real-life vampires in the United Kingdom (and sometimes other places). Their most famous case involved an incident known as The Highgate Vampire, during which they performed an cleansing (or rather, "vampire hunt") in the United Kingdom's famous Highgate Cemetery. This consisted of Right Reverend Sean Manchester and some companions being led to a certain tomb by a sleepwalking psychic girl, sneaking in through a hole in the roof, and sprinkling garlic and holy water in some empty coffins.

Over 35 years later, Manchester is still bragging about this incident, referring to it often and suggesting that it was the high point of his career as a vampire hunter. In the years since then, Manchester doesn't seem to have taken part in any other media-worthy events. He has, however, spent years building up a sizable number of opponents and enemies – most of whom have been involved in the goth and punk underground scene, and who see Manchester as an outright kook who thinks gothic kids and followers of the "vampire lifestyle" are real vampires, or who have access to real vampires.

Sean Manchester – or rather, the Right Reverend Sean Manchester, Superior General for Ordo Sancti Graal, Founder of the Sacerdotal Society of the Precious Blood, Primate/Bishop (with dignity of Archbishop) for Ecclesia Apostolica Jesu Christi – had a falling-out with a fellow vampire hunter, David Farrant, and this rivalry has become a bitter enmity over the years. Farrant's activities have made him a figure of controversy, especially since he was arrested in the 1970s following an incident in which the charred and headless body of a woman was discovered in the Highgate area. (Farrant was not actually accused of any crime, and his case was dropped. He later spent some time in jail for vandalising memorials and "interfering" with buried human remains in the course of his vampire hunting.)

In recent days, Manchester's activities have gained him some notoriety, especially in the case of his rivalry with a writer named Alex Lucard. Lucard (and yes, that's his real name) happens to have a last name that, when spelled backwards, gives the name of a certain famous fictional vampire. This was enough to attract attention from Manchester. Lucard described his encounters with Manchester on his LiveJournal account…until the the coup de grace came in 2006 when Lucard's LiveJournal account was "temporarily" suspended. If you can't make heads or tails of this insanity, Mr. Lucard does his best to be helpful by summarizing this story in his regular column for the webzine Inside Pulse. (He also has a mirror of the story on his own Wordpress blog.)