Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Though the legend of the Highgate ‘vampire’ continues to intrigue and be discussed, something just as wicked occurred several decades before, in the West End at Coventry Street.
In 1922 a giant bat-like creature had been seen in the vicinity of West Drayton Church. An old man who claimed he had seen the giant bat twenty-five years previously, maintained that it was the spirit of a vampire who had murdered a woman to drink her blood in Harmondsworth in the 1890s. No one took the oldster's tale seriously. Then, on the 16th April 1922 so began a series of attacks on the general public which bore all the marks of a blood-sucking assailant. Several people witnessed a tall black creature with wings (similar to Mothman) flying around a church.They say that it went into the church cemeteries and ran around the graves. Two policemen chased it and it let out an awful scream and flew away. For a short period, the bustling metropolis of London was on vampire alert.
It was 6am and a local clerk was walking to work, heading down Coventry Street. Suddenly he was accosted from the shadows by an unseen form which bit him in the throat. The man collapsed unconscious to the floor, and awoke in Charing Cross Hospital where he told the surgeons of his grim encounter. His tale seemed too far-fetched to the doctors, they believed he’d been stabbed in the neck. Then, just over two hours later, another attack took place. A second man was rushed to the hospital and had the same encounter to speak of as blood trickled from his throat. He’d been attacked by an invisible predator at exactly the same spot.
As the hospital staff attempted to solve the mystery, during late evening another man was attacked, his throat punctured by an unseen assailant at exactly the same spot – the turning just off Coventry Street. The police could not fathom as to what had happened and the press were quick to lap up the grisly rumors that a vampire-like attacker was on the loose, with the Daily Mail reporting on the sinister encounters. A reporter boldly and yet sarcastically asked the police if a vampire could be on the loose, and the officer replied nervously, “That’s all!” and left the conference.
As hysteria rose in the area. There was a rumor that the police hired a vampire hunter, where he chased the being and stabbed him in the heart with a stake. The corpse being taken to Highgate Cemetery - soon after the attacks stopped.
The story may sound like a piece of horror fiction, but how uncanny that a handful of decades later a bizarre, vampire-like spectre would be seen to haunt and attack within the confines of the gloomy cemetery. You may want to read London's Prince of Darkness - The Highgate Vampire
Strange but True: Mysterious and Bizarre People, Who Were They and Where Did They Go- Thomas Slemen
The Encyclopedia of Vampires and Werewolves- Rosemary Ellen Guiley
'Phantoms and Monsters'