Vampire Research Society

Vampire Research Society

(pop culture)

The Vampire Research Society was founded on February 2, 1970, by Sean Manchester to investigate all aspects of supernatural vampire phenomena. At the time of its founding, Manchester was the director of an occult investigation bureau, now defunct. During the first two decades of its existence, the society was an open membership group and claimed approximately 300 members. However, in 1990 (by which time there were several other vampire interest groups functioning in England) the society decided to restrict membership and to concentrate on practical research. It confines itself to investigating possible paranormal manifestations, and does not have ties to the larger vampire subculture. The society is unconcerned with medical disorders, individuals wanting to become vampires, and nonconventional behavior (such as blood-drinking) associated with vampires.

Manchester is the primate of the Catholic Apostolic Church of the Holy Grail, a small liturgical jurisdiction of the Old Catholic belief and practice. He was consecrated as a bishop by Rt. Rev. Illtyd Thomas, the primate of the Celtic Catholic Church in 1991. Manchester takes vampirism very seriously as a supernatural occult phenomena and has little in common with vampire enthusiasts, whom he feels are playing with fire and, however unwittingly, promoting evil. The secular press, often not comprehending Manchester’s faith and his own understanding of the vampire problem, have turned him into a media personality, although coverage of him is often tongue-in-cheek. The society and its founder came under public scrutiny on several occasions as a result of Manchester’s investigation of manifestations and occurrences attributed to what was termed the Highgate vampire at London‘s Highgate Cemetery. Subsequently, Manchester wrote a book concerning his investigations, which occurred over a period of thirteen years. More recently, he investigated the Kirklees vampire in West Yorkshire.

The Vampire Research Society is the official United Kingdom advisory service on all matters pertaining to vampires and vampirism. Membership is by invitation only. Interested persons are welcome to correspond (overseas correspondents should include an International Reply Coupon). There is no membership fee for the society, and the society’s journal is for members only. Manchester maintains a web presence at http://www.gothicpress.freeserve.co.uk/.

Sources:

Manchester, Sean. The Highgate Vampire. Revised ed.: London: Gothic Press, 1991. 188 pp.
———. “Eyewitness—The Kirklees Vampire.” The Unexplained 38 (1992). Reprinted in Crimson 8 (1993): 10–12.
———. The Vampire Hunter’s Handbook. London: Gothic Press, 1997. 96 pp.

Vampire Studies see: Vampire Fandom: United States

References in periodicals archive ?
Three years later, Vampire Research Society chief Sean Manchester found what he believed to be the body of the Highgate vampire in a casket beneath a derelict house.