You came into the spotlight with the Highgate Vampire case in the 1970s, but your interest and knowledge of vampires no doubt goes back further in time. When did you first start researching this unusual subject? — Mark Knight
Serious introduction to the subject came about in the 1960s (I cannot recall precisely when) with my reading The Vampire: His Kith & Kin (1928) and The Vampire in Europe (1929), both by Montague Summers, prior to which the supernatural had always held a fascination since early childhood. Summers led me to read more obscure vampirological works from earlier centuries. I have the good fortune to know quite well someone who themselves knew Montague Summers and received from Summers a "vampire protection medallion" (referred to and illustrated in The Vampire's Bedside Companion anthology published in 1975 where I also make a contribution). The medallion has been bequeathed to me by its owner.
How much of the current vampire lore is generated by Hollywood and how much of it is genuine? Or is any of it genuine? — Mark Knight
I am unfamilar with much of the current culture appertaining to vampires and vampirism, but I suspect it has little bearing on the lore of centuries past. My knowledge, albeit supplemented by experts from yestercenturies, is based more on experience than it is on speculative consideration and contemporary culture.
Among your fields of research are the areas of demonology and demonaltry. Please can you explain the meaning of these two terms? — Mark Knight
The word "demonology" refers to the study of demons whereas the word "demonolatry" covers the study of those who practice diabolism and the minutiae of their darkly occult ritualism. Since the late 1950s and early 1960s the word has also been adopted by diabolists themselves as a reference to describe their demon worship. When I use the word it is in its older meaning, ie pertaining to studying and researching about diabolists and their sinister practices.
What would you say to someone who insists that vampires and demons do not exist in the real world? — Mark Knight
I think you will find that most people not only dismiss the existence of demons (vampires are predatory demons) in our largely atheistic, secular society, but all things supernatural. I would merely say that I hope they are never confronted by the demonic whilst I pray they encounter the angelic. To those who do not believe, no amount of words from me will convince them of anything supernatural, whereas no words or convincing are required from me to those who already believe.
Would you recommend anyone who is interested in vampirolgical research and demonology to get involved and if so, what advice would you give him/her? — Mark Knight
I would not advise anyone to "get involved" unless they absolutely know they have a definite calling to the ministry of exorcism. Then I would advise them to seek out a traditionalist branch of their Church. Otherwise, study the subject by all means, but do not dabble in it or otherwise become involved.
Lastly, what are your current interests and projects? Who is Seán Manchester in everyday terms, outside of all things clerical? — Mark Knight
I do not like to talk about projects where I am only a consultant or contributor (and there are several) or where I have been asked not to discuss the project until it is in post-production and closer to release. Where I am solely in control I would feel free to engage in that conversation and only then where it does not compromise the integrity of the project or any confidences placed in me by other people. Outside of all things clerical, I am a portraiturist (oil on canvas), a photographer, poet, musician and composer. I am a collector of antique objects ranging from sacred relics to Byronania, rare books, paintings, phonograph cylinders and 78rpm records, dageurreotypes, Victorian and Edwardian photographs, artefacts, curiosities and miscellany. I have a number of old cameras, my favourite being a 19th century Thornton & Pickard brass and mahogany plate camera (pictured below). The majority of my collectables are 19th century and earlier with just a few items of more recent vintage, ie early twentieth century. Artefacts most precious to me are the relics of saints and those awaiting canonisation, eg the venerated and the beatified. I have almost completed a memoir which I doubt shall ever be offered for publication. My current instruction is to have it consigned to the flames upon my demise.