Difference between revisions of "Seán Manchester"

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m (this seems to be the direct quote, although it offends me that Ofcom / the BBC are pluralising with an apostrophe)
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Bishop Manchester seems to have a somewhat turbulent relationship with the BBC having made no less than three complaints to them over the years.  All of them revolve around the manner of by which he should be addressed.
 
Bishop Manchester seems to have a somewhat turbulent relationship with the BBC having made no less than three complaints to them over the years.  All of them revolve around the manner of by which he should be addressed.
  
Two complaints made in 2002 were upheld in part.<ref>[BBC 2002 complaints]</ref> In the first he didn't like the fact that he was not addressed as Bishop and in the second he complained about being refered to as a "so called" Bishop. Auntie decided he was a Bishop in each case.
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Two complaints made in 2002 were upheld in part.  In the first he didn't like the fact that he was not addressed as Bishop and in the second he complained about being refered to as a "so called" Bishop. Auntie decided he was a Bishop in each case.{{fact}}
  
 
The third complaint, made in 2006, was in respect of him being referred to as belonging to "a number of “1970's weirdos”" and other things.  The BBC decided in this case that calling him a "1970's weirdo" was fair comment.<ref>[http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/obb/prog_cb/pcb37/issue58.pdf BBC calls Bishop Manchester a 1970's weirdo]</ref>  The whole judgement makes interesting reading.
 
The third complaint, made in 2006, was in respect of him being referred to as belonging to "a number of “1970's weirdos”" and other things.  The BBC decided in this case that calling him a "1970's weirdo" was fair comment.<ref>[http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/obb/prog_cb/pcb37/issue58.pdf BBC calls Bishop Manchester a 1970's weirdo]</ref>  The whole judgement makes interesting reading.

Revision as of 00:35, 17 January 2010

Icon fun.svg For those of you in the mood, RationalWiki has a fun article about Seán Manchester.

Seán Manchester claims to be an Old Catholic Bishop[1] exorcist [2] and vampire hunter[3]...no, you didn't read that wrong: he's a vampire-hunting, exorcising bishop.[4] He's written a number of books (you can guess the subject),[5] and was involved in a vampire panic surrounding the Highgate Cemetery in London.[6] Highgate holds a very special place in the annals of bullshit because, while pseudosciences frequently contradict each other, you rarely find the supporters of a given one calling bullshit on each other. Manchester and another enthusiast named David Farrant both claim to have the "real" story of the Highgate Vampire, and essentially accuse each other of being frauds (this may stem from the fact that Manchester claims the title "Priest", and Farrant claims the title "occultist").[7]


Bishop Manchester in action.

Activities and research

Notwithstanding his interest in vampires, he also seems to take a great interest in exorcism. While the ummm "conventional" Catholic Church and many other flavours of Christianity still (yes, we know it's the 21st century) approve of exorcism, it seems unlikely that the vampire-hunting "bishop" is fully in line with current Catholic teaching over the undead. If you want to find out a bit more about him, the bishop gives his side on this YouTube video.

He seems to be a colourful character. For example, a blogger named Alex Lucard claims that Manchester harassed him, allegedly accusing him of actually being the vampire Dracula[8] (Alucard is "Dracula" spelled backwards). It should be noted that the story is denied by The Bishop.

Some claim that his research seems to mostly consist of reading Bram Stoker and watching old vampire movies (the idea of Dracula using "Alucard" as a pseudonym originated in the 1940s film Son of Dracula, starring Lon Chaney Jr., and his account of the Highgate Vampire has so many parallels to Dracula that Stoker's estate could probably sue if it wasn't public domain). A perhaps surprising situation as most people who do believe in vampires generally follow folklore, rather than Universal Monster Movies.

Nevertheless, he is also president and founder of the "Vampire Research Society".[9] And that society seems to take an interest in historical notions of the "vampire". It claims:[10]

The supernatural vampire of folklore as defined in dictionaries, encyclopedias and non-fiction works is the matter of the Society's research and pursuit.

On being a bishop

In his blog, website and BBC interviews (referenced above) he seems to be quite convinced that he is a Catholic Bishop.


I'm not a vicar, I'm a priest and a bishop. I'm a Catholic.
—Sean Manchester in his BBC interview.

The vast majority of people will understand "Catholic Bishop" to mean "Roman Catholic Bishop" and this title could cause some confusion among the Roman Catholic faithful as he does not appear in the official list of British bishops provided by "catholic-hierarchy" [11].

However, further investigation reveals that in other places he claims to a Bishop, not of the Roman Catholic Church, but of of the Old Catholic Church. And not just a member - the leader in the UK![12] [13] While it may be surprising that a church leader believes in vampires, one might ask if this is really any stranger than believing in creationism, exorcism and the virgin birth - ideas that that may be obligatory under other circumstances. (So clearly being a Bishop in no way suggests that an individual won't have weird ideas, perhaps the reverse.)

But the more one digs, the stranger it gets. He appears nowhere in the list of priests of the official-looking website "Catholic Apostolic Church in Europe" subtitled "The Old Catholic Church in Europe"[14]. Which leaves us a bit confused about this vampire-hunting Bishop. He surely can't have invented his own religion?

After following some dead ends, one comes to another cheap-looking website, that of The Church of the Holy Grail [15] presided over by none other than Bishop Manchester. So one is rather left wondering - are there any independent sites which can attest to his status?

Nevertheless, it should be noted that Seán Manchester's title of "Bishop" is not in dispute here, since he can call himself the "Mushroom King" or the "Pope" for all we care. Mr Manchester is, however, very jealous of his title. So much so that, in a legal threat to RationalWiki, he pointed out that his title has been recognised by a member of the Anglican clergy and that in his words he was: "enthroned at the Abbey ruins as Bishop of Glastonbury." On an unrelated note, the Church of the SubGenius awards many titles, including the rather spectacular "High Pope of the Unpredictable".[16]

Bishop Manchester and the BBC

Bishop Manchester seems to have a somewhat turbulent relationship with the BBC having made no less than three complaints to them over the years. All of them revolve around the manner of by which he should be addressed.

Two complaints made in 2002 were upheld in part. In the first he didn't like the fact that he was not addressed as Bishop and in the second he complained about being refered to as a "so called" Bishop. Auntie decided he was a Bishop in each case.[citation needed]

The third complaint, made in 2006, was in respect of him being referred to as belonging to "a number of “1970's weirdos”" and other things. The BBC decided in this case that calling him a "1970's weirdo" was fair comment.[17] The whole judgement makes interesting reading.

So if we follow the BBC's decisions - which Bishop Manchester has elsewhere encouraged us to do - there is no doubt that he is both a Bishop and a weirdo.

Bishop Manchester and RW

In response to this page, Manchester also seems to have acquired an obsession with Rationalwiki (and Mustex). As of 13th Jan 2010, 5 out of 6 of his blog posts are about Rationalwiki and / or Mustex.

See also

External links

Footnotes

  1. Well, he claims to be a bishop in his blog.
  2. Here's his website, lots of exorcism
  3. An interview with the vampire hunting-bishop on the BBC
  4. Vampire-hunting bishop at the BBC2.
  5. http://www.gothicpress.freeserve.co.uk/Gothic.htm
  6. The Highgate vampire story
  7. http://www.davidfarrant.org/about/index.html
  8. http://www.alexanderlucard.com/wordpress/?cat=28
  9. Vampire Research Society
  10. Vampire research society
  11. List of British Catholic bishops from Catholic hierarchy
  12. Old Catholic Church in the UK
  13. The Right Reverend Seán Manchester, O.S.G.
  14. list of Old Catholic Priests
  15. The Church of the Holy Grail Website
  16. The Church of the Subgenius
  17. BBC calls Bishop Manchester a 1970's weirdo