This week we’re continuing our look at variations on classical monsters. Up to bat this week is rather a bizarre concept: that of Vampyres.
As you’ve noticed with previous columns, there are actually people out there who consider themselves vampire hunters. On the flip side of the coin, there are also those that truly believe they are vampires. I’m not here to validate them or point the finger and say, “Those are some crazy motherf*ckers!” I’m just here to explain the concepts for you.
Vampyres, as opposed to Vampires, are flesh and blood humans that believe they are vampires. Now very few believe they are undead ghouls risen from the grave to stalk the living. And those who do fall into that group are shunned and treated like lunatics in the same way you or I would react to a chubby balding 40 year old calling himself Count Nefarious VonLestat. Vampyres as a whole are people who feel there is something that separates them from humanity in some way shape or form, and through the power of the Internet have formed a tight interconnecting circle of support for their lifestyle.
Vampyres can also be broken down into three sub categories.
I) Blood Drinkers. People who feel they have a physical or mental addiction/need/craving to drink the blood of others.
II) Psychic Vampyres. People who believe they have the power to psychically feed on/drain a human’s life force. Although the term was originally coined by Anton LeVay in his The Satanic Bible to represent parasitic people who take and take emotionally and physically and never give anything back, somewhere in the past 40 years people have decided to take the term from the connotative definition to a more denotative one.
III) Vampyric Lifestylers. These are the people often mistaken for members of the Gothic subculture due to similarities in dress. They wear a lot of black clothing, often from what they think are Victorian or Renaissance garb (Don’t get me started on the inaccuracies of that though.). Some may sleep in coffins. Some may exaggerate their distaste for the sun or garlic or other conventional folkloric vampiric trappings. They might have fangs permanently adhered to their canines or have fake teeth they wear often. Basically these are the people who took their love of Anne Rice characters a little too far. Generally the Goths loathe these people and the lifestyle Vamps hate them just as much back.
You’ve noticed by now where I refer to “Real Vampyres,” I use a y instead of an i. Much like the Womynists movement of the 1990’s where feminists replace the a/e of woman/women with a y as a metaphor for liberating themselves from conventional male dominated trappings, vampyres change the I of vampire into a Y to signify they are “Real” or “legit” and to show a degree of separation from the “erroneous” legends of folklore, myth, and Hollywood.
There’s not much more I can say on the concept of Vampyric Lifestylers, as it’s pretty cut and dry. They’re vampire fan obsesses. They’ve taken that passion and love many people feel for the concepts of Vampirism, but then they cross the line into a zealous fantasy world. It’s types A and B that require more of a look at.
First, let’s start with the Blood Drinkers. With in this classification of Vampyres, there are further sub categories that may not be significantly different to you the reader, but to Vampyres, it can be a very big deal indeed. Now I’m not going to go into every single subcategory
A) Blood fetishists. A blood fetishist is something who is sexually aroused by spilling or drinking blood. This is also known as Haematophilia, and Vampyres refer to these people as Haemosexuals. Blood fetishism is actually quite a common one in the scheme of sexual kinks. It’s common with people into BDSM. A blood fetishist does feel a physical or psychological need to drink blood. They’re just sexually turned on by spilling a tiny bit of it. The more psychotic ones like to spill a lot, and we lock those people up. Blood fetishists are not really considered Vampyres, but blood fetishism is often the gateway that leads to people to become Vampyric Lifestylers or develop a psychological fixation on blood. Note that not all Blood Fetishists are going to become Vampyres. It’s just quite the majority of Vampyres DO have a Blood Fetish. But for blood fetishists, blood is primarily erotic first and foremost, but for Vampyres, it tends to not be erotic and more a craving, much like a junkie needs their fix.
B) Autovampyres. These are people who have developed a psychological fixation on drinking blood but for various reasons, have not shared this need with anyone else, and so have taken to drinking their own blood via cutting themselves. This is personally the most tragic of the Blood Drinker subcategories of Vampyrism, as these are the people who are generally lacking any sort of friend group, and thus have no one to turn to for this mental addiction.
C) Renfield’s Syndrome. If you’ve ever read/watched a Dracula book/movie, then you’ve probably encountered the character of Renfield. This is a psychological condition which was first coined by the Goth and Vampyre subculture, but is now officially the non-clinical label for an umbrella of mental disorders. These disorders include the aforementioned autovampirism, Zoophaga, which is an intense craving to eat the flesh and drink the blood of animals at a level far above what society would consider normal. This is the most common aspect that Renfield’s syndrome is tied to due to the character feeding on small animals like birds and mice and insects. Psychologists also tie blood drinking from other humans into Renfield’s Syndrome, which is something most Vampyres would take great offense to, as it’s often considered part of the next category we’ll be looking at.
D) Clinical Vampirism. Notice that this one gets an I instead of a Y. That’s because Clinical Vampires are the subgroup that have a strong psychological craving for blood. Clinical Vampires not only enjoy shedding and drinking the blood of others, but also of themselves. The more extreme members of this sub group often have their bodies riddled with scars from their autovampirism. Clinical vampires also tend to suffer from Self Mutilation Syndrome, or SMS.
E) Sanguinarian. Please not this is a term completely created by the Vampyric community, and is not an actually accepted term by the anthropological/psychological communities at all. As such, I’m going to take the exact definition used at http://www.sanguinarius.org, also known as the Vampire Support Page.
Someone who has a physical thirst, need, craving for blood (which is non-erotic in nature) in more significant quantity than is generally required or desired by other blood-drinkers. Sanguinarians (a word from the Latin root “sanguinarius”, meaning “bloodthirsty”) apparently do not get the benefits from pranic energy, or else they are unable to feed psychically like psi and energy vampires, for whom blood and pranic energy are apparently interchangeable.
Pranic energy is Chi/Life Force/etc, btw. Truthfully, the only real difference between Sanguinarians and the other blood drinkers seems to be that Sangi’s seem to have a stronger addiction which they consider to be biological or physical in nature instead of a mental addiction. Of course, the scientific communities will say that it’s not possible to be physically addicted to blood drinking and that anyone claiming this is actually suffering from a mental addiction. Sanguinarians feel otherwise, and so there’s an obvious standoff. But then, furries think there’s nothing wrong with being sexually attracted to werehippos where the other 99 percent of humanity goes “WTF” to that concept.
Let’s do one more from the Blood Drinking category of vampyres before moving on to the Psychic Vampyre classification.
F) “Real Vamps”. I have to put this category into quotations because as a folklorist, the only REAL type of vampire for me are the undead kind. Nevertheless, there is a faction that flitters the line between blood drinkers and the Vampyric lifestylers. These blood drinkers believe that drinking the blood of others grants their superhuman/supernatural abilities. These include increased sensory perception, heightened empathy, and an increased lifespan. they also claim to have “traditional vampiric trappings” such as a sensitivity to sunlight and a preference to be awake at night. Of course, any researcher worth their salt knows these vampiric weaknesses only appeared in folkloric vampires in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Of course, most of the enhanced abilities can not be proven or disproven, so again, this is a very controversial area. Note that none of these would be “real vampyres” claim to have shape shifting ability, immortality, immune to physical harm, mind control powers or the like.
Now let’s move on to Psychic vampires.
A) Psychological Vampires.
This is the term that vampyres use to refer to the original definition of Psychic Vampires. And as we are discussing the sub-categories of this type, I will follow suit only for making the understanding of these concepts easier to you, the reader. A Psychological vampire is generally a person with histrionic or narcissistic personality disorder. They’re attention mongers, drama queens, whatever you want to call them. They’re codependent, self-effacing, whiny, selfish, immature people who makes the lives of everyone around them hellish. In other words, several of my ex’s, as well as a few staffers here at IP. Or ex-staffers. Whatever It’s no wonder the people who claim to have psychic powers don’t want to be associated with THESE psychic vampires. Of course, I’m sure that’s a two way street.
-vamps are people who reportedly have the power to drain life force energies rather than blood from their donors or victims. Some however do drink blood to gain psychic or pranic energy as well. Psi-vamps are basically those that feed psychically rather than through blood letting for the most part.
It’s hard for me not to be snarky here about the concept of psi-vamping due to the obviously impossibility to prove someone is actually feasting on life force energy, a concept that may or may not exist. There’s no way to prove or disprove this either way, and without my usual lack of professional candor, when you see the type of people who claim to be psychic vampires, it’s quite obvious there’s a lot missing from their lives and so they’ve concocted a massive fantasy world around themselves in order to feel better about their shortcomings and the depression that accordingly follows that. There are many books on the subject that echo my own thoughts on the matter. But obviously Psi-vamps are highly defensive about their “true nature” and “special gifts,” so hypersensitive defensiveness is their reaction to almost everything.
C) Sexual Vampyre/Succubi/Incubi.
All of these terms are interchangeable for the purpose of this subcategory. Basically this is psi-vamping done through sexual activity.
D) Tiamatians/Temple of the Vampire.
Okay, I can’t really get into this. It’s long and it’s complicated and it’s also bizarre. Note that the Temple of the Vampire IS a federally accepted religion. There are debates on whether the ToV deserves the “cult” label or not. The Temple was started by one Lucas Martel, formerly of the Church of Satan back in the early 1990’s. Back in the heyday of the VC over at WBS.net the Temple of the Vampire decided to make me an honorary “Vampire Priest.” I declined the “honor,” but was happy to take a copy of the “Vampiric Bible,” for research purposes. The Bible, at the time, was a 32 page leaflet. Now it appears to have expanded into a full hardcover book. My best suggestion for you is to simply go to the Temple of the Vampire home page, and read what’s there. I in no way, shape, or form endorse these guys. It’s just simply I can’t cram a description of these guys into a simple paragraph or two. It almost deserves a column unto itself. But yeah, knock yourselves out.
E) Temple of Set
Man, there’s a lot of these vampiric religions, aren’t there? The Temple of Set was also founded by former members of the Church of Satan, Michael and Lilith Aquino back in 1975. Both religions are in a sniping war with each other. In 2002, a group called “the Storm” broke from the Temple of Set as well. The Temple of set is merely being mentioned in passing for their use of psi-vamping for unlike many other psi-vamps, the Temple of Set (like the ToV) teaches psi-vamping is a learnable skill rather than a born quality. The Temple of Set is a very small religion, having no more than 200 members. You can however view their website here.
Come on, you guys had to know I’d be bringing up the one sub-group of freaks out there I hate even more than furries. Otherkin are people who believe that they were either a mythological creature in a past life, such as a faerie, werewolf, elf, or dragon, or that they are currently a mythological creature trapped in human form away from their home dimension. In other words, Otherkin = massive schizophrenia. I’m loathe to even link Otherkin to psychic vampyres, but there’s no better category to place them in. Otherkin vampires tend to focus on believing not that they are folkloric or mythological vampires, but the Hollywood versions that bare little resemblance to the vampire of lore and literature. Although one would at first consider placing these Otherkin in with the Vampyric lifestylers, many Vampiric Otherkin claim to be psi-vamps as well so…in they get lumped.
In a nutshell though, most otherkin are diagnosed or undiagnosed schizophrenics that also suffer from other mental disorders. Trust me on this. In my line of work, I’ve encountered far too many of them, and that’s the one thread running through them all. Sadly through Internet communities, these people are able to let their delusions fester and breed and strengthen, rather than receive the psychological counseling they damn well need. Say what you will about the other “Vampyres,” but this category are the true nuts.
And that’s it. We’ve covered over a dozen sub groups of Vampyres. If you’d like to learn more, I recommend the following books:
Vampires Among Us by Rosemary Guiley
Blood Lust by Carol Page
American Vampires by Norrine Dresser
Piercing the Darkness by Katherine Ramsland
or go visit http://www.sanguinarius.org/, which for 9 years has been the main website for learning about real vampyres and where they congregate on the Internet. However, if you do go there, don’t go to troll or being an outright dick to others. Go to read and learn how and why these people believe what they do. I’m not a believer of it myself, but it’s no more incredulous that most religions that are out there. Only go there if you want to learn more about this stuff. Be respectful and courteous. Unless of course they’re a vampire furrie. Then go all out. ;-)
Well, it’s kind of hard to get in the mood for cooking what with all the blood talk we’ve just had. However I did have a lovely breakfast this morning at a local cafe near where I live called the Sunny Side Up. Decent food, but they take forever to get it to you. I’m not really much of a breakfast cook, but since that’s my state of mind right now, let’s take something from that genre.
This is something I first started making when I moved to Portland, OR back in 2000. Moving into the new condo meant very little in the house, so I pretty much had to think on my feet for what to eat. It was a late Sunday evening and so things were pretty much closed. However, my stomach was open for business and it wanted food. NOW. What I ended up doing was putting together some fruit, some ice cream and some waffles to make neat little sandwich sundae thingies. It’s hardly that original however, as waffle sundaes have been done forever. They taste great though.
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
5 tablespoons UNSALTED butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Vanilla Ice Cream
1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt & sugar into a large bowl. Next put the egg yolks, milk, butter and vanilla extract into another bowl and mix well. Add the flour and milk mixtures together and beat until just mixed. It’s important not to over-beat the batter.
2. Put the egg whites into a clean bowl and beat with a wire whisk until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter using a metal spoon. Again, don’t overmix. If there’s a few lumps of egg white floating in the mixture at this point, it’s okay. Just leave them. It’s always better to under-beat than over-beat.
3. Spoon the batter into the hot waffle iron, spread the mixture out to the edges, and close the lid. You’ll have some batter left over to make more, so don’t pour the entire mixture onto the waffle iron. Cooking should take about 3-5 minutes.
4. Place vanilla ice cream on the waffles and then add fresh fruit. Serve immediately.
What’s worth reading this week besides Nyogtha?
In Culture, Danny Wallace gave us drinks, Rebecca Bundy gave us the Rape of Nanking, Elizabeth looked at Tarot, Fred talked Palestinian poetry, ML talked Engrams, and Sara Reller‘s now an aunt, but that’s not what she talks about in her column.
In Music, Gloomchen is way too optimistic about Minneapolis, despite by forebearings.
In Wrestling, Eric S, discusses Raw’s first night back on USA.
In Comics, see what’s shipping this week. I’m getting Exiles, Infinite Crisis, Villains United, and Essential Werewolf by Night.
Another week, another Nyogtha. Have a good long week people!