When you think of vampires, you might think of characters like Lestat from Interview with The Vampire or perhaps you prefer the sparklier variety of Edward Cullen from Twilight. But did you know there are vampires who walk among us? Click through this article to find out more about modern day vampires!
Self-proclaimed vampires Countess Lea and Count Tim Van Doorn first met at a vampire festival and now are in a relationship based around, as Tim describes it, their “connection of darkness.” The two mutually engaged in the act of sucking one another’s blood and describe the experience as being “better than sex”. Lea said, “We are kind of like sharks once we get going. I feel this rush of life, their essence, and their energy is coming into me.” The two both have acrylic fangs put onto their own teeth but prefer to use syringes when actually taking part in the act.
I Vant To Drink Your Blood
Countess Lea gave insight to what drinking another person’s blood is actually like. She described the scenario saying, “It is a [sensual] experience and we often draw blood in the bedroom. Vampires are highly [sensual] creatures and having [intimate relations] literally gets the blood pumping.” Her vampiric partner Tim went even further with the description saying, “I actually prefer drinking blood to having [intimate relations]. You are taking the essence of a person and that to me is ecstasy. There is no better feeling.” In addition to being vampires, the two are also parents! They are raising Tim’s three-year-old son from a previous marriage and they both hope that he will follow in their vampire lifestyle, although they say they won’t force it on him.
Vampires In New England
Historically, people have believed in vampires for hundreds of years. Even in the United States there is historical lore about vampires. Around a century ago, there were stories about vampires roaming the tiny state of Rhode Island. At the time, a mass fear had sprung up that the dead were rising from their graves to stalk the living. To ensure their deceased loved ones wouldn’t come back as vampires families in the area, mostly farmers, would dig up their dead family members and desecrate the bodies by burning their hearts. Stories like this one are what lead to much of the vampire-laden fiction and films that we all love and enjoy today.
The Vampire Panic Origin
New England was not the only place to deal with a vampire panic. It actually first began in Europe in countries like France and England in the previous century (likely the 1700s) before crossing the ocean and heading to the new country of America. Apparently, in the late 1800s this panic was quite common across New England but struck particularly hard in Rhode Island. Much of the panic also arose from the fear of disease that could not yet be explained. People had no concept of germs yet, so when one person became ill and others followed, people often came up with supernatural explanations rather than scientific ones. However, this hasn’t stopped stories of vampires from existing and people continuing to believe even into the modern day.
Nowadays, people aren’t exactly roasted at the stake if they are thought to be vampires (well, in the United States anyway). However, many vampires still feel as though they are ostracized by society when they declare their true self. Many vampires say that while they do not go around biting people’s necks, they look for consenting donors. However, this can be difficult due to a stigma against such an act. Most modern vampires instead turn to the Internet to find willing participants. Some vampires are also looking for their vampiric match and lo and behold, there’s an app for that! There is an app available on Google Play which has had between 1,000 and 5,000 downloads of vampires looking to meet their bloody match.
Buzzfeed’s Vampire Date
Recently, Buzzfeed aired a short that showcased a young woman named Selorm going on a date with a real-life vampire named Anthony Montemarano. Before the date, Selor m only knew vampires from her Twilight-watching days. However, Anthony claims to be the real thing. In fact he is even part of a coven called The Sabretooth Clan and he goes by the vampire name “Onius”. The two went to the Museum of Death for their first date and later went to dinner. Onius wears faux fangs which he agreed to remove in order eat a steak. The two finished their date by looking at a nice view and drinking some wine. Apparently, they hit it off and even planned for a future date. Perhaps, a human-vampire love can work out after all!
Vamping It Up In The States
The Atlanta Vampire Alliance is an organization of self-identified vampires in the Atlanta, Georgia area. They estimate that are probably at least 5,000 vampires living nationwide in the United States. The majority of the vampires carry on with normally despite being of the blood-preferring persuasion. Vampire expert John Edgar Browning spoke to the Washington Post about his vampire studies. He said, “After a short period of time, I realized that they weren’t crazy. At least, they weren’t any crazier than your Average Joe.” He also found that each vampire has their own personal preference of how they get their blood. Browning himself once volunteered as a vampire blood donor and said that the process was nearly clinical. The vampire cleaned his back with an alcohol pad and then used a small medical tool, likely a scalpel, to make a small opening.
The Point Of Blood Drinking
So we all know that the main point of a vampire is to drink blood but why is that important to them? What exactly does blood do for these self-proclaimed vampires? Some vampires claim that they actually need the blood physically to survive. Others claim that it infuses them with an energy they can get from nowhere else and that consuming blood leaves them feeling rejuvenated. Some vampires even claim to experience very negative health effects when they are unable to find blood. One vampire named Kinesia spoke about a trying physical moment to the BBC, “One scary moment was when I was admitted to ER for having a low heart rate that would jump up to 160 when I stood up, or walked around, followed by a massive migraine, and often losing consciousness. Basically, my heart was working extra hard to keep everything functioning — a reaction, I believe, to about four months without feeding.”
Across The Pound: The Professor Vampire
A recent scandal struck Wrexham Univeristy in Cardiff England after a PhD student named Helen Coleman sued the University and vampire professor Emyr Williams. Williams purports to be a vampire expert and encouraged students to study more about real-life vampirism. Apparently, one student adhered to the lessons and ended up cutting herself and drinking the blood in class, which led to the lawsuit. Helen claimed that she suffered from PTSD due to witnessing the strange ritual. The vampire professor at hand has published a number of studies on vampires, has introduced students to real life vampire communities, and also claims vampirism as a non-traditional religious belief.
The Professor’s Lessons
Vampire professor Emyr Williams has publicly called for real vampires to come forward in order to be studied and he estimates there are around 15,000 living in England. He claims to have further knowledge about the mysterious creatures saying vampires, “drink blood and drain energy from people, but their well-established laws mean they know who it can and can’t be taken from”. Although, Professor Williams has denied being a vampire himself. Because of this, he has claimed that getting real vampires who are willing to talk with him to be very difficult. Despite the difficulty in locating real vampires he has managed to find a few and has called vampirism “a genuine way of life”.
The Asetian Bible
Many modern-day vampires look to their own literature to find guidance about the lifestyle. One such piece of literature is the Asetian Bible. The text was written by Luis Marques and surrounds both Ancient Egyptian spirituality and real-life vampirism. Asetianism claims to uncover the first vampires and a form of “predatory spirituality”. The text follows vampires through their ancient history and its connections to ancient Egypt. The author Luis Marques claims to be a member of the Order of Aset Ka and privy to ancient knowledge. On his Twitter bio he also claims to be a “scholar of immortality” and it is rumored that he is a real vampire himself.
Hollywood Versus Real
Like most things portrayed in Hollywood films, the real-life version of vampirism is a bit different than as portrayed on screen. In an expose written by the late journalist Kim Wall (Sidenote: Kim was tragically murdered while on a story an interviewing a Danish submarine inventor), she discussed the modern days’ practicalities facing real vampires. One such commonly debunked topic was biting. According to Kim and her interviewees, typically vampires do not bite. Biting is both unsanitary and can cause more damage than is needed, rather vampires typically use syringes or scalpels. Modern day vampires are also able to walk in the daylight without burning. Many vampires also use regular donors with medical paperwork to back it up in order to prevent the spread of any blood-borne diseases.
Kim’s Vampire Research
Kim also found that vampires interestingly seem to transcend many different boundaries including race, class and gender. One vampire she named was a thirty-seven-year-old man named Merticus who said, “We’re people you pass on the street and likely socialize with on a daily basis. We often keep this aspect of our life secret for fear we’ll be misunderstood and to safeguard against reprisals from what society deems taboo.” Much like other ostracized segments of society, vampires feel as though they need to keep their identity secret in order to prevent being treated poorly. Merticus is actually quite normal, a married antique dealer with two dogs.
Merticus also pointed out many non-real vampire activities. He said that wearing black or wearing faux fangs does not make one a vampire, but rather is considered a “fashion vampire” or more commonly used “poser”. Merticus claims that most real vampires do not look or dress in the stereotypical goth fashions. He also makes it clear that vampirism is not a cult nor a religion. Merticus is one of many vampires that claim ingesting blood actually helps his health. He said, “Most people are able to maintain healthy energy levels through diet, exercise, social interactions and the occasional cappuccino. We’ve had to develop alternative means to sate our energy needs.”
The vampire community identifies two different kinds of vampires: the blood vampire or sanguinarians and the psychic or energy vampire. Merticus says that these kinds of vampires have existed for long periods of time and have even co-existed in organized communities for at least 30 years. He also says those who identify as sanguinarians are extremely diverse and include soldiers, lawyers and teachers. Another researcher, John Edgar Browning has said that the pop culture idea of a vampire has actually hurt the vampire cause rather than help it. Although people romanticize the Hollywood version of a vampire, it does not translate well into real life. He said, “The members of this community suffer from the constant conflation of their identity by the outside world with the mythological and filmic vampire. As a result, outsiders generally think of them as being out of their minds.”
While the classic idea of a vampire is one that consumes blood, there is another not as popular type. The energy vampire is a vampire who is able to harvest energy from other people by touching them. While not as well known, this is more of a modern take on vampiric ways. Sometimes these people are also referred to as psychic vampires. Although, this has also made its way into modern lingo and the term “psychic vampire” is often used to describe someone who is emotionally exhausting or drains all of your energy away. However, a real energy vampire is doing so purposely while the other terminology is just a description of a person that is hard to deal with. Further, energy vampires also say that they have to limit whom they draw energy from. Some vampires have even claimed that if they harvest too much energy from one individual it can cause depression in the donor.
Because of the discrepancies between on-screen vampires and their real-life counterparts, many modern-day vampires live with real fears. The man fear is that in addition to being ostracized by society, they will named as psychopathological which could lead to problems for them in their roles as professionals or parents. Some vampires even fear if they were to reveal their identification choice that they would be institutionalized. Vampires also claim to live by a particular code of ethics which preaches both responsibility and consideration. Researcher John Edgar Browning even claims that New Orleans vampire community is humanitarian in nature and regularly gets together in order to help feed the city’s homeless. Brownings said, “One generally expects me to divulge stories of horror and revulsion about my experiences with the real vampire community, but the truth is I couldn’t have felt safer being around them.”
Vampire Killer: Matthew Hardman
In reality, most vampires are normal people with totally benign intentions. Sadly, there have been some instances of evil vampires like convicted killer Matthew Hardman. In England in 2001 a teenaged Matthew killed his 90-year-old neighbor Mabel Leyshon. It was the details of the murder that were particularly gruesome, however, one of the main points and possible motivations was that he ended up drinking his victim’s blood. Matthew was reportedly obsessed with vampires and desired to be one. Due to the heinous nature of the case, it made headlines internationally as the “vampire killer”. He also left other dark and symbolic symbols with her body including leaving fire pokers in the shape of a cross near the body. Matthew Hardman has since been imprisoned for life.
Violent Vampire Wannabe II: Victoria Vanatter
Another wannabe vampire struck after getting into a domestic altercation with her boyfriend in Springfield, Missouri. The young woman, nineteen-year-old Victorian Vanatter, allowed her boyfriend to cut her arm and drink her blood, as the two were apparently fond of engaging in vampiric activity. However, after the man drank her blood the woman became upset and the situation ended with her stabbing him several times with a knife. The woman called 911 and when police arrived found “I’m sorry” written in blood on the wall. The woman was taken into custody and apparently told detectives that she believes she is a threat to society and could “become a serial killer one day”. She was later charged with domestic assault.
The Vampire Keeper: Timothy Jay Vafeades
Another strange vampire case recently unfolded after Timothy Jay Vafeades plead guilty to keeping women as sex slaves and an array of other charges. Timothy, a fifty-six-year-old from Utah, was only discovered after a woman he was traveling with was seen with a massively bruised face. After this discovery, his terrifying acts were brought to light. Timothy fancied himself a vampire and wore fake teeth with pointed canines. It was a look that he clearly coveted as he also forced the women he imprisoned to have “vampire” teeth, which he carried out himself by using a Dremel power tool on the women to create fangs. If the makeshift dentistry wasn’t terrifying enough he also worked as a truck driver, calling his truck the “Twilight Express” and also leaving a trail of victims in his wake. Timothy Vafeades was sentenced to twenty years in jail.