Author Topic: There be vampyres  (Read 3369 times)

Offline GaryTheDemon

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There be vampyres
« on: July 27, 2015, 03:50:23 PM »
  US sociologist exposes a world of ‘real vampires’     
  • 4 months ago April 08, 2015 9:56AM
           vampire longform height=720              There really are vampires among us, lurking in the shadows of society and hiding in plain sight. Are they really monsters? Or just misunderstood? One academic has stepped into their world of darkness to find out.
  DOCTOR John Edgar Browning has been working among them for the past five years in the quiet corners of New Orleans and Buffalo. He has been researching the phenomenon of “real vampirism”.
Armed only with a satchel, clipboard and digital voice recorder, Dr Browning first made contact with a “den” of vampires in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 2009.
“They’re not ‘real’ in the sense that they turn into bats and live forever,” Dr Browning writes in an article for The Conversation, “but many do sport fangs and just as many live a primarily nocturnal existence.”
                                                                                                                                                                 The secret life of a vampire         The secret life of a vampire   In fact, most appear to step with ease between worlds: One night, a vampire. The next day an active participant in normal society.
“To my surprise, some were loving parents whose children accompanied them to vampire community meetings,” Dr Browning’s recently published research notes read. “Some could have passed for everyday ‘professionals’ one might pass on the street, while others were only too eager to embrace the latest Gothic fashions. All of them, however, regardless of their choice of personal attire, showed what I can only describe as admirable strength and courage in the face of immense opposition to their identity.”
One British academic, psychologist Dr Emyr Williams, went so far as to claim last year that there was a population of 15,000 vampires living in the United Kingdom.
So what secrets do they hold?
We all know the monstrous figures from films, novels, and television. But how has this been adapted by the real vampire community? How can such an identity be compatible with the norms and laws of modern society?
What about the blood bit?
      vampire longform height=720          The study shows vampirism is based, in part, in a culture of illness. It’s not surprising given how Bram Stoker’s famous Dracula novel was written at a time the role blood played in our lives and wellbeing was only just becoming understood.
Dr Browning says those who identify themselves with vampirism tend to do so with the onset of puberty. But those he encountered varied in age from 18 to 50.
“It derives, according to them, from the lack of subtle energies their bodies produce — energies other people take for granted,” he said. “That’s the general consensus anyway. It’s a condition they claim to be unable to change. So, they embrace it.”
Such people “appropriate the figure of the vampire and adapt it for self-identification purposes.”
But such a move usually comes long after the urge to “feed”, he says.
They believe they need blood or “psychic energy” to feel strong and healthy.
“Some psychic vampires use Tantric feeding, that is through erotic or sexual encounters, while others use what could be described as astral feeding or feeding on another from afar,” Dr Browning writes. “And others feed through emotion.”
So what exactly are ‘real vampires’? It’s complicated.
Some actually drink blood. But it’s from donors, or animals.
But they don’t lurk on darkened street corners awaiting unsuspecting prey.
“Unquestionably, I found the vampires I met to be competent and generally outwardly “normal” citizens,” Dr Browning says. “They performed bloodletting rituals safely and only with willing donors and participated regularly in medical exams.”
And the fangs?
Donning prosthetics is usually purely aesthetic, he says, but it does contribute to their sense of culture.
      vampire longform height=720          Many dress in gothic clothes, but not exclusively. Hardly any sleep in coffins. And most aren’t all that well versed in Anne Rice’s famous novels.
It’s a sub culture which extends from the United States and England, through Russia and South Africa — to Australia.
It’s also not entirely new. Dr Browning’s research shows traces of such small communities dating back to the early 1970s.
Dr Browning says the immensely popular 1990s role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade provided an opening for the pre-existing subculture to step forward into a broader “social space”. The game’s terminology and conventions were also largely adopted to help define the community.
“In the last decade, however, it is the internet to which the real vampire community owes much of its prosperity,” Dr Browning writes in his study.
Social media has brought isolated individuals and small pockets together. “The internet dissolved geographic limitations, made print correspondence almost entirely obsolete, and opened up vastly more efficient e-forums, chat rooms and e-communication.”
Now, internal politics, like in the stories, plays a big part in their lives.
Whether it be international relations or nearby “houses”, Dr Browning says vampires have a strong desire to keep in touch.
But it’s not True Blood in the backrooms of bars. It’s not The Vampire Diaries in darkened clubs. Nor does Twilight receive a lot of warmth.
Dr Browning says the real vampire community is remarkably disinterested in the popular culture depiction of vampirism: “They seemed to know much less than you might expect — at least for vampires — about how their kind were depicted in books and films.”
      vampire longform height=720          Dr Browning’s study is based primarily on interviews with contacts he made in the New Orleans and Buffallo communities. Here is one of his more detailed examples:
Serevus and Shyla: “Two vampires in my study came as a pair: Serevus (male, 36) and Shyla (female, 19), who at the time were engaged to be married. Both were psychic vampires, and identified primarily as Tantric feeder, which is to say they absorbed energy through sexual and erotic encounters. Shyla explained to me that this particular method is often misunderstood, that folks outside and even some within the real vampire community look at it as merely a craving for sex: “Since I realised that I was a sexual vampire, I was really into the attraction — just the feelings. It’s not even just sex in itself, but the actual people flirting and things like that. It’s something I feel. And, you know a lot of people don’t understand it”. Serevus and Shyla seemed adamant about starting their own household in Buffalo ”
      vampire longform height=720          Dr Browning says his research identified an underlying culture of defiance among those who define themselves as members of vampiric communities.
Embracing the paranormal goes against societies prevailing technological and scientific knowledge, he says, and is therefore “intentionally defiant”.
“Real vampires comprise a subculture the outside considers so deviant and so aberrant that its very nature is altogether discounted.”
So they turn being an “outcast” into an opportunity.
“(They) use what mainstream culture sees as a negative, deviant figure like the vampire to achieve a sense of self-empowerment,” he writes. “They identify others with a similar need and have produced a community from that need. “
But they also have a surprising sense of community.
“Some houses, and indeed whole vampire communities, as in the case of New Orleans, will combine their efforts to organise charity events, like feeding (not feeding on) the homeless,” he says.
It’s just that they don’t go around boasting of their actions.
“ (They fear) discrimination by people who simply don’t understand them,” Dr Browning writes.
“This community shows that being different doesn’t have to force you onto the margins of society. Real vampires can and do exist in both “normal” society and their own communities, and that’s okay.”
      Originally published as The real people living as vampires

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Re: There be vampyres
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2015, 06:35:48 PM »
Interesting article


Offline Christine

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Re: There be vampyres
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2015, 07:38:51 PM »
Great article Gary!
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Offline Colleen

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Re: There be vampyres
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2015, 01:21:27 PM »
Fantastic read Gary
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