One of the things that has always marked the “community” and sub-culture is the proliferation of theories as to the origin of the modern living vampire. There are those who support the theory that it is a medical condition, there are those that think it a metaphysical condition or influence and still others who hold that it is a “spiritual” condition in whatever context spiritual holds for them. The one thing that ALL of the theories and beliefs have in common, without equivocation, is that there is absolutely no proof of any of the theories. The situation we are presented with then, irrespective of the theory, is how much circumstantial support is there for it, or how “possible” is the theory.
In the world there are literally hundreds of thousands of theories for hundreds of thousands of things, there are medical theories, business theories, social theories and psychological theories to name but a few and the real living vampire sub-culture is no different. There are theories for everything that occurs to vampires, there are theories as to why blood makes some happy and well, there are theories as to why some can absorb or “ingest” energy and get the same result, there are books, bibles, scrolls, guides and manuals and the one thing they ALL have in common is that no proof exists that any are correct.
When we come across theories that differ from our own, often jealously defended, ideas and concepts the immediate reaction is to “trash” it and the author as quickly as possible, why? Because we are being dragged out of our own ‘comfort zone’ and into a dark place that may well require changing some of our cherished ideas.
In reading about “alternative thinking” there are some things that are required of you, the reader. First, a suspension of disbelief is required, you may have heard of, or touched on in conversations, the subject at hand but if you read with pre-determined ideas and beliefs then the whole process will be coloured by that. Second, the reader MUST be open minded and willing to examine new and different ideas dispassionately, to observe the points that support the idea and to discern those that do not ~ logically. If you, the reader, are willing to approach a subject in this manner then you may well find that you can gain, or benefit, from it. If, however, you are an arrogant, intolerant and close minded person then you will get no benefit whatsoever from it and you should probably not even bother to read on ~ at days end, you know what and who you are, so it’s your call.
The Vampire Retrovirus
One theory of modern living vampire existence that has seen a growth in the number of followers over the last three years or so is the “Vampire Retrovirus” theory.
In a series of “Alternative Thinking” pieces we are going to be looking at the less popular “belief systems” that have occurred in the VC/OVC. In order to fully understand what this theory entails we must first define the term “Vampire Retrovirus”.
A retrovirus is:
“any of a family of single-stranded RNA viruses having a helical envelope and containing an enzyme that allows for a reversal of genetic transcription, from RNA to DNA rather than the usual DNA to RNA, the newly transcribed viral DNA being incorporated into the host cell’s DNA strand for the production of new RNA retroviruses: the family includes the AIDS virus and certain oncogene-carrying viruses implicated in various cancers.
Or, in a slightly simpler form:
”any of several viruses whose genetic specification is encoded in RNA rather than DNA and that are able to reverse the normal flow of genetic information from DNA to RNA by transcribing RNA into DNA: many retroviruses are known to cause cancer in animals.” 
In short, a modification of the normal process for the conveying of DNA information into successive generations of a family. One commentator recently opined, “there is no such DNA altering retrovirus to do such a thing to the human body.” While I would agree that there is no such retrovirus that can change the human being into a supernatural vampire with shapeshifting abilities I would not go quite as far as to make it a blanket statement, nor would I seek to apply it to any person in particular.
The reason that I would not do so is because of the, so far, latest official releases from the human genome project. When we refer to the “Status of completion” as detailed at Wikipedia, we find the following information;
“State of completion: The Human Genome Project was declared complete in April 2003. An initial rough draft of the human genome was available in June 2000 and by February 2001 a working draft had been completed and published followed by the final sequencing mapping of the human genome on April 14, 2003. Although this was reported to be 99% of the human genome with 99.99% accuracy a major quality assessment of the human genome sequence was published in May 27, 2004 indicating over 92% of sampling exceeded 99.99% accuracy which is within the intended goal.[*] Further analyses and papers on the HGP continue to occur. [**]”
* Nature 429, 365-368
The Human Genome Project (HGP)
So, here is a fact, as at May 27, 2004 there were still a further 8% of the sampling to be completely quantified. Another fact that exists is that every single human being’s DNA is unique.
“The “genome” of any given individual (except for identical twins and cloned organisms) is unique; mapping “the human genome” involves sequencing multiple variations of each gene.[**] The project did not study the entire DNA found in human cells; some heterochromatic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heterochromatin) areas (about 8% of the total genome) remain un-sequenced.”
** Harmon, Katherine (2010-06-28). “Genome Sequencing for the Rest of Us”. Scientific American. Retrieved 2010-08-13.
”The key findings of the draft (2001) and complete (2004) genome sequences include
1. There are approximately 23,000 genes in human beings, the same range as in mice and roundworms. Understanding how these genes express themselves will provide clues to how diseases are caused.
2. The human genome has significantly more segmental duplications (nearly identical, repeated sections of DNA) than other mammalian genomes. These sections may underlie the creation of new primate-specific genes
3. At the time when the draft sequence was published fewer than 7% of protein families appeared to be vertebrate specific” [3b]
So, scientifically speaking, we still have a measure of the genome that is “un-sequenced”, an “unknown” quantity in the equation and, until we know what that “unknown” is we can’t make statements what the genome, the DNA or any other component of the system does and does not do, specifically. It is also worth noting that the Human Genome Project involved the mapping of the samples taken from the selected group/s thus we can conclude that the results of 92% mapped within 99.99% accuracy can only apply to that sample.
How does the theory of the Vampire Retrovirus work?
The science of the matter is established, as far as possible and at this juncture the “Retrovirus” theory carries as much weight as any other theory on the origin of the modern living vampire. When I had the idea to look into this I knew I was going to need a guide, a person who was intimately familiar with the concept and who could relate it in an easily understood manner and that is where Izidari and Danica came to the rescue. I invited them to provide me, as a layman, with the information on the “Retrovirus” theory.
“I suppose I should start with the basis of where our beliefs come from. As you know, Charles Darwin was the creator of the Theory of Evolution as well as Natural Selection. Both of these play a big part of the retrovirus belief. There are a number of retroviruses only specific to humans when they diverged from chimpanzees, and we believe that one of the strands of retroviruses (as not all of them have been discovered or fully studied) is what makes us vampires. What does this retrovirus do? Basically, at the catalyst of puberty (17-24 with some leeway), this retrovirus is activated either by a hormone or a certain level of hormone. This depends on whether or not the person has the retrovirus in the first place (this retrovirus is a selective one as it is related to genetic transfer). In order to have the retrovirus, at least one parent must have it (in my case, it is my mother). We are not sure whether it is a dominant or recessive gene thought we believe it to be recessive.
Anyway, when this retrovirus is activated is known as Awakening. During this time, the Sympathetic Nervous System is triggered to work at a constant, but low, rate. This means that being a vampire is being in a sense of “fight-or-flight” but not high enough to kill a person. A number of things happen during this time; heightened senses, being stronger, quicker, and being able to think quicker, etc. Again, this isn’t comparable to a person in a normal “fight-or-flight” response because no human could stay in that for a long period of time as they would die. If you look at a human (vampires are human but for the sake of discussion I will separate them) in a “fight-or-flight” response as 100% and a normal human body at 0%, a vampire would like around the 50% range. When the body has the Sympathetic Nervous System active, some blood is moved away from places like the skin (which leads to paleness), digestive system, and immune system (which is why vampires who don’t feed often get sick). Then that blood is moved to places such as the Central Nervous System (so we are more sensitive to stimuli), the heart, etc. We have a quicker heart rate (not ridiculously higher), somewhat lower body temperature (which is why we prefer colder temperatures like 50*F with just a small jacket), and shallower breathing.
So, because the blood is needed in places like the immune system, skin, etc. we must drink it to have it move to the places where it needs to be. Our hypothesis is that due to Natural Selection, the original human/vampires would have needed a way to obtain blood where it needed to be and therefore developed an advanced digestive system (namely, the esophagus). We believe that because of this, the blood we drink is transferred to the places it needs to be much of the same way nutrients are moved throughout the body. Because humans are always evolving to become more efficient, why couldn’t having this retrovirus make us more efficient in this way? If we didn’t physically feel better after drinking blood (not just a drop or two, but a cup or such) we wouldn’t be able to make such a hypothesis.”
Our other guest this evening, Danica, wrote;
“Izidari is amazing at explaining this, so I will take an excerpt from her book to answer.”
“Real Vampires are caused by a retrovirus that integrated itself into a human’s DNA at the time of conception or due to a blood transfer from a real Vampire. This integration causes the body to go through what real vampires call Awakening, which the physical realization of the real vampire traits is caused by this retrovirus. If the real Vampire is born a real Vampire, than Awakening will not occur until the catalyst of puberty when hormones trigger the retrovirus to become active. Each trait will come within a certain time period (within a year, usually) until that individual is completely Awakened.” – “The Truth: Real Vampires” Chapter 3: What is a Real Vampire.”
These words left me with a number of questions, on which I had to do quite an amount of reading to formulate properly. Armed with my queries and readings I again invited Izidari and Danica to take part by reviewing and answering the questions I had come up with.
RVL: Good evening and thank you for affording us a little of your time and joining us for this discussion.
Izidari: Thank you for having me. I am very happy to be here.
Danica: Thank you very much for opportunity to share our story with you.
RVL: We would firstly, if we may, like to get a bit of an idea about how you identify yourselves within the context of the modern vampire “community”, what type of vampire are you and how long have you known about your true nature?
Izidari: I am what you would call a Retrovirus Vampire and I have known about my nature for about five years now. I went through awakening two weeks before my 17th birthday (I’m almost 21 now), but I was born a vampire.
Danica: To us there is only one type of Vampire, and that is what some call the “Sanguinarian Vampire,” meaning we consume blood. There are others out there who claim to be Vampires by consuming energy, called “Psychic Vampires,” but in my belief they are energy manipulators – not Vampires. To be a Vampire you must consume blood, and this is done for the need of the blood – not the energy within it.
I had an early awakening at the age of 13, which was 18 years ago. I was lucky to have a friends a few years older that I who knew the signs to look for and helped me through it.
RVL: You contend that the retrovirus exists in “strands” does this suggest that the virus itself forms part of the DNA of the contributing parent rather than being carried in a normal virus’ form, like hepatitis for example?
Izidari: Exactly. It is a genetic “mutation” if you will. Again, it triggers a lower level of “fight or flight” through the Sympathetic Nervous System and basically, for us, the Parasympathetic Nervous System never shuts the former down. A retrovirus is “of the DNA” anyway, so the strands are simply sub categories of the HERVs (Human Endogenous Retroviruses). This is why, within our community, we are somewhat “on the fence” about turning.
RVL: Many virus’ that have existed prior to now, and exist today, have cures, do you think that the retrovirus can be cured?
Izidari: If it is integrated into one’s DNA, I would think that it would be difficult, or even impossible to “cure”. Also, because it hasn’t been studied much, we don’t know whether it could be cured or not. Many genetic mutations cannot be cured so we don’t believe it is possible.
RVL: Does the retrovirus typically “create” Sanguinarian vampires or are there other types of vampires included?
Izidari: We don’t use the term sanguinarian because all real vampires by this belief drinks blood so we don’t need to group people different. Basically, you either are a vampire or you aren’t. The reason is that, from my explanation above, the retrovirus is a physiological thing and therefore to quench a physical ailment, you must partake in physical sustenance.
Danica: When speaking of Vampirism, there is only one type – and that is what others call “Sanguinarian” or blood drinkers. The retrovirus gives us a physical need for blood.
RVL: At the time of a vampire’s “awakening” you suggest that the sympathetic nervous system is triggered and maintained, thereafter, at a constant low rate; though this has effects of papillary dilation and acceleration of the heart rate what about the inhibitive impact on the digestive system and, in particular, the adrenal glands? What problems do you think causes in the modern living vampire?
Izidari: Because adrenal glands deal with stress, vampires have to compensate by using other methods (example breathing techniques). I know that I get stressed out rather easily but because I am a psychology major, I know techniques to help cope with that. This is why that when a vampire attempts to turn someone into a vampire, if they have a predisposition to depression or violence, it is amplified if the turning actually works.
Danica: Headaches are a major factor in all of this. Migraines especially. Tactile sensory becomes more sensitive especially to heat – as our body temperatures run a degree or two cooler than a human’s.
RVL: What are the psychological hallmarks of a vampire that is a product of the retrovirus?
Izidari: There aren’t psychological hallmarks really considering that it is a physiological thing. If I were to use my answer above and say that having trouble dealing with stress, I would be broadening the scope way too much as there are many individuals who find it difficult to deal with stress. It’s more of the traits you can find listed on my blog and website which I linked below.
Danica: When awakening begins, you may feel like you have no control over what’s happening to your body. This combined with puberty can make you feel out of control and confused.
RVL: Why do you think that the retrovirus theory has not been as widely accepted as many of the other theories of vampiric evolution and existence?
Izidari: Well firstly, it is a very difficult concept to understand. Also, it is rather selective and therefore many people, by our definition are not vampires and that deters people. We welcome everyone, vampire or not, but I believe that because our traits are so specific, very few people fit under that category of “Retrovirus Vampire” and with that, very few people who are looking to fit in by lying about being a vampire actually come to us. We are welcoming, but we do not tolerate when people act as a Roleplayer. Also, we do try to stop enabling within our group and eradicate as much as possible.
Danica: I believe it is because people are holding onto the notion that psychic Vampires exist – which they do not. Energy manipulators aren’t touched by the retrovirus, they are simply able to touch and use the energy around them, yet they still hold onto the notion they are Vampires. Also, until more Vampires step up and agree to be tested on a wider scale, there will continue to be a lack of proof to others that believe the retrovirus isn’t real.
RVL: In considering Darwin’s theory of evolution we are in a time where his theories are coming under intense scrutiny and challenge, (see: Darwin’s Theory of Evolution – A theory in crisis) [http://www.darwins-theory-of-evolution.com/] If, at some time, his theories are found to be in error where will that leave the foundation of the retrovirus theory?
Izidari: In all honesty, I don’t know that it will. I mean we have bones of evolving humans. More and more, people are finding more proof for Darwin rather than challenges. The retrovirus itself came from when humans diverged from chimpanzees so I don’t know that, even if Darwin’s theory would be disproved, our foundation would be modified at all.
RVL: It has been written, elsewhere, that the “retrovirus” idea was first expounded by a television series creator by the name of Joe Ahearn (now defunct series ‘Ultraviolet’ – http://awakeanddrink.org/)would ) would you agree with this or is there an earlier point, and creator, of the theory that might have fed his ideas?
Izidari: I wholeheartedly disagree. I’ve never seen the TV show or “Ultraviolet” but the retroviruses specific to humans were discovered around 1981 but have been in existence since the dawn of mankind. I can assume that what the retrovirus does by our beliefs is not similar to the TV show or movie.
Danica: It’s hard to say where the theory first came from. We know that Vampires have been mentioned in all corners of the world for as long as people can remember. Scientific breakthroughs are not as old as these mentions, so determining where different theories came from is hard to say.
RVL: Given that Darwin’s theories suggest “evolution by natural selection”, what do you think are the next phases of vampiric evolution according to the retrovirus theory?
Izidari: I would say that we become more efficient and maybe find a way to have keener senses. Eventually, I believe that our body may find a way to become more efficient with the blood that is being moved and we would either need to drink less or not drink at all.
Danica: This is hard to theorize. Our bodies may learn to adapt to our surroundings in a different way, or learn to deal with things such as sunlight in a more advantageous fashion. But I do believe that one thing will never change – the need for the blood we are missing.
RVL: Where can our readers find more information on the retrovirus theory and its details?
Izidari: Simply by reading more about retroviruses, evolution, and natural selection can help. You can also check out the links below:
and to support the retrovirus vampires, you can now purchase items from my Cafepress store here:
RVL: We would like to thank Izidari and Danica for joining us this evening and sharing their knowledge of this fascinating theory with us.
Izidari: I really appreciate everyone for taking the time to read this interview as well as being open minded us. If anyone has any further questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Danica: Thank you very much for having us and for the very wonderful questions. It’s refreshing to find someone who wants to know things other than “do you sleep in a coffin” or “are you immortal?”
Everything that lives has followed its path of development because of DNA. It is because of DNA that we have the physical attributes we possess, it is because of DNA that we have certain health issues that we must face and it is because of DNA that the different races of mankind are delineated and identified so, is it so difficult to imagine that it is because of DNA that modern real living vampires exist?
It certainly has the foundation and the strength of possibility to stand next to any other theory and it probably has more ‘hard science’ supporting it than any other theory. The fact remains, however, that there are no test results or measurements as yet to either confirm or deny the probability and thus it takes its place next to the Sanguine and Psi theories that are probably the mainstays in the sub-culture.
To me, the most intriguing possibility is that we still do not know, 100% , what is in the Human Genome and that leaves room for possibilities that we can’t even imagine. Until the Vampire Retrovirus is eliminated as a possible cause, by scientific methods, we can’t eliminate it in our thinking about modern living vampirism ~ we can’t simply deny that something exists just because we can’t see it.
Do I believe in the Vampire Retrovirus Theory? Let’s just say I don’t “disbelieve” and I’m willing to wait and see what future facts and observations have in store for us.
Copyright Izidari, Danica and RVL 2013
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Bibliography and References
- Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2013.
- Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
The Human Genome Project on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Genome_Project#cite_note-3