For some time now there has been a shift in the nature of the online vampire community. The impetus for the changes being provided by a seeming semi-exhaustion of material on topics that have been, over a period of years, asked and answered in as many ways as are imaginable. Indeed, the basic downturn in “new” and fresh material has led through a period of extensive re-hashing of familiar topics and as a result the attention to, and interest in, the OVC appears to have suffered to some extent.
As the “new” arena of Facebook and the other social networking facilities came to the fore there seems to have been a serious drift away from the social group basis of the message boards that we have all been familiar with and a breakdown in the structure and support network provided by controlled and monitored help and support.
The “groups” structure has given way to “individual” communication and seems to have resulted in a growing individualism and a decrease in centralization. One question that occurs when this sort of shift occurs is how effective does the overall “community” remain?
There is increasing evidence that individuals are now joining forces to spread a single message, that there is a growing adherence to “personal” interaction rather than group interaction that amongst these new “associations” there is a growing tendency to personal agenda rather than community agenda. We at RVN have , in attempting to make contact with those claiming to be researching the matter of the modern vampire, arrived at the conclusion that there is little or no interest in gaining a “wider perspective” of the picture of modern vampirism but that their studies seem to be focused on one small part of the population of the VC/OVC thus we must ask ourselves the question, how objective can such studies really be in the end analysis.
The measure of any community is to be found in its effectiveness at addressing not only external factors that influence it but also the internal forces that drive and shape it. A community is the composite of ALL of its parts, not just a few and when the picture is taken as a whole the effectiveness of the community body can be seen for what it is.
We invited three members of the real vampire community and OVC to join us to take a look at the effectiveness of the VC/OVC. I would like to welcome;
Vampyrian Fr. JP Vanir ~ Fr. JP Father J P Vanir came to the vampire community, in very active roles, in 2000 and is the Founding Father of Vampyrian Temple UVUP which came into being on Dec. 18th 2003. He describes himself as, “a hybrid Old School Cyber Vampyrian, Gothick-Graver , as well as an Empath. I consider myself a Spiritual person first and foremost as well as someone with many goals in life including helping other Vampyres realize their potential and abilities”
Lady Victorianrose ~ Lady Victorianrose has been involved in the OVC and VC since 1996 continuously, she has recently founded the online vampire group Crimson Tavern. She is, as she puts it, “a blood drinker or sang or inheritor, a vampire that needs blood to stay healthy so whatever title you want to give me.”
Sharing a personal insight with us, Lady Victorianrose wrote:
“My personal opinion about modern vampirism is pretty vast. I am an open person so I tend to believe there are a lot of things that even our own kind don’t understand so I try to do as much research as I can to find the truth in a lot of different things to make my own judgment if I believe something to be true or not. As far as the OVC, I can honestly say that the OVC has helped me grow and learn more and more about who and what I am and without the OVC I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”
Lady C’iana DeCampli ~ Lady C’iana has been involved in the VC for 24 years and was the Last Keeper, or admin, of the vampyre support group and newsgroup, alt.culture.vampires or ACV ,as it was known, which closed in 2001-2002.
Of her current interests and activities she tells us,
“I’m more known as a Poetess… I currently am the in house poet for Contessa Liza Zboril at Vampire Nation Concord for Poe’s Velvet Rose which can also be found on Facebook… I have a youtube channel, Ciana’s Sanctuary, of my original poetry placed to original music by the gothic metal group, Vampire Banquet, who works with me on occasion… I also have my own poetry site currently under revamping, www.cianadecamplipoetry.webs.com…”
Of her personal vampirism, she says, “I’ve known I was a vampyre since I was 15 years old. I awakened to the calling of the blood, sanguine but also feed as an eros vampyre with heightened empathic capabilities. I believe in a very traditional old school way of thought and behavior – honor, justice, grace, and truth… I maintain respectful and mannerly ways when dealing with others in the VC and OVC… I am non political… I am a Ronin by choice but have met many in our community over the vast years that I have come to call family and friends… Blessings…~c”
RVN: Good evening and thank you very much for your time in attending to these questions for us.
Fr. JP: Dark Greetings to you and of course the wonderful people at Real Vampire News which I find to be a great site and a blessing to our community as well as those out there reading this…
Lady C’iana: Goodeve, and thank you for your invitation to this round table of honored guests from the long standing community… A pleasure to be here….
Lady V’rose: Thank you so much for your invitation, it is an honor to be here. I look forward to meeting new people and helping others.
RVN: There is a strong interrelation between many of the major bodies within the online community, a number of places carrying the same information and articles; do you think there is a working agreement in place to strive toward one goal?
Fr. JP: I do not believe any one in the community or even any group in the community strives toward one specific goal. Every single member in the community has their own unique path and belief about everything. That is why the community is so wide spread and different but also unfortunately why it is so divided and argumentative as well as
Lady C’iana: Honestly, No, I do not think there is a “working” agreement in place… Most site admins work on their own without involvement of any other organization, house, court or group… I haven’t seen any change in this in the 15 plus years as some of the original sites still exist… I also think we see the same information repeated because all the same research has been done and some just copy what older sites have already listed…
Lady V’rose: I’m not sure if there would be a working agreement but it would be nice if there were the same information on all sites. It would help keep the confusion down of what is really the truth about our kind or not. I know when I first figured out what I was and searching for answers, it was really confusing with all the different articles and sites that didn’t have the same information.
RVN: If there were, what do you see that goal/aim as being?
Lady V’rose: In my opinion the goal to have the same information that is true on most if not all sites would make it easier for others that are either sceptical, looking for answers to better understand themselves, or for just research purposes to be better informed. If there is the same information everywhere there is less chance of someone stating that we are a myth instead of a fact. It is very discouraging when you are trying to do research to find the truth and you find information on one site but then go to another and it says something completely different. At that point, how do you differentiate which one is the truth? Personally, I just go with my instincts and personal experiences to tell me what is true.
Fr. JP: I think the main goal of the community is to keep peace with those outside the community despite all of the crimes that have been named “Vampire” Crimes by the media as well as the so called “Vampires” who go on TV and make us look bad. This is generally a very positive thing however many also seem to do the same as those outside the community and claim to know what these people are by calling them real or fake
but usually fake. Unfortunately like any community as well as any group or clique (just using that term as an example term) we do have criminals and murderers who let their appetite, needs, and blood lust get the best of them. We just need to let the world know that the majority of the Vampyr community is not a bunch of crazy killers, cultists, or criminals and we obey the laws of the government in which we reside just like everyone else. We control our needs just like the majority of the world no matter how harmful to us it may be to not get what we need…
Lady C’iana: I believe the original goal of the OVC was to help the newly awakened and guide others to where they may find other vampyres in their area…
RVN: There have been many changes in the OVC since its inception around 1997, what do you see as having changed since you first came into the OVC?
Lady C’iana: Well, back then I was the last Keeper or now termed, admin of the newsgroup, alt.culture.vampires or ACV (created before 1997 now mirrored for historical purposes at Earthops last I checked) as we called it… It was a political and drama free group where all could come meet online including mundanes and donors, speak their minds, ask questions of Klaatu and I (the other original creators, Chiller, Mig, Chooch,etc all became ill or retired giving Klaatu and I the responsibility of ACV til its close in 2001), etc… Its main purpose to become a way station for all to come together to help one another, vampyre, therion, etc… No matter what type or kind of kin you were, all were welcome to ACV… Klaatu and I kept peace and order… It was a different time… There were flame wars occasionally but not like today… I see the majority of sites and groups allowing favorites and elitists to run others off with their ill manners and general cruelty… The past is gone unfortunately and so has much of the common sense, decency, and formal court manners and training…
Lady V’rose: I see a lot more people trying to take control of what kind of information you can share. Such as the admins and mods on forums and such. If you say something they don’t agree with they are eager to ban you from their site. I’ve also noticed a lot of forums wanting to make you a part of a group or “coven” if you will. Personally, I am not one that conforms to groups easily. I like to be an individual that can make my own decisions without someone telling me I can’t think a certain way. I have a boss at work like that already, I deal with it because I have to. In my personal life it’s not happening. Facebook has changed the OVC a bit. Now our kind is trying to conform others to join their group on a social site of humans, and personally I don’t get it.
Fr. JP: My awakening has been a long Evolutionary process and I am always changing everyday as I believe our true Awakening is a lifetime experience (through everyone of our reincarnated lives).
In the beginning our “Vampire” community was more in the shadows before the rise of the internet; there were also more honest members but now that Vampirism is popular there is far more fighting and bickering in the community esp. with the popularity of Facebook where the OVC seems to live now. However now the community is very well
known and it would seem even scientifically documented (mostly the psychic Vampirism phenomenon). We seem to be all over the place now which can be both a good thing as well as a horrible thing as many wish to stay in the shadows for fear and other personal reasons…
RVN: In the, perhaps, inevitable shift from community message boards to social networking services that seems to be the new fad throughout the online community, what do you see as being the future for the message boards?
Fr. JP: Unfortunately Facebook seems to run the online world. I miss the days when Ning was free and we had more Diverse Real Vampyre Social Networks instead of depending on Mainstream Online communities. That is why I created “Vampire Networks” (yes on Facebook since it seems to run the online world)
However I think we should switch to Spruz as Spruz is cheap or free if you have up to 50 members for free or other reasonably priced plans if you need more members (up to 29.95 for unlimited everything) or try Groups but Ning is ridiculously expensive and just a luxury item that will burn a whole in anyone’s pocket (unless you happen to be lucky
enough to be rich? I remember I began on yahoo groups with TempleUVUP back in 2003 but believe without a doubt that Social Networks are the future of Online Communities and Groups. I will always keep my Network going despite the price (which actually isn’t that bad) Luckily our Temple Council helps with the price so it is not mine alone but they
are our governing body as well as the co owners of the Network so they are a part of the responsibility.
Lady C’iana: The OVC has been around for so long… I don’t think it’s the end for message boards… My Space and others were the big thing then Twitter and now Facebook… I think the message boards will stay in place til the social networking becomes more stable…
Lady V’rose: Personally, even though social sites like Facebook and Twitter have taken over the social networks, I truly believe that the forums will survive. Nothing lasts forever and I think that people will get tired of the “facebook fascination” and come back to their roots. It’s hard to be who you are as a vampire on a social network full of humans that don’t believe in us to be real but are a bunch of “twilighters”. The ones that will survive will be honest, open, persistent, and have that feeling of security and trust that if anything were to happen you know there is someone there to listen. Not judge.
RVN: Do you support an increased media visibility for modern vampires and why/why not?
Lady C’iana: No, I truly do not… There are pros and cons to my point of course… The major con being those newly awakened will have less resources… In the past, even to find the OVC you needed to know someone or get very lucky… Honestly, every time one of us is interviewed or exposed to the general news media, it goes very badly, like calling us crazies, deviants, etc or they think we are playing dress up for entertainment purposes… It never goes well… I truly as one in the community so long enjoyed my quiet existence til certain people wished to write books, etc and go against the cardinal rule to NEVER expose yourself or the community to the outside world…
Fr. JP: Well it’s nice that we are out of the “coffin” or what have you as long as it is not used to make a mockery of what we are. Unfortunately too many fake Vampires get put in the spot light and do just that but that is the point as many talk shows etc. want to get a rise out of the audience no matter the cost to the community! It is unfortunate that is the main stage of our so called media; BS live talk shows and so called reality TV. I actually miss mad, mad house and never got to see it in its time on TV (I would actually pay top dollar to get the full series but you can’t seem to find it anywhere). It as the only good
reality show as the alts actually opened the normal people’s minds through Spiritual exercises and new experiences so they evolve through the experiences usually.
Lady V’rose: Yes and no. I know…that doesn’t really answer the question LOL LOL. I say yes because in a way I think people in general are becoming more open about things as a whole and are getting close to maybe wanting to actually listen that there is something out there than what currently is. Like the economy and the government control over everything. People are losing faith in their own government and are turning more towards their own individuality as it were, looking to find out who they really are and what they can do to help their own lives succeed. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and because people are looking more towards their inner selves for happiness they might be willing to listen to something else other than the government telling them what is real and what is not. I also say No because I don’t think people are quite ready to have us completely “come out of the coffin” as it were. LOL cliché I know but people, especially humans, need baby steps. I think if we start showing our true selves more little by little it gives others a chance to get used to the idea before going to the next step.
RVN: How do you view your own role/involvement within the community?
Lady V’rose: I have seen a lot of sites give their own opinions, whether I agree with them or not is invalid, and I am not that site that is overbearing and controlling, one that will not let you have your own opinion. I have done a lot of research for my own well-being as a vampire and also to find the truth from the very beginning of our existence to now and maybe what could be in the future and I like to share what I learn with others and get their true and honest opinion. My forum is a site that is full of information and not always vampiric. There are other things that people don’t understand besides ourselves and I bring those to light as well. Each vampire has their own unique gifts and I try to touch on a little of everything so everyone has a chance to relate and maybe say “hmmmm that sounds like something that happens to me”. It gets people talking and when people communicate freely without fear of being ridiculed they tend to open up more and connect with others better. I remember how lost I felt when I was doing research to try and figure out why I was so different from others and most times it was lonely and frustrating. I have my site for that very same reason. I don’t like others to feel that way, it’s a terrible feeling, so I made my site as like a refuge for young ones or people that feel lost can come and feel comfortable and learn in a healthy way. In my opinion, that is what a site should be.
Fr. JP: I mostly consider myself a Theologian and Vampyrologist or Vampirologist. I have studied Otherkin aspects as well but mostly study what I understand best. I have also helped many people with their awakenings and understanding Vampyrism but made sure they know it is only personal belief and encouraged them to do their own personal journey find the truth. I have my own personal Spiritual path and try to consider myself more Vampyrian than just another member of the “Vampire” Community. I am a Vampyr and Vampyres are my kin as well as the Otherkin community (I consider myself more Otherkin or Vampyr than Human) so I try to help them as best as they will allow me but my main purpose is to those who are willing to accept it if they choose to but I am not a cult leader and it is not my right to tell anyone what to believe (that is their choice alone)…
Lady C’iana: I am Ronin… I have many friends from many different countries, courts, houses, etc… I stand for the old ways of Loyalty to the community, justice, honor, honesty, manners and grace…. I lift my voice when I feel it’s needed no matter the cost… Being Ronin, I need not hold my tongue or stay hidden as a spy for any political gain… I help those in need that come to me or guide them to help…
RVN: What do you see as being the long-term future of the online vampire community?
Fr. JP: It all depends. I would like to see more order and less bickering/fighting but that is what happens when the community resides mostly online sadly and is a slave to Facebook. A governing body maybe for the OVC but that seems unlikely. I personally believe the Vampyr community is supposed to be ruled by a Vampyr council but I guess that shows how old I really am and with all the young kids in the community I doubt they would even follow that.
Right now it seems we only have Merticus as well as a very few others (Sanguinarius and now John Reason of the RVN) that try to do what they can and help out a lot; I just wish I could see more and that we had more Real Vampyres in the community that had the resources and finances they would be able to use to make good things happen. I would like to see more focus on Real Vampyre stories and focus as opposed to the media claims of Vampirism simply because the person drank human blood or claimed to be a Vampyre. I have dreamed that one day we could have a FREE international community and Database of everything Vampyre and Vampire (fact and fiction) but focusing mostly on Real Vampyrism. Including a community for all the Vampyr Houses, Temples, etc. BUT with what that would cost that is way off if even possible (to be free sadly)…
Lady C’iana: Many are still hidden in plain sight… I truly don’t see a change… There are too many factions… The powerful and well known will always run the general OVC whilst those that have been around will watch and keep to their ways ignoring the drama….
Lady V’rose: As long as there is the internet there will always be the OVC. The sites that are on the OVC will just have to learn to conform to the internet as it grows and things change is all. If things change and you don’t change with it, I don’t think that site will last. We are at the mercy of all things that change when it comes to the internet.
RVN: A somewhat recent news article quote, that was reinforced in a comment to another story at RVN, read, “… that some 3,000 to 8,000 people may be participating in the online vampire community, although “perhaps only 20 percent of these individuals are actual real sanguinarian or psychic” vampires.” This would seem to suggest a belief there are only 600 to 1600 “real” vampires in total in the communities of the OVC, what is your opinion of this statement?
Lady V’rose: There are a lot of sites out there in the OVC and without knowing which ones were researched I would say that number could be accurate. There are a lot of role players out there that try to convince others that they are a real vampire. They make up their own stories to fit the forum they are on and they may actually start to believe in it. It’s a shame that people can’t be true and feel the need to make things up to fit in somewhere, it makes it harder for others that are true to trust what others can say. In the OVC if you have a few you can call friends and trust you are doing well. Being empathic I can usually pick up who is real and who is just telling a tall tale. I tend to keep my guard up until I get to know a person, and well, when that guard goes down it doesn’t always keep my heart from getting hurt lets just say. So…in the OVC that guard has to stay up. Unfortunately, you are always going to have ones in any community that try to convince anyone they are someone other than who they really are, the OVC included. It’s just like any other community.
Fr. JP: As I stated in Question #3 I would have to agree since being a “Vampire” is such a popular thing I do believe most of the community are not real Vampires but just think they are or want to be a part of the new popular thing. I also believe however that most of the real Vampyres are not actually members of the OVC but solitary or unknown sadly…
Lady C’iana: I believe that there are even more than that number participating in the OVC… Some out there are trying to run various “polls” in search of numbers… It’s a fruitless attempt… Many do not wish to be absolutely visible or attempted to be tracked or controlled….
Some of our artists and entertainers allow outsiders like media and mundane society to believe they are just that, entertainers… This I do not blame them for… It assures them openly to be themselves without being questioned… It’s actually very genius of them…
Yes, there are many rpg, twilight fans, scene kids, and some rather unsavory kinds drifting in and out of the OVC… You can usually tell by their manner of speaking or other behaviors if you’ve been around long enough… I truthfully ignore such individuals or if approached online, block them… I don’t like to be bothered…
But as an old ACV member, Vorsuc, used to say, “This is the internet… How do you say, Come here and prove you’re a vampyre?” *gently laughing at the memory*
If they only knew, after all these years just how true that statement still is….
RVN: We would like to sincerely thank Vampyrian Fr. JP, Lady Victorianrose and Lady C’iana for joining us today. It has been a privilege to have spent some time with them.
Fr. JP: You are very welcome as it was my pleasure to help and a many Blessings to you and yours…
Lady C’iana: Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to lend my voice to hopefully further our vast community views… My final point to be, If you can not be a benefit to the entire community, vampyres, witches, pagans, therians and otherkin included, we shall stagnate as a global community, fracture and eventually die… We must accept ourselves and others by actions and the conviction of our words not only by outside appearances, whom we know or even time spent in the community…with age does not always guarantee wisdom….~c
Lady V’rose: It was great talking to you. It is always nice to get my views out there and hopefully help others as well.
Many of the answers offer good points for relevant discussions into the effectiveness and the future of the OVC in particular and perhaps the direction that the VC will take. The one issue that is, undoubtedly, of vital importance is, how does the community as a whole maintain its effectiveness and relevance as the new generations come up and grow into the VC/OVC?
© RVN, Vampyrian Fr. JP Vanir, Lady C’iana DeCampli & Lady Victorianrose 2012
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