Community Development: A world of hope



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Vampires, modern living vampires, very often refer to the sum of the interactions between themselves as the “community”, it is a term that has been in use since the beginning and is probably, by far, the most easily and universally recognised descriptor of what we recognise as being the “social” group of modern living vampirism. You may have seen (read) me arguing the point and trading precise definitions with others, of the word “community”. One of the reasons that I feel so strongly about the use of term in our situation is that the basis of the definition is restrictive in its literal meaning and in considering such it becomes even more necessary to examine the prospects for future “community development”. It is a simple fact of life that if a community doesn’t develop, change and grow then the eventual stagnation will become too great for the community structure to resist and the growth will be overtaken by social entropy.


Each community faces unique challenges that are, often times unavoidable but it is how that community faces and rises to those challenges which define it as being a strong or weak community.

I was talking with a person the other day who has visited Detroit and mention was made of the fact that the city was disappointing and that they couldn’t believe the number of abandoned and derelict buildings there, the fact is that with the all but collapse of American car manufacturing it was inevitable that a community based around that industry would suffer with the loss of industry. Think of a mining boom ghost town of the old days, while the gold was coming out of the ground the town was alive, vibrant, full of people and rich in “community” but when the gold ran out and there was nothing to replace it… entropy set in and eventually the community is abandoned.

One image that may be closer to home for everybody exists in the health care sector. When you are in pain or have a health problem you go to a doctor or a hospital. Those people or institutions set to work to isolate the problem assess it and fix it and everybody says thank you. Now think about how many people you know that “hate” dentists. Why do people hate dentists? What have dentists ever done to deserve their hatred? Often people will go to a dentist because they have a toothache but in order to stop the toothache the dentist, often, has to inflict a greater amount of pain, if you go to a dentist for a check up you may be feeling fine when you go in but the dentist finds a problem that needs fixing and all of a sudden someone is ramming horse-scale needles into your mouth before the scream of the drill sets your nerves on edge and they cause more pain by drilling at your teeth, followed quite naturally by the recovery period which is filled with a kind of sickly, burning soreness that can take a couple of days or more to go away. People hate dentists because in order to cure the pain, or potential pain, dentists have to inflict pain. People hate dentists because dentists inflict pain, that’s the general logic. It doesn’t matter that you might not have looked after your own dental hygiene properly, it doesn’t matter about the accident that cracked your tooth and it doesn’t matter about the chap that punched you in the face in the half-time brawl at the football, those reasons pale into insignificance next to the fact that you are being “hurt” by the man in the white smock coat. Being hurt by the dental health community.


Communities are defined by their effect on those within and around them and the development of communities, according to Wenger, McDermott and Snyder [1] “is their ability to generate enough excitement, relevance and value to attract and engage members


Yes, the modern living vampire sub-culture may be a sub-culture and it may, at times, attract greater than usual participation and activity but the end result always seems to be a return to hiatus and very little “community development”, if any. If, on the other hand, all of its constituent elements be they artistic, social, charitable, academic and cultural could be forged into a working community development program then the benefits for the whole would be astounding.

The Seven Design Principles

As eschewed by Wenger et al, “The goal of community design is to bring out the community’s own internal direction, character, and energy.”

The principles designed by the authors, simply listed, are:

1. Design for evolution.

2. Open a dialogue between inside and outside perspectives.

3. Invite different levels of participation.

4. Develop both public and private community spaces.

5. Focus on value.

6. Combine familiarity and excitement.

7. Create a rhythm for the community.


It may be perceived, by different observers that these things are, to one extent or another already appearing to some stage or another but the entire project of community development hinges on not one, two or three of them being in focus at any given time rather that all receive the equal input and effort to bring on the whole rather than trying to keep the “parts” tied together.

The principles can be as flexible or as rigid as required and the developments driven by community needs rather than outside expectations. For example, outside charities are indeed worthy causes and the activities that are directed to that quarter are undoubtedly something to be proud of however, they do not directly benefit the modern vampire community wherein there are many who are in dire need of aid and support. Caring for, and working within, ones own “community” primarily enhances the quality of that community sector and therefore makes the entire community stronger and more stable. When community figures are known and respected for listening to “their” people then they may achieve greater things still.

In a paper delivered to the Shaffer Symposium at the University of Wisconsin in 2001, Dr. J.M. Cavaye observed:

Community development initiatives clearly need to provide information and services.

However, development agencies need to do more than disseminate information and services. Staff need to also partner communities to help them gain access to services and information. This means training, coaching and working with community groups to help them access appropriate information and help them improve their capacity to navigate the broad array of services available.”[2]


In order to develop, extend and “rethink” it is vital that old and outdated ideas give way to new ideas, concepts and thinking. It has been almost fourteen years now since the first version of the famous Black Veil ( written as a guide for the community and in that time there have been great changes indeed, there have been steps forward and there have been setbacks, the fact is that somehow, through it all, the “community” has survived. It has survived because new thoughts kept it growing and for those of us who have been around for ten or more years in this environment it is sometimes difficult to let go of old ideas and old ways. If the newcomers, with their fresh ideas and interpretations, are not nurtured, and their ideas allowed to grow and blossom, then we become an old, archaic and irrelevant icon of the past. Rather than trying to “train” new people to think like us we should be training ourselves to let go of prejudices and preconceptions so we can open the way for another burst of growth and expansion of the global vampire sub-culture.

In conclusion:

The demographic of the sub-culture is changing, the people who are coming into the field have different concepts and ideas and while not all have been tried before some have, maybe they have been tried to no avail but that doesn’t mean that will always be the case. Perhaps, at other times, it wasn’t the right time and place for an idea to take root, grow and produce benefits but if we look on at the new ideas, sneer and say, “What do you know, you’ve only been here five minutes?” then we are condemning ourselves to the image of a cynical, crusty and inflexible old grump which will drive the new ideas away… just when we could use them.

Somebody once typed to me, “Community unity is a myth.” Vampires are a myth but here we are and I would imagine the people of north America felt that way too… until the War of Independence.


Man on the moon was a myth, a fantasy, giant squid were a myth, travelling at hypersonic speeds was a myth… if they had stayed that way we wouldn’t have those things and the contributions and spin-off benefits that we have today. Nothing is impossible but it really does depend on a suspension of disbelief, a willingness to engage positively toward a group goal and the flexibility to put prejudices and preconceived ideas aside in favour of hearing and reading the new.


I don’t believe that “Community Unity” is a myth, I never have. I’ve never believed those who say it’s a pipe dream because so many things have, over the centuries, been seen in the same light and have, ultimately, been realised. I think it’s time to realise the truth that the modern real living vampire community can be so much more than it is and it is time to form a sub-culture wide approach to making that happen.


© TB/RVL 2013


NB: Quoted portions of other works are reproduced under the “fair use for education” provisions of relevant legislations.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented, and accept no liability, nor responsibility, for the use or misuse thereof. Anything that the reader takes from this article is taken at their own discretion. 

For further details please see our Website Disclaimer


1) Seven Principles for Cultivating Communities of Practice. Wenger, McDermott and Snyder, HBSWK Pub. 2002

2) Cavaye J.M. (2001) Rural Community Development: New Challenges and Enduring Dilemmas. The Journal of Regional Policy Analysis Vol 31 No 2 pp 109-124.


Further Reading:
The Citizen’s Handbook 


It’s a EPIC way to go…

Pic. source ~ Didgital

Pic. source ~

Remember the epic death scene at the end of the film Gladiator?

Well, have we got another EPIC DEATH for you…

Epic Death we’re born on April 1, 2010 and, in the beginning, the band started out as a two piece outfit consisting of Mistress Demona (Becky on keyboards) and The Guitar Vamp (Dennis on guitar and vocals).


It took another 2 years to find other band members who would fit right into the picture that Becky and Dennis were creating and who loved the style as much as The Guitar Vampire and The Mistress did. That’s when Lycan Shredder (Jason onguitar/backing vocals) and Succui (Arni-bass and backing vocals) joined the band.

The latest members of the outfit, Davey Demon (Davey-drums) and Ginger Mortis (Angie-keyboard) happened before the end of 2012.


Epic Death, a metal band like no other metal band, make their home in Houston, Texas. Each member of the band brings with them something that, as a whole, creates a massive explosion of fast shredding, thundering beats and dark creepy tones. Much like the four horsemen of the apocalypse Epic Death sets out to destroy and conquer, to rule and prevail and to increase their loyal horde that they call “The Undead”.


Says Mistress Demona, “We are not going to change our music to be marketable to people that are not real fans of METAL! We do not play follow the trend music, we play the theme music to the revolution of true freedom and individuality!!
Epic Death is currently in the studio with producer Stephen Bogle and the band has recently shared the stage with URN, Mushroomhead, Gemini Syndrome, Society’s Plague amongst others and, like any other band, they are also hoping for, and working hard toward becoming a mainstream metal band. They have punched out what many consider to be their best, tightest and most epic track yet…

Do yourself a favour, get on over to YouTube and check this out, you’ll probably become diehard “Undead” as well!

 Eye of the Storm

Clickit 2 hearit and enjoy an Epic Death!


A new world



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One of the questions that was covered in the first part of RVL’s “The Living Vampire” survey was, “Do you believe the modern sub-culture is doing enough to positively influence newcomers? A good many times we see people arrive in the online arena with a flurry of strong and opinionated statements of “Fact” regarding modern vampires, unfortunately, in a great many of these cases, the research has not been put in beforehand for them to coherently continue to explain their perceptions and ideas. Instead of asking they begin by “telling” us what vampires are.

Our guest this evening is one exception, recently having arrived in these online forums he had the good sense to ask for information rather than blast in and tell us what vampires are and for that alone he is to be applauded.

RVL takes great pleasure in introducing Bryce H.


RVL: Good evening Bryce, welcome to RVL and thank you for sparing us some of your time.

B: Hello, Thanks for having me along, it’s nice to put forth an opinion as it was. Also, thanks for taking the time out to speak to me.


RVL: Perhaps we might begin with a little biographical information about you and how you came to find your way to the online real vampire “community” and how long have you been here now?

B: Well me myself, Just one of those gothic types who takes an interest in things as it was, Not sure how to explain or what to say *laughs*. Born of a country town yet I speak anything but townie ha.
I found my way, in part, by complete accident; Marmoon Bey was asking questions of the Goths in “The Australian Gothic Society” Page, She was asking the members on their ideas towards vampirism and how they felt about vampires in the gothic scene. Sadly the answers were not forth coming as I knew they wouldn’t be. I feel bad I make such an assumption but I find my scene is stagnant in so many ways.

But I suppose in time here it’s been a month or so now? Not all too long, I’ve been reading up and gaining what understanding I can. SO many resources ideas opinions and beliefs…

RVL: Do you identify as a real living modern vampire? If so, when did you become aware of this part of your nature? If not, what initially drew you to our vampire cyber-world?

B: No I don’t BUT I don’t know what I am. In a strange sense I was hoping, or even hope, that it might answer some questions of my own nature. “That can be taken many ways I promise” In some ways they have been answered. And in others I search ever still.

But what drew me? I seek knowledge, we have some major pre-conceptions of what it is to be a vampire, So many claim knowledge of the topic yet I find credible sources lacking. Also, not to sound rude, it’s just plain fascinating, I hold no fear or judgment only great curiosity. I’ve watched documentaries on vampire groups in America and the pagan and spiritual aspects were both beautiful and in a way very… Appealing? They called to me… This has in part given me some food for thought.

RVL: In our informal chat the other evening you indicated that you had a friend who claimed to be a real living vampire, what were your reactions to this claim, initially?

B: This is a hard one, at first EVERYONE told me he was a fake a fraud and insane. In part I was quite happy to go along with that assumption.
I spoke to him in person, sadly he was so… caught up in the hate and drama he wouldn’t speak the truth to me even though I really wanted to know. But he told me different things each time we spoke also, which sadly didn’t help my beliefs. It was annoying he spoke of being a soul trapped in a human form and that he fed on the energy of other souls, WITH permission to add to his own vitality. It really made no sense to me.

RVL: When you decided to take the plunge and enter the online vampire world what were your first impressions?

B: I actually don’t think I’ve come to many conclusions yet, I’ve not spoken to many people on the subject, I’ve had good interactions with people when I asked on facebook where I can find some information and get ideas but I suppose I need to speak to people to HEAR them? Get their own experiences on the matter? So far though I’m finding the information both informative and in some parts confusing, As different groups have different ideals and feelings on what is and isn’t.
RVL: Since that time there have been number of people that sent you various links to a range of information, how have you found the reading to be going?
B: I have found some AMAZING articles which span from what it is to be and how to live in this day and age, through to beliefs on vampiric DNA even information on blood magic, WHICH helped me greatly to understand a few things.
I’m slowly getting into blogs and reading away, I’ve found one or two sites to be a touch “Over much?” but in general I find it has given me some real in depth ideas on the people and what makes those of a vampiric nature who they are.

But the HISTORY!! THAT has me in a state of rapture, to find out some of the things I’ve discovered myself were correct, and also that I didn’t know many a thing is a delight. Learning is fun, without it you just get a bit stagnant don’t you.

RVL: Have you found your way to joining any other online vampire groups besides RVL on Facebook?

B: Marmoon did put me forth for another page called Vampires/Vampyres which also has many a point of reading, But due to being new and having so much detail to view right now I’m keeping it simple until I can take apart some of the things I’ve already seen.

RVL: In general, how would you rate the reception you have received so far from members of the real vampire “community”?

B: Well from a good few members I’ve gotten a welcome and a good deal of information, so everyone is nice. But I’ve not had much of an in depth conversation with many people, Due to the nature of the subject I can in large part understand.
But for some reason I think if I was open and “Simple?” in my wanting to learn, or even go so far as to make friends, I think I’d have no trouble. Least that’s the impression I get. It’s one of those things in which people need a touch of trust; the witch trials were hard for my kind once also.

RVL: What is, at present, the biggest question in your mind about real modern vampires?

B: Due to movies, books, the internet even history, Vampires and their nature has been given such a romantic view. It’s so artistic and in some cases blown out of proportion that I suppose my question or wonderment? Would be to see WHAT a vampire in this day and age really is, to break misconception and to see someone properly.

It’s one thing to read and be told what something is but to see it is another matter entirely. I, due to my own empathic nature and curiosity, feel I could gain more insight from it. So I suppose that’s my question. What’s a real vampire in this day and age J

RVL: Before you came and began your reading journey what were your perceptions of vampires, real or otherwise?

B: Mine is based in occult readings and history, I, in part, had a love of the romanticism of it, even if not true the idea of an immortal being is something that drives my own inner longing for understanding. I, in my own head, pondered the idea of eternal life above and below humanity, yes I know this can sound rather “Fairytaled” But as I said movies and books all put it in a certain light.

But I, in part, saw it as I did from a movie perspective but in my readings I thought of them as a dark force of nature, the animal within a beast with humanity. It’s hard to explain.

RVL: You also mentioned involvement with several other “alternative” communities, would you tell us a little about them?

B: Well from a young age I was interested in the occult and had very pagan leanings as it was, so one of my friends when I was young gave me insight into Wicca and paganism. I grew into that easily enough and learnt a thing or two along my travels. I, “And I do laugh” Went Goth as a kid also, I found the dark side was my friend and not to be feared so much as loved as a beautiful kindred spirit. The gothic side of things was both art and further love of the dark side of life, to me darkness as I said isn’t a bad thing, without dark one cannot see the light for that light would be blinding only leading you back to the original thought.

But the gothic side of things was beauty in nature much like the pagan in me. Funny how it all ties up, at least in my head.

I later discovered Satanism, LaVeyen to be precise, I wrote for the satanic communities pieces on the basis of why religion isn’t needed “Sorry if that sounds offensive and even in funny ways a paradox”. In my time I discovered that many Goths were Satanists many Satanists, Goth and both were none at all… SO MANY things all tie in together yet each seeks its own path.

RVL: What would you like to learn, or confirm, from your involvement in the online vampire “community”?

B: Well I suppose I’d like to find out more on what it’s about as simple as that sounds, As a somewhat open minded being I seek to learn why things are, who they are, all the answers of what makes everything tick.

The funny thing is I find more questions as I read more and become ever more fascinated as I go.

RVL: Is there anything you would like to ask this evening?

B: Nothing I can think of, I’m a bit tired out from all the information overload but if I find some questions I’ll be sure to put them forth.

RVL: It has been a great privilege to spend this time with you Bryce; we wish you all the best in your research, thank you very much for participating this evening.
B: Wow! I must say this has been a great deal of fun to put some of my thoughts on the topic forth and that people will be reading my gibberish *laughs* I’m glad I could help and I think even from this I’ve learnt a few things and have some clearer thoughts having gone over them myself.

I look forward to further interactions and gaining my Vampire 101 certification.


It is always interesting to take a look at oneself from the point of view of someone outside your situation and environment. It can help you to regain perspective that may have been slightly distorted by familiarity, it can help you tune into the basic necessities of being and it can also be helpful in highlighting issues that are created without being meant to be, such as “confusion”.

Those of us who have been in the “community” for a long time recognize, more often than not, that the youngsters who come looking for answers here will, in all probability, be the “community” leaders of tomorrow, sounds like some corny ad for a less than reputable distance education facility; a sort of, ‘get your doctorate in six months with us’ kind of deal but the difference is that we know who and what we are and in order to survive the “community” needs to look to it’s practices in welcoming newcomers to make sure that good people aren’t being driven away.
Copyright RVL & Bryce H. 2013

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented, and accept no liability, nor responsibility, for the use or misuse thereof. Anything that the reader takes from this article is taken at their own discretion. 

For further details please see our Website Disclaimer