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Stories, tales, rumours, suppositions… in the modern Vampire culture they are as inevitable as death and taxes. Which stories are true, which are accurate, which are complete, well, that all rather depends on who you talk to and when.
Different variations of different interpretations of the same event often make it seem as though the same tale has different endings, or no ending at all.
In a great many cases you will find that the stories are based on part of a tale from one source, part from another source and yet another part from an entirely different quarter so how is the “innocent bystander” to make sense of it all? How do we unravel the different strands and get to the kernels of truth? Many’s the time when we might be tempted to sit back and say to ourselves, “Hmmm, where there’s smoke there’s fire, right?” Is that always true, or is the smoke being blown from another place entirely?
Our guest this evening has been, in the past, controversial, outspoken and firmly in a different corner to many and one has to wonder why, where did the controversy stem from? Where did it begin and what’s the newest initiative that he is involved in?
RVL is pleased to present a One-on-One with Michael Vachmiel.
RVL: Good evening Michael, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to RVL, and we would like to thank you for sparing us a little of your time today.
MV: It is a pleasure to speak with you.
RVL: The first question, in fact probably the one that our audience likes to see quite early on, do you identify as a modern living Vampire?
MV: Yes I do.
RVL: …and since this is our “first contact”, so to speak, would you share with us a little of your own history, when did you first become aware of your true nature and when did you first come to the modern Vampire culture?
MV: I began my journey like so many others of my era did. We were just trying to survive what it was like growing up in the late 1980’s. Trying to find a place to belong, trying to find ourselves. It was in 1985 that I found an odd assortment of people from various occult traditions that were willing to share their knowledge. It was being around this energy and people that that my cravings and hungers for both energy and blood rose. Instead of being looked at like a freak, I was shown occult, spiritual, and religious texts showing similar hungers and desires. It was not until some former Temple of Set people came to play with us that the term vampire, and what being a living vampire meant, came to light in our lives.
RVL: Prior to realising the truth about yourself, were you always “taken” by the concept of the Vampire? Did you watch and read much material early on?
MV: Beforehand no. I was this rather beat up, shy, timid shell of a person that was just trying to understand his own nature. The total muggle! Then after 85 I devoured everything I could get my hands on! I am lucky that my awakening took place in the late 1980’s and early 90’s when the height of music and fashion took place.
RVL: When you first arrived in the wild and wonderful world of the internet culture what were your first impressions?
MV: The Bulletin Boards were marvellous! I remember dial up on 300 baud modems and those early days! Then the CompuServe rooms along with the invention of Windows added more tools to play with. It was not until Windows evolved, AOL chat rooms and IRC that the Vampire Culture could get a solid foothold in the web. Then the user groups, followed by Yahoo Groups, then Friends Space. We could finally share photos and music. LiveJournal, and then Myspace changed the game completely! They both came at the right place and time in history to lay the solid foundations of what we call the Online Vampire Community. From there we have all seen how Vampire have adapted technology to meet the ever evolving needs of our community. Technology is a wonderful thing!
RVL: …and have your impressions changed greatly with the passage of time?
MV: In the 33 years of being awakened I would have to say no. More mature and more refined of course. More knowledgeable most certainly! Over all, the human, in this case vampire, heart and soul does not change. The same personality archetypes, the same hungers, the same cravings always repeat themselves. Age, knowledge and experience has made managing these cycles less stressful.
RVL: Now, you have “cut your teeth” so to speak, in Texas which is widely known for its modern Vampire presence. Can you share a little with us about the Vampire Court of Houston, how and when it formed?
MV: The Vampire Court of Houston came about four years ago when there was a rapid succession of other vampire monarchs in Houston that had to step down for various reasons. Some because of illness, others because they chose to abdicate the throne. As nature abhors a vacuum I stepped up. We quickly organized a council, set up a community vote to see of the Houston VC was willing to go along with this. So I took my years of experience and began to task of governing. We reached out to other courts, we began to communicate with others. We set up regular meetings and events. We broke new ground in the vampire community. We publicly recognized the importance of Black Swans! Yes, that was us! We treated being a vampire court seriously and DBA the name so no other group can take it! We were the first to live cast our meetings! We had Television and other media spots talking about Vampire and Swan relationships. These videos went viral and still continue to generate views. We created a powerful and energetic foundation that many others follow!
RVL: …and all-in-all we would have to agree, I think, that last year was quite controversial as far as you and your Court were concerned… indeed it almost seemed at one point as though you were out to “take on the world”… have you considered that time since then and changed direction at all?
MV: Not at all! When I took the step to DBA and protect the name, Vampire Court of Houston, which set off a firestorm. For the first time, someone said to certain parts of the vampire culture, no, you simply can’t take someone’s intellectual property by popularity vote! Then I said that Black Swans are EQUAL to vampires, for without our swans and donors, our culture would be less overall. That set off another firestorm. The response that saw the “food” and “slaves” as equals made me a poser, a fake and a fraud! It was the beginning of the ugliness of 2017. So I responded with a cult awareness checklist, warning others not to allow people to think for them, and to think for themselves. So to be clear, I am not out to take on the world. I am out to take on the part of the world that is cruel and vile.
RVL: How do you, personally, define the importance and value of formal and organised groups, be they Houses, Havens, Courts, Orders or Other?
MV: Organization is key to growth. An organized people have strength in numbers, achieving what an individual can not. Organizations have more resources and thus can achieve wondrous things. The current trend in the global vampire community to work with charities demonstrates the power of group achievement in a most positive and healthy way.
RVL: Within the Vampire Court of Houston there are two distinct levels we believe, that is, the “Inner” and “Outer” court, how do the two parts differ while being under the overall header of the VCH?
MV: The first thing I should point out is that there are no members of the VCH that are under 18. Each member must fill out an application to formally join the court and I have stated clearly that joining the on line groups is not the same as joining the courts. The Inner Court is for those individuals, residing both in Houston and around the world, who are willing to donate time and energy to growing the court.
The Outer Court is for those individuals who wish to join the VCH, but simply do not have a lot of time or energy to contribute on a regular basis.
While the “age restriction” is something that has been played upon by our opponents, the real issue is our criminal background check. The VCH does not allow people with violent felony backgrounds of a sexual nature such as rape, or crimes involving children to join.
RVL: You are well known for your hitherto unwavering stance of, “You’re either with me or against me,” is that a standpoint you still favour?
MV: That you for allowing me to dispel this rather common, yet false notion about me. I, along with the Vampire Court of Houston, has a small set of minimal behavioral standards. No trolling. No bullying. No stalking. We do not allow those with violent criminal offenses of a sexual nature or crimes involving children into our ranks. These guidelines four years ago were seen as Vachmiel dictating who can be in and out of the vampire community. This was then altered into a “with me or against me” position. So for clarification, the “with me or against me” was never a hard line mind-set. On some things, I simply cannot compromise. The health and safety of myself, my swans and those who choose to be part of the court. With everything else, negations are the only sane and rational way forward. That is the hallmark of any successful individual.
RVL: …and on that note, do you find a great difference in ethic and aesthetic from that which you may have been formerly used to?
MV: Not really. As I mentioned about the ethics are solid while we are always guarding and improving the aesthetics of our public image.
RVL: Where do you see Michael Vachmiel in, say, five or ten years?
MV: I am working with a publisher to create a series of metaphysical books. I see myself documenting this three and half decade journey in the world of the vampire in the written form, sharing my experience and knowledge with the world.
RVL: From your point of view, what are the best and worst things about being an “information age” modern Vampire? Do you think social media is a benefit or a curse?
MV: No longer does a “baby bat” have to suffer from an information drought. Knowledge of how to feed, shield, where to buy spiritual supplies, how to apply Goth makeup, where to buy clothing, so forth and so on. No one is isolated any longer! No one is alone any longer! This is the blessing the information age and social media.
The curse is the lack of accountability and responsibility for poor behavior. In 2017, I was harassed 24/7 for an entire year by a group of people. The situation escalated to death threats. I had to talk to Houston Police Department and the District Attorney on how to evaluate, monitor and record death threats. No one should have to have a lawyer and contacts with legal just to exist online peacefully, but that is the curse and reality of people popular on line in the 21st century.
RVL: If we can, now, I’d like to focus on the new undertaking that you have recently unveiled, namely the Vampire Society… and the reaching out to other mainstream community groups, what is the main purpose behind the society?
MV: The purpose of the Vampire Society is to allow Courts, Covens, Houses, Orders, and Ronin to ally and benefit from being part of a large group of people while maintaining their uniqueness.
RVL: …and where can people go to find out more about The Society?
MV: People are free to join the discussion at
RVL: Are you concerned, at all, that reaching into areas that are not local to you will cause friction with already established organisations in those areas?
MV: That was a worry. That is still a worry and we are always listening to constructive feedback on how to improve our message. So far our message of be an ally but be yourself. Keep your style of governance, keep your members ‘your members’, and run your area the way you see fit has been well received. We make it clear we want allies, not minions! Looking at the mistakes made by others with similar projects we have learned what not to do when approaching people and organizations.
RVL: As I’m sure you are aware there are those that recall, perhaps unkindly to some degree, some controversial and adversarial comments that you made last year… is the Vampire Society a recognition that cooperation is much better than conflict?
MV: Sadly, when others choose to be aggressive, sometimes to the point of criminality, conflict occurs. Social media tends to spin things out of control. Cooperation and negotiation is always preferable to the wasted energy of conflict. Our success with the media and other professional third parties, along with the rapid growth of the Vampire Court of Houston and the Vampire Society demonstrates this solidly.
RVL: Do you regret, perhaps, some of the comments that you have made in the past, even though in that you would be no different to many, many others in the history of the modern culture?
MV: We all have regrets. When our videos and other media went viral, I was not expecting the level of hate, stalking, and other criminal behavior. It took me by surprise and in the early days it stung me deeply. Having talked to other media types, lawyers, and getting solid advice from professionals I have learned just to “let it go”.
RVL: …and if we were to ask you for one piece of advice for those either in, or just coming into, the modern VC, what would that advice be?
MV: Let things go. Ignore the haters. Be true to yourself. Read everything by everyone and keep what is of value to you, discard what does not work for you. If possible, get out and meet people! Be active! In order for a culture to grow, we need people! We need you! You are our future!
RVL: Michael Vachmiel, it has been a pleasure to spend a bit of time with you today, we will be very interested to see how the Society develops and we would like to check in with you, down the road a bit, and see what’s what if that’s okay?
MV: Of course!
Have you ever heard the saying “Truth is stranger than fiction“? Perhaps, in this case the truth is just that, perhaps it’s a truth that has been obscured and it’s entirely possible that, with the formation of the Vampire Society, the “truth” is going to become apparent.
For any effort toward a unity state it’s not always necessary that groups, Houses, Havens or Courts formally come together under one banner, indeed one only need look to the recently formed Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition to realise that independent bodies are able to form a working coalition and it will be extremely interesting to watch how the Vampire Society grows and blossoms.
Any move toward uniting scattered groups must be a step in the right direction and once headed in that direction it will become easier for the larger formed bodies to enter into cooperative circles with one common goal in mind… but only so long as we realise, and recognise, that there are indeed two sides to every coin.
Copyright RVL & Michael Vachmiel/ Vampire Court of Houston, 2018
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