J. Reason’s Real Vampire Life E-Zine 1st Annual Report

img. source: GraphicsFuel

Compiled, Written, Edited and Presented by

Tim
Editor in Chief – J. Reason’s RVL E-Zine

Good morning,
It is a very exciting point in the history of J. Reason’s Real Vampire Life E-Zine, for the first time in the history of the publication we are in a position to release an Annual Report. In dealing with the period beginning July – August of 2017 we have kept monthly records of statistics and circulation (Contained on a link tab at our home page) There is one month of data unavailable, being October – November last year because your chief Editorial staff were swanning it up, and swilling cold beer, in Australia on vacation…!!! (Sorry ’bout that… NOT…!!!)

In looking at the records over the previous 13 recording periods we can see that the most popular times seem to be between September and January, although this year the March – April month was especially busy as it has been this last month, July – August 2018..

One of our biggest milestones came on 7/26/18 when we passed the 250,000 visits mark at RVL.

Much of what happens at RVL, naturally, occurs around what we write and present and we are keenly aware of three things at all times, 1. Keep it real, 2. Keep it relevant and 3. Have some fun along the way.

img. source: VCH/ M. Vachmiel

In putting a good mix of these things together we believe that we create, and reinforce, a culture that creates interest among readers. Having a “little fun” or “a little light insanity” along the way keeps the audience from feeling they are trapped in a world of negativity and in this way we hope to be able to engender greater interest in the modern culture and send out a message that not everything has to be nasty, bitchy, back-biting and squabbling when Vampires come together, be it on or off line.

We have, as many are aware, gone through some rather intensive changes over the last twelve months and we have welcomed new Staff Members to the E-Zine, our deepest gratitude and thanks must, firstly, go to –

Lady Ronin Costa (Editor, Staff Writer and Foreign Correspondent in Italy)
Gordon Smith (Editor and Researcher) of the CLAVIS Research Group.
Dave Wolff (Editor and Rock God) C.E.O. and Editor in Chief of the Auteroticasphyxium E-Zine.
Lady Suzanne Carré (Editor and Science Advisor)
Lady Kaia Liivamägi (Editorial and Medical Pathology Consultant)

And, Lady Sylvere Ap Leanan (Assoc. Editor and Modern Living Vampire Community Consultant)

With these fabulous people on board we can continue to provide high quality reading and infotainment for our audience, an important… nay vital, part of any publication.

For myself, and speaking on behalf of J.Reason, we must also acknowledge the tireless, unending efforts, work, patience and research that goes on every single day of the week and which is under the watchful eye of Lady Marmoon Bey. Without her extraordinary work we would not be able to present that publication, nor have the Facebook portal site, that we enjoy.

Without reservation we express our deepest gratitude to all those whom have participated in editorials and interviews over the past year. It is, we believe, an excellent opportunity for people to connect, in a fashion, with many of the fascinating and intriguing people that are part of our Modern living Vampire Culture.

Of course, a huge thanks MUST go out to everyone who reads, follows and supports RVL around the world. Without those people we would have little purpose, direction or incentive.

(Img. source: bio.com)

Planned developments.

This is an area that has been under discussion over the last three months. We are working in with both WordPress and with our server host to determine the best way to increase our level of control, flexibility and versatility WITHOUT monetizing (yup, we ain’t in it for th’ money friends) the E-Zine and thereby having annoying ads permitted there.

Our main areas of expansion this last year has been in the arena of Historical information and presentation. With these things contained in our Vampire – History, Mythology and Folklore department we are always seeking to update, improve and expand on the information for all those interested in the Vampire Mythos as well as the real living Vampire life.

We are always considering new projects that will enhance the range and type of information available to our readers and, in that vein, we will be incorporating a new series of interviews that will focus on consultations of specific points of discussion to supplement our ‘general biographical’ interviews.

Img source: City of Columbus

J. Reason’s Real Vampire Life E-Zine annual figures 2017 – 2018

Site Visits Period              Total Visits         Avg. /Day        Twitter F’lwers     Countries

July – Aug 2017                     2891              103.25                 1102                    96

Aug – Sep 2017                     3413              121.89                 1111                    106

Sep – Oct 2017                      4048              144.57                 1141                    110

Oct – Nov 2017                     absent            absent                absent                absent

Nov – Dec 2017                     3850               137.5                  1184                    119

Dec 2017 – Jan 2018            3854               137.64                 1205                   123

Jan – Feb 2018                     3214               114.79                  1232                   124

Feb – Mar 2018                     3272               116.86                 1267                    127

Mar – Apr 2018                     4566                163.07                1279                    131

Apr – May 2018                    3196                 114.14                1309                    132

May – Jun 2018                    2835                 101.25                1333                    136

Jun – Jul 2018                      3175                 113.39                 1361                    141

Jul – Aug 2018                     4369                 156.04                 1352                    143

 

The top 5 editorials/interviews over the last year by number of views to the end of 8/25/18 were;

Title                                                                                     Views

Vampire Deities                                                                                                     3,989

Blood Substitutes Or “How to be a Healthy Happy Vampyre”                               1,123

A VAMPIRE’S GUIDE TO NEW ORLEANS ~ Steven P. Unger                               949

Dr. Death and a Vampyre Beauty                                                                             565

A new “world” order – reprised                                                                                 547

 

The top 5 Countries, by visitors, as at 8/25/18 were;

% of visits          Visits by location

1                              United States                    67.72%                  14,810

 

2                             United Kingdom                 4.55%                      996

 

3                              Germany                            3.47%                     758

 

4                              Canada                               2.96%                    648

 

5                              Australia                              2.28%                   499

 

Our top ten referrers by links, for the year to 8/25/18, were;

Search engine source                     # referrals

Facebook                                            3,769

WordPress Android App                        660

Twitter                                                    246

sanguinarius.org                                    103

theb9.com                                              103

nexus-noctis.net                                      72

vampirefragments.com                           58

feedspot.com                                          56

blog.feedspot.com                                  43

t.umblr.com                                             40

 

The top ten search terms used to reach RVL, as at 8/25/18, were;

amazon                                                              22

vampire gods                                                     11

https://realvampirenews.com/                            10

vespertine ball                                                     7

vampire god names                                            6

real vampire dentures                                         4

deities of vampirism                                            4

vampire language                                               4

vampire symbols                                                4

unity ankh mavenlore                                        4

Common vampire bat

In conclusion:
As can be seen, over the previous year, 2017 – 2018, we have experienced a real growth of 23.034% in total site visits compared over the twelve record periods.

The number of people following RVL on Twitter has increased by 22.686% and our Global reach has increased by 48.958%.

Amidst this we have always done our utmost to bring quality, accuracy and, above all, independent information, free of any group, organisation, House, Court or other such affiliations or influence to our audience. Indeed, there have been times when our people have been, or are, holders of memberships to other organisations but that is something which, like your coat at a fancy restaurant, is left at the door on the way in.

Copyright RVL, 2018

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

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.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

 

A Meeting of Minds

http://www.decoratum.com/

Researched, Written and Presented by

Lady M.

Foreword

Over the years, decades even, in the Modern Living Vampire Culture there have been endless debates, definitions, arguments and discourses on what makes an “Elder” and Elder, and what makes a leader a leader in the culture. The very definitions that have been applied appear, at the best of times, to be fluid and open to interpretation. So, out of that, how do you convene an Elder and Leadership Conference in the modern culture? What ‘yardstick’ is used to determine what’s to be discussed and defined, what measure is applied to determine whether a person is, or is not, qualified to be an “Elder” or “Leader”?

One of the best and most concise definitions of an Elder, in our opinion, comes from “Dictionary of Sanguinese” by Sanguinarius   “A prominent member of the vampiric community who is honored and respected for his or her experience, knowledge, willingness to help others, accomplishments and devotion. Elders are often those individuals who have helped establish a community, organize groups, or help network the community.”

Ref: http://www.sanguinarius.org/terminology.shtml

One event that aims to examine, discuss and, perhaps, even redefine these things is the “Elder and Leadership Conference 2019 that is being co-hosted by Clan Resurrectus and the Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition.

We were recently given the opportunity to speak with the three leaders who have come together to make this event happen. It gives us great pleasure to welcome back to RVL Lord Stefan Resurrectus, Patriarch of Clan Resurrectus, Georgia, Derek Lestat, CEO of the Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition and, for the first time, a warm welcome to Magistra Xia of Ordo Omnia.

Artwork by: Lady Alyson Ford

RVL: Good evening gentlemen and Magistra Xia, welcome and thanks for sparing a little of your time to discuss this cultural initiative.

SR:  Absolutely.  Always a pleasure to be here, thank you for having me.

DL: Thank you, it’s good to be back here.

RVL: The first question, which I would imagine would be on most people’s lips is, why? Why an Elder and Leadership conference?

SR:  It seems to me that my memory does not include an actual sit-down in person face-to-face meeting of the minds amongst the leadership.  Don’t get me wrong, there are several courts such as the Court of Lazarus that brings the leaders of their area together on a fairly regular basis in order to discuss matters, by and large the Leaders and Elders of the Community do not speak much outside of Facebook or emails.  Too much can be misinterpreted or misunderstood in the written word.  In person, there is a much better interpretation of ideals.

DL: Myself, I would first counter with asking “Why not?” Let’s scale it down some, make it more  personally relatable. Pretty much everyone who interacts online has made friends and acquaintances who live some distance away. And some of us a fortunate enough to arrange to meet in person.  Now let’s scale it back up again, with that thought in mind. Within the Vamp Community, there is no shortage of leaders of many groups. We meet online, we become acquainted and sometimes even friends. Some of us live relatively close, some are metaphorical worlds away. We thrive on sharing ideas and experiences, comparing notes, etc. And with so many of us reaching for the same or similar goals, it all only stands to reason that we should at some point convene in person. There is so much more to be gained from physical personal interaction than merely words typed on a screen, or a Skype session.

Derek Lestat C.E.O. of The Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition

 

RVL: …and what is the ultimate goal, or goals, of the conference?

SR:  The ultimate goal, at least my goal, is to bring us together in order to get on the same page.  With the growth of the community over the past few decades, I feel it’s time for those that in a position of leadership to speak and discuss our responsibilities to this community.  There was a time that our numbers were much fewer, and the Courts were able to delineate responsibility and stay on top of issues that came up.  With the influx of “leaders” and new organizations in the past 5 years alone have convoluted the question of what a leader or Elder is and what is their responsibility, not only to their respective organizations but to the community of a whole.

DL: For me, I see the goal as being a “meeting of the minds”, as it were. We as leaders and Elders have many different experiences, viewpoints, ways of going about things, dealing with people both in the positive and the negative. This is a great opportunity to pool our knowledge, to learn about ourselves and each other, and to take away new knowledge and experience, and to bring that back to our respective groups.

MX:  A huge objective of the conference is education. A lot of misconceptions can occur when there is a lack of communication and constructive debate, handwork and initiative for betterment of the overall whole.

RVL: As far as attendance is concerned, are there any restrictions on who can attend?

MX:  Restrictions on who can attend would be those who are known in the community as Sin Nomine. This essentially means that they have committed a crime within the community and have hurt others so therefore they are turned away from activity within the community. This is for the protection of all especially new ones coming in who are looking to seek direction or advice from other advocates.

SR:  There are no restrictions per se; if you want to get to know these people we talk to every day online this is a good event for you.  Let’s face it, we go to events and pay $100 plus dollars for a few hours in a very loud and eclectic surrounding versus less than $100 for 2.5 days with food and lodging included with entertainment and really be able to connect with others.  The only restriction is the Summit itself will be explicitly for the leaders to meet and talk.  Everything else is open to all.

RVL: …and for those unable to attend will there be transcripts of lectures, presentations and discussions made available after the event?

SR:  We have discussed that, and it’s my hope to have the Seminars and other events videoed and make them available either on FB or YouTube with links on FB.  The Summit itself will probably be closed files open only to leadership with transcripts.

MX:  Yes there will be audio available for those who cannot attend and of course web based videos as well

 

RVL: It’s already been hinted that there will be a 2020 conference, will this “Conference” become an annual event and will the location remain the same each year?

SR: *laughs* We are actually looking at a 2020 conference and summit.  We will probably really get on that once everything is scheduled out for 2019.  We have been offered a location in Virginia for 2020 by the Vampire Court of Richmond through King William Azrael and I intend to look into that once 2019 is up and running.  I think it would be interesting to have the conference in different cities, but for the moment we’re going to concentrate on what we have now and the location for 2020.

DL: I would love if this were an annual event for everyone. Unfortunately, not everyone can always attend, due to personal, monetary, or logistical concerns.  If it can become an annual event, that would be great. It would be even greater to rotate the venue around the map, not only for a change of scenery but also so people who can’t attend due to distance can get a better shake at it another year.

MX:  Yes it would be nice to see this event become an annual endeavour for the community so long as the true heart of the event can be cherished and kept. The idea of this being a platform for education and openness.

Magistra Xia of Ordo Omnia

 

RVL: What are some of the activities that will be included in the conference and who will be “key speakers” and/or guests of honour” if any?

MX:  Some of the activities will include lectures by elders of different houses , selling of wares and goods and great social time between those who don´t ordinarily get to interact with each other. Being able to have intimate conversations on deep topics face to face is very integral to our kind and for learning and development of new vampiric technology.

SR:  I am pleased to announce several: first off, we have Baron Misuraca as our Special Musical guest, along with seminars by Magistra Xia and Magister Alad or Ordo Omnia, King William Azrael and Lady Luna of the Vampire Court of Richmond, Reaper Wolf from Ordo Phoenix, HPS Lady Danaan Starseed and many others, not to mention vendors from fangsmiths to crystals to creative works for sale.

 

RVL:  Let me throw a curve ball at you folks, how do you, personally, define “elder” and “leader” within the framework of the modern living Vampire culture and what would you say to people who might disagree with your definition or analysis?

DL:  In most usage, the word “elder” itself implies longevity, that one has been around for some time, seen a lot, done a lot, experienced and lived through a lot. That context is fitting within the Community, I feel, as an Elder has “Been There, Done That”, someone with the wisdom of experience to share.
As for what it means to be a leader, let me quote management expert Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005), who said “Rank does not confer privilege or power. It imposes responsibility”. And as both leaders and Elders in the Community, we are tasked with responsibility, not only for those in our respective Clans and Houses etc, but also for the Community as a whole. We have the experience, the wisdom, in most cases That Certain Something, it is our responsibility and our duty to impart that to the next generation, much as a good parent would to their own eager children.

SR:  Ah, good one.  I always enjoy this particular subject because there are so many opinions on this particular subject.  Let me say that by definition, and Elder is someone who has survived all to be an Elder.  However, the title of Elder is supposed to be one of respect; and Elder is one who takes their responsibility seriously not just to those of their House but to all; an Elder will take on the responsibility of teaching others all that they have learned with the understanding that they will not be around forever.  A leader is a person who has the vision to lead and takes on the responsibility of leadership; that all are equal from the fledgling to the Elder; a leader takes on the burden of politics and the well-being of those that are in their charge.  Not all leaders are seasoned to the point of Elder, but in time will.  Not all leaders are Elders; not all Elders are leaders.

MX:  of course there will be those that disagree and have different definitions of what an elder or leader could be that is part of the mystique of the vampire . A predator does not follow others but instead meets with other predators and offers respect and at times friendship. We all are on our own path but to begin to define these terms is what i would like to discuss . Vampiric technology is always developing . An elder is simply one who has dedicated their life to Vampyrism, runs a house , educates , works with others and continues to better the community . In essence if you are an elder you have a job outside your dayside. A leader is a Vampyre with experience who is directing a project or has recently been given a task in a House . They take on the role of inspiring others and assist an Elder to lessen the weight of the job or task at hand . This is Order of Omnia´s definition of those two roles. So can an elder be a leader ? yes. Can a leader be an elder ? not always. Of course I am only speaking for Order of Omnia to share perspective . I do not speak for any other Vampyres.

RVL: There will be those, as I’m sure you are aware, who will decry the validity of the event and will claim it to be a ploy to establish some sort of “control” system in place… this is, after all, the “VC”, what would your response be to that kind of criticism?

SR: Sigh.  Such is always the case.  I will state again what I’ve stated on several occasions; there will never be an absolute control over the VC by any one person or organization, especially without the vote of the vox populi.  However, a body of moderation is not out of the question.  That is not what this is about.  This is about us all working together. I’ve stood for Unity for 30 years, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it has to start at the top.  If the leaders and elders can’t get along and work together, what hope do we have for the rest of the community.

DL: This is not some sort of diabolical cabal, gathering in shadows to deliberately screw over everyone we don’t like. We are not some sort of an Illuminati, and Lex Luthor was not invited.
If you are so full of your own self that you can’t see this meeting of the minds for what it is, then that’s probably the reason you weren’t invited to begin with.
Let me toss out another quote: “Haters gonna hate”.

MX:  My response to that criticism is that we are only here as a platform to encourage education and the sharing of ideas. Think of this like a salon noir where philosophers would gather and express and challenge perspectives. This event has absolutely nothing to do with the human concept of power but the evolved idea of evolution and betterment.

RVL: As to the location, the venue, why the choice of a South Carolina parkland venue?

MX:  Stefan has chosen the location for the group and having a relaxed atmosphere is extremely important for learning. The woods and nature holds a very important role in aiding one to tune in and shut down daily troubles or work anxieties. This allows us to let the mind focus in areas that are less used such as in meditation. So I support the location as it is a great springboard for people to relax and learn.

SR:  I attended the Beltane Brouhaha there this year and found it charming, definitely rooted in nature and rather isolated.  The cabins, while rustic, were wonderful and the camaraderie was unparalleled.  I saw this as a perfect grass-roots location to begin all this.  It’s absolutely beautiful and quiet…at least when the celebrations weren’t on. *laughs*

RVL: …and where can the folks who are planning to attend find out all information they are going to need about the venue?

MX:  Information can all be discovered via the Facebook website.

SR:  https://www.facebook.com/events/661077417596031/?active_tab=about

 

Photo: CC Smith

 

RVL: Have you any anticipation, or expectation, as to the number of attendees? What would you say to those who may be on the fence about coming along?

SR:  Space is limited as far as cabins themselves.  If you’re looking for a private cabin, best to sign up and register quickly.  There are 59 cabins available, each able to handle 4 people comfortably.  We are anticipating between 60-100 people for this first one; there are areas for those that wish to pitch a tent, not a whole lot of RV room.

DL: If you’re on the fence about it, ask yourself how cool it would be to say “Yeah, I was there”. Consider the bragging rights you could bank.

MX:  I think it is great to go in with no expectation at all. Whatever will be is going to be but either way every year the alchemy of the collective will change due to the people who choose to participate. This is a great avenue for differences to be explored and good face to face conversation to happen.

RVL: What sort of event security will be in place for the duration?

SR:  The event will have security; there are several individuals with security experience who will be monitoring the event 24/7.

MX:  As far as security is concerned we will have gatekeepers who will act as guardians for the event .

Red Shouldered Hawks – Kings Mountain State Park

RVL: This is probably going to turn out to be the largest gathering of recognised Elders and Leaders since the COVICA Council was convened in 2000, is it an aim of the conference to unilaterally re-establish some sort of guiding body for the modern culture?

SR:  That type of decision would have to be made by a popular vote of all the leaders, not just those that will be in attendance; the community is far too big now for any one group coming through and establishing any type of regulatory body.  I would think that if one particular area wanted that, it could be established, but again that’s not what this is about.  Opening lines of communication and agreeing to work towards a better community is the first step in any process that might be imagined at this time.

DL: Baby steps.

RVL: Where do you think leadership in the modern culture falls short these days?

SR:  A fair question, and it depends on where you look.  We have leaders that deal mostly in entertainment, we have some that just wandered into the scene and think they should be respected as scions, we have some that are apparently mentally and emotionally disturbed and surprisingly they have followers.  I think that is one of the areas; a true leader develops other leaders and not followers; followers are inevitable, but developing good leaders is rare.  Lack of communication is another; when there is no communication and bad communication is where issues arise.  There are some who sit up in their ivory towers and ignore the works of others and some that cloister themselves and care little about what’s happening in the world around them.  I don’t think there’s any one answer, there’s a variety of things that cause the problem.  Hence, the need to meet.

Lord Stefan Resurrectus, Patriarch of Clan Resurrectus

MX:  Of course we are looking to redefine and give new meaning to ideals of the past. If the vampire and the ideology of the predator does not advance we are no holding true to the values of evolution. I think again every organisation could have a different answer as to where leadership falls short. From the Order of Omnia perspective our foundations are rooted in education and advanced ritual format. We fall short as a community when individuals who claim to be something they aren’t hurt others through sexual abuse, mental abuse or criminal activity. As every culture and community has these feats so do we. That is why education, structure and getting more information out there is so important. So individuals know where to go to be lead safely and securely.

DL: In many cases, I see too much personal ego and even narcissism being bandied about. That is not what good and effective leadership is about.

RVL: …and the solution?

SR:  Meet, greet and speak.  Working together is the only way to repair the problems in our community.

DL: First thing an aspiring good leader should be aware of is: it is NOT about YOU. Not everything begins and ends with you, your opinions, your likes and dislikes. You are the voice for your people. Your own bullshit takes a backseat. Be amicable. If you go around offending other people, or worse, other leaders, simply because your view on something is not theirs, you end up pissing people off, possibly even the wrong people, and that will only continue the divisiveness within the Community. Get off the high horse, and stop patting your own back long enough to shake hands with your peers.

 

RVL: Is there anything else you would like to pass on to our readers at this time about the conference or in general?

DL: Even if you cannot attend in person, please lend your support of the event and its goals. Even just a simple comment on Facebook saying “Hey, good idea, I support this” would be wonderful.

SR:  Come and break bread with us.  Let’s talk, laugh and learn together, eat good food and be entertained.  Let’s grow closer together in the true spirit of unity.

 

RVL: Magistra Xia, Gentlemen, thank you very much for your time today. RVL is very happy to be a sponsor of the conference and we will be watching, with great interest, to see the results… we wish you the very best of luck with the event.

DL: Thank you very much!

 

______________________________________________________________________

A bold move? A grand gesture? An important initiative? Will the benefits be widespread or not?

As this particular conference development is still in it’s infancy, relatively speaking, and there are many more months of work to do before it comes to fruition, there is still ample chance for more and more people to become involved. It is our hope that this will happen, that people from across the culture will recognise the importance of this event.

There can be no doubt that the culture, the community, whatever you wish to call it, has long been crying out for some measure of consistent and common sense direction from its recognised leaders – this event represents a unique opportunity for just that.

It’s not an event for a “portion” of the community, not an event for an elite cadre, it is an event for the whole culture regardless of where you may be, or stand, in relation to that culture. A chance to forge something strong and above all durable that will provide a hitherto unseen level of cooperation and communication.

Will the REAL leaders and Elders please stand up…

 

Copyright RVL, Elder and Leadership Conference 2019, Clan Resurrectus, the Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition and Ordo Omnia 2018

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Dr. Death and a Vampyre Beauty

A special Interview 

By
Lady Suzanne Carré

(Editor Note: Spelling of vampyre (with a “y”) is used in this article to denote a Real Living Vampire and thus distinguish those who “need to feed” from the vampire (spelled with “i”) of fiction.)

It is a privilege to meet a researcher studying real vampyres, but it is truly extraordinary to know two collaborating researchers. Our guests tonight are a husband and wife team of remarkable vampyre experts from Cologne in Germany.

Dr. Mark Benecke is a world-renowned forensic biologist, has worked in many countries, and is a prolific author publishing 100’s of academic papers and articles, including specialist texts and popular books. He has broad interests covering diverse subjects from insects, especially necrophagous specimens, to the dead in forensic research, and a fascination with the undead, gaining him the titles of “Dr. Death” and “Dr. Maggot”. Mark is tireless in his efforts to inform and educate, so beyond giving formal lectures, he has appeared on talk shows, on radio, and in television series’.

Lady Ines Benecke is the head of the largest online and offline real vampyre community in Europe. Unlike most vampyre investigators, Lady Ines works within the community through both networking and with vampyres living in German-speaking regions. Her insights into the function of vampyrism are not only unique but significant in the way she presents her findings dispassionately without compromising the sensitivities associated with vampyre studies.

So, without further ado, I welcome our guests, Dr. Mark and Lady Ines Benecke.

Photo: Melanie Schol

RVL: Good evening Mark and Lady Ines Benecke, it is a distinct pleasure, and honour, to welcome you both to RVL. Thank you for taking a break from your busy schedule to be here with us. How are you both today?

MB: It’s a pleasure and an honour to us, dear Suzanne.

IB: Hello.

RVL: Let us begin with an introduction, for our readers, and tell us a little about your interest in real vampyres?

IB: Es motivieren mich zwei große Themenkomplexe bei realen Vampiren. Auf der einen Seite die Aufklärung über Energiearbeit und Blutaustausch, da in beiden Fällen sehr viel schief gehen kann und auf der anderen Seite die Frage nach den Ursachen für Vampirismus.

(Trans: Two significant issues about real vampyres motivate me. On the one hand, the explanation and education about energy work and blood exchange, as a great deal can get distorted in both cases, and on the other hand, the question regarding the cause for vampyrism.)

MB: My neighbour Jeanne in Manhattan (I lived and worked there in the 1990’s) was the wife of Oscar-winning director Robert Youngson. She was head of the ‘Vampire Empire’—formerly the ”Count Dracula Fan Club,” founded in the 1960s—and told me that in Transylvania, there were meetings of the ‘Transylvanian Society of Dracula’ with all kinds of scientists gathering around vampire topics. Since I already had visited some nice vampyre parties, actually quite close by to my home in St. Mark’s Place in the East Village, I delved a little deeper and found more parties, communities, and literature after I returned to Europe. I am now head of the Transylvanian Society since the old chief died (careful: quite nerdy) and my wife is head of the largest European vampyre community. So we thought it was a good idea to share our knowledge and do a scientific study that was recently published as a beautiful hardcover edition . I also collect old books on the topic of vampires from graves like the ‘Calmet’ from the 18th century, vampyre magazines since around 1995, and all types of ankhs from different vampyre communities, so sometimes I feel quite like the prototypical Talamascan

Mark Benecke & Ines Fischer: Vampyres among us! Volume III

Mark Benecke & Ines Fischer: Vampyres among us! Volume III
A scientific study into vampyre identity groups and subcultures, Roter Drache

RVL: How did you both became aware of and got involved in the modern living vampyre culture?

MB: Like I said, I was curious and just went… I like things on the edge of regular social perception, hence my job (forensic biologist).

IB: Ich bin schon in recht jungen Jahren auf die Suche nach realen Vampiren gegangen, da ich die Hoffnung hatte, das ich nicht allein bin. Ich habe erst viele Sachbücher über Vampire durchstöbert, auf der Suche nach realen Hintergründen, aber bin erst im Internet wirklich fündig geworden. Die richtige Vernetzung hatte Ende der 90er begonnen und die ersten Internetplattformen waren gerade entstanden, als ich die noch wenigen Informationen gierig aufsaugte und die ersten Kontakte zu anderen realen Vampiren knüpfen konnte.

(Trans: I started quite young on the search for real vampyres because I had hoped I was not alone. At first, I had searched many non-fiction books about vampyres, in the search for real information, however, was not until on the internet I began finding relevant hints. The proper networking had begun at the end of the 90’s, and the first internet platforms were just emerging, yet I eagerly absorbed the little available information and made those first contacts with other real vampyres.)

RVL: You are both vampyre researchers, so may we ask, what are your backgrounds, and what expertise do you draw upon in your vampyre studies?

IB: Ich bin vollkommen unbedarft an das Thema herangegangen und bin aus keiner wissenschaftlichen Disziplin. Ich sehe mich selbst als Netzwerker, der mit allen zusammen arbeitet, um gemeinsam auf ein zufriedenstellendes Ergebnis zu kommen. Als ich eine Umfrage unter realen Vampiren begonnen habe, sprach ich mich mit einem Sozialwissenschaftler ab, um zu wissen wie ich die Fragen stellen und sinnvoll auswerten muss. Als ich einen Vortrag über die Häufung von psychologischen Auffälligkeiten unter realen Vampiren gehalten habe, sprach ich dies vorher alles sehr genau mit einem Psychologen durch. Ich spreche auch mit Biologen, Medizinern, Energiearbeitern und vielen anderen Experten, um Informationen aus Gesprächsrunden mit realen Vampiren auswerten und abzugleichen.

(Trans: I was totally naive when approaching the subject 20 years ago and not starting with a scientific discipline. I see myself as a networker, who works collectively, to arrive at a mutually satisfactory result. When I had begun a survey about real vampyres, I spoke with a social scientist, about how I arranged the investigation and got to evaluated sensibly. When I held a lecture about the increased frequency of psychological features real vampyres possess, I went very precisely through everything with a psychologist previously. I also talk with biologists, doctors, energy workers and many other experts, in order to analyse and deduce information from discussions with real vampyres.)

MB: That allows us to give speeches even at scientific meetings, i.e. at universities and research organizations. It really works as long as you stick to facts.

Personally, I just stumble into things like vampyres because I am convinced that it is better to go out and check what is going on instead of just reading and talking. Being a forensic biologist, for example, I wondered in the middle of the 1990’s if there was really MDMA (Ecstasy) around in Techno parties in Cologne (which was, together with Berlin, a strong centre of the Techno scene). I had realised that not one single forensic person in Germany had checked out the actual setting, so I went together with two young colleagues who — hold your breath — never in their lives had been to a Saturday night out (not kidding). I was quite surprised how nice the parties were, and how little we really understood, so I wrote an article about the topic with original statements from the party kids in the largest criminalistic journal in German-speaking countries. The party kids were quite open to tell their stories, too!

Later I started to check decomposed corpses for “vampire signs” since the descriptions from the ‘vampire hunters‘ were pretty accurate concerning red liquid in the mouth, bloating (alleged ‘fattening’) of the corpse in the grave, protruding teeth, etc. I am a forensic biologist so gladly, I could make the connection there and show that not the observations are wrong but the interpretation.

So basically, it is always the same technique: Things that sound odd attract me, and then I check them. See also my scientific papers about DNA typing, necrophilia, neglect of old persons and insects on their bodies, etc.

RVL: You both have come from different backgrounds but when did you first become intrigued with vampyres?

MB: The first I remember is the Bram Stoker’s Dracula movie (1992), but since it is just fiction… it was a very nice movie, nothing else. When the chance finally came, I checked out the subculture and real lifers (real living vampyres) with lots of energy and enthusiasm because that was finally happening in a measurable, social reality, not on a screen.

IB: Ich war so jung, dass ich mich nicht mehr erinnern kann, wann ich das erste Mal bewusst ein Interesse an Vampiren an mir registrierte.

(Trans: I was so young that I can no longer recall the first time when an interest in vampyres and vampires consciously made an impression on me.)

RVL: What inspired you to commence scientific research on real vampyres?

MB: Many of my colleagues do not dare to address odd topics because they are afraid it might tamper their reputation. I find that strange. Since I believe that truth is truth no matter what, I just go and check, like a kid, and let the others care. Real lifers are quite a hidden subculture, but a very peaceful one, so I liked it. Good thing that came to my aid was that we have a super huge Gothic festival in Germany in which I am involved with speeches and as the opening DJ. Before, I only met regional real lifers, but there, they came from all over the place.

IB: Ich war selbst schon in jungen Jahren auf der Suche nach Erklärungen in Sachbüchern über Vampyrmythen und erkannte später auch bei anderen realen Vampiren das Bedürfnis nach wissenschaftlichen Erklärungen oder allgemeiner Aufklärung über verschiedene Praktiken. Ich fing an, mein gesammelten Wissen über reale Vampire zur Verfügung zu stellen und versuchte auch die Lücken zu füllen und die aufkommenden Fragen zu beantworten.

(Trans: Even when I was younger, I was in the search for explanations in non-fiction books about vampire myths. Also, I subsequently realised the need for scientific explanations or general clarification of different practices among varied real vampyres. I managed to make my collected knowledge about real vampyres available and also tried to fill the gaps and then to answer the upcoming questions.)

MB: And there are a lot of questions coming up at meetings, congresses and regulars’ tables that often take place all over Germany.

RVL: From all your research or experience, how do you define a real modern living vampyre?

MB: I respect the definition of each coven, clan, house, etc. Some are energy vampyres; others prefer blood or just romantic talks and candlelight dinners (the purely romantic ones were nice ones, that clan sadly died out), others prefer BDSM or  — probably my favourite  — so-called ‘Flauschhaufen,’ i.e., cuddle balls where all cuddle all. As long as some definition is actually given that is not just a dry (or wet) fantasy, I can and will work with that. I can also live with the U.S. definitions and paradigms from Merticus (Atlanta Vampyre Alliance) for his very good study, rules developed from roleplay, the Black Veil from Michelle Belanger and Father Sebastiaan and his papers but also all definitions of pretty gated, close-to-vampyre communities who, for example, deal with Otherkin matters, werewolves, dragons, etc.. To verify or better to falsify something, you need a definition first; that’s why I stress the matter of clan types and identity definitions so much.

IB: Ich definiere einen realen Vampir im Moment durch vier Merkmale die ein großes Gesamtbild ergeben, aber die Individualität und Vielfalt kaum einschränken.

Als erste und wichtigste Merkmal ist der Drang zur Einverleibung: a) regelmäßiges Bedürfnis menschliches Blut oder Lebensenergie aufzunehmen, b) deutliche Senkung des allgemeinen Wohlbefindens bei Nichterfüllung des Verlangens , c) bewusster Umgang mit der entsprechenden Neigung.
Das zweite automatisch einhergehende Merkmal ist die Bereitschaft zur Identifikation: a) Annehmen der persönlichen Bezeichnung als Vampyr, b) Ausleben der Bedürfnisse und Vorlieben von Vampyren, c) teilen der Ansichten und Einstellungen in der Vampyrgesellschaft.
Das dritte Merkmal ist die Neigung zur Hochsensibilität: a) deutliche Überempfindlichkeit gegenüber Sinneswahrnehmungen, c) gesteigerte Konzentration auf unscheinbare Details, b) intensives Erleben von eigenen und sogar fremden Gefühlen. Das letzte Merkmal ist der Hang zum Antagonismus: a) große Befangenheit zwischen Bindungsbedürfnis und Unabhängigkeitsverlangen, b) starker Zwiespalt zwischen der altruistischen und egoistischen Seite, c) permanentes Pendeln zwischen Wertlosigkeit und Selbstüberschätzung.

(Trans: Currently, I define a real vampyre by four characteristics to give one grand overall picture but barely restricts the individuality and diversity.

The first and most important feature is the urge for assimilation: a) regular need to intake/consume human blood or vital energy, b) significant reduction of the general well-being in the failure to satisfy that desire, c) deliberate contact with those of similar tendencies. The second characteristic is the willingness automatically associated with identification: a) acceptance of the personal designation as a vampyre, b) fully expressing the needs and preferences of vampyres, c) sharing the opinions and attitudes in the vampyre community. The third characteristic is the inclination to high sensitivity: a) evident hypersensitivity versus sensory perception, b) increased focus and perception of on insignificant details, c) intense personal experiences and even strange sensations. The last feature is the tendency for antagonism: a) substantial bias between needed relationships and desire for independence, b) strong conflict between the altruistic and egotistic side, c) constant oscillation between worthlessness and self-overestimation.)

MB: Another way to define vampyres and related kind would be to describe the creative way they use to connect emotionally to donors, friends, swans, etc. It’s a little “I may not trust, but I want to connect” sometimes.

RVL: I must ask THE question because our readers are dying to know… do you identify as a modern real living vampyre? 

IB: Ja, jetzt mittlerweile seit genau 20 Jahren.

(Trans: Yes, for exactly 20 years by now.)

MB: It is a very small facet of my life, yes. I refrain, however, from all esoteric and genetic definitions. I see it more as a feeling, a deep vibe, an image or symbol that describes a lifestyle, not an urge. Mostly, I am just an oddball, your curious and friendly neighborhood scientist.

PIC CREDIT: MARK BENECKE http://wiki2.benecke.com

RVL: Tell us about the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, and how you became involved?

MB: By just travelling to the meetings with the night trains over Vienna, Budapest and sometimes București… it is very romantic. A few times, I even dragged some real lifers with me to the meetings or encouraged them to join it. But they found it boring since it goes very deep with charts and brain structures and old coins and whatnot. The last larger TSD meeting (end of 2018) I did was, therefore, a one-day real lifer’s meeting in Germany that, of course, unofficially, extended for a long time into the evening and night.

So I really try my best to bring everyone together. It is complicated because the movie lovers, for example, are sometimes afraid or spooked out by the real lifers, and vice versa. Actually, now that I think of it, these two are the groups that fit least together, whereas historians or psychologists are comparably more open to the topic.

IB: Mark fragte mich vor langer Zeit, ob ich Mitglied werden möchte, da ich mich seit vielen Jahren bereits bemühe, Informationen zusammen zu tragen und diese immer gerne zur Verfügung stelle. 2015 hielt ich dann in Transylvanien meinen ersten Vortrag über die Vampirsubkultur.

(Trans: Mark asked me, a long time ago, whether I wanted to become a member since I already tried to collate and make the information available for many years. In Transylvania, 2015, I delivered my first lecture about the vampyre subculture at the University of Timișoara)

RVL: Your collaboration has been going for some years now, and you have recently published another book, could you tell us a little about this?

MB: I started with persons I met during my travels in vampire and vampyre matters, from Russia to Canada. They contributed whatever they found relevant, aspects of tourism in Romania where, of course, nobody believed in vampires. I also included Anglo-American vampyre ‘memes’ that come mostly from movies as well as very funny, witty and enlightening articles written by real lifers.

Later, we did the big quantitative study, since we thought that the material by AVA and Joseph Laycock already carved some paths into scientific directions.

It is hard and nasty work since I also finance it all by myself, but I really wish to make the knowledge and data available not only to allow open discussion but also allow future persons to fetch the stuff out of a digital or paper library. I refer to very many old research books, often starting with Augustin Calmet from the 18th century, so I know things take their time.

RVL: So how did you two meet and formed this amazing collaboration to study vampyres?

IB: Wir haben unabhängig voneinander das Interesse für Vampirismus entwickelt, sind uns aber immer wieder auf Veranstaltungen begegnet, wie zum Beispiel auf Buchvorstellungen von Sachbüchern über Vampire. Ein gemeinsamer Bekannter hat ihn irgendwann zu einer Veranstaltung von mir für reale Vampire eingeladen und wir kamen schlussendlich ins Gespräch gemeinsame Projekte zu planen, da wir beide ein Interesse an der Vermittlung von Wissen haben.

(Trans: We independently developed an interest in vampyrism, but we always met at events, such as non-fiction book launches about vampires. A mutual acquaintance invited him [Mark] to one of my real vampyre events, and we finally started discussions to plan a joint project, as we both have an interest in the communication of information.)

MB: It was fate and love and peace and a little blood, I guess.

RVL: With your focus on real vampyres living in Germany and German-speaking regions of Europe, could you please tell us about this community, and how it functions?

IB: Die deutschsprachige Region ist sehr gut miteinander vernetzt. Wir haben den ‘Nexus’ als neutrale und abgeschlossene Internetplattform, wo Kontakte geknüpft und Events geplant, Informationen ausgetauscht werden können, die als übergeordnetes Netzwerk funktioniert. Es gibt verschiedene, unabhängige Häuser, die sich dort organisieren und neue Mitglieder anwerben, aber friedlich miteinander koexistieren. Es gibt in vielen größeren Städten im ganzen deutschsprachigen Bereich regelmäßig sogenannte Stammtische, die ebenfalls dieses Netzwerk zur Planung von neuen Treffen benutzen. Einmal im Jahr findet für fünf Tage unter dem Banner des Nexus ein Kongress für reale Vampire statt, wo bei Workshops und Vorträgen Wissen vermittelt und der soziale Austausch gefördert wird.

(Trans: The German-speaking region is very well networked. We have the ‘Nexus’ as neutral and closed Internet platform, where established contacts and planned events, and all types of information can be exchanged; it functions as a network to connect all houses and covens who wish to be connected. It also allows independent houses to self-govern and recruit new members, but peacefully coexist and work together. There are regular meetings in many major cities, within the whole German-speaking area. This network also is used for the planning of new meetings. Once per year, a Congress for real life vampyres is held for five days under the banner of the Nexus, where knowledge is imparted in workshops and lectures, and the social exchange is promoted.)

Photo: Melanie Schol

MB: It is the friendliest social network I know of. Ines has a very long breath and lots of patience, even with quite difficult characters in the scene. At the same time, the rules about safety, lying, organizational matters and open-mindedness are not to be meddled with. It would be an interesting model for other social groups since there is less useless fighting as well as solid protection for those of goodwill compared to what I often see in the allegedly normal world.

RVL: …and in your opinion, how do you think the German community will develop or evolve?

MB: Observing the scene internationally for more than twenty years now, I realize it is kept together by committed people—committed to parties, to internet networks, to fangsmithing (if that is a word) or just vampyre glamour like Viona Ielegems does it in ‘Noble Blood Vampires’, a beautiful color atlas (I wrote the preface).

The glamour thing can be as intense as the community vampyre life, but it is just for short durations —no wonder, it deals more with the outside than the inside. Still, as long as a person decides to be an actual focus point who actually brings people together with a certain consistency, there will always be some kind of vampyre subculture. Consistency, of course, is a problem due to the numerous depressed beings in the community, but until now, it always worked out somehow.

IB: Ich lasse mich gerne davon überraschen, da noch viel Potenzial in verschiedenen Projekten steckt, wir im deutschsprachigen Raum aber schon eine sehr gut organisierte Gemeinschaft haben. Es kann wohl keiner voraussehen, was noch auf uns zu kommt.

(Trans: I enjoy surprises from them, there is still a great deal of potential to input in several projects, but we already have a highly organized community here in German-speaking countries. No one can foresee what is yet in store for us.)

RVL: As researchers, do you think that real modern vampyrism has a scientifically quantifiable explanation? 

IB: Ja, in der Umfrage lassen sich starke Überschneidungen und Wiederholungen in den Antworten der Teilnehmer herauslesen, aber was dies genau bedeutet, muss dann ein Soziologe erklären.

(Trans: Yes, in the survey the participants’ replies show strong overlaps and repetitions, but a sociologist then must explain what this means exactly.)

MB: Yes, from many perspectives. The pure description of identity groups (Laycock) but also further sociological, psychological, historical and other research options already started to bring some light into the field. The last conference in Timișoara was a nice example of how gender research, literature, ‘fun facts’ like the search for the allegedly “real” Castle Dracula and so on also contribute a little. It may take another 25 years until a really ‘high definition’ description of real lifers in contrast to or mixed with movie aficionados, Goths, depressive individuals, megalomaniacs and all types of identities will emerge. We are on our way, and I will do what I can to continue to bring them all together.

RVL: Do you believe there is any biological basis to modern living vampyrism?

IB: Es gibt auch Persönlichkeitsmerkmale, die auf eine veränderte Gehirnchemie zurück geführt werden, deswegen würde ich es nicht ausschließen, dass auch bei realen Vampiren irgendwann eine biologische oder medizinische Ursache gefunden wird.

(Trans: There are personality traits that must lead back to an altered brain chemistry; that is why I would not exclude that one day a biological or medical cause might be found in real vampyres.)

MB: All boils down to chemistry, biology and physics, and of course mathematics. This is however not the level we prefer to mostly work on. For example, in Manhattan in the 1990s, I had some discussions about alleged vampyre genetics, but the topic led nowhere. First, you would need a solid definition of a real lifer, second we would need the money (which we may collect via Kickstarter, you never know) and third—and that is the true problem—, vampyres would have to accept a possible falsification. We even offered genetic tests, paid by me, to falsify or verify the vampyre genetics claim. I do lots of scientific tests when I work on religious miracles, so no worries there, but the real lifers all of a sudden started to become too defensive for my taste. So I decided, together with Ines, to let the genetics matter rest and focus on more manageable and less community-distressing topics.

To me, a possible genetic basis is not too much of a concern since I see several troubled souls in the community, and the types of trouble, as well as obvious hypersensitivity matters (light, sound), are overlaps or gates I find more easy to define and to manage compared to relatively boring genetic details.

At the same time, I must say, most private vampyre gatherings, as well as those at Goth festivals, do not touch scientific contents at all, so in such cases, I just lean back, have fun, and leave science aside for those moments, or stick to decompositional questions of vampire sightings, i.e., forensic biology aspects of the topic.

RVL: How well do you think the general population has responded to your work investigating real vampyres?

IB: Ich habe noch nie negative Reaktionen erlebt, sondern nur ein sehr starkes Desinteresse und Verdrängen, da das Thema zu unwirklich und verrückt erscheint, um tatsächlich wahr zu sein.

(Trans: I have never experienced negative reactions, but only a very strong disinterest and repression since the subject appeared unreal and crazy to some.)

MB: Word.

RVL: Academically, what interest or feedback does your work achieve in the study of modern vampyres?

IB: Einige Soziolog*innen sehen reale Vampire als gutes Beispiel für eine sehr homogene Identitätsgruppe aus sehr heterogenen Individuen an. Einige Psycholog*innen versuchen aus einer positiven Motivation heraus, ein Persönlichkeitsprofil aus verschiedenen charakterlichen Auffälligkeiten zusammen zu erstellen.

(Trans: Some sociologists see real vampyres as a good example of a very homogeneous identity group from very heterogeneous individuals. A few psychologists attempt to construct a positive motivation out of a personality profile of collectively various character abnormalities.)

MB: Everyone can use AVA’s and our data in their own field. When I gave a talk at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting in New Orleans last year, I even carried a printed hardcover version of the English version of our vampyre study including all tables and raw data to a cute vampire shop in the French quarter and gave it to them. Who knows where it ended up. The data are out; the sources are open, let the games continue.

RVL: Other than your work, and studying vampyres (of course), what other passions do you share?

MB: We travel all around the world for work and research. Oh, and we love vegan food. Check out my literally thousands of food photos in the ‘Happy Cow’ app (my nickname there: marky_mark… yes, I know).

IB: Ich programmiere, tätowiere, male und bin allgemein an kreativen Prozessen interessiert.

(Trans: I programme, tattoo, paint, and I am generally interested in creative processes.)

MB: Ines actually writes and applies code excessively; she programmed several complex PHP software solutions from total scratch before my eyes.

RVL: How much a part do you think the vampire history, mythology, and folklore play a role in modern vampyre culture?

IB: Es hat nach meiner Erfahrung keinen Einfluss auf die realen Vampire.

(Trans: It does not influence the real vampyre in my experience.)

MB: It probably influences a little the style, like ‘Underworld’ mixed old-fashioned clothing styles with latex, and (that was formerly unknown in German-speaking countries) brought vampires and werewolves together a little but that is mostly a surface thing.

Mythological motifs define what real lifers sometimes see and accept as core elements of their and other’s vampyre identity. But even there, maybe it is more the vampyre playwright who brings the topic out in the daylight, not the other way round.

For example, I talked several times to Michael Kunze who wrote some of the most famous German songs in the past fifty years, and who also wrote (in German text) the musical “Tanz der Vampire” (based on Polanski’s “The Fearless Vampire Killers”) In it, he gives superbly elegant and fitting descriptions of vampires and vampyres, but he insists that it is just a story about growing up and becoming an adult. I have no idea what to make out of that since he certainly knows what he does.

Maybe he is just very empathic and distilled the motifs into perfect songs… please note however that the English text version of the musical is less elegantly done.

But basically: Most vampyres I met in the past twenty years were not too concerned with fictional vampires. They feel that it’s “just a story” or a movie, nothing real.

Photo: Melanie Schol

RVL: Now, for some fun questions… what do you both do to relax, have fun, and forget about work (and maybe even vampyres) for a bit?

IB: Die Wunder der Stadt erkunden, in der wir uns gerade aufhalten, und in abgelegenen Ecken ein veganes Restaurant suchen, da wir das ganze Jahr reisen und neue Eindrücke lieben.

(Trans: We explore the wonders of the city in which we work. We also look for vegan restaurants in remote corners because we travel throughout the year and love new experiences.)

MB: Fact. Also, old books and taking an extensive bath. Since we travel a lot, and since that it takes much time, and since bathtubs in hotels in our price range have died out, extensive bathing is a very rare event I always look forward to.

RVL: There is a rumor that you don’t own a television but I have to ask if you have any favourite vampire(s) either in a movie or a television show (you may have heard about) or a favourite vampire in literature?

IB: Marius, der Maler aus dem Anne Rice Universum, der seine Fähigkeiten fantastische Ölgemälde zu malen, über die Jahrhunderte perfektionierte.

(Trans: Marius, the painter from the Anne Rice universe, who perfected his skills over the centuries to paint fantastic oil paintings.)

MB: Haha, you need to know that Ines is quite a good painter because she spent most of her time alone when she was a kid and teenager, so her super precise painting and drawing techniques are already there. She got just some problems with signs of emotions and facial expressions. Still, she can draw upside-down as well as the right way round … wtf?

Concerning the rumour: It is true that I never had a TV set and also do not watch any TV-like stuff (except currently Rick & Morty of which Ines bought some episodes). I did, however, watch all seasons of ‘True Blood’ (2008–2014) and Hannibal (2013—2015) on DVD/Bluray. ‘True Blood’ was good! I would really like to know who was the real lifer in the storyboard team was since there must have been one, it is too precise for a mere fictionalization.

RVL: Do you anticipate another study or book about real vampyres? Are there aspects of your scientific research you have not covered, and you want to investigate?

IB: Ja, es gibt noch unendlich viel zu Erforschen und zu Entdecken, da mit neuen Antworten auch neue Fragen aufkommen.

(Trans: Yes, there is still infinitely much to research and to discover, as with new answers new questions also emerge.)

MB: The idea of identity groups may have put it all on a level that scientists may now agree upon. So the topic is out in the open now and will hopefully attract researchers who were ashamed or blinkered before. Nice sources are the AVA study, papers written by Joseph Laycock, John Browning, D. J. Williams, subculture persons like Sebastiaan but also now historical material like the already mentioned Calmet book, Rosemary Guiley, Katherine Ramsland (I meet her sometimes at our “Bring Your Own Slides” meeting at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, by the way) and many others. My library with books and papers on the topic is huge, and much of it is far less repetitive than one might believe.

RVL: Mark and Lady Ines, thank you again for giving us your time to answer our questions and letting us into your world. We are honoured that you permitted us to work with you, and we would very much like, to welcoming you back to report on the progress of your research, if you don’t mind?

IB: Wir würden uns über weitere Zusammenarbeit sehr freuen.

(Trans: We are delighted about further cooperation.)

MB: Ready for all adventures! Thanks a lot for your interest and yes, please let’s co-operate internationally. If you wish to intrigue people a little, I have a brand new booklet about vampyre research in six languages including Chinese, Russian, Spanish, and ready to send out for free as long as it lasts. Just send an e-mail

Photo: Melanie Schol

 


I find this amazing couple inspiring. A forensic expert who enjoys the challenge of solving curiosities approaches the problem with the resolve of Sherlock Holmes working harmoniously with an artist who tattoos in a manner reminiscent of her hero Marius, who painted skin in a living canvas.

Finding a scientific explanation of vampyrism has been a goal for several real vampyres. For our guests, their quest for answers allowed them to blend the rigours of science with the mystery of the vampyre condition in a way that is not only useful but meaningful.

What does the scientific method offers to real vampyres worldwide? It could prove frustrating and disappointing. The experimental process doesn’t always yield meaningful results, and it cannot guarantee to reach a verdict on what vampyrism is. If the wheels of justice turn slowly, then the wheels of science often stop and even retrograde, while the investigation grinds on. Validation is not a given.

Falsification is a process of testing and doesn’t mean everything is wrong; we cannot dismiss the claims of vampyres, nor can we claim them right. As a result of scientific scrutiny, cherished beliefs might require rethinking. Old ideas will probably yield to new definitions. Is it possible that what vampyres think they suffer is just in their minds? Yes, however, the scant evidence in the deficient research conducted to date suggests this is not the case. It gives a strong argument for further investigation.

So far the questions concerning real vampyres are complex, and the sought answers are not simple. The next phase of vampyre studies looks promising.

Copyright RVL, Lady Suzanne Carré, Dr. Mark Benecke and Lady Ines Benecke 2018

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