Crossroads ~ The new ‘chic’?

Date: 2 Nov 2011

Author: Tim

As you may have read at RVN previously we are strong advocates of safety on the internet and in general if you are a member of the community, we have always recommended certain steps that can be taken to ensure that your privacy and security are paramount considerations. We have also reported on the mostly unfavourable newspaper reports about those who commit crimes and then claim or blame the “vampire” in them.

Another trend that has, for some time now, been gathering momentum is the willingness to engage other forms of media to thrust the lifestyle and hence the community into the public eye.

Non-fiction vampire written media has been gathering strength with the likes of Katherine Ramsland’s The Science of Vampires and Joseph Laycock’s Vampires Today: The Truth about modern Vampires, and along with that the engagement of more visual forms of interaction such as television and documentary appearances by community members.

Recently a report appeared in the Buffalo News about a new study of the vampire subculture today [1]. There have been, in the not too distant past, appearances on television talk shows where people have gone to the extraordinary lengths of being wheeled on-stage in coffins and such things. All in all the “real” vampire is becoming more of a modern phenomenon than a matter of fiction and folklore.

It is then for each member of the community to decide whether this representation sits well with them or not.

There are certainly many generalizations made in reference to the vampire/online vampire community and those generalizations, reaching hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of viewers are going to be what determines the overall public perception of the communities.

For example; in a recent news story published at Buffalo News, a comment was presented that said, in essence, ‘the number of members of the real vampire communities numbers between 3,000 and 8,000 but of that number probably only 20% were actually real modern vampires’. If that observation is true, and based on solid evidence and supportable figures, then that means of the total membership attributed to the communities, at the lower figure of three thousand then only 600 members are “real” modern vampires; even if we take the higher figure we are still left with a population figure of 1600 “real” modern vampires.

Back in 2009 some research was done, and discussion entered into, by several community members that was aimed at trying to determine if there was a way to calculate the global “real” vampire population. Membership figures were drawn from 25 of the days top ranking; in terms of membership, internet sites and that yielded a population of 39,643 persons inhabiting the sample of the OVC. Even after adopting some quite brutal variables to allow for discrepancies in cross-over memberships, role-player members and other non-vampires we arrived at a possible figure of around 11, 892 people who could quite reasonably be held to be “real” vampires [3]. So, you can see, depending on who is doing the counting, the assuming and the theorizing, the population figures are quite dramatically different. The fact is no one knows how many “real” vampires there are in the world today.

The written media on vampire matters has been treated in a scholarly fashion and a non-fiction light since The Book of Prophecy was written in 1047 AD for Vladimir Jaroslav, Prince of Novgorod, in North-Western Russia. Through various authors such as William of Newburgh, Ludovici Maria Sinistrari, Leo Allatius, Dom Augustin Calmet, Giuseppe Davanzati, Z.J. Piérart, Montague Summers, Dion Fortune, Jeanne K. Youngson, Sean Manchester, Donald Glut, Martin V. Riccardo, Michelle Belanger, Katherine Ramsland and right up to Joseph Laycock in 2010 the reality of vampires has been under scrutiny for centuries. From around the early 90’s when George Hamilton hosted a special on Dracula [4] there have been quite a prolific number of documentaries dealing with Count Dracula and the myths and folklore surrounding vampires, then, in 2005 A&E’s Secret Lives of Vampires featured interviews with Michelle Belanger of House Kheperu and Lady CG of Smoke & Mirrors for their documentary [5]. That was followed up in 2006 with History Channel’s Vampire Secrets featuring Father Sebastiaan, Michelle Belanger, ‘Vlad’ and ‘Sky’. The vampire in the televised media was becoming less associated with the mythology and more “real” than ever before with modern living vampires talking, on film, about life as a vampire and these documentaries were providing people not involved in the culture the important opportunity to hear and see what it was actually all about.

Nowadays, amongst the deluge of “Twilight”, “True Blood” and the like we are seeing more “air-time” given over to real vampires.and “quasi-official” opinions and statements being made in widely distributable news media from prominent community members [1] it forces us to face the fact that whether the community likes it, in general, or not it is being exposed to scrutiny but is it in the name of the community or is it in the name of personal exposure and commercialism? Is it becoming “chic” to be less a “real” vampire and more a “Media-vamp”?

1. Buffalo News: ‘Unearthing real vampire culture

 

3. Smoke & Mirrors: ‘Vampyre Population

4. Dracula Hosted by George Hamilton

5. A&E’s Secret Life of Vampires Pt. 1

 

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