Embracing the Vampire

IMG_1756 Wiertz

By
T.H. Hawkmoor

During the studies for, and in preparation for, writing the series “Up a dark alley” I came across a myriad references to the origins of vampire belief stretching back to the time of the Sumerian empire and the figure of Lilith, one of a group of Sumerian vampire/cannibal demons that included Lillu, Ardat Lili and Irdu Lili. Followed the developments through the earliest Egyptian empires and civilisations, through the tales of the epic hero warrior Gilgameš, particularly the tale of Gilgameš and the Huluppu Tree.

I wandered through the earliest records of Hindu sacred writings and the consideration of some of the earliest forms of art, i.e. cave paintings.

As the series continued I ventured into other times and other lands, the rise of the Greek city states, the founding of the Roman and Persian empires, on to the birth and death of Jesus of Nazareth and through the writings of the Talmud (the collection of Jewish law and tradition consisting of the Mishnah and the Gemara ) I explored the first pandemic of the Bubonic Plague and the building of the first hospital to cater to the mentally ill and insane by Ahmad ibn Tulun in Cairo.

The journey intensified as I approached the earliest known written reference to a vampire specifically and on to the ageless eruditions of the first western universities, the first appearance of the term Kindred (ca 1100-1300ad) and the works of William of Newburgh, Walter Map, The Black Death and the birth of Vlad Dracula.

I followed the twisting path of a thread of belief, I came across a myriad interpretations and eventually to the most recognized proto-Slavic origins of belief in Vampires. At the time of writing I am about to venture through the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries on a quest to uncover clues, threads, hints and rumours connected to the myth… and the reality, of the vampire. All of this leading to a better understanding of the global and overwhelming fascination with the vampire.
Many times I have read, and have been asked, why? Why study this stuff? Why seek all this knowledge and information when it really has nothing to do with the modern vampire?

The answer, to me is so painfully simple that I can’t understand why people ask that particular question. In my view it is only natural to want to know where we came from. Humankind has been asking the same thing from the very beginning of civilized thinking, philosophers, scientists, archaeologists, astronomers, biologists, authors and the greatest thinkers of the ages have asked the selfsame question about the human race, is it so wrong to want the same answers about us?

A great many believe that, to the modern living vampire, the answers are irrelevant since we bear no link to the historical, mythical and folklore figure, I say, emphatically, those people are wrong and they are wrong in the most basic way. We are a product of mankind’s belief in such thing, we are a product of the interpretations of the phenomena and we are the latest in an ages long line of thinking that has permeated every part of the world and her peoples since before the advent of Christianity, we are the latest of a long line of thinking that reaches back into the mists of time before written records were kept and because of that there is a thread of continuity that can’t be broken just because some may wish it.

Just so we may be clear dear reader, I claim no copyright over anything herein, this work is a presentation of a great number of sources, all of which I will duly credit naturally, I am simply the messenger that has set himself upon a task to bring a wealth of history to those who may not know it. Partake of this information freely, learn from it, and draw your own conclusions. I can’t tell you what to think, I can only guide you toward some things which I feel, in my heart, are worth thinking about.
I don’t proclaim this to be “scientific”, I don’t proclaim it to be anything other than a fact, information gathering and opinion presentation thing but the one thing I have believed for my whole life, since as early as I could form a rational and inquisitive focus is that the whole of humankind, and yes I’m including us, has lost something vital and important; some piece of knowledge, some sort of key that opens the lock to “much more than is dreamed of in our philosophies”, our Vampire philosophies and the search for that key is as important and as integral to who and what we are and where we came from, how we came to be, as any of the accumulated information we currently have. Of course, finding a key is only the first part of the dilemma, the real cruncher comes in trying to find the lock it opens.

Seriously, as an old high school history master of mine once remarked, “Open your eyes, history is rich and exciting and intoxicating and she makes a wild mistress.” (c.a. 1974)
So, I invite you to meet our “vampires”…

vampires all

Today, these are our vampires, they are all around us. They are represented in every place we look in life and, most of all, they are inside many of the people that are members of the modern sub-culture that calls itself the VC, the Vampire Community. I tend to regard the use of the term “Community” to be somewhat of a misnomer and I prefer not to use it since to me it encourages some sort of comparison to other bodies that are more specifically “communal”, for example, the medical community, the scientific community and the like. No, modern vampires and their adherents and companions are a sub-cultural offshoot of the human race since it is a known fact, and accepted by all serious thinkers within the sub-culture, that modern vampires are first, and foremost, human on the biological and physiological level. Over and above that it is commonly accepted that modern vampires experience a lack of something that means they have to supplement that thing in order to remain fit and healthy.

What that “something” represents is a hotly debated and contested issue. No one has the answers, there are no “scientific” tests, nor empirical data to be had, that reveals the answer, and it is a matter of belief and belief only. Any facts we have are anecdotal, “hearsay” observations of a personal nature, unsupportable with any hard data or clinical measure and it is for this reason that we can’t say with any surety that Real Modern Vampires are actually just that, at least not in the classical and commonly accepted sense of the word. This is where the schism in thinking is born, the contention that we have nothing in common with our namesake and it is for this reason, again, I say we can’t make that assertion. We DO NOT know what we are or why we are, nor where we came from and until we can prove these things we don’t know whether we are connected to the ‘vampire predecessors’ or not.

 

YamaYama, Tibetan God of Death and leading contender for the title “God of Vampires

From myth to reality?

So, when did the concept of the Vampire pass from the realms of superstition, folklore and legend and take root in the consciousness of the human race?

In order to answer that question we need to look at the first instances of physical interaction that humans reportedly had with suspected vampires, what was the nature of the interaction? What were the prevailing sociological forces in play at the time? What could have caused reputedly rational and intellectual individuals to draw the conclusions they did?

carmillaCarmilla by J. Sheridan LeFanu (1872)

The first significant recorded interaction was noted from the year 1672 and involved the alleged case of a man named Jure Grando. Grando, an Istrian (Croatian) peasant, lived in Kringa, in the interior of the Istrian peninsula. He died in 1656, and was interred in accordance with the rites of the time, however, 16 years later, in 1672, Grando’s body was disinterred and decapitated as a vampire. Reports have it that nine people went to the graveyard, carrying a cross, lamps and a hawthorn stick. They dug up his coffin, and found a perfectly preserved corpse with a smile on its face. They tried to pierce its heart repeatedly but the stick could not penetrate its flesh. After exorcism prayers were read, the most courageous of them, Stipan Milašić, took a saw and sawed the corpses head off. As soon as the saw tore the skin, the alleged vampire screamed and blood started to flow until the whole grave was soon filled with blood.

The main iconic symbols are present, the stake and the cross serving to signify the holy power of such things over vampires. It can be seen to be a validation of the Churches power over the demonized vampire and this story, perhaps suitably embellished, would only have served to have further convinced people of the power of religion in their lives. Given that one has to wonder how much of the tale was added after the fact by well versed reporting.

Further significant interactions were to come to pass in the early part of the eighteenth century.
“In 1727 the case of Arnold Paole was reported. Paole was killed in an accident and was buried immediately. Some three weeks later reports surfaced of appearances by the man. Four people whom made reports died and panic began to spread through the community. The town leaders decided to act quickly to quell the panic and had the body of Paole disinterred to determine whether he was a vampyre. On the fortieth day after his burial, with two military surgeons present, the coffin was exhumed and opened. Inside they found a body that appeared as if it had just recently died. What appeared to be new skin was present under a layer of dead skin and the nails had continued to grow. Upon being pierced the body poured blood from the wound. Those present judged Paole to be a vampyre and the corpse was staked; reportedly uttering a loud groan at this, then the corpse’s head was severed and the body burned. The four other people whom had died after making reports of Paul’s appearances were treated similarly.”
The following year, 1728, a man named Peter Plogojowitz died in a village named Kisolova in Austrian occupied Serbia, not far from the site of the Paole case.
Reportedly, “three days later, in the middle of the night, he entered his house and asked his son for food. He ate and then left. Two evenings later he reappeared and again asked for food. His son refused and was found dead the following day. Shortly after this several villagers fell ill from exhaustion which was diagnosed as caused by an excessive loss of blood. They reported that, in a dream, they had been visited by Plogojowitz who had bitten them on the neck and sucked blood from them. Nine persons succumbed to this mysterious illness during the following week and died.
The chief magistrate sent a report of the deaths to the commander of the Imperial forces and the commander responded by visiting the village. The graves of all the recently deceased were opened. The body of Plogojowitz himself was an enigma to them – he appeared to be in a trance-like state and was breathing very gently. His eyes were open, his flesh plump and he exhibited a ruddy complexion. His hair and nails appeared to have grown and fresh skin was discovered just below the scarfskin. Most importantly, his mouth was smeared with fresh blood. The commander quickly concluded that the corpse was a vampyre and the executioner that had accompanied him to Kisolova drove a stake through the body. Blood gushed from the wound and the orifices of the body which was removed and burned. None of the other exhumed corpses showed signs of the same condition so, to protect both them and the villagers, garlic and whitethorn were placed in their graves and their remains returned to the ground.”

Three years later, in 1731, and in the same area, 17 people died in the space of three months, of symptoms believed to be those of vampirism.

“The townspeople were, at first, slow to react until one girl complained of being attacked by a man recently deceased named Milo. Word of this second “wave” of vampirism reached Vienna and the Austrian Emperor ordered an inquiry be conducted by the Regimental Field Surgeon Johannes Fluckinger. Appointed on December 12th, the officer headed for the town of Medvegia and began to gather accounts of what had occurred. Milo’s body was exhumed and found to be in the same state as that of Paole had been found. Accordingly the body was staked and burned. It was determined that Paole, in 1727, had vampyrised several cows that the dead Milo had recently dined on. Under Fluckinger’s orders the townspeople then proceeded to exhume the bodies of all whom had died in recent months. In all 43 corpses were exhumed and 17 found to be in a “vampiric” state; all were staked and burned.”
Here we have three tales, the most detailed reported, from the period of vampire hysteria that was rampant throughout Europe at the time. On the surface of it these tales bear strikingly similar details but was that because they were “similar” or did each take on attributes of the previous reports in the popular reporting of the events? The only thing that differs here is that, certainly in the last case, and arguably in all cases, responsible civic identities who could be termed reliable witnesses were making reports, or observing the results and reporting to higher authorities on the facts. A certain element of credibility suddenly becomes possible and it’s an element that, in the search for the vampire, we can’t really dismiss out of hand.

220px-'Le_Vampire'The Vampire”, lithograph by R. de Moraine (1864)

From the 18th century vampire hysteria was born the 19th century vampire hysteria, well, of a sort. Popular literary figures, reporters, amateur authors, the general public and just about everyone else became almost obsessed with the image and the activities of the vampire.

Bringing the vampire into the public consciousness seemed to be the province of writers and bards and the first publication of the contemporary vampire culture was the short German poem The Vampire (1748) by Heinrich August Ossenfelder. In Ossenfelder’s work the theme had already developed strongly erotic overtones. In other examples of the early Germanic influence in the field the narrative poem Lenore (1773) by Gottfried August Bürger was a noteworthy18th century example. A later German poem exploring the same subject with a prominent vampiric element was The Bride of Corinth (1797) by Goethe, a story about a young woman who returns from the grave to seek her betrothed and in particular the lines;

From my grave to wander I am forced
Still to seek the God’s long sever’d link,
Still to love the bridegroom I have lost,
And the lifeblood of his heart to drink.
220px-Burne-Jones-le-VampireThe Vampire, by Philip Burne-Jones, 1897

The first mention of vampires in English literature is to be found in monumental oriental epic poem Thalaba the Destroyer (1797) by Robert Southey. In the tale, the main character Thalaba’s dead love, Oneiza, becomes a vampire
It has also been proposed that Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem Christabel (published in 1816) has influenced the development of vampire fiction. In this poetic work Christabel is seduced by a female supernatural being called Geraldine who tricks her way into Christabel’s residence and eventually tries to marry her after having assumed the appearance of an old love of hers.[1] It has been noted that the tale bears a remarkable resemblance to the overtly vampiric story of Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1872) [2]

The vampire was being brought into new light and to new “life” by the creative minds of artists and thus delivered squarely and directly into the mind of the literate people of the day but It was not only the “elite” of society who benefited from the salacious and bloody antics of the vampire.

The penny dreadful epic Varney the Vampire (1847) featuring Sir Francis Varney as the Vampire, became an important and influential example of Vampire literature in the latter part of the nineteenth century and it was here that the iconic imagery of the vampire arriving through the open window at night and attacking the sleeping maiden was born. This, dear reader, brings us to the advent of the most popular, influential and benchmark work of Vampire fiction in the history of the genre.

D1-445-x-600

 

Dracula by Abraham “Bram” Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912)
(http://www.gutenberg.org/files/345/345-h/345-h.htm )
One could be forgiven for thinking that Bram Stoker’s creation, Dracula, was an agglomeration of everything that had gone before and to some extent that might be true but Stoker breathed into his tale all the elements of the definitive description of the vampire in popular fiction Its portrayal of vampirism as a disease; or perhaps contagious demonic possession might be a better term, with its undertones of sex, blood, and death, struck a chord in a Victorian Britain where tuberculosis and syphilis were common.

From Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Chapter 2 – Descriptions and analysis, we read,
“…his face is aquiline, with a high bridge, thin nose, and arched nostrils, a high and round forehead, large eyebrows, scarlet lips, and unusually sharp teeth. His ears are pointed and he is unbelievably pale. At one point, the Count leans in and touches Jonathan; the Englishman is then overcome by nausea, and he cannot explain the source of his revulsion.
The novel’s description of Dracula is fully in line with the superstitions surrounding the vampire: super-strong, cold to the touch, sharp-toothed, pointy-eared, shockingly pale. Jonathan also describes the more ordinary elements of Dracula’s appearance Stoker was keenly interested in physiognomy, the pseudo-science that sought to classify personality types by features of the head and face. Later on in the novel, Dracula’s physical appearance is used as proof that he has a “child-brain,” the imperfectly developed mind of a criminal. The theme of the conflict between rationality and superstition, English thinking and Eastern world, continues.”

By contrast, Doctor John Polidori’s character, Lord Ruthven, from “The Vampyre: A Tale”, is transformed by associating the image of the legendary bloodsucking predator with the glamorous aristocratic and mysterious figure of Lord Byron. The narrator finally reveals the nature of Lord Ruthven’s ‘irresistible’ powers of seduction. Describing how the Vampire Ruthven has ‘won the ear of Miss Aubrey’, the sister of his European travelling companion, the narrator asks:
“Who could resist his power? His tongue had dangers and toils to recount – could speak of himself as of an individual having no sympathy with any being on the crowded earth, save with her to whom he addressed himself – could tell how since he knew her, his existence had begun to seem worthy of preservation if it were merely that he might listen to her soothing accents; – in the fine. He knew so well how to use the serpent’s art, or such was the will of fate, that he gained her affections.”
(pp. 22-23)

Thus is born the aristocratic, charming, seductive, cold-blooded predator that we all came to know, and love, so well. The Vampire’s place was thus assured in the hearts and minds of everyone, and from these roots the stature and the embellishments would, inevitably, follow.

3 draculas

The twentieth century brought new innovations in the evolving tale of the Vampire, in 1922 the landmark silent film by F.W. Murnau, Nosferatu, starred Max Schreck as the hideous vampire Count Orlok.
This was an unlicensed version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, based so closely on the novel that the estate sued and won, with all copies ordered to be destroyed. It would be painstakingly restored in 1994 by a team of European scholars from the five surviving prints that had escaped destruction. The destruction of the vampire, in the closing sequence of the film, by sunlight rather than the traditional stake through the heart proved very influential on later films and became an accepted part of vampire lore. [3]

The next classic treatment of the vampire legend was, an adaptation of the stage play based on Stoker’s novel Dracula, Universal’s Dracula (1931) starring Béla Lugosi as Count Dracula. Lugosi’s performance was so popular that his Hungarian accent and sweeping gestures became characteristics now commonly associated with Dracula. [4]
Thus the stage was set, well and truly, for everything else to follow. Minor variations such as holy water, burning wafers and other little “vampiric” aspects were to be liberally sprinkled into the mix along the way and even to the point of arriving at the “sparkling” vampire of the hit series Twilight.

movie vamps group

The modern vampire, real or imagined?

Arguably, the rise of the modern vampire sub-culture began with the remarkable and unique Long Black Veil events held at Mother Nightclub in New York City, originally formed under the name “Long Black Veil & The Vampyre Lounge” they were conceived by Chi Chi Valenti (a.k.a. The Empress) and her life mate, the famed, DJ Johnny Dynell. A concise history of these events, by Sir Victor Magnus, can be found at http://www.sabretooth.com/endlessnight/longblackveil/
These formative years also saw the birth of the “Long Black Veil” or the Vampyre Code of Ethics. Originally created to serve as a set of house rules for the LBV events it has since been adopted, re-written, expanded and modified to serve the sub-culture internationally and it is widely regarded as the enduring legacy of LBV.
One of the unfortunate things that the modern vampire sub-culture has had to deal with is the criminal element that has committed, over time and still continuing, vicious and violent crimes as so-called “vampires”.

While she may not have been the first, Hungarian Countess Erzebet Bathory is widely regarded as the first person on record to be murderously motivated by blood. Other names that became synonymous with vampiric crime, such as Bela Kiss, Peter Kürten, Juan Koltrun, Marcello de Andrade and Richard Trenton Chase [5] coloured the public view and set the tone for the popular perception of the genre which, connected with the entertainment hype and horror causes the modern vampire to be, at once, loved and reviled. It is this image that is taken on by anyone who calls themselves a modern living vampire and, again unfortunately, it is going to take a huge effort and an extensive time period to erase millennia of bad press.

There have been many authors who have addressed the subject of vampirism from an objective point of view, the earliest mention of the use of the word, in the proto-Russian form, came in the 1047AD tome The Book of Prophecy where it was applied to a priest by the most unsavoury title of Upir Lichy which, literally translated, means wicked vampire or extortionate vampire.
Other commentators, throughout history prior to the twentieth century including the appearance of the term “Kindred”, meaning “of having the same belief or attitude”. It originated in 1125-75AD of Mid-European sources and also in a variation (with epenthetic d) of kinrede.

Other popular sources of historical treatments of the subject came from William of Newburgh (1136 – 1208) Walter Map’s De Nagis Curialium (1190) Ludovici Maria Sinistrari (1622) Leo Allatius (1645) Francoise Richard (1657) Phillip Rohr’s “Dissertatio Historico-Philosophica de Masticatione Mortuorum” (1679) Dom Augustin Calmet (1744) and Z.J. Piérart’s seminal and pioneering work on modern vampirism in his La Revue Spiritualiste (1858) [6]

montague-summers-6

 

The first comprehensive and intellectually regarded work of the twentieth century was the 1928 work of Augustus Montague Summers finishes his broad survey, “The Vampire: His Kith and Kin”, in which he traced the presence of vampyres and vampyre-like creatures in the folklore around the world, from ancient times to the present. He also surveyed the rise of the literary and dramatic vampyre.
It was at this juncture that we moved from the religion based treatises of the past and into the serious and scholarly examination of the vampire phenomenon. It is a phenomenon that has existed, and gained strength, from the earliest forms of man’s recorded knowledge but whereas in the distant past it was the subject of conjecture, folklore and superstition it has now become a matter of serious thinking among many authoritative figures.

All of the threads of vampire history were beginning to be drawn together, from every land, every nation and every corner of the globe the information was being compiled documented, examined and dissected. Critical analysis was taking the place of the superstitions and the folklore as an almost “scientific” eye was turned to the possibilities of vampirism, both past and present. Authors, journalists, historians, sociologists and psychologists were all examining one of the world’s most enduring mysteries.
In 1930 Violet Mary Firth (a.k.a. Dion Fortune) published her seminal work “Psychic Self- Defense: The Classic Instruction Manual for Protecting Yourself Against Paranormal Attack”, a book which, ostensibly, came from her own experiences. In her occult work Fortune had witnessed various instances of psychic attack which she was called on to interrupt. Among the elements of a psychic attack, she noted, was, “vampirism that left the victim in a state of nervous exhaustion, and a wasting state”. [7]

dion_fortune

The very real practices of modern vampirism were beginning to be seen in the 1960’s and one of the most notable events of the time was the founding of The Order of Maidenfear by Anne de Molay, in 1966. After investigating the archetype of the vampire de Molay arrived at the conclusion that vampirism was a very real interaction with life energy that could benefit the practitioner.
“Anne de Molay (1930-2002) claimed descent from the infamous last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, and all documentation supports her claim that Anne de Molay was in fact her birth name.

In an era of horror film schlock, Anne investigated the archetype of the vampire and came to the conclusion that vampirism was a very real interaction with life energy that could benefit the practitioner. Having shared her vision, Anne was able to form a group of like minds and established the Order of Maidenfear in 1966.
Why “Maidenfear”? Why use a word with no obvious associations with vampirism to communicate the Order’s existence to the world? Anne wrote, “I came upon this term, and for some reason it struck me deep, it resonated within me. What a perfect concept, the nervous excitement of fear and desire captured in a single word. For me, this word was so replete with energy itself that I could see nothing else but to apply it in my own form of vampirism.”

In 1970, Anne inherited a generous amount of money after the passing of her father. She was about to turn 40, she was a history teacher, she had decided against having a family, and her one absorbing passion was the Order of Maidenfear. Anne invested in the future of her Order by buying a large Victorian house in Philadelphia, the building that became House Maidenfear. Dedicated to Anne’s vision of the vampiric life, vampires from the city and the Eastern seaboard came to live in House Maidenfear.” [8]
So the world had, what would seem to be, the very first “real modern vampire” house, a far cry, in a relatively short timeframe, from the fear, loathing and titillation that ensued from Bram Stoker’s immortal classic.

The following year, 1967, saw the creation of The Vampire Research Society. It was founded as a specialist unit within the much older British Occult Society and the famous; or infamous depending on your point of view, “vampirologist” Seán Manchester was responsible for the vampire research unit becoming a self-governing body on 2 February 1970. The bizarre case of Elizabeth Wojdyla came to light in 1967 also. Wojdyla and a friend claimed to have seen several graves opening in Highgate Cemetary, London; and the occupants rising from them. Elizabeth also reported having nightmares in which “something evil” tried to come into her bedroom.

Here it was then, the first widely reported instance of actual vampires in the modern world. It had, to it, many aspects of the Hollywood patina and thus it became something of a household tale. Over the next three years something akin to a Hollywood B-Grader played out around the cemetery. Also, in 1969, Elizabeth Wojdyla’s nightmares returned but now the malaevolent figure reportedly entered her bedroom. She had allegedly developed the symptoms of pernicious anemia and her neck displayed two small wounds suggestive of the classical vampire bite. Manchester, and Wojdyla’s boyfriend, treated her as a victim of vampirism and filled her room with garlic, crucifixes and holy water; her condition and symptoms were reported to soon improve.

High Gate Cemetery ~ visitors walks

High Gate Cemetery ~ visitors walks

In 1970, before an assembled crowd of onlookers, Manchester and two companions entered a vault at Highgate where three empty coffins were found. They sprinkled the vaults with salt and holy water, lined the coffins with garlic and placed a crucifix in each.
In the English summer of 1970, David Farrant, another amateur vampyre hunter entered the field. He claimed to have seen the Highgate vampyre and went hunting it with a stake and crucifix but was arrested by police. In August the body of a young woman was found at the cemetery. It appeared as though the woman had been treated as a “vampire”, being decapitated and having an attempt made to burn the corpse. Before the end of the month, police arrested two men whom claimed to be vampyre hunters.

Three years in one city, three years of a sort of hysteria that hadn’t been seen since the mid to late 18th century.

In 1970 Stephan Kaplan (September 19, 1940 – June 9, 1995) founded The Vampire Research Centre. Kaplan was a noted paranormal investigator, vampirologist, and founder/director not only of the Vampire Research Center but also the Parapsychology Institute of America, both of which were founded in Suffolk County, New York.
In a continuance of the “research” theme author, researcher and lecturer Martin V. Riccardo founded the Vampire Studies Society in Chicago, Illinois, in 1977, Vampire Studies (“Society” was dropped from the name in 1990) was created as a means for vampire enthusiasts to share information on the subject. It was the first vampire-oriented information/fan organisation to use the word vampire in its title.

liquid dreams of coverIn his book, Liquid Dreams of Vampires, Riccardo wrote;
In Liquid Dreams of Vampires, I discuss the whole realm of dreams and how closely the vampire is tied to it. Quoting the responses people have sent me, I examine the many facets of the vampire’s appeal that relate to the human condition, such as death, immortality, alienation, romance, sexuality, violence, power, surrender and the vampire’s kiss. In the process, I consider how legend, literature, film and popular culture have helped mold the image of the vampire we have today. In the final chapters of the book, I show how the power of that image can even intrude on reality, such as dreams overflowing into waking life, people taking on the nature of vampires, and others believing they have encountered real vampires.” [9]

 

Freud Jung pic

At this juncture it is appropriate to look, briefly, into the prevailing psychological thinking with reference to the vampire. The two foremost figures in this arena, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung both expressed explanations of the place of the vampire in the modern mind.

“To Sigmund Freud, the vampire was an outer fictional projection of an inner human reality. And although these psychological realities may evolve and change over time, just like consistent features of human biology they cannot reasonably be expected to dramatically shape-shift or vanish within a matter of generations.
“It’s a definite perhaps,” says Wilson*. “Already we’ve seen resurgences of interest in psychoanalysis a couple of times.” There is now an entire sub-culture of tooth sharpening and actual blood drinking. What drives people to such extremes?

Psychoanalysts recognise such unusual behaviours as symptoms. According to Freudian apologist Christopher Lasch in his book The Culture of Narcissism, “Every age develops its own peculiar forms of pathology, which express in exaggerated form its underlying character structure.”
Freud believed the vampire fantasy to be a symbol of narcissism and an appropriate disguise for the ‘id’. In Freudian psychology, the id is a hangover from the ancient reptilian stage of human evolution. It is responsible for our most primitive urges including aggression and the sex drive. It disregards the taboos and laws that are created to prevent it usurping our humanity”. [10]
Dr. Marc Wilson *

“Jung believed that the vampire image could be understood as an expression of what he termed the “shadow,” those aspects of the self that the conscious ego was unable to recognize. Some aspects of the shadow were positive. But usually the shadow contained repressed wishes, anti-social impulses, morally questionable motives, childish fantasies of a grandiose nature, and other traits felt to be shameful. As Jung put it: The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real”. [11]

These are the thoughts that represent the commonly held views of the modern vampire, ideas born of hard and logical scientific thought and accumulated knowledge of the human psyche… the human psyche…! Which, to my mind begs the question, if we are a “sub-culture” of humanity then are we able to be defined by the “rules” that apply to “human”?

I know several people who are both modern vampire AND psychology trained professionals so it would seem that the two are not mutually exclusive. This, in my mind, falls in line with the suggestion that;

“the vampire was an outer fictional projection of an inner human reality. And although these psychological realities may evolve and change over time…”

The key phrase here “an inner human reality” but as I’ve already said we are not, entirely anyway, completely in sync with the “normal” human condition. The question that does still remain, however, what do the realities evolve into?

209343 selene Underworld

In 1985, in a bold scientific move, the American Association for the Advancement of Science was presented with a paper on the subject of vampirism, the document’s author, David Dolphin, presented a theory that the disease porphyria might underlie the reports of vampirism. The main focus of the paper was that since the treatment for porphyria was the injection of heme, it was possible that, in the past, people suffering porphyria might have attempted to drink blood as a method of relieving their symptoms. There were a number who criticized the theory, among them Paul Barber. Firstly, Barber noted, there was no evidence to show that the consumption of blood had any effect on the disease itself and only held up as long as one did not look at the available data too closely and discounted the powers of observation of those making the reports, and that the did not support the theory that any of those examined exhibited the symptoms of Porphyria.

 

More “vampire houses” and organisations; aside from the Maidenfear establishment, had been created by this time, ostensibly beginning with the founding of The Order of The Vampyre (an offshoot of the Church of Satan ca. 1966) was founded in 1975.
In the following year, 1976, House Sahjaza formed in New York City and in 1985, the founding members of House Sahjaza, under the guidance of Goddess Rosemary formed the Z/n Society.
1989 saw the creation of the secretive; international, Temple of The Vampire (ToV) while in 1993 The Sanguinarium was founded by Father Sebastian Todd which, in its turn, led to the establishment of the Ordo Strigoi Vii.
The growing presence of the “vampire” in the modern world was undoubtedly given its biggest boost in 1997 with the inception of the “Long Black Veil” or “LBV” events. LBV began as “Long Black Veil & the Vampyre Lounge” and was held each month at the MOTHER nightclub in New York City. It was from these events that the publication known worldwide as “The Black Veil” was created.
Originally authored in 1997, “The Black Veil” was written as a code of conduct for patrons of the vampyre haven, Long Black Veil, in New York. The original ‘Black Veil’, now referred to as version 1, was derived from Renaissance Fair etiquette and from existing codes of conduct in the BDSM / fetish scene of the time.

Another pivotal and influential text for the modern vampire sub-culture appeared in 2004, “The Psychic Vampire Codex A Manual of Magick and Energy Work” was written by author, artist and energy worker Michelle Belanger.

In the matter of “Vampires and Energy” Ms. Belanger writes;
All beings, vampiric or otherwise, engage in a constant exchange of energy with their environment. For the most part, this exchange is unconscious, and it is as instinctive as breathing. Energy exchange is part of the natural flow of the Universe, and it serves to connect all living things. Any being that is cut off completely from all energetic sources will suffer physically, emotionally and spiritually.” [12]

PPI-BPSYVAMC

With the modern “vampire scene” established and flourishing a great development ensued with the access to the internet becoming readily and easily available. Vampires of the day took to the new medium with a vengeance and in the spring (Northern) of 1997 the first webpage of what is probably the longest established and most respected internet resources, Sanguinarius.org, appeared. It was a turning point and an event that marked a new direction in the society of modern living vampires.

In Conclusion:

It is abundantly clear, and undeniable, that the vampire has been, and continues to be, a universal archetype and a strong presence in popular culture. The power of the imagery, the intensity of the emotions and the feelings invoked by the very word itself are a very real and palpable presence in the modern world.
I once mentioned to someone, totally unconnected with the sub-culture, that there were a great number of people in the world who called themselves vampire and drank blood to feel well and whole. The reaction I got, and not entirely unexpected, was, “That’s f*****g sick, that’s evil… they should be locked away.” Strong sentiments but, unfortunately, more common than not.

The very word Vampire represents many things in human society these days. Etymologically speaking the word originated somewhere between 1725–35 from the German Vampir. It also had influences from the Serbo-Croatian vàmpīr, an alteration of earlier upir. It is akin to the Czech upír, Polish upiór, Old Russian upyrĭ, upirĭ, ( Russian upýrʾ ) and the proto-Slavic *u-pirĭ or *ǫ-pirĭ.

The meaning of the word is given, variously, as, a preternatural being, commonly believed to be a reanimated corpse that is said to suck the blood of sleeping persons at night. Eastern European folklore also records it as, “a corpse, animated by an undeparted soul or demon, which periodically leaves the grave and disturbs the living, until it is exhumed and impaled or burned.”
Other interpretations of the term include, “a person who preys ruthlessly upon others; an extortionist, a woman who unscrupulously exploits, ruins, or degrades the men she seduces, or an actress noted for her roles as an unscrupulous seductress. The modern imagery has undoubtedly been most strongly influenced by the vampires of the movies and literature. [13]

It’s an experiment that you can try for yourselves, find a friend, a colleague, a hairdresser or whoever and ask the question… “What’s a vampire?” see what answers you get. If you want to push it one step further tell them you found out that there are people who think they are vampires and that they drink blood and say they can suck life-energy out of people. See what reactions you get then. The range of feeling and emotions that are engendered by the word alone can be quite diverse.

So, how does this connect all of us, in the sub-culture, to each other and to the Vampire as an archetype?

It’s a commonly heard denial that we, modern living vampires, have nothing whatsoever in common with the classical ideas and historical concepts… I suggest that is wrong, very wrong because as long as we insist on employing the name “Vampire” we are connecting ourselves, inextricably, to the most ancient and enduring of mysteries of humanity. As long as we use the name to describe ourselves we will never be able to escape that concept and we will never be able to seek true and full acceptance of exactly what we are, whatever that might be.
We can fight the negatives that are associated with the word “Vampire”, we can distance ourselves from the Kürten’s, the Koltrun’s, the de Andrade’s, Trenton Chase’ and Ferrell’s [14] of the modern age and establish a pride and sense of our true place in the natural order. One vital set of weapons in our armoury was delivered in 2013 in the form of a re-distribution of a statement released by Goddess Rosemary of Temple House Sahjaza. The document that was reissued in late 2013 was originally released in mid-2012. The statement, and the subsequent “13 Nightside Commandments”, form a powerful and influential statement about the need for a return to the original ideals and mores of the modern vampire sub-culture.

13 Nightside commandments Goddess Rosemary

It is also abundantly clear these days that the efforts need to be bent toward improvement; that the entire structure of our sub-culture need be addressed and reviewed because without that, without everyone in the sub-culture, community, race, species, or whatever you wish to call it, being on the same page we can’t hope to move forward, to be the best for each other and, more importantly, for ourselves.

Each one of us has it in our power, in our hands, to celebrate the history and the ethos of our kind and become the new modern living vampires.

Copyright T.H. Hawkmoor (TB) 2014

1. Leatherdale, C. (1993) Dracula: The Novel and the Legend:46–9.
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_literature
3. Nina Auerbach (1997) “Vampires in the Light” in the Norton Critical edition of Dracula: 389-404
4. Butler, Erik. Metamorphoses of the Vampire in Literature and Film : Cultural Transformations in Europe, 1732–1933. Rochester: Boydell & Brewer, 2010. Electronic.
5. http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/weird/vampires/1.html
6. http://realvampirenews.com/vampire-history-mythology-and-folklore/the-ultimate-vampyre-timeline-rev-8/
7. Psychic Self-Defense: The Classic Instruction Manual for Protecting Yourself Against Paranormal Attack. Fortune, Dion. Weiser Books; Revised edition (August 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1578635098 ISBN-13: 978-1578635092
8. http://vampgeist.tripod.com/files/maidenfear.html
9. Liquid Dreams of Vampires. Riccardo, Martin V. Llewellyn Publications 1996, ISBN: 1-56718-571-1
10. Vampires and Psychoanalysis HTR Williams (http://www.htrwilliams.com/Vampires.htm#.U7AVpbGRRG8 )
11. Psychological Perspectives on Vampire Mythology
http://www.answers.com/topic/psychological-perspectives-on-vampire-mythology
12. The Psychic Vampire Codex: A Manual of Magick and Energy Work. Belanger, Michelle A. Red Wheel/Weiser LLC, 2004. ISBN: 1-57863-321-4
13. http://dictionary.reference.com/
14. Crime Library; Criminal Minds and Methods: The Vampire Killers. Ramsland, Katherine (http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/weird/vampires/1.html )
Further references:

The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Melton, J. Gordon, Visible Ink Press, 1999. ISBN 1-57859-071-X

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.
This information is freely available to all FOR PERSONAL USE only, it may be reproduced , or linked to, on personal web sites WITH FULL CREDIT but it may not be used for commercial purposes nor for general distribution without PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT from Real Vampire Life and our guest/s.
For further details please see our Website Disclaimer