From the outside looking in…

img. source: Applied Vision Works

Written, Edited and Presented by
Tim

A gentleman came to RVL’s Facebook page yesterday and in response to an information link from the Smithsonian Magazine, Real-life Vampires Exist, but They Are Scared to Admit Their Practices to Doctors, he proceeded with the following opening statement, I quote;
“Drinking a little blood to live the delusion that this is what “real-life vampires” do…is not being a real vampire. The Slavic Vampire, the very vampire archetype itself, never drank blood. He was never observed drinking blood, there has never been a single blood-drained body found and never any evidence for this at all. 

Most importantly, of all the documented reports there is not a single instance where any of the “victims” ever claimed their blood was drank…despite the “attacks” being described by them.”

A little disconcerting to have someone come into one’s “house” and call them delusional wouldn’t you say? having said as much however I think we could probably agree that the majority opinion and view of our culture is, and will continue to be, coloured by such thinking.

Perhaps there still may be surprises forthcoming in that discussion since we have been graced with a response to my input of;
” Good evening to you, “T.” I look forward to reviewing and responding to such.”

It will be intriguing to see how the gentleman’s work; and conclusions, stack up against the works of many highly respected, and eminently qualified, academicians such as D.J. Williams, John Edgar Browning, Joseph Laycock, Emily Prior and Suzanne Carré along with some of the articles at The Red Cellar, among others.

While certain strides have been made over the last five years or so in the matter of depicting the modern Vampire community as exactly what it is we still have those who will hearken back to antiquity in an attempt to impose their views, dare I say prejudices, on the modern culture. Once again, it would seem, it is time to reinforce a message and hope that the message will supplant the ignorance.

img. source: Daily Mail news, U.K.

Antiquity, Folklore and History

Many people will tell you, quite forcefully in some cases, that Vampires today have absolutely nothing to do with the “old” archetype, an archetype that has been in evidence for a little over 5,200 years now… heck, we’ve even outlasted some animal species…! To say something like that is like me saying to you, dear reader, forget about where your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents and great-great-great grandparents come from, they didn’t really have anything to do with you… We have great history, great tenure, high points, low points, sad points and funny points in our inheritance, just like every other race.

The description, and thus the definition, of the Vampire archetype was ruled by a great number of variations in localised belief systems, superstitions and folklore. It was both commonly and widely held, in just about every nation and race on the planet, that the “vampire”, by whatever name it was known, was driven by its need to consume blood to survive in its commonly perceived “undead” condition.

The notion of vampirism has existed for millennia. Cultures such as the Mesopotamians, Hebrews, Ancient Greeks and Romans had tales of demons and spirits which are considered precursors to modern vampires. Despite the occurrence of vampire-like creatures in these ancient civilizations, the folklore for the entity we know today as the vampire originates almost exclusively from early 18th-century southeastern Europe[1] when verbal traditions of many ethnic groups of the region were recorded and published.

The Burney relief

Indeed, our friend and associate, Dr. James Lyon, Ph.D made note that;
In other words, the original concept of the vampire springs entirely from the lands of the former Yugoslavia, not from Romania, Bram Stoker or Anne Rice.
He went on to say,
Rather, I wanted to use “real” vampires, the original autochthonous depictions of vampires from Balkan folklore and history as recorded over the centuries by anthropologists, of which there is a great deal of material.

These are horrible creatures that bear no resemblance to pop-culture vampire. They are shape-shifters that hang out at watermills, tend to be butchers, weapons salesmen or travelling salesmen, and carry a burial shroud with them. They bloat up after feeding and have cat or goat shaped eyes. They turn into butterflies, not bats. They can’t turn you into a vampire simply by biting, and you can’t kill them simply by driving a stake through the heart. To this day there are reports of these creatures in Balkan media, especially in rural areas.

Starting with Article 20 of the Law Code of Serbian Emperor Dusan in 1349, to various documents from the Orthodox and Catholic Churches over the centuries, to the vampire trials in Dubrovnik between 1736-1744, to the Austrian Army’s vampire autopsies in the 1730s, up to present day beliefs in vampires, there is ample material to draw on. Fortunately, Balkan scholars have recorded a great deal of this in their local languages”[2]

So, we are faced with an extraordinary amount of material that is still available in order to be able to make some manner of informed decision about what we “know” of the Vampire in Classical antiquity.

Img. source: desertcart.ae

A contemporary model 

The “contemporary” Vampire was given to us in several parts.

Firstly, the most commonly available dictionary definition is provided as;
Vampire
noun: 
preternatural being, commonly believed to be a reanimated corpse,that is said to suckthe blood of sleeping persons at night.[3]

In which instance the origin of the word is noted as being of combined Germanic/ Serbo-Croatian extraction and finding its birth between 1725 and 1735 a.d.

From here we must also look to alternative interpretations since the Vampire archetype is nothing if not a polyglot of a number of sources, as I mentioned.

Looking further in the dictionary we also find;
Vampire
noun:(in Eastern European folklore) a corpse, animated by an undeparted soul or demon, 
that periodically leaves the grave and disturbs the living, until it is exhumed and impaledor burned.[3]

It is absolutely clear, to everyone, we hope, that modern living Vampires are NOT these. There is no crawling out of graves, there is no transforming into bats, mist or other such things and we do NOT roam around the countryside looking all mysterious in long black capes looking for succulent young ladies, or gentlemen, to bite the necks of. So, FORGET ALL THAT PLEASE.

Abraham ‘Bram’ Stoker

THE contemporary Vampire that we all know and love, more or less… was a development of fiction, fiction that first found its stride in poems such as –

“The Vampire (1748) by Heinrich August Ossenfelder, Lenore (1773) by Gottfried August Bürger, Die Braut von Corinth (The Bride of Corinth) (1797) by Johann Wolfgang von GoetheRobert Southey‘s Thalaba the Destroyer (1801), John Stagg‘s “The Vampyre” (1810), Percy Bysshe Shelley‘s “The Spectral Horseman” (1810) (“Nor a yelling vampire reeking with gore”) and “Ballad” in St. Irvyne (1811) about a reanimated corpse, Sister Rosa, Samuel Taylor Coleridge‘s unfinished Christabel and Lord Byron‘s The Giaour. [4]

Byron was also credited with the first prose fiction piece concerned with vampires: The Vampyre (1819). This was in reality authored by Byron’s personal physician, John Polidori, who adapted an enigmatic fragmentary tale of his illustrious patient, “Fragment of a Novel” (1819), also known as “The Burial: A Fragment”.[5][6] Byron’s own dominating personality, mediated by his lover Lady Caroline Lamb in her unflattering roman-a-clef Glenarvon (a Gothic fantasia based on Byron’s wild life), was used as a model for Polidori’s undead protagonist Lord Ruthven. The Vampyre was highly successful and the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century”.[7]

Of course, the quintessential Vampire, the most notable and the most influential caricature in the history of the Vampire myth, was Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. In many ways we all still live under the gloomy pall of The Count whenever we use the word “Vampire”. A complete cultural change in thinking and perception wrought by one man, with or without help depending on whom you believe, that cemented the notion of the Vampire as being a Romanian nobleman, or Boyar, in his life before death. In one fashion or another the Count has been with us ever since. That was in 1897.

“Vampires”
~ by Mr. Jack on Deviantart
(mr–jack.deviantart.com)

Modern Vampires

Modern. serious conceptualisation of the Vampire could well be held to have originated as early as 1858. In France, Z.J. Piérart, a psychical researcher on vampirism and professor at the College of Maubeuge, founded a spiritualist journal, La Revue Spiritualiste. His rejection of popular reincarnation theory led him directly to his consideration of vampirism. He became interested in the possibility of psychic attack and in a series of articles he proposed a theory of psychic vampirism, suggesting that vampyres were the astral bodies of either incarcerated or deceased individuals that were revitalizing themselves on the living.[8]

This saw the first serious and “scientific”, if we can use the term in this context, departure from the archetypal Vampire and reached into a whole new realm of vampiric interaction with the living.

Arguably, the first established “Vampire” orthodoxy came in 1966 with the founding of The Order of Maidenfear, in the United States, by Anne de Molay. With the purchase of a property to be used as a “house” for women ‘Vampires’ to gather and inhabit the twentieth century suddenly became the focus of a new movement, a movement connected, in name, to a history stretching back to around 3200 b.c.

So, then, what to make of all this? What can we conclude? What legacy did we inherit from the sources of Classical Antiquity, 19th century European Occultism and, more importantly, 20th century revivalism?

Quite simple really, Vampires are alive and well and thrive in modern society, well, at least if not thrive certainly survive and mingle. How do they do it? What causes modern Vampirism? What are the alternatives for modern living Vampires in the 21st century?

Graphic source:
mythunderstoodalliance.com

Defining the Modern Living Vampire

This has been one of the most stubborn thorns in the side of the modern Vampire culture since its inception. We don’t all consume blood, yet we are all Vampires. We don’t all live in drafty old castles and wear black clothes and capes, yet we are all Vampires. We certainly can’t emulate the ‘special effects’ that Hollywood has imbued Vampires with, yet we are all Vampires… so, the next, most obvious, and hardest, question must be, “What is a Vampire?

If I told you that this subject, more than any other single topic, has embroiled the modern culture pretty much from day 1 I don’t think there’s anyone who could dispute or disagree, yet when we come to attempt definition it seems an almost impossible task.

The gentleman I mentioned at the beginning of this presentation offered a link to an article as evidence of his position, unfortunately it did not help his case since the link was broken. It was a link from one of our most precious cultural resources, sanguinarius.org

In seeking what is probably the best, most comprehensive, and all-inclusive definitions from that site one only need look to the Dictionary of Sanguinese housed there.

We find;
“Vampire:
A much-disputed term with many meanings, depending upon whom you’re talking to. See also the definitions of “sanguinarian”, “blood-drinker”, “blood fetishist”, “psychic vampire”, “Vampyre Lifestyler”, and “Vampiric Community”. Here, it is used to encompass all of the above-listed groups into a general category. Also, here, it is not used to define any of those as some sort of supernatural or superhuman beings or someone who has returned from the dead (excluding being revived by medical procedures), and so forth. Anyone who makes those sorts of claims is lying.”[9]

In addition to this, and not simply drawing on the opinion of one author of a particular article, we can also find various attendant entries such as, Combo, Energy vampire, Psychic vampire, Psi vampire (psi-vamp, for short) and Sanguinarian.

The method of definition has, over recent years, become complicated by the fact that even within the society and culture of the modern living Vampire there is a certain political correctness that need be observed so as to not alienate any one segment of the cultural body.

http://guides.wikinut.com/

Employing the K.I.S.S. principle

On September 18 of 2012 Lady CG created this topic for discussion at Smoke and Mirrors, “Lets Discuss: Defining Vampires“.

Between September 18 and December 15 a group of members discussed the best way to define the “Modern” vampire.

That group included Lady CG, myself, Crimson Dragonwolf, Starfire 77, Dolphinmoon, Zandra Amara, Nox Oculus, Zerochan, Chameleon1 and The Harlot.

At the conclusion of the discussion we had pared down the definition to this simple and succinct statement:

“Vampire (also: Vampyre) is a person who requires supplements of energy and/or physical substance; usually extracted from another source or living being, to maintain their health and wellbeing in some manner.”

In addition to this definition I would like to offer, after deep consideration and an amount of study of the concepts represented in the widely accepted, and utilised ‘lexicon’, offered at the late Lady Sangi’s support site, a further definition that I believe fits a great number of members of the modern culture.

Traditional Vampire: A person who is a modern “Vampire”, as defined by the statement above, and who, in their life, embraces the aesthetic of traditional vampire beliefs and perceptions.

Modern Vampires are no more delusional than Christians who drink wine and call it blood, they are no more delusional than Wiccans; a fully recognised modern religion based on ancient lore and beliefs, they are no more delusional than the scientists who struggled for years to prove that the Higgs-Boson particle actually existed and, perhaps, it is delusional to believe that the world must fit into one narrow tunnel of vision that suits the perfectly ordered world of one mind.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Copyright T & RVL, 2018

References:
1. Silver, A., & Ursini, J. (1997). The Vampire Film: From Nosferatu to Interview with the Vampire (pp. 22–23). New York: Limelight Editions.
2. “From Sarajevo with… fangs ~ Dr. James Lyon“, RVL interview series.

3. “vampire”. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. Retrieved 29 Jan. 2018. <Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/browse/vampire>.

4. Marigny, pp. 114–115

5. Cohen, pp. 271–274

6. Christopher Frayling (1992) Vampyres – Lord Byron to Count Dracula.

7. Silver & Ursini, pp. 37–38.

8. The Ultimate Vampyre Timeline Rev. 14, RVL et.al.

9. Sanguinarius.org, Vampire Support, terminology and Lingo. Retrieved Jan. 29th, 2018

Further recommended reading:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire

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

 

Crossroads 2018 – Groups and Memberships in today’s culture

“To state the facts frankly is not to despair the future nor indict the past.”
~ John F. Kennedy ~

Written and Presented by 

Tim

The modern living Vampyre culture is a somewhat volatile, tempestuous, busy, complicated and confusing scenario and there have long been those whom wished that there was some method of assessing to make some sense out of it.

In the general, global sense, we cannot since, in order to do so, we would necessarily need a team of psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, etymologists and fine Irish single malt Whisky…

In considering this problem I began, some time back, thinking about the framework of an instrument that would allow for external observations to be gathered in order to assess the reliability and suitability of group membership applications. It is to be an instrument that evaluates actual, real-time interactions and the overall appearance afforded by a person’s public/ group activities.

I started out by referring to the Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Framework Ver. 2.6 first developed, by Isaac Bonewits, in 1979. I considered each criteria and re-developed the entire question matrix, while retaining certain key-wording constructs, to scale it back to “individuals” rather than groups of individuals.

What I have, so far, is shown below and I believe that real-time observation and reporting, possibly over a ‘probationary’ or ‘qualifying’ period would enable cultural group leaders to render sound decisions about whom is, and whom is not, of suitable temperament for their group/s and /or support. This, in its turn, would go a long way to curtailing the influence of some of the real “crazies” out there and would make for much more stable, productive and long-tenured groups within the modern culture.

img. source: Applied Vision Works

Pop Quiz:

  1. How many groups have you seen come and go, in a very short space of time since you’ve been hanging around the online culture?
  2. What’s the reason for the collapse of the groups that have gone by the wayside?
  3. Could a better “team” balance and approach have made some significant contribution to the modern culture?

I have been involved, in both industry and commerce, in building, organising and overseeing teams going back to around 1984. The keys are the same as the keys necessary for cultural groups to form, survive, produce and be a coherent and helpful, or guiding, force. With that in mind it becomes necessary to look at the structure of the team that you are tasking, or asking for something, and determine the very best balance that can be brought to the team to make it work.

So it is with anything… unless of course you don’t actually WANT to achieve anything..!

The individual skills, traits and attributes of team, or in this case ‘group’ members, is of the utmost importance to ensuring a successful outcome, whether you are running a discussion, production, evaluation, hobby, sport or any other kind of group/team… there needs to be a complementary balance of such things to ensure a positive outcome, otherwise, yep… chaos..! With that in mind I cobbled together the following evaluation tool, maybe you can use it to build a better group, maybe not. Maybe you can save yourself a lot of heartache and drama, maybe not but just maybe it’s worth thinking about…no?

Img. source: psanalfonso.archimadrid.es

Observable Factors:

Rated on the scale: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

Median method: The thing to bear in mind here is that the “Highest” possible score could be just as bad as the “Lowest” so it becomes necessary to define a middle range that becomes the ideal. It’s very like the standard pre-employment 125 question sheets they make you do, the psych-evaluation tests that we’ve all seen at some time which are meant to ensure that someone doesn’t get saddled with “extreme” personality difficulties, and let’s face it, the modern living Vampyre culture is replete with those.

With that in mind… a score of 1, in answer to any of the following questions is to be considered the furthest from an “ideal” answer as is a score of 10. Ideally we should be aiming to give a score of between 4 and 7 which would yield an ideal total, if we treat 5 as being optimum, of 80.

Max. Count Method: Alternatively, if it’s more comfortable, the higher the score can mean the better the individual is at achieving the ideal according to the question, in which case the best possible score could be 160 and we would have to set the ‘minimum acceptable’ score that we would consider as being optimum for our purposes… we might say we will only pass those with scores of 90 or above, 120 or above or whatever we might see the best outcome as being.

The Questions:

1
Personal Control: Amount of self-control exercised by individual in everyday interpersonal interactions. (Do they tend to flip out, get rude, offensive etc. frequently, with or without perceived justification?)

_________________________
2
External Control: Amount of external social influence desired or obtained; how much emphasis is placed on directing the affairs/ interactions/ business of others. (Are they friends and advisors or interferers?)

_________________________
3
Wisdom/Knowledge Claimed vs. credible demonstration of; Number, and degree, of unverified and/or unverifiable credentials claimed. ( Can they back-up/ support/ prove their claims?)

_________________________
4
Amount/ level of hostility towards internal or external critics and/or towards verification efforts/questioning. Is there a strong ‘defensive’ element present in responses? (Do they get bent out of shape if someone questions their pet theory or opinion?)

_________________________
5
Personal Dogma: Rigidity of self-reality, inflexible attitude, or non-acceptance of opposing ideas and concepts. (Are they stubborn, one-eyed, inflexible individuals?)

_________________________
6
Recruiting: Emphasis on bringing people round to their way of thinking/ demands that their p.o.v. be recognised as “the one”. (Do they need to be revered/ worshipped/ lauded all the time? Are they narcissistic in nature?)

_________________________
7
Front Groups: Total number of groups the person is affiliated with/ a member of. (If they are in 1,495 other groups are they going to be effective, in any way shape or form, in yours?)

_________________________
8
Perceived ‘wealth’/’currency’: Amount of ‘friends’, or group affiliations, in real-life and/or social media situations. (Are they ‘trophy’ group/friend hunters? Do they friend someone then ‘farm’ that new friend’s ‘friend list’?)

_________________________
9
Influence Rate: Manipulation of ‘friends’/contacts/ members of groups in their circle. (Do they play the two ends against the middle and set back to watch the fun? Do they manipulate people around them to realise some perceived personal goal?)

_________________________
10
Favouritism: Advancement or preferential treatment of fundamental ideas based on certain “personal” connections within the wider social circle. (Are they ‘lap dogs’ for their master/s?)

_________________________
11
Censorship: Amount of control exerted/ expected over the interactions/ activities/ communications between opinions in group/ personal interactions. (Do they hold themselves forth as some kind of ‘be-all-end-all’ adjudicator?)

_________________________
12
Isolation: Amount, or presence, of effort to keep others from communicating with non-‘friends’/ group colleagues etc. (Do they keep ‘friends’ / group members away from folks that might know a little too much about them?)

_________________________
13
Control methods: Intensity of efforts directed at preventing, controlling or influencing and whether those efforts are overt, or covert. (Do they act openly and above board or sneak around being all ‘I spy’ mister/miss/mrs CIA?)

_________________________
14
Paranoia: Amount of fear concerning real or imagined enemies; exaggeration of perceived power of opponents; prevalence of conspiracy theories and or “dramatic” situations within real-life circles/ social media circles. (Are they ‘Drama Queens/ Kings, always seeking out new and exciting frontiers of trouble to get into to make their life appear exciting?)

_________________________
15
Surrender of Will: Amount of emphasis on people around them not being able to be responsible for personal decisions; the amount of ‘telling’ people what to do in any given situation esp. where such input is not requested. (Do they tend to reserve their quiet and confident counsel for PM situations or do the slip the brain into neutral and just let the mouth go for it?)

_________________________
16
Hypocrisy: Amount, and frequency, of actions which would normally be seen as being either immoral or unethical, when done for the purpose of ‘political’, ‘psychological’, ‘social’, ‘economic’, or other – strictly personal – gain. (Are they a hypocrit?)

_________________________

“Le Vampire” Burne-Jones


Okay, okay… while the cries of “booo…”, “pot…pot” and “kettle” die down  – yeah, I’ve made mistakes, yeah, I’ve screwed up… yes, I’ve taken my licks and the beat-downs and I CAN lay claim to having learned from my mistakes. I KNOW who, and where, not to go near now, doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work it out y’know

It’s a theoretical construct based on observable activity and known experiences, the other invaluable tool you have, as a group convener, leader, Head of a House or Clan, is experience… not just yours but the experiences of everyone in your group. Let’s face it, if you didn’t trust them they wouldn’t be there right? (Unless, of course, you’re just there to pad the numbers and feel important then all this will have been wasted…right?)

Evaluation of potential members doesn’t have to take months, not even weeks. It can be done while the “applicant” is in a “probationary member” position and should include not only within your own group but by observing their conduct at other groups they are in, by reviewing their social media activities and by listening to your own members who may well have come into contact with your applicant before.

Or, maybe, you just love having to get up in the morning, or home from work in the evening, and dealing with the latest B.S. wrought by someone in your group that you really should have thought twice about… hmmm?

Build it right, keep it under control, moderate the output and enjoy the achievements and rep… it’s easy enough.

Copyright TB & 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

Information just to hand…

(Img backing: Phozfate & Vampire Art Makeup on Pinterest)

Good morning,

In our last Crossroads Editorial I promised that “further information” would be made available as it came to hand…

In reference to the late Lady Sangi’s site Sanguinarius.org I can report that in response to the statement in that editorial,

“At last visit it seems that the “Registration” for site is still disabled, however, we have contacted the administrators/managers at The VCMB (the Sanguinarius.org message board) to determine whether this will be changing and when. We will make the information available when we receive a reply.”

We received a reply from Lady SphynxcatVP, another leading information and support figure in the modern culture. The reply was as follows;

“Registration on sanguinarius.org will be disabled for a while. Time duration unknown at this time. Plans are to redo the site into something more secure while still being mobile-friendly.

To the best of my knowledge, all parts of the site that Sangi historically had accessible in the past should STILL be accessible without a login (AFAIK, logins were just for making comments on posts), barring the FAQ’s which are currently disabled because the FAQ script hasn’t been supported in years, and thus is no longer getting security patches. The main concern with the unsupported FAQ script is that it could be hacked to deliver malware or a nasty virus (or multiple malware/virii), which would ultimately leave readers with an unpleasant experience.”

We would like to thank Lady Sphynxcat for the information and we will keep an eye out to let our readers know when Sanguinarius.org becomes fully operational once more, a time we, at RVL, look forward to indeed.

Copyright RVL, SphynxcatVP & Sanguinarius.org 2017

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