‘Tis the season to be spooky…

The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall
img. source: Fanpop.com

Presented by

Tim

Okay all you gorgeous creatures that go bump in the night, ‘tis the season to be spooky and show them that “something wicked this way comes”… that’s right it’s Halloween season, that one night of the year when the veil thins and we cavort in the company of ghouls, ghosties, witches and, of course, our favourites, VAMPYRES…!!!

We’ve got some seasonal information mixed with a little entertainment for you, grab a coffee, tea, soda, absinthe or whatever and kick back for a few.

Firstly, what’s hot around here;

Starting in the home town, the Windy City is going to be seeing,

Yup, that’s right folks, we’ve got big balls too…!!!

Bouncing east from here, more or less, we find that the Iron Garden has a splendid event planned, you can find all the details at the Facebook event page;

Iron Garden Celebration of Mexican Traditions & Day of the Dead!

The highlight will be a costume contest that we have joined the sponsors for, we’re looking forward eagerly to the pics…!!!
Off to our dearly beloved New Orleans now and the big news is, of course,

The Bloodlust Vampire Ball – The Old World

The Blood Lust Ball 2017

Now, if you’re planning to get down that way perhaps you might need a little something to really carry the night, how about making a date with the extraordinary Dnash


…but I wouldn’t dally, I’m pretty darn sure that the bookings will be filling fast for one of the best.

Psivamp

Now, any party requires three things, food, drink and dancing…. Hmm dancing, *snaps fingers* I know, let’s go get our dear friend Psivamp… an eclectic mix of Techno/Electronica and Trance to put you right in that zone. The artiste kindly received a little something I put together to go with a track from his 2004 album “Doppelganger”, even had some kind words for about the presentation and thus, my Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen I give you my interpretation of, “The Shield”…

Off to the haunts of lost boys, and ghouls, the Wyld West now and we hear that Lady Shannon McCabe is throwing quite a bash out that way…Shannon McCabe’s Vampire Ball

Speaking of which, in 1987 Warner Bros. brought out a wonderfully youthful tale of dastardly deeds in a west coast town and to go with it a wonderful soundtrack, this song, originally penned in 1967 by Morrison and Krieger, was an integral part of that soundtrack and here it is given a wonderfully wistful and melancholic makeover by an outfit named “Johnny Hollow

 

We’ve also patched in, and touched base, with some of our International friends to find out what’s happening in some faraway locations…

Courtesy of the London Vampire Magazine and the self-described “Dastardly DandyDarren Demondaz, what’s goin’ down in ol’ London Town…

“An Alternative Halloween in London

It’s the Night when the Pagans herald in the New Year and the boundary between this world and the next comes down. The Souls of the Departed are allowed back, for one night only, and they will wish to visit their old homes and hearths and will expect to be remembered and will wreak havoc if they are not. This is most likely the origin of the practice of ‘Trick or Treat’ or ‘Begging’ as most people now call it now. Halloween is mid-week too this year which means there will be two weekends or more of fabulous, fetishy, macabre and bizarre amusement to be had in London for those that wish to embrace the coming of the darker seasons and in the following weeks the skies will be lit with fireworks.

Obviously all London clubs will wish to host something if the extended dates fit with their event or nightclub. There will be more Halloween themed events than you can brandish a bloodied machete at and Goths everywhere will be quite forlorn for the period as they won’t stand out anymore! I will, most certainly, be slapping the ‘Halloween Special’ tagline on my own Retro Club-night Yesterday’s Shadow and that’s on the 21st October but it’s a Goth Club anyway so most wouldn’t note any great difference there.

Here are a few noteworthy events in London that you might be interested in if you are looking for something other than a goryfied fancy-dress party.

If you wish to learn something new about Gothic and Macabre London you would do well to look at the epic series of events from ‘A Curious Invitation – The London Month of the Dead’. They will be hosting various events over the period ranging from talks about the Necropolis Railway and the Crypts and Catacombs of the City. There are even workshops to learn Mouse or Insect Taxidermy and many of these events, night-time tours, talks and tales are actually hosted within the prime locations of London’s Magnificent Seven Cemeteries. They are also hosting a Halloween Ball ‘A Theatre of Blood’ on the 27th October at London’s ‘Coronet’. Look for the full listing for all of the events here http://londonmonthofthedead.com/

Without a doubt one of the largest Halloween events will be ‘The Festival of the Dead’ on the 21st October at London’s Troxy. FotD are a huge international affair and are setting up events all over the UK and Europe with circus, theatre and carnival themes to be seen on a very big scale.

Also on the 21st October will be ‘Deep Trash in the Underworld’ at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. A devilishly deviant occult-themed night of visuals, installations, live art and gothic-techno tunes from DJs Patricia MacCormack and Kasey Riot (aka Cellardoor). For this Night Witchcraft, Voodoo, Teratology and magic are featured heavily with work submitted and performed by over 40 artists.

Perhaps you might like to find out more about Haunted London and there are, if you believe, one hell of a lot of Ghosts in London who presumably prefer London to Hell! ‘London’s Ghouls & Ghosts (aka Spooky London) have a guided tour and talk just outside central ‘Feltham Halloween Guided Ghost Walk’ on the 22nd October – look them up if you want to know more about the Ghosts of London as they host regular events.

 

For a Night of Medieval Enchantments do consider ‘The Serpent’s Lair’ on 29th October hosted by Serpentyne (mediaeval/symphonic/metal band) at Nambucca, with suitable support acts and DJs for this most Ye Olde styled magical and musical night.

London’s Largest Alternative Fetish Club – Antichrist – will be having their Halloween Extravaganza on the 3rd of November with a Mad Max Themed Night of Mayhem at their new labyrinthine venue ‘Fire’ in Vauxhall.

Farrukh Hyder (a noteworthy photographer of London’s Alternative Scene who submitted the photos to accompany this article) and Daniela Fanetti will also present a Free Night of photography, fashion and cabaret at the Resistance Gallery on 9th November featuring works with fetish, erotic and punk themes.

After that Halloween is officially over and you may respectfully commence with Christmas shopping.”

Thanks to Darren, yeah, uhhh Christmas, right…!!!

Okay, keeping up with the old “frequent flyer” thing again we zoomed off to Italy to pay our good friends at Lega Italiana Real Vampires a quick visit and find out what’s cooking in their neck of the woods for Halloween, courtesy of the delightful Vice-President Of LIRV, Lady Maria, we learn that…
RVL: We understand that LIRV is planning a major Halloween event this year, what sort of party will it be?

MA: Lirv will make a great Halloween party with other new friends. In Genoa this year this city will always be full of games and fun and our long black veil ball !!! then we will send you the photos of the event!

RVL: Is it an “invitation only” event or are tickets to be available to the public? And, do you expect a major turn out for the event?

MA: Only with invite, we are more people…

RVL: Is Halloween a major focus of the year in Italy in general?

MA: In the last few years halloween is a very well-liked party here in Italy as well. Especially for fun and different parties every year. We always have a lot of fun!

RVL: So, without giving anything away what can the people who attend expect from your Halloween event?

MA: our Long Black veil ball our dance in themed costumes, with always different shows and games that capture participants from the beginning to the end!

RVL: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers at this time about either the television project or your Halloween event?

MA: There will be pleasant scary and unforgettable surprises !!!

On the way back we swung by Sao Paulo, Brazilas you do… and courtesy of noted local identity and author, Prince-Lord Axikerzus, we’ve got a line on the hottest parties in town for the Halloween in a place noted for its parties…

Prince-Lord Axikerzus gave us a little low-down on the business there, apart from being the speaker for October’s Wiccan and Pagan events, World Dragon Day and  World Pagan Pride Day he is also the speaker for two big festivals there, the Festival of Halloween Bosque dos Gnomos and the Festival de Halloween Casa de Bruxa.

I commented to Prince-Lord A,
“I see, wow, are you going to be busy…! *Laugh* When do the Festival of Halloween happen, October 31st?”

Lord A told me, “No no… All events running this weekend and on the next weeks”

So, starting the weekend of October 7 it seems there’s going to be back-to-back parties around there for the rest of the month… how’s that grab the “party animal” in you?

Sao Paulo at night
by Julio Boaro

Now, I have to admit something here, a serious confession… I have a particular Halloween favourite, bit of a predilection actually, something sublime that just takes your breath away and leave it to a Texas band to put it into words right? What would Halloween be without a little…

 

Going to leave you with a bit of tribute here… TO US…!

Bela Lugosi in ‘Dracula’ (1931)

A little thing I put together celebrating the cinematic culture and, strangely enough, demonstrating that Hollywood has had a long, deep and meaningful affair with us, so much so in fact that they have repeatedly demonstrated a predisposition to having mesmeric, definitely Sanguinarian, Hybrid Vamps around… curious eh?

 

So, hey, there’s a bit of news for all the ‘Weeners’ out there, and rest assured we’ll keep updating the information at our Facebook page right up until the last moment. If you have a Halloween event going on that you would like people to know about please feel free to send us the information in a message to our John Reason’s Real Vampire Life Facebook page.

Heading toward the evening in question, this is well worth a catch-up…

Quest Documentaries – History Of Real Life Witches Documentary

We wish you a very happy creepy night and whatever you’re going to get up to, or down to, be safe, consume responsibly and we’ll catch you, all safe and sound, on the other side, yes?

Copyright RVL & Contributors 2017

NB: 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.

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.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

 

 

Communication, Prognostication and Unique solutions

img. source – Coralstone Training

Written, Edited and Presented by

Tim

In movieland we have come across Vampires that speak their own dialects, in some fiction too but where do these languages come from.

In the Movie “Blade”, for example, at one point in the movie Jared Nomak turns to camera and delivers a portion of dialogue – what language was it?

In the book ‘Encyclopedia Fictional and Fantastic Languages’, J. Matthew Pearson explains;
“As the vampires are an ancient race, they have their own language, and for this film, UCLA Linguistics professor Victoria Fromkin was hired to design a Vampire language (Fromkin is also the creator of the Paku language from Land of the Lost

Not enough of the language is provided in the film to construct a grammar or morphology, but phonetically the Vampire language sounds Slavic and is often mixed with Czech and Russian by the film’s director, suggesting that the Vampire race is Eastern European in origin (perhaps Transylvanian?)[1]”

img. source: porges.net

One would tend to suppose that since the majority of the tales of historical Vampires originated in, and near, the Balkan States that we should rationally expect the same sort of scenario and, if we are going to go “by the book” that started it all, in modern parlance, then we would have to expect that the “official” language of Vampyres would be some form of early Romanian.

What about Modern Living Vampires? What language should we employ, as a symbol of our unique identity and our… if I may use the term, unity?

Now this is gonna be a bit of a trip, just like the article Vampire Deities 2017, okay, maybe a bit less ‘tongue-in-cheek’ but if you would care to accompany me let’s take a look at the possibilities, maybe learn some shit along the way…

Written communication – development of

The earliest writing systems, dated to the Bronze Age, did not just fall out of the sky, nor were they the product of an ‘epiphany’… they were based on earlier systems of symbol usage that can’t be properly described as writing. These systems are most usually named “proto-writing”. Such “symbol” systems emerged in the early Neolithic period, as early as the 7th millennium BC, of which the oldest known examples are the “Jiahu symbols” from China.

Example of the Jiahu symbols;
img. source: wikipedia.com

Similarly, the Vinča signs exhibit an evolution beginning with simple symbol sets that gradually increased in complexity until they achieved the highest development represented in the Tărtăria tablets of c. 5300 BC[2]

The hieroglyphic scripts of the Ancient Near East (inc. Egyptian, Sumerian proto-Cuneiform, and Cretan) emerged from these earlier systems so that it becomes impossible to discern at what point “writing” actually became recognisable, or able to be classified, as writing. “Slavic runes” (7th and 8th centuries AD) and the “quipu” of the Incas (15th century AD) may well be classified as being of a similar nature.

Writing, as it is now generally classified, emerged in a number of Bronze Age cultures, most notably, the cuneiform system of Sumeria, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Cretan hieroglyphs, Chinese logographs, Indus script, and Olmec scripts of Mesoamerica.

img. source: Ancient Scripts.com

So, now, a big jump forward to the “Ogham Alphabet

Ogham (/ˈɒɡəm/; Modern Irish [ˈoːmˠ] or [ˈoːəmˠ]; Old Irish: ogam [ˈɔɣamˠ])

The Ogham Alphabet.
img. source: Staigue Fort House

Early Medieval – An alphabet used to write the early Irish language (in the “orthodox” inscriptions, 1st to 6th centuries AD), and later the Old Irish language (scholastic ogham, 6th to 9th centuries).

Although the majority of the inscriptions in the ‘language’ consist of personal names according to the High Medieval Bríatharogam, names of various trees can be ascribed to individual letters.

There is some argument that the earliest known Ogham inscriptions date to about the 4th century AD, [3] but James Carney believes its origin is rather within the 1st century BC. [6] The actual use of “classical” ogham seems to have been, according to experts, most prolific in the 5th and 6th centuries around the Irish Sea, however, considering it phonetically it is clear that the alphabet predates the 5th century.

Some scholars consider it a mere cipher of its template script (Düwel 1968: [4] points out similarity with ciphers of Germanic runes). The majority of scholars favour the Latin alphabet as the template, [5][6] although the Elder Futhark and even the Greek alphabet have been touted as progenitors. [7] A “Runic” origin, it has been pointed out, would explain the presence of “H” and “Z” (letters unused in Irish) as well as the presence of vocalic and consonantal variants “U” vs. “W” (unknown to Latin writing and lost in Greek.)

We can see, from this VERY brief history, the mention of both Slavic and Germanic Runic systems and thus we might well look upon Runes as the ‘not altogether missing’ link between ancient and modern languages.

Runes (Proto-Norse: ᚱᚢᚾᛟ (runo), Old Norse: rún)

“The letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets, which were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialised purposes thereafter. The Scandinavian variants are also known as futhark or fuþark (derived from their first six letters of the alphabet: F, U, Þ, A, R, and K); the Anglo-Saxon variant is futhorc or fuþorc (due to sound changes undergone in Old English by the names of those six letters). [ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runes]

The three best-known runic alphabets are as follows;

The Elder Futhark (around 150–800 AD)

The Anglo-Saxon Futhorc (400–1100 AD)

The Younger Futhark (800–1100 AD).

Nb: The Younger Futhark is divided further into the long-branch runes (also called Danish, although they were also used in Norway, Sweden and Frisia); short-branch or Rök runes (also called Swedish-Norwegian, although they were also used in Denmark); and the stavlösa or Hälsinge runes (staveless runes). The Younger Futhark developed further into the Medieval runes (1100–1500 AD), and the Dalecarlian runes (c. 1500–1800 AD).

The “Elder Futhark”
img. source: frigarth.weebly.com

The process by which Runic script became dispersed is contentious but it is worthwhile noting that the oldest known Runic inscriptions are found in Denmark and northern Germany, not near Italy. A “West Germanic hypothesis” suggests that the runic systems were spread by movements of the Elbe Germanic groups, while a “Gothic hypothesis” presumes that it was a product of East Germanic expansion.

“The word ‘Rune’ comes from the Germanic root run- (Gothic runa), meaning “secret” or “whisper”, while in Old Irish Gaelic, the word rún means “mystery”, “secret”, “intention” or “affectionate love.” Similarly in Welsh and Old English, the word rhin and rūn respectively means “mystery”, “secret”, “secret writing”, or sometimes in the extreme sense of the word, “miracle” (gwyrth).” [ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runes]

Now, I can see the question that is forming among you dear readers, the obvious question, “What in the name of all the gods does this have to do with Vampires, and more especially Modern Living Vampires?”

A great number of “modern” Vampires that I know, and that I have been in communication with, favour worshiping in age old manners, in recognising the “ancient” deities and historical methodologies of worship; indeed, as an energy worker I have conducted rituals along similar lines, also, a great number of the modern Vampire culture describe themselves as Pagan, synonymous with neo-pagan, practitioners.

Paganism is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christianity for populations of the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism, either because they were increasingly rural and provincial relative to the Christian population or because they were not Milites Christi (soldiers of Christ). [8][9] In the 19th century, paganism was adopted as a self-descriptor by members of various artistic groups inspired by the ancient world. In the 20th century, it came to be applied as a self-description by practitioners of Modern Paganism or neopagan movements who incorporate beliefs or practices different than those in the main world religions.

Contemporary knowledge of old pagan religions comes from several sources, including anthropological field research records, the evidence of archaeological artifacts, and the historical accounts of ancient writers regarding cultures known to classical antiquity. Forms of these religions, influenced by various historical pagan beliefs of premodern Europe, exist today and are known as contemporary or modern paganism, also referred to as neopaganism.”[10][11]

In Pagan practices and traditions the Ogham alphabet and the Rune systems were the province of a few “learned” persons and the systems were used to pass along information and messages in a secretive manner, a hidden manner. Indeed, this is one of the very tenets by which modern groups, covens, Houses and other organisations operate.

Runes, one method for both communication and divination, perhaps, given these two factors, a system of secular practice as well. One of the questions that has always been on my mind is; given that the majority of modern living Vampires subscribe to the belief that we, as modern Vampyres, owe little or nothing to the historical namesake by which we describe ourselves why is it that we embrace, so widely, ancient religious and spiritual concepts?

Several years ago a noted member of our culture developed a “Vampire” alphabet and language from scratch, this as opposed to the adoption of terms to describe ourselves. The language was, as all languages are, based in a currently understood alphabetic sequence and it presented extremely well, indeed, the script developed by the designer was something of beauty. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have taken a similar concept but wound the ol’ timeclock back several millennia and, taking a page out of Professor Fromkin’s book, I set to work…

Copyright T Bey 2017

The instrument I have named “The Vampyr Futharc” (after the traditional method of naming the system for its first 6 letters) is a Rune system based on the “Engliscan Gesithas“, or Anglo-Saxon system, that satisfies the requirements, in the main, for both base communication and divination purposes. As I pointed out in the article Vampire Deities 2017 it wasn’t extraordinarily difficult to achieve, it simply took a little time (around a day in reading material then another day, approx. in the graphical and transliteration) and some attention to the detail (after all, the devil’s in the details you know) and I am able to present it to you here.

In this day and age we need to “communicate” some quite complex and extensive concepts and that is where our modern languages have been developed to, however, in ritual practices and in short communication of basic ideas we need only a limited range of “conceptual instruments”. Be that as it may you will note several peculiarities in this Runic instrument as compared to others you may have come across.

1) Replicated vowels – one of the things that is of considerable importance in any “secret” language is the repetition, throughout a message, of the common vowels, A, E, I, O & U. In this system those letters have dual representation that no matter how and where they are used will break the pattern of repetitiveness and thus confuse attempts to, at base level, decipher the written message.

2) The interrogative symbol – At the end of the Futharc stands the symbol for a question mark. As the lead character in the movie “The Arrival” pointed out, the ability of someone to get an answer to a question depends very much on the recipient’s understanding of what a question is.
By way of examples, dear reader;

Copyright T Bey 2017

A most simplistic exchange in which Fred asks Lydia if she is going to harvest in the current month, to which Lydia replies, in the next sunny week.

Copyright T Bey 2017

A warning that “An angry man (singular) with weapons (plurality established by the use of ~ ) travelling (by) horse (passed by – established by the interrogator) 2 (utilising the basic tally system of numbering) days” (Plurality established by ~ symbol and time frame established by interrogator)

As a final example, a simple message that utilises the alphabetic connections,

Copyright T Bey 2017

In the end analysis a fairly simple system.

 

In the online resource Crystalinks it is written that;

Rune stones, (sometimes cards), are used as tools of divination – a way to predict one’s future. Rune Stones come in a set of 24 ancient alphabetic symbols. They can be made of different materials – wood or glass most common and attractive – and usually kept in a pouch or box.

The author goes on to describe a basic method for “casting” the Runes;

Ideally ruins are cast on an East-West axis or facing the sun. A white cloth is laid down and used to determine the direction of the casting. From here the focus should lie with the pressing question. After casting the stones onto the cloth the ones which have fallen the right side up are read and depending upon whether the rune is reversed or not will have a bearing upon its meaning and the reading as a whole.

Then goes further to offer an alternative to fully casting the Runes,

Pick a rune stone randomly for a day reading; you can also do what is known as a 3 rune spread. Some feel that the day rune is a good way to get an answer to a single question. The 3 Rune Spread is used for asking broader questions whereas the single rune can be drawn on a daily basis.

So, let’s go ahead and cast…

Let’s assume we cast the runes and we get the following runes come upward, not reversed;

Copyright T Bey 2017

A simple interpretation might well be: “A man/ woman (perhaps representing you or you with a companion of the opposite sex) will be travelling to a ‘place of fire’ in your country/homeland in a month.”

In conclusion:

We, in the modern living Vampyre culture, like to speak often of our unique identity, our “difference”, our “place” in the ‘grand scheme’ of things but a great many of us, to one extent or another, operate with basic principles and concepts that have their roots in the most ancient of times. Any culture, any society, any population needs – to one extent or another – a method of expressing its unique identity and its “special” aspects and in this the most common tools are its art and language… look around, we’ve definitely got the “art” covered, you only need to look back at our editorials with Lady Kate Gallwey and Goddess Rosemary, amongst the many other fine artists out there. What we don’t have is a unique language or, with the exception of prosthetic fangs and variations on the Ancient Egyptian Ankh, unique tools of worship…

Do I want you to start dancing around bonfires chanting, “ædac Rusmeada osur orth, ædac Trixdamit osur eohx…!” while tossing corn dollies into the flames as offerings? Ummm… well, hey, sure, if you want but even if not I would suggest that we do owe it to ourselves to come up with something, something that highlights and celebrates OUR culture – just like everyone else in history has.

 

Copyright T. Bey 2017

  1. https://scifi.stackexchange.com/
  2. Haarmann, Harald: “Geschichte der Schrift”, C.H. Beck, 2002, ISBN 3-406-47998-7, p. 20
  3. O’Kelly 1989, p. 250
  4. Düwel, Klaus. “Runenkunde” (runic studies). Stuttgart/Weimar: Metzler, 1968. OCLC 183700
  5. Ross, Anne (1972). Everyday Life of the Pagan Celts. London: Carousel. p. 168. ISBN 0 552 54021 8.
  6. Dillon, Myles; Chadwick, Nora (1973). The Celtic Realms. London: Cardinal. p. 258. ISBN 0 351 15808 1.
  7. Macalister, R. A. Stewart, The Secret Languages of Ireland reprinted by Craobh Rua Books, Armagh 1997.
  8. J. O’Donnell (1977), “Paganus: Evolution and Use”, Classical Folia, 31: 163–69.
  9. Augustine, Divers. Quaest. 83.
  10. Lewis, James R. (2004). The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements. Oxford University Press. p. 13. ISBN 0-19-514986-6.
  11. Hanegraff, Wouter J. (1006). New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought. Brill Academic Publishers. p. 84. ISBN 90-04-10696-0.

 

Other references:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogham

http://www.crystalinks.com/runes.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paganism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_writing#Proto-writing

Further reading on Theories of the origin of Ogham script;

Fol. 170r of the Book of Ballymote (1390), the Auraicept na n-Éces explaining the ogham script.

NB: 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.

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.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

 

 

Dallas but no J.R.

Presented by

Tim

Dallas, a city in the U.S. state of Texas. It is the most populous city in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, which is the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the United States. The city’s population ranks ninth in the U.S. and third in Texas after Houston and San Antonio.[1][2]

The city’s prominence arose from its historical importance as a center for the oil and cotton industries, and its position along numerous railroad lines. It is home to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Southfork Ranch, the Dallas Cowboys and the YO Ranch Steakhouse

It is also home to a Vampire Court, not unusual you say… agreed, there are many cities in the United States that have Vampire Courts but, as you’ll see, the drive and the direction that motivates this Court is something special. This Court is not amongst the oldest, it’s probably not amongst the largest but it IS amongst the best and by the end of this interview I think you, dear reader, will agree.

It gives us great pleasure, and honour to present a One-on-One interview with Mike Burgess, Co-founder and King of The Vampire Court of Dallas.

Image courtesy of VCD

 

RVL: Good evening Mike, we are very pleased, and honoured, to be able to welcome you to RVL, this is, to the best of my recollection, the first time we have had the opportunity to speak with someone from Dallas… how are you today?

MB: Very well and thank you for asking…Personally, I recently started teaching at a new university along with staying busy with the wrap-up from our latest charity endeavours with the court. We are all pretty excited up here with the final results of our fundraiser for Insync Exotics (exotic feline rescue centre) along with our ongoing inter-organizational suicide awareness project. Other than that, just sitting back…dwelling on our successes…and hoping for a bit of a vacation before the rapid-fire of events in October (Austin and New Orleans). I certainly hope that you and yours are able to make it down for all of the fun events!

RVL: Now, if we may, we’re going to have to take up one of the most important questions of this time, are you safe and well following the recent disaster in Texas?

MB: Yes, quite well and doing our best to help…The city of Dallas was thankfully spared from the brunt of the disaster and was able to offer shelter to those affected. I’m sure I don’t have to reflect on the sheer scope of the damage affecting Houston given the considerable news coverage, but the impacts of Harvey are positively staggering with the economic affects already present nation-wide. Regardless, I certainly hope that your readers see fit open their hearts and donate to the several legitimate charities offering aid to the victims and those displaced – help is still very much needed for Houston and the surrounding area as they start the recovery process.
We couldn’t be more proud to see the greater VC, as well as local organizations, that set aside their differences and come to the aid of the city…not only in thoughts/prayers but in significant material donations as well.

RVL: If you would, Mike, can we begin with a little of your own background?

MB: Certainly, I will attempt to dwell more on my own personal qualifications rather than my living-vampirism since I feel that is more of a personal nature to me (anyone reading this can of course ask me in person), and I think that there are much more interesting things to know about a person than sustenance. *Laughs*

Professionally, I both teach university and work with the federal government, and thankfully I have been able to maintain these positions since my leaving the US military honourably in 2009. I hold Master’s (graduate levels for your international readers) in both International Business/Marketing and Rhetoric, and make it a point to utilize my academic background both professionally and in the running of our organization here in Dallas. My academic work recently has been aimed at the future procurement of a PhD in business communications, which hopefully can be used to aid both our organization as well as the greater VC moving forward.

Personally, I have been aware and involved as an individual with the greater VC (which I define as the international community as a whole) via social media and in-person meetups for over 5 years, with 2 of those years in my current public role within the Dallas Organization. Before that, I was aware of my living vampirism as a solitary (I’m not practically fond of the term “ronin” for many reasons) since my own violent awakening and eventual education in 2006 (while I was overseas with the US Military in Afghanistan).

Image courtesy VCD

RVL: Moving on then, if we may, where do you see yourself fitting in with respect to the modern living vampire culture today Sir?

MB:  Well, I think that really is an ever changing answer especially since I try to make a conscious effort to grow and evolve. Personally, I try to be a source of encouragement for new organizations and even existing organization seeking to establish themselves as more formal entities (legal incorporation and 501C3 recognition). Building these public entities not only allow for much more mainstream acceptance and legitimacy in the public eye, but affords them countless protections by the legal system.

Sadly, given the polarized political nature that things have become as of late (albeit politics have always been a staple of the Greater VC in my short memory), people’s suspicion of new organizations have ramped up…The first thoughts should be “how can I help?” or “what kind of example I can set?” rather than simply tearing them down based on their initial structure or ideology. Organizations are evolving things, I know our own Vampire Court of Dallas has changed so much over the past year that we would be hardly recognisable to those that first saw us a year ago…and why should these newer groups be any different. People learn…I say let’s give them a chance to grow instead of being so quick to reach for the torches. I think through my own involvement, both personally and professionally, we can try to improve the uphill battle for these younger organizations…both through greater communication and through setting a wonderful example here in Dallas with our incredible work.

RVL: What, officially, is the primary purpose, aim or goal of the Court of Dallas?

MB: Our formal mission statement is “To Serve and Empower the Vampire/Other-kin Community of Dallas/Fort Worth” but I think our membership has overwhelmingly gone above and beyond this mission to serve the whole of the city that we love in a focused two prong approach:

  1. Charity Work: So far we have ran multiple highly successful charity events partnered with local causes raising well-over $2000.00 in material/monetary support over the past year. We make it a point to not only look for different ways to help, but keep things local so that our city benefits directly from our efforts. We also try to impact causes that directly matter to our membership such as our on-going relationship with Carter Blood Care and the Suicide Awareness Week project that is currently underway. We have really become recognised inside and outside of the Greater Community not as a Vampire/Other-kin group that does charity work…but really a charity organization that is made up of Vampire/Other-kin…a distinction that shows the sheer passion and heart of our membership body.
  2. Community Support: This is really the less-public facet of our organization but is none the less an important function of what we do…namely the support and uplifting of individuals in the vampire/other-kin communities within the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex. Namely, we try to offer not only fellowship, understanding, and education to our membership and really all who take the time to contact us. We pride ourselves on being a community safe space (governed by our by-laws) so that anyone can ask questions and learn about themselves in a judgement-free zone, without any of the hubris or drama that has plagued organizations like ours in the past. As such…every voice matters and is celebrated, with each having a say in our operations and path forward.

RVL: Can you share with us, who your co-leaders are?
MB: We currently have an officer’s council of 7 members with different responsibilities from keeping accounts to promotions…with each holding votes on all of our day to day business. Unfortunately however, we make it a major point to respect our officers and all of our membership’s privacy including their personal wishes for anonymity but their professional concerns as well….Thus, I will refrain from identifying them by name out of respect for that policy. But any local reader of this can personally visit and meet these wonderful folks first-hand. However, I can in good conscious say that Ms. Rayne Drawps (Ed. Note – Co-founder and Queen of The Court) and I serve as chief executives of the organization (co-leaders) as well as the overall public face of the organization.

Image courtesy of VCD

RVL: If we can step back a little, when did the Court of Dallas first come about and why?

MB: Honestly we were on the drawing board for quite some time, over 3 years if not longer. Most of the ideas at the time took an inspiration from several public organizations operating in Houston, Austin, New York and New Orleans…and not to mention we made a point to incorporate several original ideas based on the overall history and atmosphere of the Dallas/Fort Worth Community. Finally, around early 2016, we began assembling our charter and officer core…leading to our first meeting and then our eventual legal incorporation as a non-profit in Oct 2016. From there its been an absolute blast and I don’t think anyone would have thought we would have made it this far, but every day I am surprised by the sheer energy and work of our members to not only grow the organization but the local community as a whole. Our success is completely due to each of them and their passion.

The ‘why’ is an interesting question…personally, my first several years since awakening were primarily operating solitary or under the tutelage of a single teacher…but I always seemed to fall back on group support structures for the various other facets of my life. So really why should this aspect of myself be any different? I can easily guess that my military service is ultimately where this need comes from I think…I’ve always had a squadron, a battalion, a team to fall back on and since leaving that structure there has been a need to fill that void. Luckily for us, there were others, locally here, that felt the same thing and saw fit to join us and add their voice to our membership.

RVL: What, personally, have you hoped for from The Court from day one?

MB:  Personally, I hoped and still hope to build an organization that reflects the diverse and unique landscape of Dallas / Fort Wort first…with lessons learned from the greater VC and other organizations second. This beautiful city and the community that it nurtures is fiercely independent, libertarian, opinionated…while at the same time: kind, generous, and passionate. These values have been ingrained into our organization from the first day while taking into account what I feel are hard lessons learned from other public organizations such as ours. This is why we do our best to limit political drama, in-fighting, and individual ego’s (my own especially) while at the same time celebrating and heeding the voice of our members.

VC Dallas is a product of everyone….not just me or our officers…it belongs to the city and the amazing people that push us forward every day.

Img. source: thinglink.com

RVL: Texas, in general, has been a very active area within the modern Vampire culture for a long time, how do find that The Court works in with neighbouring Courts and Groups?

MB: It does seem a bit counter to how Texas is portrayed doesn’t it? I always reflect on that question with a bit of a chuckle given the stance of our state in most political arenas. Last year, I was privileged enough to have a short conversation about this topic with prominent VC leader and she blessed me with an interesting historical parallel involving the Weimar Republic…namely that while political instability and intolerance was on the rise, art and film flourished. I think this important historical parallel may be heavily at play here, since Texas isn’t particularly known for its progressive politics (with much exceptions). Groups like ours flourish because they offer the acceptance, fellowship and community that one of our people wouldn’t be able to find in the open easily. This may be one of the many reasons why I believe the vampire and other-kin communities have grown so strongly in Texas in particular.

As for our court specifically, we are fortunate enough to enjoy great relationships with all of the other organizations operating publicly and privately within the state. Enough so that we have been able to set aside any differences that we may have to work on charitable projects affecting the whole state. I think the most recent example is the Suicide Awareness Week project currently in work with both us and our counterparts in the Court of Austin. Overall, I make it a major point to try to involve and stay involved with the many great organizations operating within our state since there are such a great many charitable causes that need our help.

RVL: …and what form does membership take? Is it by application and, if so, what are the criteria for membership based on?

MB: Membership is by application but anyone/everyone is welcomed to come and visit our public events or meetings. All that we ask of our guests is to respect the diversity of views within the organization and the atmosphere of inclusion that we have worked hard to forge.

As for the membership application, this is posted freely on our public Facebook page and on www.vampirecourtofdallas.org, and is primarily designed to give officers an insight into an applicant’s character and a feel for their personal goals in joining organization (education, volunteering, charity work, fellowship, spiritual growth). From there, the prospective member is encouraged to visit a public meeting and visit with the membership socially.

Essentially the goals from here is to give the body of membership a considerable length of time to get to know the person that they will be voting on and a period of 30 days (or more) is assigned to allow this to happen.

After this waiting period expires, the membership votes on induction and the associated probationary period (30-90 days)…once passed, the applicant is considered a fully integrated member of the court.

RVL: What are your fondest memories from the time you have been active in the culture?

MB: Well, I think your readers could have easily guessed that I am an idealist of the highest order, and all of my fond memories often involve these ideals being reaffirmed and reinforced by the amazing actions of our members, the people of Dallas/Fort Worth, and the greater community as a whole. Often times during our charity events there is always at least one of my “Three-sizes too big moments” where it seems like my heart is going to beat out of my chest in pride and amazement. But really I am absolutely blown-away EVERY TIME that people come together for the sake of a great cause and celebrating what makes our community special in the first place.

None of us chose to speak-up in this community or take a public role for the sake of argument or politics…it is because we have fun and relish the culture that we have been awakened into. Anytime I see that fact first hand and witness the generosity of our people is simply breath-taking in its beauty and movement.

Img. source: McKinsey & Company

RVL: …and may we ask, what ‘title’, if any, do you have within The Court?

MB: I am one of the co-founders and the principle legal author of the Vampire Court of Dallas, as well as elected king (first elected in 2016 and confirmed in 2017). The various systems of organizational titles has brought a certain amount of controversy from especially the online community as of late, given the nature of these titles to breed toxic ego as well as individual’s claims of privilege. Within our group, we tend to take the baggage that usually follows these titles quite seriously with the social aspects of our undertakings designed to combat that historical precedent…along with many of our by-laws.

Regardless, within most organizations…not just ours…titles form yet another part of the public/private dichotomy that exists within the community as a whole. While I may hold that title and may place it on official documentation (as well as occasionally be introduced as such within the community or related events) publicly as a community leader…privately my role is much more along the lines of a director or administrator…and our members know it as such.

I think it’s a natural inclination of anyone to fear the term “king” as well as any other title, especially given the spirit of our nation as a whole…I myself shared in this distaste until coming to terms with the sheer level of work involved, the service, public appeal, as well as the need congruence with organizations such as ours. Thus, I begrudgingly accept it as best I can…not to mention it sounds much more appealing than my real title of chief paper-pusher (as so lovingly put by one of our lovely members)…*Laughs*

 

RVL: Does The Court hold annual, or some other, events on a regular basis?

MB: Very much so…We try to have a relatively full calendar and keep ourselves occupied multiple charity events and projects throughout the year. The level of participation and leadership in our group has been very high, allowing others to take their ideas and run with them so that the same group of leaders doesn’t get burned out. The local venues/havens/businesses have been massively supportive of what we do and they have been kind enough to offer support to our many events and undertakings.

We meet up publicly once a month (first Sunday) to go over any open actions and projects, as well as conduct votes on new members and initiatives. These tend to be small get-togethers to maintain the family-atmosphere that we have maintained…all the while welcoming everyone here locally to visit and ask questions. We have often had guests appear from other local/regional organizations, and sometime just people curious about what we do. We do our best to try to welcome everyone and dispel any sort of negative press that the community has been a victim of as well as gather support for our many projects.

As for events, we run our yearly flagship event, The Bleeding Hearts Ball, every February (the Sunday before Valentine’s Day) on behalf of a local charity selected by a vote of our standing members. Usually this takes the form of a formal “vampire ball” but we have and continue to experiment with new themes/acts each time.

In addition, we try to run several other events when our calendar allows or if our venue partner’s ask us to become involved…but with the important caveat is that each event must be non-profit and benefit charities local to the D/FW area.

The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Dallas.
img. source: pinterest.com

RVL: What role would you like The Court to be able to play in the culture, both now and moving forward?

MB: I think that remains to be seen really…at this time VC Dallas really has no grand wide sweeping plan to make an impact in the wider culture, our humility and love for our local area keeps us from that. While we do seek to involve greater participation from other organizations nationally in our charity work such as with the recent Semi-fang Suicide Awareness Week Project as well our local fundraising events, the bulk of our attention is focused inward in doing what is best for the cities that we represent. This is why primarily that we make a conscious effort to not actively expand outside of our communities or criticise of the other wonderful communities that are growing in other locales.

If I had my wish, I would hope our legacy is the example we set (and will set moving forward) in showing what community minded people can do when they have the goal of doing good for its own sake and the sake of uplifting each other.

RVL: What do you believe are the biggest issues facing the culture today? And will The Court be actively working to counter these influences?

MB: I think as a community, while maintaining a healthy suspicion of new concepts and ideas, we have been quick to judge and tear down new or different ideas. As individuals, I think our people are highly intelligent and creative…I’m certain we can all agree on that easily…but it is an endless source of frustration when I see that new ideas (even when I disagree) are torn down so easily through personal attacks rather than critical analysis. It is one thing to disagree and argue against a particular idea or ideology, quite another to attack a person directly and cause strife rather than education. My issue is, especially given the commonality that I see this in both politics and our community, is that no one learns anything…discussions degenerate into useless name-calling instead of creating knowledge or reinforcing it.

The Dallas Court, by its very nature and governing structure, holds that all ideas are valuable and that the consensus of the membership is held in the highest regard. While this may seem to risk our organization to engage in endless debate on a topic…I believe that it not only allows for full-scale participation of our members in every project we do, but the ability incorporate all manners of ideas into our day to day operations.

On matters not applicable to our business or projects, these debates allow for the add to the overall body of knowledge as well as the refining of beliefs of the individual regarding vampirism, other-kin, and energy-work…since each point of view is respected and discussed on its own merits. This is why we value open-mindedness so highly in our members and prospective membership.

 

RVL: In closing, Sir, do you have any advice for the wider culture, or for your fellow modern living Vampyres out there?

MB: Why do we keep allowing our collective talents to waste away in the perpetuating cycle of strife, drama, and intrigue when we could be putting it to better use serving the communities we love? We are a global community of talented artists and ambitious souls that can easily be mobilized for the good of serving the localities that give us our home. Through volunteerism, fundraising (we all know that VC events are always spectacular!), and taking the time to reach out a hand to others, I am certain that we can collectively dispel the atmosphere of distrust and online bickering that still plagues us to this day. While there are multiple organizations doing a great many things, especially in the wake of the unfortunate string of disasters facing our nation, I hope that by adding our organization’s voice to this growing contingent of the VC the scales will begin to tip in the direction of the greater good.

 

RVL: It has been a great pleasure to catch up with you, we wish you, and The Court, every success in your endeavours. We would like to carry the link to the site in our recommended sites section if that’s alright?

Beyond that we would like to keep in touch on and off and see how The Vampire Court of Dallas grows and develops, as we are sure it will.

MB: Certainly! I’ve really been blown away by these questions and I have really enjoyed the level of thought put into them. Personally, I was expecting a good deal of depth based on the high quality of the publishing that your e-zine has done in the past…but nowhere near this…thank you so much for taking the time to reach out and ask the questions that matter. I certainly hope that you and your readers have gained a bit of insight into how our organization operates and I encourage everyone to reach out to us if you have any other questions or comments about me or the organization we have built.

Please feel free to post a link to our organization, and we will be sure to drop a line to you every now and then to keep you updated on our recent projects and endeavours.

Thanks again,

Mike Burgess, Co-founder and King – Vampire Court of Dallas

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Here at RVL it is always a privilege and an honour for us to highlight, and report on, strong positive influences in the modern Vampyre culture. We actively seek to bring these things to our readers in order to show that the culture is not, completely, mired in its own drama and conflict which, all too frequently, appears to dismay and confuse. The Vampire Court of Dallas, under the stewardship of Mike Burgess and his staff, stands out as a shining example of the good that can be accomplished by a proud, passionate and active membership. It is a group that looks not only to its own immediate membership and their well-being but also casts its vision, and strength, to the community of which it is a part in the world. Outstanding charity work, outstanding relationships with local business and community and, I doubt that anyone can argue with me, outstanding leadership combining vision and practicality.

Not only has its Co-founder, and King, served his country in a military capacity – and honourably but he, and his staff continue to set that example of selflessness in the conduct of their Court. It is always a “three-sizes too big” moment for us when we are able to present an article such as this and, without doubt, it reaffirms the deeply held faith that, in essence, the modern Vampyre culture has the capacity to produce strong, devoted and overwhelmingly positive things. The Vampire Court of Dallas stands as an example for us all to aspire to.

Copyright RVL, Vampire Court of Dallas and Mike Burgess 2017

 

References:
1) “Texas Almanac | Texas State Historical Association | Facts, Profile & Rank”. TexasAlmanac.com. Retrieved May 11, 2013.

2) “Largest 100 US cities”. City Mayors. May 17, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2013.

3) https://en.wikipedia.org/

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