The vampire next door
Vampires have been part of human folklore in almost every culture and civilization. Creatures who suck life blood, energy, or souls have a long history of being cautionary tales against trusting strangers, against eating the dead, or simply an excuse to fear the dark. Although some cultures have very different ideas about how vampires operate, the modern Nosferatu legend is almost exclusively based on 18th century western lore and these creatures have benefited from a great deal of stylization over the years. They are now generally regarded as cultivated, sensual, and seductive; a far cry from their carrion heritage.
There are many who covet the abilities of a vampire; so much so that individuals identify themselves as such. Linda Rabinowitz is a mom living in Virginia under the assumption that she is a psychic vampire. She believes she possesses the ability to ‘suck’ energy and life force from other human beings. Linda (or Selket, the vampire name she has chosen for herself) refuses to sap innocent victims, and chooses only willing partners. Sometimes she drinks her lover’s blood. The difficulties of modern life make her feel tired and exhausted, and so for her, the ritual of vampirism seems to take the edge off.
There is a huge community of individuals who identify themselves as vampires, but there is not a consensus about the supposed different types that exist. Some claim to be only psychic vampires, but the blood drinkers feel that they are not of their kind. Even in the world of make believe, there is still exclusion and bigotry. How comforting.
Although there may not be any direct harm in people identifying themselves as vampires, I can’t help but shake my head in disbelief. I don’t really mind that some individuals might find pleasure in drinking blood, or in fantasizing that they have special powers, but when did fantasy take precedence over reality? Surely, even they may have days where they question the validity of their bold claims. I don’t mind groups of people identifying themselves with the strange cultist behavior of vampires, since I don’t see it as generally very different from any religious belief. What I do mind is how far the delusion has taken them; here’s a quote from Sanguinarius‘ (a ‘star’ in the vampire world) website.
It is very driving need and takes a great deal of resistance to overcome the desire / craving / urge / lust / need / pull / demand / thirst / hunger / addiction / want. When I feed, I am very [sic] focussed on only that; it is not my main concern, it’s my only concern. The taste is beyond delightful. It alleviates the thirst, the need. It gives a sense of peace, of well-being, of euphoria, of relaxation and [sic]energization at the same time. — I don’t know how to [sic] explaine that, but if you’re one who has experienced it, you’ll know what I mean. It’s akin to being drunk almost, but different. Drunk, without the sluggish clumsiness of enebriation. You could take on the world. I sleep like a baby [sic] afterwards. As for what I’m thinking during feeding, not much. I’m [sic] focussed on the feeding, almost entirely, wanting more, wishing it were gushing down my throat…frustrated if it’s not; [sic] focussed on the taste, on the relieving feeling….
Um, I’m going to quit this now, because it’s starting to get to me.
I’m no psychologist, but I would venture to say this level of obsession is not unlike what addicts might experience when they do heroine or crack. The only difference here is the physical addiction to blood is based entirely on psychological need. This negative behavior is only reinforced, especially in a community where others share their ecstasy in partaking in the same activity.
I’m not going to humor a person who believes they need to drink blood to stay alive and vital. At the same time, if people want to run around in capes, sleep in coffins, or drink the ‘life essence’ of their partners with their minds, I won’t stop them. Just don’t expect me to respect your silly belief.