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Vampirism: Differentiating Facts from Fakes
K. comments, "In recent months, I've been struck by just how many other so-called 'message boards' there are out there that purport to be staffed or maintained by 'real' vampires, and the staggering amount of disinformation found therein. In response to some of the more outlandish posts, I wrote a rebuttal which I have revised and re-posted on various other boards, in the hope that it might at least be of use in helping a small number of visitors to these sites see that they do not represent the main body of the vampire community, or indeed reflect anything of the physical reality of living vampirism."
Having read some of the posts on various message boards of late, in particular those appertaining to the "turning" of people into vampires, or the things that people must do or beliefs they must convert to in order to become a vampire, I thought I would myself write this article outlining both my own opinions on these matters, and also summarising for the benefit of the reader the publicly available positions of the main body of the vampire community itself on these points.
Before I begin, I should point out that much of what I am about to say may be disappointing or disheartening to some readers who have come here seeking the truth (or as close to it as anyone can get via an Internet message board) of these matters. Nevertheless, I have always felt that someone can only properly form their own opinions when they are in possession of all the relevant facts, and that one's own hopes and desires should not be allowed to distort the facts in question, or lead you to reject them simply because they do not fit with your own expectations.
Firstly, it is best to take a look at the basic nature of vampires themselves. There are various misconceptions surrounding this issue, some of the most commonly found being that they exist in a state of "living death", that they must worship the Devil or some other dark power in order to exist at all, that there is a clear difference between the capabilities of male and female vampires, and that they are split into Clans. It is my opinion that these assertions are almost entirely inaccurate, for reasons that I will now proceed to outline.
In order to understand why I believe that the above information is false, it is first necessary to understand not only what a "real" vampire is, but what it is not. There are indeed those people in the world today who consider themselves to be vampires, who feed on either the blood or life force of others in order to sustain themselves, and who do exhibit some of the abilities and properties that one classically associates with vampires. There is a thriving community, both off and on-line, of such individuals.
However, just as it is true that they exist and have a small number of the powers and susceptibilities of a classical vampire, it is equally true that they are different in a great number of ways. Firstly and foremostly, they are neither immortal nor "unliving". They are just as physically, biologically alive as the next person. Physical immortality is not something that is experienced by vampires. They require oxygen, water, food and heat just as any living creature does, and if any of these things is withdrawn to an extreme, their physical body will die, just as that of any other human being in the world would. Similarly, if they are critically injured, or if they contract a terminal illness for which there is no medical cure, they will die -- vampires are just as susceptible to all forms of serious physical harm as any other person, be it from injury, disease, toxins, or what have you.
It is true that some consider themselves to be physically hardier than most people, some say they are are stronger than average, some claim to have other out-of-the-ordinary capabilities -- but all are alive, and at the end of the day, if something is alive, it can (and will, eventually) die.
However, it is equally the case that some vampires believe in a form of spiritual immortality -- that is, that their spirit survives after death and that they are re-incarnated again as a vampire, and are able with effort to access the memories of past lives. Whether or not one believes that, one absolutely indisputable fact remains -- vampires are not physically immortal or undead in any way, and both age and can be killed in the same ways as any other person.
Here are some links to a popular site used by the on-line vampiric community that explain what a real vampire is, and again what it is not. These links should hopefully be of use to the readers of this board:
Addressing next the issue of the creation of a vampire. It has been said on some boards that humans can be "turned" into vampires. Again, the stated position of the vampire community, backed up by my own personal experience and that of a great many others besides, is that this is not true. A person is either born with the ability to awaken to their vampiric nature, or they are not. If you do not have it in you, then you can never become a vampire. Vampires refer to the process of moving from one's previous state to becoming fully vampiric as "the Awakening".
The commonly-accepted belief throughout almost the entire community is that those people who are now vampires had within them the potential to become a vampire from birth, even if they did not appear to become vampires until a later age. At some stage in their lives, an event or meeting occurred that caused their latent vampiric nature to Awaken, and they realised their true natures. A person can have this latent vampirism within them their whole life, and never know that it is there. If a latent vampire does not seek to nurture their potential, or have something happen to them in life that causes it to Awaken, then they will go through their whole life without Awakening, and will live and die just the same as any other normal person.
Someone who does not have latent vampirism within them cannot become a vampire. If it is not an in-born part of a person's nature, then they will never be able to become a vampire. Vampirism is certainly not something that can be casually passed from one person to another as either a blessing or a curse, or a reward or punishment. In short, if you do not have it in you to become a vampire, then no one can turn you into one, no matter what you do for them or how much you wish they could do it.
Again, here is another link to the site mentioned previously with some articles intended to be read by those who are seeking vampires out, for whatever reason, that should hopefully be helpful:
Moving on to the next point -- that no one can become a vampire without first worshipping the Devil, a demon, or some similar dark power along those lines. Again, this is not accurate. No single particular religious belief is necessary for someone who is a vampire to either first undergo their Awakening, or to sustain their vampiric nature after going through it. It has also stated by some that the faith that all vampires must follow is Satanism. Again, this is simply not true.
Since vampirism is not a condition that is bestowed by any higher power as a reward or curse on an individual because of their deeds or misdeeds, it makes no sense that following or rejecting any one particular religious belief would have any bearing on a real vampire. No person, vampire or otherwise, is going to be suddenly struck dead or otherwise literally, physically punished by any deity because they follow or have rejected any one religion or set of beliefs. Whilst it is true that a great many vampires have a tendency to follow the various Left Hand Path religions, this is as with any other individual a matter of personal choice and free will -- there can be found vampires who follow Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion you care to mention.
At this point, it seems appropriate to digress for a moment to take a look at Satanism itself, since this is the one religion most commonly mentioned in connection with vampires. If you were to ask someone who had no personal experience of Satanism what they thought the single biggest part of Satanism is, they would no doubt say "Devil worship". This is not true, for the vast majority of Satanists. Satanism (despite the name) more often than not has absolutely nothing to do with the worship of Satan, the Devil, or whatever you want to call it. Satanism is a religion that emphasises that there is no higher power than the self. It is a philosophy that teaches there is no moral authority that you have to answer to for your actions other than yourself. You are the only person who has any influence over your actions, and in the end, it is only your own will, your own desires, that matter.
Now, often Satan is cited as a metaphor for this potential -- the very epitome of choosing of one's own will and desires over those of others -- but in most instances Satan, if he plays any part in Satanic worship at all, is included only because of what he represents, and not because he opposes God or is expected to grant favours to those who worship him or whose conduct would be likely to please him.
Indeed, Satanism by its very nature precludes a belief in God or the Devil, Heaven or Hell -- it states that since there is no afterlife, then all that matters is the here and now. Consequently, the only thing that should influence what you do with your life is your own desires, rather than a moral code laid down for the benefit of a higher power or obtaining some after-death reward, since neither of these things exist.
You can read an F.A.Q (Frequently Asked Questions) document from Usenet about Satanism here, which explains all the various points of this particular faith in detail:
Here is another Web page that contains a brief but informative article, outlining the most common misconceptions and basic facts regarding Satanism:
As you will see if you read through the above documents, whilst there are indeed those Satanists who follow particular variants of the faith who do in fact worship a deity of some nature, the majority of Satanists have nothing to do with the Devil at all in the course of following and keeping to their chosen faith, and in fact do not believe that such a Devil literally exists.
Moving on to the next point that has cropped up in some places -- that there is a difference between what male and female vampires can do. This is only true to the extent that there are the obvious differences between men and women, from a physical point of view. A male vampire and a female vampire do not have different strains of vampirism, or any inherently different vampiric capabilities at all. Every vampire is different in their own way, with their own preferences and abilities -- just like everyone else. But their gender in no way defines for all time what vampiric abilities they will and will not possess, just as it does not restrict most of the everyday skills they can acquire or things they can do with their lives.
Looking now at the point that "true" vampires are organised into Clans. Again, this is false -- for the most part. Vampires, like any category of people, do have a social structure, and some have chosen to organise themselves into groups. Most notable in vampiric society is the existence of Houses. These are groups of vampires who have banded together either because they share a similar outlook or philosophy, or who believe they have shared a similar past in a previous life, for those vampires who believe in their spiritual immortality and re-incarnation. A House normally looks to assist its members in their spiritual training and advancement, and to help them come to a deeper and more complete understanding of both themselves and the vampiric condition in general.
What Houses are not are different "bloodlines" of vampires. One vampire's own particular powers and abilities are, for the most part, not influenced by the House that they are a member of. Indeed, the majority of vampires do not consider themselves to be members of any House at all. Only in role-playing games such as "Vampire: the Masquerade", published by White Wolf, are vampires organised into separate Clans that have their own unique and distinctive supernatural powers and history. Houses are, for the most part, akin to ordinary human churches and social groups -- nothing more, nothing less.
Lastly, there have also occasionally been claims from some quarters that in order to be "turned", you have to become a vampire's slave, either for a fixed period of time or until some specific condition is met. Leaving aside for the moment the fact that there is no such thing as "turning", this in and of itself also makes no sense. The vampiric community is generally very supportive of its new members -- those who have undergone an Awakening are helped by either their off-line or on-line support groups as far as possible, and by and large vampires are not especially more exploitative of those around them than any other group of people are likely to be.
In fact, the vampiric community has developed over the years its own code of conduct, known as the Black Veil. This has undergone various revisions over the years to cope with the changing world of the Internet, message boards, and reality television shows which have featured prominent "vampires" expounding on their beliefs. You can find a link to the text of the Black Veil at the end of this paragraph. I would encourage people to read through this, and to ask themselves if the words of someone who wants to enslave them really indicate that they are the kind of "vampire" that you would want to associate yourself with, let alone want to take as a mentor. Here is a link to the Black Veil, as it stands in its current revision:
In closing, I would also encourage all readers of this post to thoroughly examine the motivations of anyone who seems to be suddenly offering them exactly what they are looking for. In particular, if you encounter someone who claims to be a supernatural, immortal vampire, and who says they can turn you into the same -- always proceed from the position of believing that this is not the case. The onus is on them to prove that they are indeed something other than human. It is easy for anyone to claim anything on the Internet, and easier still for them to try to convince you to give them whatever they want, because if you do not you won't be "turned".
Here are some other links to Web sites which contain articles and information both intended to assist vampires themselves in understanding their condition, and in explaining the community to those who wish to learn more about it:
Here is also a link intended for those Christians who are trying to understand the vampire community from their own perspective. This link is only available via an archived version at the Wayback Machine:
I hope that this post has been helpful, and again I encourage people to read all the information on this board and any others, and to make up their own minds as to what they believe the truth of vampires to be.
Eerie America TV Series
Eerie America could very well be called The Fodors Travel Guidebook for The Addams Family. I read some in-depth information about the show and saw the promo, and from what I can tell, this will be an absolutely AWESOME series if they can get it off the ground. (I'm actually praying they will.) Let others know and see who can help. This is something that should happen! Let's pull together and make it so!
New Orleans Vampire Association
NOVA is a State Recognized Non-Profit Organization geared toward helping the homeless in the New Orleans area and working towards its greater goals, including a homeless shelter in the Greater New Orleans area.
If you would like to donate money, food, or supplies toward the cause, please click here for more info or to donate.
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