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Dealing with Inflammatory Letters
I’m on a number of online communities and personals sites, and I never make a point to hide my vampyrism. It’s a significant part of me, and letting others know what I am right off the bat saves the trouble of coming out to them later. Most people who contact me are either fully familiar with real vampyrism or have a respectful interest. However, I do occasionally come across a letter from someone who obviously has intense prejudices against my beliefs, and/or is very misinformed or uneducated in the subject of vampyrism. Most of us would simply dismiss such a person, assuming that his or her hatred and prejudices cannot be changed. However, I submit to you that these are the people who most need to be educated in our ways, as they are the people who are the greatest obstacle for the real vampyre community. So I think it’s at least worth a try to educate such people; if you find it impossible to educate or debate with such people, then go ahead and ignore them. All I’m saying is that we should try to examine their reasons and see what, if anything, can be done about their prejudice before we dismiss them.
I would now like to share a series of letters I exchanged with such a person. These letters are in order and completely unaltered. I’ll be commenting on each letter in italics under them. I should warn you, though; the original letter is quite offensive.
you are not a fucking "vampyre." there is no such thing. now i know you are going to jump on me with that "you are just not openminded" spiel but, beleive you me, i know what im saying. there is no way you, or anyone for that matter, NEEDS blood to survive! thats absurd! maybe you want it but thats it. you just needed some attention from those other homo's who think they are scary too. if i saw you on the street i'd probably shoot you in the head. or laugh hysterically.
This person obviously has a great deal of hatred, prejudice and misinformation regarding vampyrism. Make a note of the persons’ tone in this letter, as I’ll be referring to it later.
Subject: Re: right…
Where exactly did I say I needed blood to survive? I try to be understanding with others, and it's quite obvious that you have absolutely no understanding of what a vampyre is. I did find your letter quite offensive and disrespectful, but I'm aware there are a lot of people who are grossly misinformed, and I'm aware that's not your fault. You make inaccurate assumptions about who I am and what I believe, and use those to discredit my beliefs. It's somewhat similar to telling someone who's Wiccan that they aren't a witch because brooms aren't aerodynamic enough to fly. I agree that it's very unlikely that there is any person in the world that could sustain themselves on blood alone, they would most likely overdose on iron within a few days. But I'm willing to be the bigger person and educate you if you wish. If you're not willing to educate yourself, then you have no right to critisize the spiritual beliefs of others.
Notice that first and foremost I tried to correct this persons’ misconceptions, and later in the letter I even agreed that the concept of someone surviving on blood alone was unlikely. I also made it clear that I don’t blame them for their misconceptions. As vampyres, we often complain about the way the media portrays us, and this is a perfect example of the damage that can be done by such media misinformation. Remember that people don’t control their own perceptions, so most people believe what their personal experiences show them. Secondly, pay attention to the fact that I never sank to the level of threats and petty insults, I know it may be tempting to respond to such a person with a clever put-down or a personal attack, but doing so would strip you not only of your dignity, but of your credibility as well. People are much more likely to listen to someone who carries themselves with strength and poise. Finally, notice that not only do I offer to educate this individual, but I do so in a way that almost challenges them to be educated by me. Most people like that tend to accept a challenge when faced with one. It is a bit manipulative, but hey, I find that it works.
Subject: Re: Re: right…
well then, educate me.
This is what we should always be looking for, an invitation to educate a person about vampyrism. I can tell that there is still skepticism, but at least I now have a right to explain what I believe. I personally think this was meant almost as a counter-challenge, but this person is challenging me to do what I’d wanted to do from the beginning.
Subject: Re: Re: Re: right…
Well I'm glad that you decided to make this letter more respectful then the first. Firstly, I should mention that those in the vampyre community have very diverse spiritual beliefs as most of us have figured out our spiritualities from scratch. So basically most of what I say is just my personal spirituality, and I don't want you to think that I'm speaking for the community as a whole.
With that being said, I'll give you some of the basics of what I believe and you can ask anything else you want to know. I've spent a long time figuring out my spirituality and it would take a long time to explain it all. My belief is that a vampyre is a person who, for some reason or another, is unable to maintain their spiritual life energy (this life energy is called 'prana' by Hindus and 'chi' or 'qi' in most of Asia) and thus needs to acquire it from an outside source. I think it's worth mentioning that I believe all people have some need for energy, but most are able to maintain it unconsciously without any effort. I think a person is a vampyre when they have a need that requires them to make a conscious effort to aquire such energy. To explain it using a simile, spiritual energy is to a vampyre as sugar is to a diabetic; most people are able to maintain their blood sugar without any conscious effort to do so, but a diabetic needs to take special actions. Vampyrism is sort of a spiritual parallel where life energy is equivalent to sugar.
As for feeding, a number of vampyres feed from the energy of other people and things psychically. The techniques for energy manipulation are similar to a number of eastern practices such as Tai chi, Qi Gong, acupuncture, Reiki, yoga, and so on. By the way, there's a very good book on vampyric energy manipulations called "The Vampire Codex" by Michelle Belanger. Most vampyres try to be ethical about feeding, and most will feed on large groups of people, so they don't take too much energy from any single person. There are also a number of vampyres who are either unable to perform such energy manipulations or simply find it easier to aquire energy from drinking small amounts of blood from willing donors. Blood is associated with life energy in almost every culture and religion around the world. Even in Catholicism, blood is said to contain a part of a person's spirit or life energy, and I think that's how most vampyres think of it. It's not the actual blood that helps them, it's the spiritual energy that the blood contains. Now, lastly I should mention that I don't think a vampyre will die if they don't get the spiritual energy they need, but they just won't be spiritually healthy. It's similar to physical nutrition, a person can survive on just bread and water, but their body won't be healthy because it's not getting everything it needs. Well, that's some of the basics of what I believe a vampyre is and how we typically feed. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask. I'm willing to educate you so long as you're willing to be educated.
Firstly, I thank the person for the opportunity to educate them, and inform them that what I’ll be telling them is what I believe personally, so even if they think everything I say is bunk, that doesn’t discredit everyone else in the real vampyre community. I tried to give basic information without going into too much detail about any one thing. I also compare aspects of vampyrism to other belief systems around the world as much as possible to show that our beliefs aren’t that uncommon. When doing this, it’s hard for people dismiss my beliefs, because in a way they would also be dismissing the beliefs of every group I compare my beliefs to.
well, one question: why do you spell it with a "y"...vampyre,
and not the way it is supposed to be spelled, vampire. does it mean something
different with a "y?"
I think we’d all agree that this is a drastic change in tone from the first letter. Firstly, the individual actually expresses respectful curiosity about aspects of vampyrism, and even thanks me for educating them.
Subject: Re: thanks…
Well there are a few different ways to spell it. I think the word came from middle Europe where it was originally vampyr. Then in modern times it became vampire. And I think vampyre is actually the most modern spelling, but it has sort of an old time look. Some people assign different meanings to the different words. I know some groups (www.kheperu.org I think) who use "vampyre" to distinguish real vampyres from movie and folklore "vampires". And I know another site (www.sanguinarius.org) that uses the word "vampyre" to indicate vampire lifestylers (people who aren't vampyres but dress and act like movie vamps). Personally, I don't really distinguish any difference in meaning between the two terms, and I only use the "y" spelling simply because I like it better. And the blood thing is pretty much for those who just want or need to acquire energy that way. As I mentioned before, feeding psychically requires an ability to manipulate spiritual energy. It comes easily for some, but some have a very hard time getting the energy they need from psi feeding (feeding psychically). It typically takes a long time to learn any technique for manipulating spiritual energy, and it's an ongoing process of learning and developing. To give you an idea about how the energy transfer works. It's sort of like the difference between a wire and a battery. Psi feeding is like a wire because it connects electrical energy directly from one place to another. Blood feeding is like a battery where the energy is contained in it and can be moved without needing a direct connection. There are also a lot of vampyres who feed on blood simply because they enjoy it. It's typically considered a very intimate act because the donor is sharing their spiritual and physical life with the vampyre. There are also a lot of people (vampyres and non-vampyres alike) who just have a blood fetish. They're excited by the sight and taste of blood, and it's a sexual thing for them. A lot of vampyres who feed on blood usually do it for one or more of the reasons I mention above. You're more than welcome, by the way. I feel it's my responsibility to educate people so there isn't as much hatred and prejudice against us in the world. And I must thank you very much for your interest and your openmindedness. If there's anything else you wish to know, don't hesitate to ask. Or if you want to talk about something else, I'm up for that, too.
Pretty self explanatory, the person asked a question, and I did my best to answer it. I also make sure that any other inquiries about my beliefs are more than welcome.
Subject: again, thank you..
hey thank you for informing me of all this. i really had no idea what
any of it really consisted of. i was only making a judgment call, which
I'm trying to work on by the way. and the fact that you actually knew
what you wanted or needed to say was very impressive. most of the time
when i pull that whole you arent a fucking vampire thing on other people,
they get defensive, and that is because they really don't know what they're
taking about...you, on the other hand, do.
This really turned out better than I ever could have hoped. Not only did this person thank me a second time, but they complimented me on my knowledge and eloquence, and admitted that the first letter was due to a character flaw that this person is trying to correct. There is still a bit of prejudice against the lifestylers in her area, but there are also many real vampyres who share that prejudice. I continue exchanging letters with this person to this day, and I hope that this article may help you all to better deal with similar situations.
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
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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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