Definitions — Vampirism, Vampyrism and Vampire Cults
1. Folklore: a corpse that becomes reanimated and leaves its grave at night to suck the blood of sleeping persons
2. an unscrupulous person who preys ruthlessly on others, as a blackmailer or usurer
3. a beautiful but unscrupulous woman who seduces, exploits, and then ruins men
4. vampire bat
– Source: Webster’s New World College Dictionary
1. superstitious belief in vampires
2. the practices of vampires in folklore, specif. bloodsucking
3. the act or practice of preying ruthlessly on other people
– Source: Webster’s New World College Dictionary
1. Belief in vampires.
2. The behavior of a vampire.
– Source: American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
Vampyre | Vampyrism
Some people who are into the vampire subculture and who believe themselves to be vampires prefer the terms ‘vampyre’ and ‘vampyrism’ in other to distinguish themselves and their beliefs and practices from the mythic, fictional stereotypes.
While most people interested in vampires firmly place vampirism in the realm of fantasy, a vampire subculture has developed as well.
Some take their interest even further, turning fantasy into real-life practices.
[T]he growing interest in stories like the Twilight saga could see “real” vampires emerge from the underground and into the daylight.
University of Western Sydney Associate Professor Adam Possamai, who specialises in sociology of religion, said the growing number of “vampires” was an example of hyper-real religions – new faiths that draw on religion, philosophy and popular culture to create their own beliefs.
He said people had been interested in vampires since the 1970s, particularly the super-human abilities of vampires.
“Some groups developed and have become quite active on the internet,” he said.
“The vampire is no longer a monster that needs to be exclusively destroyed, it is now a superman-type of character that people aspire to become to realise their full potential.
There are teenage vampires stalking the high-school corridors and the city streets, but their fangs are store-bought and few have cultivated a taste for human blood.
For almost all of those wannabe vampires with their chalk-white faces, black-lined eyes, blood-red lips and dark Victorian-era clothes, vampirism is more a fashion statement and a harmless way to thumb their noses at the establishment and their straight-laced parents than the murderous fascination with death, pain and the drinking of blood that arose in testimony during the Johnathan trial over the past several weeks.
Some are fans of the bottle-blonde version of the vampire showcased in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show. But most are fixated on the life’s darker side, a subset of the Gothic cultish following who wear the same black clothes and dyed hair and listen to the same bleak music and poetry. But they are obsessed with vampire novels and attend parties at downtown clubs wearing 19th-century clothes and imitation vampire teeth.
“It’s kind of the ideal of living forever and being immortal and stuff like that,” says Sarah Khokhar, the manager of Siren, a boutique on Toronto’s trendy Queen Street West that sells clothing, makeup and jewellery to Goths and would-be vampires, mostly in their teens and 20s.
“I wouldn’t say it’s drinking blood or anything like that. That’s pretty rare. I know there are people like that, but I don’t know anyone, and nobody comes in here like that, pretty much. It’s more music, fashion, poetry, literature, stuff like that.”
If most are recreational vampires, a small fringe cross the line from bizarre hobby to dangerous cult.
During the trial, one of the boys facing charges in Johnathan’s death — a friend of the brother also in the defendants’ box — confessed in his testimony to a fascination with vampires and a proclivity for drinking human blood.
But this week, while the jurors were in their second day of deliberations, a mistrial was declared when it was discovered that the boy’s former girlfriend — a teenager who was the prosecution’s key witness — had posted her profile on a popular website for vampire aficionados, where she claimed a fondness for blood, pain, cemeteries and knives, after denying in the witness box that she shared the boy’s interests in blood.
Police in Canada have stumbled upon cases of obsessive people in vampire cults who indulge in rituals of drinking cow’s blood, swallowing human blood they draw from one another, torturing animals and even murder. But these are exceptionally rare crimes.
“It’s very unusual, but not unheard of,” says Grant Charles, a social work professor at the University of British Columbia. As a children’s mental-health worker years ago, he worked with teenagers involved in a vampire cult where members consumed their own blood.
“Most therapists working in the field would not come across this, and wouldn’t even be aware of it. Maybe they’ve heard of it in a case study at school, and even then it would be unusual. It’s not something we would teach at my school.”
He knows of no other cases of teenage vampire cults in Canada.
Stephen Kent, a sociologist at the University of Alberta who studies cults, says he “didn’t blink an eye” when he read about the bloody vampire tendencies of the teenagers involved in the Johnathan trial.
“It’s highly plausible for a number of reasons,” he says. “Some people can feel tremendous eroticism through drawing blood and pain and death.”
While people of all ages are seduced by cults, he says, teenagers are especially vulnerable because of loneliness, a need to belong, sexual confusion and family tensions.
– Source: Small fringe jumps from hobby to cult, The Globe and Mail, Canada, Feb. 17, 2005
The Vampyre Underground
There is a lot of history, myth, and folklore surrounding vampires, from the Bram Stoker novel Dracula and the 1922 silent film, “Nosferatu,” to the 1985 movie “Fright Night” and Anne Rice’s 1976 novel, Interview With A Vampire. What many are unaware of is that today there are those who consider themselves vampires, and there is a real vampire underground in this country and in Europe. But these vampires are not turning into bats. These present-day vampires are people who may not consider themselves totally human, believing that they were born a vampire, or that they became one through some kind of initiation involving blood-drinking and/or sex. The vampire persona may be also taken on as a form of personal expression, or to indicate feeling set apart from society. What is true is that this subculture is totally outside mainstream culture, and is more a rejection of that culture’s values than a rebellion against it.
Vampires sometimes prefer the spelling, “vampyre,” to distinguish it from fictional and stereotyped vampires. Sometimes they are referred to as the Kindred. There are those who do not like the vampire term, and may prefer a name like Dark Angel.
The vampire subculture covers a range of beliefs and practices. Those involved may:
- Limit their involvement to role-playing games and to fantasy
- Gather at Goth or similar clubs on the weekends
- Be attracted to and involved in erotic practices associated with some forms of vampirism
- Be drawn to the occultic, dark side of vampirism
- Believe they can gain special powers through blood-drinking
- Be in a group or “clan” with others
- Identify themselves as a vampire based on their own personal criteria
Since the movement is (sub)culture-driven and leaderless, there is no set of consistent beliefs; there is dispute as to what a vampire really is. […more…]
– Source: The Vampyre Underground by Marcia Montenegro
- The Vampyre Underground by Marcia Montenegro of CANA
Since the movement is (sub)culture-driven and leaderless, there is no set of consistent beliefs; there is dispute as to what a vampire really is. The vampire is revered by various people as a romantic hero, as a rebel, as a master of dark powers, as a predator, as an outcast, or as an immortal. Some claim blood-drinking must be a part of it, while others assert that drinking blood is the province of vampire wannabes, and that the true vampire does not need blood but instead feeds off the psychic energy of others. Others may believe that being a vampire is the ultimate in individuality and can do what they want. Those seriously involved may practice one or more of the following: blood-drinking, sleeping in coffins, avoiding daylight, performing occult rituals, taking drugs, wearing fangs or having incisors sharpened, and engaging in unusual sexual practices.
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Related topic(s): Vampire Cults, Vampirism, Vampyrism
First published (or major update) on Monday, June 19, 2017.
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