With modern literature and culture, from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Anne Rice’s Lestat to Joss Whedon’s Angel and Spike, the vampire as a tragic figure has emerged. Now, the vampire is no longer an undead corpse who mindlessly drains the blood of the living. It no longer acts solely out of its primal need to sustain its life without regard to human life. Now vampires have a conscious and can choose to drink human blood or animal blood, to kill or only taste, to repent for their sins of the past or to live in lavishness. Today’s vampires are erotic and mysterious. They have the power to take whatever they want but also the power to restrain themselves out of pity for their victims or humanity. Some even have a soul and can distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘evil’.
It’s not surprising that with this dramatic shift, vampires now play a symbolic role in modern culture, and particularly within the gothic scene. One of course one doesn’t have to be ‘Goth’ to appreciate the tragic nature of the vampire, though the vast majority of those that identify with vampires are or have been at one point identified with gothic culture. Maybe I’ll talk about the connection with vamps and modern culture in another blog, but for now, I’ll discuss what people might mean when they describe themselves as real vampires (or vampyres).
Categories of Real Vampires
You pretty much have 3 categories when you discuss real vampires. The first are those that consider themselves psi or psychic vampires. These types of vampires feed on other people’s energy, whether that be prana, emotional, or sexual. We all do this at one point or another in our lives. If you’re part of a fan base that’s cheering on their team to win the championship, just being part of the whole creates an energizing feeling. Likewise, when someone’s in a bad mood that in turn effects everyone he/she has contact with, you are absorbing that negative energy. Psi vamps claim to have a greater awareness of this energy around them and can feed off other people, even filtering out the negative from the positive. Most likely, when people talk of being a vampire, they consider themselves to be of this type.
The second type are those that literally feed of another’s blood. They usually have someone, called a donor, that they feed from – mind you, they almost always know this person very well and are certain they are disease free. They may take a more BDSM approach and use the blood drinking more in an erotic context.
The third type are those that are not of the first two types but still associate with the vampire to the point where they might imitate the literary vampire’s style of dress, or believe themselves to be light sensitive or another characteristic of a vampire. Usually, they tend to be teens/college age and are going though that coming of age questioning the meaning of life and their place in it. They may see the world against them and long for the dominating powers of the vampire or see the vampire’s drinking blood from the neck as highly erotic. They might also wish for immortality, or the freedom from society’s stereotypes and rule. After all, vampires are no longer human beings subject to the laws that govern humans. They are now creatures of the night that are driven by their animal natures to feed off their prey – the noble savage that just enacts its role without constrains of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ placed upon it.