“Please, Vlad – Not In Front Of The Mundanes.”

(Originally posted August 27, 2010) In one of the previous articles I posted on the House Valur blog about how much some far right religious groups think they know about Vampyres – and the threat they imagine we represent to them and paint us to be, I sometimes have to wonder – even in a modern culture of civil rights, democracy and openness, whether we are being too open about what we are?
Some of them take us very seriously – seriously enough to do studies and produce articles on the topic of our existence. I saw a dvd being promoted recently by a religious fringe group – promoting a book supposedly written by an “ex-vampire” warning of the “dangers” of vampirism and the practice of it. And while I know of no cure for being vampyric, yes – being a Vampyre is dangerous – so is crossing the street – but when you note the zealotry and narrow-mindedness with which they view us, I begin to realize the real danger.
Sooner or later, we could be closely scrutinized by religious or state authorities in some kind of 21st century Inquisition. Sooner or later we may have to draw the line about how public and open we can afford to be. PDV (Public Displays of Vampyrism) could end in tragedy for us all. At some point we may have to climb back into that coffin, and let them pin it all on the goths, emos and posers.
The Black Veil, a set of loosely adhered to guidelines for the Vampyre community at large, frowns on vamps appearing on TV shows like Oprah or Ricki Lake – drinking blood on camera or demonstrating energy feeding etc, showing people glimpses of what we are. Vampyres like Don Henrie, a.k.a. “the Vampire Don” and Michelle Belanger would seem to fall into this group.

I would say that between him and Michelle Belanger (one of the draftees of the original Black Veil), it would be a tough choice which of them has a bigger Vampyre digital or print media footprint. So much for secretive and private.
While Michelle Belanger and Don Henrie have been doing an excellent job of marketing our existence to Mundanes at large, and romanticizing and “softening” our PR image – you could also say they have also been doing an excellent job of marketing themselves as well, as public faces of our community. Of course, I get the impression that they have done this on their own, independently – without the broad support or direct approval of the general V-community. Ms Belanger is a leader of the US-based House Kheperu, and as far as I know, Don Henrie has no formal House affiliations, aside from his own fan base.
I don’t know how you feel about it, but I quite like the glamorous photo shoots of TVD (The Vampyre Don), the slick mystic look of Michele Belanger, the romantic image they have created – the TV and radio interviews both do on the topic of PSI and Sang vampirism. Michelle has also written several very informative books on vampirism. Then of course, there are the internet support groups and forums both they and others have created online, filled with fans – Mundane and Vampyre alike. In all, it makes me feel slightly better about being vampyric than the old fictional image conjured up by old black & white movies! Who would blame Mundane teens and fans for being drawn to all vamps because of their good work?
Sadly, I doubt we will ever shed the image we have as predators of Mundanes, largely due to works of fiction, religious fervor, and the occasional use of the word “Vampire” every time some savvy newspaper journo covers a particularly bloody murder or series of slayings. And every so often, there are still incidents of suspectedvampires being hurt or killed by Mundanes with a hard-on to be the next Buffy. Pu-leeeez.
You see, Mundanes may fear us if they believe in us – but we have far more to fear from them. For one thing, there are far more of them.
Curiously, despite the PR successes or Vampyres like DH and MB, the majority of us remain “coffined” and anonymous. I understand where this comes from, this fear of exposure. Some people only know one way to react to something they don’t understand, agree with, or fear – kill it. One of the things that protects us from this sort of ignorant knee-jerk reaction, is the failure of the broader Mundane society to realize that some of the whackos out there claiming to be vamps, aren’t just “coffin kids” or goths or emos – some of them really are vamps, to say nothing of the vamps that are in no way associated with these lifestyler groups. Get someone on prime time TV explaining all about vamps, blood drinking and PSI feeding, and you start to chip away at that facade of their blissful ignorance, bring understanding – and also erode away the thing which gives us protection.
Oh you could say they have good intentions, and both TVD and Michelle Belanger have done a lot to advance the general knowledge of what we are to the general public. Many once latent vamps owe their awakenings to their efforts. They have shown the world what we are,how we feed, why we feed and what we believe about ourselves and the world around us – and that there really isn’t a reason for them to fear (and thereby hate) us.
In essence, they have laid our souls bare before all the world. From the point of view of human rights activism, this approach makes perfect sense. Ignorance causes fear and fear results in all sorts of unpleasant issues. Education solves the ignorance part, breaking the vicious circle. Trouble is, even when presented with clear, concise easy-to-understand facts – not all Mundanes will actually listen, or put down the stake.
Not all of them will believe that we are real, even if they do tolerate us (which is fine, really) and clearly, not all Mundanes will even consider tolerating our existence among them – and that is the problem for me. If you think about it rationally, it is like convincing sheep that wolves have changed their habits and taken to eating tofu and grass, like them – and no longer pose a threat to them. Sure, I can see the sheep inviting their friendly neighborhood wolves round for dinner. All this besides, there is always that ongoing debate in our community about whether or not we are predators of Mundanes. Certainly, there are cults out there that teach this as a basic root of their belief system. Remember, we are about as diverse in our own community in terms of viewpoints and beliefs – in fact, some of you reading this may even feel this is true for you.
My own interpretation of the way things are with us, is that perhaps by nature we are predatory – but we don’t have to act as predators. We may live with the beast within us, but we are more than the beast. We are beings of both light and darkness, and darkness doesn’t have to mean bad or “evil“. We don’t only have to take – we can receive – and we can give back too.
If some genius ever comes along and somehow shows demonstrable, measurable proof to the Mundanes that we are real, and not a bunch of anti-social and delusional whack-jobs wearing plastic fangs and drinking human blood for cheap thrills and giggles on weekends – we could indeed end up with some serious negative fall-out which I doubt we as a community are even remotely prepared for. In fact, beyond just sharing common characteristics and needs, I sometimes wonder whether we can even be called a “community” at all. But then, that could be because of where I live – among conservatives – and over here we are very, very secretive.
We could end up becoming a new persecuted minority, living “True Blood” for real… with real life equivalents of the “Vampire Rights Movement” fighting against persecution of the real Vampyre community – and religious extremist “Light of Day” institutes raising secret armies to exterminate vampires. I’m not sure I like that idea much, do you?
I think we’re far safer educating our own kind and telling the Mundanes “don’t be silly, there’s really no such thing as vampires” *wink*.

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