A Simple Exchange Of Information

(Originally posted January 17, 2011) A few weeks ago I saw an article about Vampyres which had been posted by somebody who clearly had no idea what they were talking about. In retrospect, I found this article and the comments to be an interesting take on the outside view of the Vampyre Community. It was written by somebody who had only just been introduced to the idea that there are real Vampyres out there, and even more amazingly that there are enough of them out there, that they even think of themselves as a community! 
The ignorance expressed was so great, it was pitiable and even downright funny, I had to stifle a giggle at the author’s claim that we are “hijacking” the word “vampire” – presumably in the same way that some people make the fantastic claim that gay people are hijacking that word as well.
He assumed that “real vampires” are people who actually think they are, or pretend to be the fictional, undead sort of mythical vampire and go about dressed up like Dracula (or his sister) and so on. He came across as a little angry, partly because he is a pastor in the South African orthodox church, and was so confused by his lack of knowledge on the subject that he was even claiming that  we were “hijacking” the term “vampire”! I felt I had to say something.
As a local Vampyre in South Africa, I decided to shed a little light on the mysteries he and the others who commented on his article appeared to be facing. I chose to write a clear, concise response, not to attack or anger, but to attempt to enlighten the writer.
“Often the greatest detractors and critics are people who do not understand what they are criticizing, and who don’t make an effort to understand.” I began, “I invite you to make that effort.”
To my surprise, he responded positively and asked for more detailed information. I responded, giving as detailed a breakdown of the RVC (Real Vampyre Community) as I thought he could handle. I included links to sites I thought would best answer the inevitable questions that would follow. This is what I posted:
“Yes, there is a large and active community worldwide, although it is not always easily visible. But let’s start at the basics.What is a real life vampire/Vampyre?
A person who identifies as a Vampyre is a person who recognizes a need within themselves for more energy than they can produce on their own. Try as they might, eat or drink what they will, they simply cannot produce enough to feel well or stay physically healthy.

If they feed, this need diminishes, if they deny this impulse, they begin to experience negative health impact, and begin a gradual process of fatigue and developing secondary health issues. Many do deny this need and become ill because of it. Tales abound within the VC of those who end up having heart-attacks or other ailments from not feeding properly.

Because we need energy from outside ourselves, and most typically from other living beings (people, animals or plants) this need is defined as vampiric, or even in some ways parasitic, although most of us will view the application of the latter hurtful and even insulting.

Most of the questions you could have on this topic can be found here.

What do Vampyres feed on?
Like anyone else, Vampyres eat the same food and drink all the same liquids anyone else. But we need more than just that. Among Vampyres, there are two main ways to obtain this sustenance, and one is via blood, the other chi/or prana energy which is absorbed via among other methods, physical contact. Those who feed via blood are called Sanguine or Sang Vampyres and those who feed off PSI energy, Psychic or PSI Vampyres. There are various other ways to feed, but this is a crash-course, so you need to investigate that further on the same site listed above. There are of course many other sites, but that is probably the best place to start.When people think of the fictional vampire they often confuse us with that, thinking that we kill people to drink their blood. This is simply not true. Vampyres feed from consensual Donors who willingly help them. Most often these are people known to the Vampyre who have some form of relationship with them, be it a friend or a romantic partner. No harm is done to them, and not much blood is taken, just enough to keep the Vampyre healthy.

Is vampirism a religion?
Broadly speaking no. Most Vampyres view what they are as a state of being, like your skin color or your cultural group. I say broadly, because there are some who see being Vampyre as a religious or spiritual experience. There are several religions or temples around the world which approach vampirism as a religion and cater for Vampyres, but again, many if not most Vampyres appear to belong to other more mainstream faiths like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Wicca etc. Many are also atheist or agnostic, just like anyone else. In fact, I even know a few Catholic and born-again Christian vamps – strange as that may seem to you. Many feel that vampirism is a condition that chose them, not the other way round.

Are Vampyres all goths?
The notion that Vampyres are all gothic, wearing black clothes and makeup is a stereotype. The basis in this is the detail that it is often the most visible minority of any group that catches public attention. That said, no – most vamps are not gothic, in fact you could be sitting right beside one now and you’d never know.

Are Vampyres evil/bad people?
I think this is a clear demonstration of stereotype. If you examine any cultural group, be it based on race or language or sexual orientation or gender, can you honestly claim that an entire group is either all good or all bad? It is the same with Vampyres. Most Vampyres seem to be ordinary people just wanting to live their lives.

Just like any community, we have secular groups, religious groups, entertainment, alternate rock bands, and even news sites.

I hope this explains who we are a little better, and of course, if you want to know more, just ask.”

At the end of this, the writer thanked me for the information, and undertook to investigate the links I posted. It was a simple exercise in setting right misconceptions, without all the drama and fuss one would normally expect.
There were no insults, no lengthy arguments, no raised tempers,  no condemnation, no damning quotes from scripture being tossed back and forth, no hostility, no hatred, no intolerance. Only courteous questions and answers. Just a simple exchange of information. And a feeling that both sides may have actually learned something to their mutual benefit.
If only all our interactions with the Mundane world could be like that.
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