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My own tentative conclusions about real-life vampirism

by Amy Krieytaz

  1. A word about terminology
  2. Do they really need blood, or is it all in their heads?
  3. Claims of extreme longevity
  4. Blood-drinking in historical perspective
  5. Blood-drinking and psychic vampirism
  6. "Turning"
  7. Disclaimers and requests

Last updated 10/24/98. Last major revision 10/15/98. Copyright © 1998 by Amy Krieytaz. All rights reserved.

[Note: Links last checked and updated on: 28 April, 2005. Sites with an (x) after them cannot be reached. -- Sanguinarius]

1. A word about terminology

Today's self-described vampires do not claim to be "vampires" in the sense portrayed in folklore and fiction. They do not claim be revived corpses, or to have superhuman strength or the ability to turn into a bat. Nor is it historically likely that people such as themselves were the real-life inspiration behind the vampire myth. Had today's vampires lived in Eastern Europe 300 years ago, they would NOT have been a target of the vampire hunts -- at least not while they were still alive, though they might have had a stake driven though them after they died. Vampire hunts were conducted by digging up bodies in cemeteries, not by going after live people who drank blood or drained other people's energy. Live blood-drinkers (or at least those who drank human blood) would likely have been persecuted as "witches," not "vampires."

Nevertheless, "vampire" is the label that most members of the newly-forming vampiric community have adopted for themselves, and no alternative label has caught on. Following are four kinds of people who are generally referred to as "real vampires" in the vampiric community. Note that all these categories overlap heavily.

1. Sanguinarians, or blood-needers. People with an ongoing felt bodily need to drink blood. If they do not have it, they get sick or at least very depressed and/or irritable. Many experience "blood lust," which for some is downright physically painful, and for others is like a "nicotine fit from hell." Unlike the other categories of real-life vampires, sanguinarians do not necessarily manifest psychic abilities, although even sanguinarians are apparently more likely to manifest psychic abilities than the general population.

2. Psychic vampires. People who need to consume other people's "life energy" by psychic means. Psychic vampires may or may not also drink blood. Outside the vampiric community, the phrase "psychic vampire" is sometimes used to refer to anyone whom the speaker finds emotionally draining for whatever reason. However, self-described psychic vampires generally mean something much more specific. (See "Feeding and taking energy" on the Psychic Vampires Page (x).)

3. Blood/psi vamps. Those who crave BOTH blood and pranic energy, apparently comprising the majority of self-described vampires on the web today. Often they experience to two cravings as being to some extent interchangeable. Many regard blood as a physical source of pranic energy. Their experience has given rise to the belief that all blood vamps and psi vamps are essentially the same thing, a belief which, as far as I know, was first articulated on the web by Inanna Arthen on her Real Vampires Home Page.

4. Alleged "immortal" or elder vampires, those who claim an extraordinarily long lifespan. Most are probably posers, but I'm not yet ruling out the possibility that a few of them might be real....

Although most people in the vampiric community would accept all of the above as being "vampires" (except to question the existence of category #4), not everyone agrees. Some regard only sanguinarians as "real vampires." Others reserve the label "vampire" for the alleged long-lived ones. Still others would accept as "real vampires" only those people in the above four categories who also have extraordinary psychic talent. And still others believe that all "real vampires" are blood/psi vamps whether they know it or not.

Still others use the word "vampire" to include one or more of the following additional categories of people who are not considered "real vampires" by most people in the vampiric community, but who are to some extent a part of the community. And the following three categories overlap heavily with "real vampires," to a greater extent than many like to think.

5. Blood fetishists. People who are obsessively drawn to the idea of blood-drinking and/or bloodletting, but for whom it isn't an outright felt bodily need. Often it is either an erotic turn-on or a preferred expression of intimacy/bonding (not necessarily erotic). Although blood fetishists are generally not considered "vampires" within the vampiric community, blood fetishism does have a long history of being referred to as "vampirism" in psychiatric literature, newspaper articles, and nonfiction vampire books. Some blood fetishists call themselves "vampires" and others do not. Also, it should be noted that people whose interest in blood has an erotic component can be found all along the spectrum of degree of need/desire for blood, not just at the dabbler end, as is commonly believed in the online vampiric community these days. Among sanguinarians, there are some whose craving has an erotic aspect and others whose doesn't. There is a continuous spectrum, not an absolute division, between blood fetishists and sanguinarians.

6. Nonpersonal energy-hungerers. People who need to consume pranic/nonphysical energy, to a far more noticeable degree than normal people, but who don't need to take it from other people. Nonpersonal energy-hungerers may feed from such sources as the Earth, flowering trees, thunderstorms, and nonpersonal energy currents such as "God," Reiki, or the energies that can be accessed in magick rituals or Kundalini Yoga. (See my article on Nonpersonal energy sources.) Many psivamps too can feed from nonpersonal sources, but still have a need for people's energy as well. Conversely, nonpersonal energy-hungerers will draw energy from people if they are not getting enough energy from other sources. Thus, it can be hard to tell the difference between a psivamp and an nonpersonal energy-hungerer, especially when newly awakened or not yet fully conscious of one's nature. Even among fully conscious energy-hungerers, some may go through phases of sometimes needing to feed from people and at other times being satisfied with nonpersonal sources. As with sanguinarians vs. blood fetishists, there is a continuous spectrum, rather than an absolute division, between psivamps and nonpersonal energy-hungerers.

7. Vampyre lifestylers. People who incorporate the "Vampyre esthetic" into their daily lives. Some Vampyre lifestylers are also "real vampires" (in the sense commonly accepted in the vampiric community), while others are not.

As I see it, blood fetishists and nonpersonal energy-hungerers are to "real vampires" as bisexuals are to gays. Vampyre lifestylers are to "real vampires" as transvestites are to gays. (See my About the Internet vampiric community page.) As an alternative to fighting over the label "vampire" -- and thus over who belongs in the "vampire community" -- I have proposed the labels "vampiric person" and "vampiric community" to include both "real vampires" (however one defines that term) and the other groups.

I myself am both a nonpersonal energy hungerer and an off-and-on blood fetishist. (For more about me, see A brief history of my interest in vampirism..)

People in today's vampiric community tend also to have other traits in common, such as nocturnalism, light sensitivity, and other assorted heightened sensitivities.

2. Do they really need blood, or is it all in their heads?

Today's self-described vampires should not be dismissed as just "people who think they're vampires." No doubt, for some, the craving for blood may be a purely psychosomatic result of a fascination with vampires. Yet there are indications that many blood-drinkers have a condition which is more than just psychosomatic. Quite a few of the online vampires I've corresponded with, including Diane, have stated that they were NOT fascinated by fictional vampires before they developed their condition, which took them totally by surprise and scared them out of their wits. Othere do enjoy vampire fiction and vampire imagery, which does not necessarily prove that their condition is purely psychosomatic either, though in their case there is the possibility that it might be.

If indeed the blood-craving of sanguinarians has a physical, biological basis, then it is also likely that the milder cravings of at least some blood fetishists might have a similar biological basis. And it is also possible that, in some cases, blood-craving (whether mild or severe) might be the cause of a fascination for fictional vampires, rather than the other way around.

3. Claims of extreme longevity

Now, as for the more controversial claims: In the book Something in the Blood (1996), author Jeff Guinn makes the following very interesting observation: "None of the vampires claimed he or she would live forever. Several claimed, though, that blood-drinking would expand their lifespans and keep them healthier and younger-looking. With the exception of Cayne, who looked her age but no older, all the blood-drinkers did look considerably younger than they really were. (In Dark Rose's case, this was a dramatic reversal from childhood, which will be explained in her individual chapter.)" (p.98) The book also contains pictures of most of the interviewees. In short, we have an outsider's confirmation of the claim by some vampiric people that they have a tendency toward prolonged youthful appearance.

However, this does NOT prove they also have the potential for an unusally long lifespan, as some real-life vampires believe. None of Guinn's interviewees claimed to be of truly extraordinary age. And there are lots of non-vampires who look younger than their age too. One possible reason for the blood-drinkers' youthful appearance might simply be sun avoidance; it is a known medical fact that sun exposure ages the skin.

Another important point: Jeff Guinn's observation of slowed-down aging (at least in physical appearance) applied across the board to ALL (except one) of the blood-drinkers, regardless of their felt motive for drinking blood. Those who had a purely physical, nonerotic craving for blood did not have an advantage over blood fetishists or those whose drank blood because of a fascination with the vampire myth. In fact, the one exception to the slowed-down aging rule -- Cayne -- was the most "vampiric" of all the blood-drinkers, in the sense that her craving seemed to be more purely physical and she drank blood in larger quantities than most of the others.

No definitive conclusions can be drawn here. Jeff Guinn's interviewees do not constitute a statistical sample. This whole question awaits further study. Hopefully, as more and more vampires "come out of the coffin" and have less need to hide, it will become easier to test the claims of those who claim to be very, very old, and who have inspired in some younger vampires the belief that they too will live for centuries. Alas, it may be a long time in the future before the truth of such claims can be determined without great risk to the safety of any genuine elder vampires there may be out there.

As the online vampiric community has grown, the belief that real-life vampires have the potential for an unlimited lifespan has become far less common now than it was in 1997. Such claims are not commonly found on the newer sites, and some former believers have become skeptical. Probably as a result, there has also been a marked decrease in the number of people begging to be turned.

In my opinion, the trend toward skepticism is a healthy development, even if long-lived vampires really do exist. Insofar as claims of extraordinary lifespan are made publicly and accepted, the inevitable result is a scene dominated by people begging to be turned and by posers taking advantage of such people, as was the case in 1997 and still is on some vampire classified ad sites, though no longer in the mainstream of the online vampiric community. The overwhelming prevalence of "posers and wannabees" in 1997 was not just an annoyance; it was a scandal waiting to happen. We're all very, very lucky there haven't yet been headlines about kids being abused by people pretending to be immortal vampires. (Knock wood.)

4. Blood-drinking in historical perspective

Although the consumption of blood may seem abnormal in TODAY's society, non-human animal blood has traditionally been a normal part of most people's daily diets in many societies around the world -- including northern European society until very recently. For example, a common traditional northern European dish was blood sausage, a.k.a. black pudding, of which the main ingredient was pork blood. There's still a recipe for it in the Joy of Cooking cookbook. Also, back in the old days, when most people lived on farms and killed their own animals for food, anyone who wanted to drink FRESH blood could easily do so, and I'm sure a lot of people did. Even as recently as the 1930s', my father knew a rural butcher who drank fresh beef blood regularly -- and, even then, it was not yet considered terribly abnormal. To this day, some hunters drink the blood of game animals -- and the Joy of Cooking cookbook contains instructions on how to store said blood and use it in sauces. In some parts of Africa, it is traditional and still common to drink cow's blood mixed with milk.

Since blood has been a normal part of the human diet for millenia, it really should not come as any surprise that at least some people would crave it, just as some other people crave milk. In fact, some descriptions I've seen of "bloodlust" remind me of my own craving for milk.

Admittedly, the consumption of human blood has not been common in any society that I know of. But there isn't much nutritional difference between human blood and the blood of other mammals. So, perhaps a craving for human blood could be caused in part by (1) the lack of blood of any kind in the modern diet, combined with (2) the greater likelihood of a person tasting fresh human blood than any other kind of blood in today's society. Most people have tasted at least their own blood on occasion; and some vampires report that they were "turned" by drinking a vampire's blood. In either case, the body has an opportunity to learn that fresh human blood is a good source of whetever nutrients it needs that can be found in blood.

Drinking blood does have real dangers such as disease transmission -- as does eating raw meat. These real dangers are probably part of the reason why drinking blood has become taboo in our society. However, they don't fully explain it. Our society could have developed ways to deal with the dangers of drinking blood, just as we deal with the dangers of drinking milk by pasteurizing it. Indeed, in some parts of Europe, beef blood and pork blood ARE sold in supermarkets with various chemicals added, though this is not true in most places here in America.

In those places where fresh animal blood is available, some sanguinarians do drink it and have informed me that it does satisfy their need, though they have to drink a larger quantity of non-human animal blood to get the same result as a given quantity of human blood.

Here in America, since our society has not developed ways of processing animal blood (other than cooking it, which changes its taste and texture radically -- and, for blood/psi vamps, destroys its "pranic energy"), probably the safest way to drink uncooked blood these days is to obtain it from a consenting HUMAN donor who is tested regularly not just for AIDS, but also for other diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and hepatitis. There is no similar precaution one could take for fresh non-human animal blood.

It is often said that normal people can't drink blood because blood is an emetic. Never having drunk more than very small quantities of blood myself, I can only speculate, but I am now wondering whether the real truth might be that the digestive system has an initial bad reaction to the presence of large quantities of blood, yet is easily capable of getting used to it. In all the accounts I've seen of people being "turned" into blood-drinking vampires by drinking a large quantity of a vampire's blood, the person experienced "flu-like" symptoms -- including nausea -- for a week or two, after which the person was then able to drink blood with no problem. I would greatly appreciate feedback from medically knowledgeable people.

Had today's sanguinarians lived in centuries past, they not only would NOT have been the inspiration for the vampire legend; they probably wouldn't even have been noticed as anything odd. They would have grown up with plenty of opportunities to drink fresh animal blood; and, in most cases, they would probably have been satisfied with it.

And they would have occasionally been able to treat themselves to human blood too, without being seen as weird. Although I don't know of any society in which human blood was a regular staple of people's daily diets, there are lots of societies in which human blood is/was consumed on a variety of special ritual occasions. Examples include (1) drinking the blood of one's enemies in time of war; (2) "blood brother"/"blood sister" rituals, such as were common among American young people until recently; and (3) various religious rituals, of which Christianity's very own central rite is an obvious symbolic relic. (Or not so symbolic, if you believe in Transubstantiation.)

The other common traits of sanguinarians too, such as aversion to sunlight, would not have been seen as abnormal in centuries past. In the old days, when ladies went outdoors, they carried umbrellas -- parasols -- which were originally invented to protect people from the sun, not the rain. (The word "umbrella" is derived from the Latin word for "shadow.") This was in fact quite sensible. It's a known medical fact that too much sunlight is bad for you -- especially if you're of northern European descent, as most of today's vampires are, as far as I can tell. Not only does sunlight prematurely age the skin, but it can cause skin cancer. And it is bad for your eyes, especially if you have blue eyes. Perhaps today's real vampires are just more instinctively aware of this than most people?

In short: However strange sanguinarians may seem in today's society, they are in fact well within the range of normal human behavior, historically speaking.

5. Blood-drinking and psychic vampirism

Not all self-described vampires drink blood. The majority of online vampires are psychic vampires, who feed on other people's life energy. Yet they do tend to have certain traits in common with many blood-drinking vampires, such as nocturnal tendencies and psychic abilities such as empathy. Also, the two categories overlap heavily. Lots of real vampires need/desire to consume both blood and pranic energy.

Because of the overlap and other commonalities, it is was fashionable during most of 1998 for online vampires to believe that all vampires are fundamentally one and the same thing; that all vampires really feed on "pranic energy" whether they know it or not; and that those who crave blood crave it as a source of "pranic energy." As far as I'm aware, this idea was first voiced on the web in 1997 by Inanna Arthen on her very influential Real Vampires Home Page, where she wrote:

There is no such thing as a psychic vampire. ... Vampires are vampires. All real vampires are psychic vampires by nature. ... There is no distinction among blood drinking vampires and psychic vampires. Any real vampire who has evolved a blood-drinking practice is a psychic vampire, whose imbalances are being controlled by regular intake of blood. Any real vampire who functions primarily as a psychic vampire is equally capable of obtaining pranic energy directly from material sources and would benefit from doing so regularly.

I do not yet know whether it's true that all psychic vampires can obtain what they need from blood (or possibly other physical sources of life energy such as fresh vegetables). A great many psychic vampires do crave blood or have gone through phases of blood-craving. But I'm not sure to what extent this is really true of psivamps in general, as opposed to just those psivamps who happen to be part of the vampiric community. It seems to me that a psivamp who craves blood is far more likely to think of oneself as a "vampire" than a psivamp who does not crave blood, and hence is also much more likely to join the vampiric community or even to become aware of oneself as a psivamp in the first place.

In my own admittedly limited experience, I've noticed that not only psivamps but also nonpersonal energy hungerers tend to have at least mild and occasional blood cravings, or at least a feacination with blood. This does make sense, given that blood is a rich source of pranic energy. It also makes sense that psivamps -- who need people's energy, specifically -- would tend to have stronger blood cravings than nonpersonal energy hungerers. But we should refrain from jumping to conclusions about all psivamps or all nonpersonal energy hungerers. I've encountered at least one psivamp who had no interest in blood whatsoever. Anyhow, insofar as a psychic vampire's needs can be satisfied by blood, I suspect that the satisfaction is gained not just from the blood itself but also, and perhaps more so, from the energy released in the act of bloodletting.

I am fairly certain it is not true that all sanguinarians (blood needers) are really psychic vampires by nature. Blood does contain plenty of other things besides pranic energy, after all.

Blood-needers who lack donors are often advised to substitute psychic "energy feeding" for blood. Many do try, with varying degrees of success. Some are unable to "energy feed" at all. One blood-needer has told me she finds the whole idea very frustrating, like a woman being told constantly she can "learn to pee out her wiener." Others are able to learn "energy feeding" to some extent but do not find it satisfying. Still others do have a knack for "energy feeding" and enjoy it. Of these, some find it an acceptable alternative to "blood feeding," but others say the satisfaction they gain from "energy feeding" is very different from what they gain by drinking blood.

Inanna Arthen herself never advocated the substitution of "psychic feeding" for "blood feeding." She wrote, "All real vampires should also be drinking blood or getting other material sources of pranic energy, because they have material bodies." Yet she did claim that "All real vampires are psychic vampires by nature."

If it were true that every blood-drinking vampire is really "a psychic vampire, whose imbalances are being controlled by regular intake of blood," then I would expect a blood-starved sanguinarian to function automatically as a psychic vampire, at least subconsciously, without any deliberate effort to do so. Such people would, as Inanna Arthen put it, "walk through life like industrial strength 'energy vacuum cleaners' on high, sometimes sucking in, sometimes blasting out." This does not seem to be true of the (admittedly not very many) sanguinarians I've known who are lacking in regular donors and who are unable to "psi-feed" consciously either. (They do tend to be depressed, moody, unpredictable, and absent-minded -- and hence a bit frustrating and "draining" to deal with sometimes. If, as some might argue, this in itself makes them "psychic vampires," then so too is anyone going through, say, nicotine withdrawal. They do not make other people feel disoriented or creepy, the way a full-fledged "industrial strength energy vacuum cleaner" would -- and I HAVE met people who fit the latter metaphor very well.)

I've also noticed other major differences between psivamps (including blood/psi vamps) and non-psivamp sanguinarians. In general, psivamps and other energy hungerers tend to have much more forceful personalities than do non-psivamp sanguinarians.

But, if sanguinarians and psychic vampires are not fundamentally one and the same thing, then how else can we account for all the other commonalities? One hypothesis is that all the other commonalities can be reduced to one thing: heightened sensitivities of one kind or another, both physical and psychic. I have yet to study this in any detail, but I've informally noticed that many psychics, artists, and other sensitive sorts tend to be nocturnal and to be vulnerable to migraine headaches, etc. (If you, dear reader, happen to have heard of any scientific studies of the relationship -- if any -- between nocturnalism and various kinds of sensitivities, please let me know. It is known that light-sensitivity is associated with migraines.) If sanguinarians and psychic vampires both tend to have psychic abilities or other heightened sensitivities, then they would likely share all the side-effects of these sensitivities too. Hence the commonalities do not prove that the sanguinarians' craving for blood is really just a need to consume "pranic energy."

Why is there a correlation between blood-craving and psychic ability and other sensitivities? Any connection between blood-craving and psychic ability does lend plausiblity to the idea that what sanguinarians really crave is the pranic energy in blood. But there are at least three other possible reasons why the awakening of a craving for blood would tend to go hand-in-hand with the awakening of whatever psychic abilities one might have: (1) a person with psychic ability or other heightened sensitivities is less capable than the average person of repressing other important aspects of oneself, e.g. a craving for blood. (2) A person willing to acknowledge forbidden parts of oneself is less likely than the average person to repress one's psychic abilities as well. (3) Sanguinarians need to develop enhanced survival mechanisms, because of the dangers they face.

The idea that sanguinarians and psivamps are fundamentally one and the same thing has been helpful to some sanguinarians who were thereby led to discover that they were psivamps too, and that they could in fact substitute psi-feeding for blood, at least to some extent. But, for other sanguinarians, the idea has caused great annoyance. (For more about this, see "Blood-drinkers, energy hungerers, and the vampiric community on my "About the Internet vampiric community" page.)

Inanna Arthen is now revising her website and no longer opposes the idea of blood-drinking and psychic vampires as distinct categories.

6. "Turning"

Of the online vampires I've corresponded with, the majority believe that they were born that way. Either they were aware of it from early childhood, or they suddenly developed a craving for blood later in life, in some cases accompanied by an awakening of psychic abilities, and in some cases leading to an awareness of previously-unconscious psychic vampirism as well.

A minority of online vampires believed that they were "turned" by another vampire, and a few insist that "turning" is the ONLY way one can become a vampire. In contrast, people of the you're-born-that-way school tend to regard "turning" as merely an activation of previously-latent tendencies.

Some online vampires, such as Diane, have no idea how they became vampires. All they know is that they suddenly developed a craving for blood, out of the blue.

Some people believe that a person can be "turned" into a psivamp by being severely drained by another psivamp. Others believe that such "turning" results in only temporary psychic vampirism. For example, Inanna Arthen wrote, years ago, in an article in the Neo-Pagan journal Fireheart:

a prolonged, or very involved, relationship with a vampire can put a severe strain on the emotional and psychic energy systems of an ordinary person. Folklore suggests that victims of a vampire become vampires themselves. In reality, people who have been seriously "drained" -- that is, have had their own energy pulled off balance into a deficit -- also become psychic vortices which pull life force away from other living things. However, they are never as powerful as a true vampire, and unlike vampires, quickly recover and stabilize. True vampires are born the way they are -- no one can be "turned into a vampire." However, years of energy depletion can lead to health problems ranging from depression and malaise to a suppressed immune system and susceptibility to serious illnesses. Most people will break off the relationship before it gets that far.

Among those who say they were "turned" into blood-drinking vampires, some believe their vampirism is caused by a virus or other infectious agent which can be caught by drinking a vampire's blood. Problem with this idea: A virus that can be caught by drinking someone's blood could probably also be spread by dirty hypodermic needles and possibly by sexual contact too, and would probably be epidemic among IV drug users by now -- unless it's a totally NEW virus that came into existence only recently. One possibility which some medically qualified person should look into: Do any of the lesser-known sexually-transmitted or blood-borne diseases have vampirelike symptoms? Or, at least, CAN they have such symptoms in at least SOME people? One blood/psi vamp has said she believes she was "turned" as a result of having sex with a vampire, though this does not seem to be common.

Another problem with the viral hypothesis: It is unlikely that a virus could cause a permanent and noticeable bodily change without also causing some sort of ongoing degeneration. (It is especially unlikely that a virus could prolong someone's life, as is alleged by some.)

As for those who were "turned" by drinking a vampire's blood, if one discounts the viral hypotheses, then the following question naturally arises: Was it specifically necessary for them to drink a vampire's blood? Or would a large enough quantity of anyone's blood have been adequate to do the trick? Is it possible that what happened was simply the development of an addiction? Or perhaps the awakening of a previously dormant predisposition to crave blood?

Scrapina Sheridan (a born blood/psi vamp, not turned) has told me the following:

I did not eat/drink dairy products for years and was only advised to do so recently so as to build bone density. At first the large quantities of dairy made me ill, but after a couple of weeks I developed not only a tolerance but a terrific craving for the stuff; if a day passes without intaking the amount of dairy to which I've now become accustomed, I become cranky, irritable, borderline-panicky at times. I wonder if it's too farfetched to think that this might suggest something about what could happen to you if you began to drink copious amounts of blood??

The above is precisely what I consider to be the most likely explanation of the process of "turning" for blood vamps. My guess is that some people, but not everyone, would develop a craving for blood as a result of drinking a significant amount, just as not everyone who drinks milk has a craving for it either.

But would the mere consumption of a large quantity of blood also have such side effects as nocturnalism and increased sensitivities of various kinds? Again, I would appreciate feedback from medically knowledgeable people.

By the way, if any readers feel moved to experiment with drinking large quantities of blood, I would love to hear the results of your experiments. But first, before you experiment, please consider carefully whether you really want to complicate your life in this manner. Please give some thought in advance to questions like how you will find donors if/when you develop an ongoing craving for blood; don't assume you will develop the power to make donors magically appear. And make sure you learn how to extract blood safely before you start needing it. Also, if the experiment "works," don't assume that it will slow down your aging process, in the absence more than anecdotal evidence for this idea, nor is there any guarantee that it will increase your psychic powers either. Remember that you will be opening yourself up to a huge risk of infectious disease. And, according to all accounts I've seen of people who have been "turned," the process of becoming a vampire involves a host of scary and unpredictable bodily changes. Most importantly, acquiring a craving for blood will not solve whatever other problems you may be having coping with your life as is; it will only give you a new set of problems in addition. So, please spend some time thinking about it before you try any self-"turning" experiments, and PLEASE don't try them until you are at least 21 years of age, if you are under 21. But if, after giving the matter careful thought, you still do want to experiment, please write to me and tell me all about it, and I will put you in touch with others who are similarly experimenting.

Another possible explanation of "turning" -- for both blood vamps and psivamps -- is the following, based on the assumption that "turning" is merely the activation of an already-existing tendency. One way to awaken whatever psychic powers you may have is to link psychically with an already psychically-awakened person -- not necessarily a vampire. If you happen to have latent vampiric tendencies, those too would likely be awakened, along with your psychic abilities. And the sharing of blood may be, for some people, a way to create a psychic link. (At the very least, for many blood-drinkers, it is an expression of intimacy/bonding.)

Be VERY careful who you link with, though! Psychic linking can be exceedingly hazardous to your mental health! Furthermore, be advised that the activation of psychic powers is not a one-step operation. In order for your powers to be at all useful to you, you must also learn to control them. And that takes hard work and discipline, without which you can easily be driven completely nuts. Activating one's psychic powers, without learning to control them, is like suddenly growing an extra pair of arms that do nothing but flop around in the breeze, contantly banging into things and getting bruised. Well, actually, it can be far worse than that; it is far more confusing, for example. But you get the idea, I hope.

7. Disclaimers and requests

None of what I've said on this page constitutes scientific research. I myself do not have the means, the time, or the qualifications to do the kinds of research, scientific or otherwise, that I would like to see done on vampirism. My aim is to help make it easier and safer for others to do research -- easier and safer for both the researchers and the researchees. I aim to make it easier by collecting resources and suggesting some worthwhile directions for research, and I aim to help make it safer by doing what I can to help create a safer social and political climate. (Safer at least for research regarding blood-drinkers. Psychic vampires tend, for good reasons, to be much warier of scientific research than blood-drinkers are.)

If you yourself are seriously researching vampirism in whatever capacity, I'd love to hear from you. I would especially like to hear from (1) people with medical, zoological, or other relevant scientific training, and (2) people knowledgeable about history, folklore, anthropology, historical linguistics, etc., who are interested in history, folklore, and traditions pertaining to living blood-drinking witches/sorcerors, as distinct from the revenants and nonhuman mythical beings known traditionally as "vampires." (One question, in particular: Are there any ancient words for living blood-drinkers?)

In the meantime, I urge everyone exploring this subject to be careful about distinguishing between speculation and known fact.

I would also urge everyone -- including vampires themselves -- to stop regarding vampires as freaks. If you're a vampire, especially a blood-drinker, I hope I've given you some good counterarguments to use in reply to anyone who tells you you're crazy.

Nevertheless, although I don't believe that vampirism per se is an illness, I would still urge anyone with vampire symptoms to go to a doctor just to make sure your condition isn't caused by an illness. (See known diseases relevant to vampirism.) Of course, if you do go to a doctor, it will generally be best if you discuss only your symptoms and do not mention the V word....

For a brief history of my interest in vampirism, click here..

Comments? Please write to Amy Krieytaz, c/o Sanguinarius: Thank you.

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