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A brief history of my interest in vampirism

by Amy Krieytaz

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

Last updated 10/12/98. Copyright © 1998 Amy Krieytaz. All rights reserved.

I am not quite what is generally thought of in the vampiric community as a "real vampire," but I am, apparently, something very closely related. I'm in many ways similar to a psivamp, except that what I need a regular intake of is not people's energy but rather an impersonal "dark" energy. When I don't get enough of it, I do tend to draw energy spontaneously from other people, just like a regular unconscious psivamp, or so I've been told by various people.

I'm also an off-and-on "blood fetishist," a term I use for lack of anything better. What I mean is that I've gone through extended periods of obsession with the thought of drinking blood. The obsession is by no means purely erotic, though it has an erotic component. But I don't get the outright physically painful "blood lust" described by some of today's real vampires, nor do I even get terribly depressed if I can't drink blood (whereas I do get terribly depressed if I can't access "dark" energy). At worst, my occasional blood obsession sometimes leads to dizzy spells.

I have never called myself a "vampire." But I used to assume that all self-described "vampires" were blood fetishists. Only in the fall of 1997 did I begin to learn otherwise.

I was heavily into vampire fiction back when I was in my teens. In my late teens and early twenties, I also did quite a bit of reasearch into vampire folklore and tried to find out whether there might exist real vampires, in any sense of the word. All I found, at that time, were (1) a few blood fetishists and (2) some blatant posers.

A couple of years later, at a meeting of the Eulenspiegel Society (New York's nonprofit BDSM social and educational group), I met someone who called herself a vampire. At that time, I assumed she was just a blood fetishist. But now, looking back on it, she very well might have been someone with more of a physical need, because she consumed blood in larger quantities than blood fetishists typically do. At that time I was no longer so fascinated with the subject on an intellectual level, so I did not ask her a lot of questions, though I did go out on one date with her. (I stopped seeing her after that, because other people warned me she had a history of violent criminal activity.)

In my late twenties, I had a brief resurgence of my interest in vampire fiction. I got involved in organized vampire fiction fandom and began work on a vampire novel of my own. I was introduced to, and had one long phone conversation with, a young woman who claimed to be a real "vampire" (not just a blood fetishist). But her manner of speaking struck me as not quite sane, so I figured she was delusional.

This past summer, I resumed work on the vampire novel that I had begun ten years ago. I did an Internet search on the word "vampire" to learn how vampire fandom had evolved since I was last into it. I found lots of websites run by people claiming to be vampires (and distinguishing themselves from blood fetishists). To be honest, I was at first very dismayed and assumed they were all crazy. I paid no further attention to the subject of self-described vampires for a couple of months. Then, it occurred to me that some knowledge about those crazy people might be useful for the sake of my novel. So I looked again at the relevant websites, focussing on the one site that looked to me, at the time, like a beacon of sanity in all the craziness: Liriel McMahon's Vampirism Research Institute. "devoted to understanding pseudo-vampirism."

But then, reading through the VRI message base and archives, I slowly began to realize that (1) the people calling themselves vampires weren't all crazy, after all, and (2) they probably were talking about a real bodily condition. At that point, I began to post and ask questions.

My curiosity having been aroused, I tried to think of a good way to meet some real-life vampires in person. I decided to post a message on Sanguinarius's board offering to advise vampires on how to seek donors in the BDSM scene, especially the New York BDSM scene -- a topic on which I'm qualified to give advice because of my own experiences with blood play in a BDSM context.

Not until February 1998 did I finally contact some vampires living here in New York. I've also learned of the existence of some other vampires whom I haven't contacted yet but who occasionally hang out in the New York BDSM scene, including V.M. Johnson (author of Dhampir: Child of the Blood).

During December 1997, I got into some very interesting E-mail correspondence and online chats with Sanguinarius. My conversations with her were most enjoyable. Not only did she answer a lot of my questions, but I also found that I was able to help her with info and advice on miscellaneous topics, ranging from sunglasses to IRC, based on my own life experience. I was very glad to have a two-way exchange of this sort, because I don't like to bombard someone with questions if I can't offer that person anything in return.

As for my novel, I've pretty much lost interest in it, at least for now. I may or may not get back to writing it one of these days; but, for now, learning about the reality has become a far more interesting end in itself. If/when I ever do finish it, my novel will probably be one that sanguinarians can relate to. My vampire protagonist does not have any of the glitz and glamour of Anne Rice vampires; she's just an ordinary lesbian who happens to have become a vampire and tries desperately to arrange her life so she can get all the blood she needs without killing or harming anyone. The story is about all the hurdles she faces.

In January 1998 I set up this website, originally known as the Vampire Research Resource Page, on which I intended to share the results of my research as it progressed. At first, it was mostly just a bunch of links pages. I planned to add more articles of my own when I reached the point where I felt I actually knew something. (Speaking of websites, Liriel has updated hers. As of January 14, 1998, the Vampirism Research Institute was now "devoted to understanding vampirism" -- not "pseudo-vampirism," anymore.)

When I first began exploring the online real-vampire scene, I saw myself as just a friendly outsider, providing information and resources on my website in exchange for the satisfaction of my own curiosity. I had been told repeatedly that real vampirism and blood fetishism had nothing to do with each other, and I saw no reason to question this at first, since I've never called myself a "vampire" anyhow.

It also did not occur to me, at first, to notice a connection between my own energy hunger and psychic vampirism. I had been called a "psychic vampire" by a few occultists in the past, before my exploration of the realvamp scene, but I never took those complaints seriously; I just chalked them up to personality conflict. One woman had complained bitterly to me about what a difficult time she had getting my "threads" off of her; I had no idea what she was bitching about.

All I knew was that I needed regular contact with "dark energy," and that the most effective way to get it was via the home-brewed form of Satanism I'd been developing over the previous seven years. I also knew that my approach to ritual, etc. differed radically from that of most Satanists and other occultists, and was more "mystical" than "magical." Whereas most occultists are primarily interested in the uses to which they can put the energies they connect with, my own main desire was just to connect with the energy, as an end in itself. Any additional uses were an added bonus and not something I pursued avidly, partly out of sheer laziness and partly due to my own skepticism about magick. As for why I had such a need for contact with dark energy, I had no idea. I just thought of myself as a "natural mystic," albeit of an unusually "dark" variety. (Most mystics are drawn to "the Light.")

As far as the online vampiric community was concerned, I saw myself as not only a friendly researcher but also a political consultant. I've had some experience with minority group politics, having been involved in a number of controversial subcultures in the past. I felt privileged to watch what my gut instincts told me was the birth of a significant new social movement. (There has been some confusion and worry as to what I mean by a "social movement." Click here for a clarification before you panic.)

I offered help in combatting witchhunts. I believe that vampiric people, especially blood-drinkers, will be facing a witchhunt fairly soon. Whenever a controversial minority group starts to get a lot of attention, there is a temporary backlash. If and when a witchhunt does strike, the main way I myself could help would be by combatting the scapegoating of vampiric people among some of the witchhunt's other likely targets, e.g. BDSMers and occultists.

Even though I still saw myself as an outsider to the online "vampire community," I knew already that any witchhunt against vampires would have its impact on my life too, since I'm in a few of the other likely target categories. So, my concern about it wasn't just altruistic.

By January, I was already beginning to notice that I had a lot in common, on a subtle personality level, with a lot of the online real vampires. That recognition took an unusual form. In an early version of my Tentative conclusions article, I wrote:

I find it very ironic that some use the word "human" to mean non-vampires, implying that vampires are nonhuman -- whereas I suspect that today's vampires are, if anything, MORE "human" than the rest of us, not less so.

Wierd though I myself may be, I've had a tendency to set myself up, egocentrically, as the standard of what constitutes "humanness." By that standard, most of the online real vampires I encountered were very, very human indeed.

I argued, aa I still do argue, that blood-drinking isn't really all that terribly freakish, historically speaking. (See Blood-drinking in historical perspective in my "Tentative conclusions" article.) I then carried this argument further than I would now. I wrote:

I'm beginning to believe that what is known today as "vampirism" may be, in fact, nothing more than a resurgence of perfectly normal human tendencies that happen to have become taboo in today's society. For example, since blood has been a normal part of the human diet for millenia, it makes sense to me that at least some people would crave it, just as some other people crave milk.

[...]

I will refer to the above conjectures as the "Snow-White hypothesis," after the fairy tale of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" -- one of our culture's relics of a time when many "vampiric" tendencies were considered normal. For one thing, blood was seen as beautiful, not disgusting. Remember what inspired Snow White's mother's wish for a child? She spilled some of her own blood on the snow, which, to her, was "so beautiful" that it inspired a wish for a daughter with "lips as red as blood, hair as black as lead, and skin as white as snow." In other words, she wanted her child to look like what in TODAY's terms would be a stereotypical fictional vampire, but which, back then, was simply the ideal of beauty.

To keep her "skin as white as snow," Snow White would have had to stay out of the sun -- as most noblewomen did, unlike the poor peasants who had to toil out in the sun. When ladies went outdoors, they carried umbrellas -- parasols -- which were originally invented to protect people from the sun, not the rain.

I no longer argue so strongly that what we know today as "real vampirism" is in fact "normal." But I still maintain that sanguinarians would probably have blended in with the larger society a lot more easily in centuries past than they do now, and would NOT have been the inspiration for the vampire legend. As for energy hungerers, I now believe that Christianity was most likely founded by certain types of energy hungerers. One of these days, I'll post an article explaining why.

In February/March 1998, I began feeling more and more the need for a community of blood-drinkers of all kinds. (More about this on my social and political issues page.) Not only do all blood-drinkers have certain needs and problems in common on a practical level, but I also realized that I had a lot in common on a deep emotional level with several of the sanguinarians I'd been in contact with. Thinking about it some more, I remembered that, thoughout my life, the majority of the people I've had a similarly deep level of companionship with have been people with some sort of attraction to blood -- a mild attraction in most cases, until recently. The companionship does not simply revolve around the shared experience of blood-drinking, or around the fact of being different. I'm different from the norm in lots of other ways too, yet I'm far less likely to develop such intense companionship with people with whom I share these other differences. Thus, I was convinced that an attraction to blood -- regardless of the kind or degree of one's need/desire -- represents other, deeper commonalities as well.

In March and April, I began to set up a Blood-Drinkers' Resource Page.

Also in March 1998, I encountered my first inkling that my own energy hunger might have some relationship to psychic vampirism. In What is a Psychic Vampire? (x) on the remains of a pioneering Psychic Vampires (x) site, the former site owner wrote:

Several psyvamps I know only feed from animals. Others, feed from god, drawing his white light into themselves. And still others feed only from humans. Psyvamps can feed from any energy source.

My first reaction was to argue that anyone who can draw energy exclusively from "God" is not, properly speaking, a psivamp, but rather a mystic. A person who feeds from "God" does not face the same ethical dilemmas as someone who must feed from people.

I finally did realize that what I need to do with dark energy constitutes "feeding." And a subsequent discussion on Sangi's message board helped me realize, more than ever before, just how unusual my need is among occultists. I was reminded that most occultists seek to channel energies and do not have a "hunger" for the energies themselves. Just to make sure, I posted a message in several occult Usenet newsgroups asking if anyone out there felt a "hunger" or intrinsic need for the energies that one works with, as distinct from the magical uses to which one puts the energies. The unanimous response was complete bafflement as to what I meant.

But I still assumed I must not have a lot in common with psivamps otherwise.

Then, in early April, I was told in IRC chat that I had a "vamp" energy signature. I was told this by two people widely respected in the vampiric community as powerful psivamps and as healers and teachers, and who had given me some pretty dramatic demonstrations of their energy-wielding abilities. I also learned, finally, what "threads"/tendrils are.

Over the next several months, I learned a lot more about myself and about psivamps and energy hungerers in general. It was, shall I say, interesting but rough. I prefer not to discuss details at the present time. I'll just say I can now sympathize with all the newly-awakened psivamps out there who may be wondering if they are going crazy, whereas previously I did not grasp their plight at all.

Anyhow, as far as the online vamp scene is concerned, my main interest now is to encourage the growth of a community of "energy hungerers," as explained on my social and political issues page. See also my article on nonpersonal energy sources.


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

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