For the many who have fantasized about being a vampire as portrayed in fiction, perhaps as children or teenagers – we are meant to believe that indulging in harmless fantasy never really crosses over from the “I Wish” or the “What If” side of the room, to the other – where it starts to grab at the door knob and even beats on it with clenched fists. But what if it did?
For most people, and even the most loyal of ‘vampire’ fans, the idea of feeding off the essence of another human being remains a taboo – a provocative, perhaps even sexual and most private fantasy. As long as this remains a fantasy, all is well and good – but once it crawls off the untidily-scripted pages in the teenage mind – and faces them, looking them in the eye – bare fanged and with a hunger they have never known… Well, after that, things start to become a little surreal. This then, is what the hunger feels like to a self-identified Vampyre.
Yes, real Vampyres feed off human essence – be it blood, or psychic or ‘spiritual’ energy. Called ‘prana’ by some, and even ‘chi’ or ‘ki’ by Eastern traditions, this is the essence of what Vampyres crave, and what we must have in order to remain well, to be healthy, to function, and to thrive. Unlike the fiction and the myth, those who self-identify as Vampyres do not prey on people, nor do they need to kill in order to feed. The act of feeding – especially for sanguinarians (blood-feeders) is consensual, and involves willing donors.
There are many rules and guidelines within our community about how to feed, when to feed, where – and even when NOT to feed. There are even dates which have been set aside and recognized in the global community to show respect and appreciation to our donors, and to honor them.
But to answer the swell of questions bubbling up in your mind right now, the “why” and the “how” and the “what” – let us start with what is perhaps the
easiest one to answer: HOW?
How much does a donor give to a Vampyre? It depends on the Vampyre or the donor generally, on how much the Vampyre needs – and how much the donor is willing to give. According to the sort of agreements we employ between us, one cannot do something to the other, which the other does not consent to – and the donor’s interest always has to come first. Thus if a donor backs out, or changes his or her mind, the Vampyre must accept this.
Mostly, in my experience with donors, it is a small nick or prick-point where a slight amount of essence is produced, without lasting scarring – and which can be taken directly off the skin. Slight though it may be, it is enough to keep a sanguine going for a few days more. The method is left to a donor to decide. Believe me, though it is by means of a small prick or cut, it still takes an effort of will on the part of the Donor to donate – a small effort on the part of some, and a huge sacrifice on the part of others, particularly those with a fear of needles or assorted sharp objects which gradually come to fill the Donor’s toolbox.
For those curious about what passes during a ‘typical’ feeding, a well known figure in the international community, Belfazaar Ashantison, who wrote the
Donor Bill of Rights for the community, is featured in a current series on the VC in New Orleans, demonstrating a “by-the-book” sanguine feed. See? Not so terrible now, is it? You didn’t even need to close your eyes, or hide behind your box of popcorn. And Zaar certainly represents us well – not half as scary as Dracula, and way less sparkly than *shudder* Edward – and far more charming.
The easiest part of the article done and dusted, we come to WHAT? What is feeding? Literally, the word implies consuming something, or ingesting it – taking it into ourselves. Mundanes – that is, non-vampyres, think of this in terms of food. Food, like steak or a milkshake does contain energy in stored potential. Sanguine Vampyres would more likely think of blood first, and then other forms of mundane food. Psychic Vampyres on the other hand, operate on a different level. They don’t really have the problem of finding donors, for a start.
Many psi vamps are so versatile they can feed off any source, from a distance or up close, invisibly and mostly without even being detected – while sanguines are fairly restricted to what they can get out of blood – and then where they can get this blood from. Though we all identify as being vampyric, there are enough differences in terms of how we feed, to cause misunderstandings between us. It may seem really stupid to outsiders, but differences in how we “eat” as Vampyres at one point caused so much drama that the VC nearly tore in two.
Sometimes energy-feeders dismiss sanguines as “under-developed”, or even “primitive” by nature. “Blood is just blood” they say dismissively, as if they were talking of carrots or potatoes – and fairly often, they will criticize sanguines for not feeding in the same style as they. After all, they can feed adequately off psi energy, and since “anybody” can be taught to feed in this method – so, from a certain logical standpoint, why can’t this method satisfy sanguines? Why not, indeed?
Many of the sanguines I have spoken to in the past – and even omnivores, have said that though they can psi feed, it doesn’t satisfy their need, either partly, or at all. Having a tendency to practice elemental feeding myself, though out of desperation, I can state with certainty that I experience similar results – and this revelation inspires me to think deeper on the subject.
Blood is NOT “just blood”. I think there is rather more to it than that. I have my own theories about that red stuff that drives us sanguines to distraction, and especially in relation to the life-force or energy found in the living blood, for instance – called ‘chi’, ‘ki’ or ‘prana’ by eastern tradition and even modern energy workers. Modern science meanwhile, describes blood as a carrier of nutrients, oxygen, nitrogen, waste products, electrolytes, chemical components – and living cells both red and white. There is no description of any nerve activity in the blood itself, or any form of communication that is conducted over very small distances within the liquid medium of the blood – and yet certain components within the blood somehow “know” when to attack invasive foreign bodies, and where. They ‘know’ just where the body has injuries, and the body somehow directs the appropriate clotting and healing mechanisms there.
As sanguine Vampyres, we broadly tend to think of blood as the carrier of life-force energy in a form that we can ingest it. Some our Kin are more in tune with psi feeding than others. For sanguines, the blood is the life. As the book-religion people like to remind us: “The life of any creature is in the blood…” But is it? Let’s take a closer look.
When we consume any physical substance, the energy stored in it, measured in kilojoulles, transform into bio-energy in the digestive system – and this fuels the body. But if, for sanguine Vampyres, it were just the physical or chemical content of blood we require, then it would be easy to just substitute this diet with a bottle of vitamins, not so? Since that obviously doesn’t work, I have to conclude that there is something else in the blood, something which present day technology has not yet been able to identify – an unidentified energy which merges with our own energy, and replenishes it.
An analysis of blood reveals the following: Human blood contains 4 main parts: Red Blood Cells (RBCs), White Blood Cells (WBCs), Platelets, and Plasma. Red Blood Cells (RBCs) transport oxygen throughout the body, as well as removing carbon dioxide. Hemoglobin is a gas-transporting protein in RBCs, and makes up 95% of the cell. White Blood Cells (WBCs) only make up about 1% of the blood and form part of the body’s defense against diseases and infections. Platelets are cell fragments without nuclei that aid in clotting wounds. They contain proteins that assist in the destruction of bacteria and other invading microorganisms. Plasma is a somewhat clear, yellow-tinted water (92% water), sugar, fat, protein, and salt solution. Plasma is what carries the RBCs, WBCs, and Platelets in a sort of suspension. Plasma removes the waste products of metabolism. Plasma also contains blood-clotting factors, lipids, minerals, sugars, hormones, vitamins, antibodies, enzymes, and other proteins. It is also very likely that plasma contains some of every protein produced by the body. Approximately 500 proteins have been identified in human plasma, so far.
Plasma makes up about 55% of blood, and about 95% of Plasma consists of water. In short, 5% of Plasma contains all sorta of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Then there is the Caloric content of blood. The average unit of blood is a pint, so lets say, for ease of conversion, 500ml. This only contains an estimated 341kcal. That would mean, giving an extreme example, even if someone were to consume a whole 2 liters of blood – far more than any average Vampyre consumes at one sitting, it would amount to only 1700kcals. To give you an idea, a healthy adult person requires around 2000-2500kcal from food, taken in through an average 24-hour day. Thus, it cannot be normal chemically stored energy.
Yes, blood will also carry traces of most things consumed by the individual up to about 20 minutes before the time the blood was removed from the body, including alcohol and drugs – which includes medication, narcotics and even nicotine and other chemicals from cigarettes. For the purposes of this article however, I will be referring to ‘clean” blood from somebody who is perfectly healthy and free from these elements. Therefore, I am assuming that in this analysis it is pretty clear that there are no indications that typical human blood contains anything of a chemical or physical nature which could, if ingested in modest quantities, affect another person in the way we experience. It is also clearly not the nutritional content or quantity of the blood consumed.
Thus, I must conclude that the element required by sanguine Vampyres is something either pysically or chemically yet unidentified, or is something non-pysical or non-chemical in nature – and in some way an ‘energy’ or other ‘thing’ similar to – or the ‘same as’ that which psychic Vampyres feed upon from living creatures.
Now that we are in the territory of something which cannot be seen, pointed at, prodded, dissected – and for all intents and purposes, cannot be proved to exist, I think it’s time we brought in that other pariah of the scientific world – religion.
At this point in time, while we feel we know some of the answers from personal experience – medically speaking, we simply don’t know what the reasons are for our condition, or the chemical and biological and metaphysical make-up of our condition. Anything, as always, is possible.
Four reasonably large religious groupings today (Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses) have very similar views on blood and the consumption of blood. The latter certainly believe that even a life-saving blood transfusion will bring one persons ‘soul’ into contact with that of another, and lead to possible or even definite contamination of that of the receiver. While their ethics are questionable in my view, they may have a point. Drain a PSI of most of their blood and despite being conscious and alert, and despite still having considerable physical strength – they will have at best, greatly reduced psychic power and abilities.
Many times in the VC, I have witnessed Kin describing the energy in blood and the psi-energy which energy-feeders draw upon, as the same thing. Called “chi”, “ki” or “prana”, understandably, it is still considered life-force energy. Reiki masters and energy workers know how to detect and alter energy balances and imbalances in people’s bodies. Often it is put forward that the energy both Psi’s and sanguines feed from is the same – and it is just those who feed upon it who are different, or have different needs? But one of the questions that puzzles me – and intrigues me – is whether or not this is true. IS the energy in blood and the energy psi’s feed on, the SAME energy?
The Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) model of the “five-part soul” seems to apply. In this tradition, “ba” is the consciousness (called a soul), and “ka” is the “vital spark” of life. If a living entity is made up not of just one homogenous energy, but several, then it is conceivable to me that Psi’s and Sangs may not simply employ different feeding methods, but also feed on TWO different energies – sanguines from the essence of physical life, and psi’s from the actual source-individual’s essence. This is entirely my own theory, and is of course, open for debate.
Moving on, we come to WHY? Why do Vampyres feed on blood, or on psi essence? Why, indeed?
Most self-identified Vampyres will tell you the theory which has become widely known within our community over the past 20 years or so – that all living entities have an energy field, or an “energy body” – some identify this as the aura, and even the body’s energy field – which it has become possible to photograph using special techniques, called ‘killan photography’. The theory? Vampyres typically do not manufacture enough of this energy for themselves in order to remain healthy. The “leaky-bucket theory” argues that we male the same energy, but lose more of it than the norm. Of course, this means that we are required by this naturally occurring deficit to top it up by “borrowing” energy from other sources.
Ask any average Mundane why they think people self-identify as Vampyres or feed, and they might scornfully remark that it is because they are a bunch of over-grown teenagers, unemployed at 35, living in their parent’s garages and an internet addiction. Is it because they want to be vampires and get a kick out of the image? Is it because they are metal-heads and think drinking blood, confessing to a blood fetish, or bragging about being able to suck the energy out of a room full of people will turn on the chicks at the mosh pit? Is it because they are part of a secretive cult, and can account for all the missing cats in the neighborhood? Or is there something else to it?
Clearly, some people have a very low opinion of us. When it comes to the ‘why’ part, it gets rather complicated – because we can’t really prove scientifically why we need to feed off the essence of others – or demonstrate adequately why some of us need blood, and others not. What we can do, is to say what we experience when we feed, and when we go without feeding.
When I can’t find a donor, or my donor is out of reach, I have to look at realistic alternatives. Butcher blood, while not ideal, is probably the only real alternative. This is animal blood, which while still fairly fresh, is already partly dead, and therefore only partly effective. Animal blood also has a very different taste, and I have to say that while beef blood is still fairly palatable, lamb blood – particularly from the liver, is simply disgusting. Only a desperate Vampyre will suffer through drinking some of that. If only those people who say we are ‘faking it’, really knew the kind of things we endure just to get through these times.
For us, we don’t feed because we think it “makes us cool”. I don’t call myself a Vampyre because I think I’m related to Vlad Dracul or Countess Bathory. I don’t consume blood because I like the taste, or the look of it. I consume blood like a medication, because if I don’t, I suffer for it. How? Okay, let me explain.
Let’s say I fed 5 or 6 days ago. By now, I would be noticing a decreased drive, less energy, I would be less able to concentrate as well as I usually do. I would tire easily and need more sleep. I begin to notice my thoughts dwell on matters which normally don’t depress me – but do now. As I get further along, day 7 or 8, I begin to become more depressed, even bitter and angry for no good reason. At about day 10 paranoia begins to creep in, and mental balances begins to slip away. Aggression and frustration are then joined by physical aches and pains, and a reduced sense of physical balance. At around day 15-20, I start experiencing flu-like symptoms. My whole body seems to slow down, reaction wise as well as in terms of general ability. All the way through this, I am tortured by the thirst, and the obsession that what I need I cannot get – and the torture manifests even in my dreams. I become emotionally needy and tend to suck the life out of relationships. It just gets worse from there on out.
Please bear in mind that I am in no way suggesting that a Vampyre will die if they don’t get to feed and from not feeding. However I will go so far as to say that some in the community have been known to get so ill as an effect of not feeding, that they reached a point where death was a real possibility. Some may
experience such emotional suffering that, out of desperation, they end their lives – and yes, I have been in that place before. However, the one thing that always got me through the hunger is the certain knowledge that the emotional suffering experienced while we “vamp out”, while dreadful, is not ‘real’ – meaning that whatever it is that my mind focuses on during a ‘crash” is not the real issue – that it is the hunger causing it, and that once I have fed, everything
will be alright again. Looking at it as objectively as I can, I have to say I have never been wrong about this. Knowing these things makes all the difference in keeping people around me virtually unaware that I am going through internal torture.
Something that has become apparent to me in my search for knowledge, is the striking similarity between our needs and cravings and how drug addicts behave towards or experience their addictions. Are we addicted to blood or energy? Is being a Vampyre an addiction?
I suppose the “withdrawal” symptoms we experience indicate that this is possible. However, if we are born with this built-in addiction for living energy, the same cannot be said for people addicted to chemical substances. While some may have genetic or medical propensities towards having addictive natures, these are a) chemical in nature, and b) they do not crave a substance they have never had before. As shown in my methodology in the “what” portion of this article, a) the dependency is not chemical or physical, and b) we awaken to cravings for something we have never had before.
What do I experience when I feed? Well, there is no “high” perse’ – as in, no funny purple people with kaleidoscope eyes and cute fluffy yellow dragons puffing cute orange smoke rings asking me if they are late for a tea party. No, but within moments – MOMENTS – I feel the spark of life re-entering me, I feel the weight of the gloom and the pressure on me start to lift. Is feeding pleasurable? I suppose that depends on the conditions of the feed. Some Vampyres and donors integrate feeding into other aspects of their relationships, if they are romantically involved you can use your imagination. Usually though, I would say that feeding is its own reward. For me, it becomes pleasurable when I feel the effects of the blood and the energy in it joining mine, and by the next morning, I know I will be back to my normal self again – happy, well, productive and not troubled by any of the things which tormented me during my hunger. Funny how all these ills can seemingly be cured with just a few cc’s of fresh blood, isn’t it?
Going a step further than the addiction theory, some sceptics also suggest taking medication for depression and other apparent psychological symptoms Vampyres claim to experience during hunger, and which we assert are relived by feeding. Some medications might alleviate some symptoms, yes, such as anti-depressants – but then at the end of the day, you have a Vampyre in self-denial who ends up being dependent on both blood – and chemicals, even be they legal ones. Not exactly a desirable solution, at least not to me.
Coming to a conclusion on this topic in the series, I think the best way to sum up this answer is to say: “Vampyres feed because we have to.” That’s what makes us Vampyres. It’s simplified, perhaps overly so, but for me – and for the other self-identifying Vampyres I know, it’s true.