Sanguinarius, also known affectionately as “Sangi”, founded and runs the Sanguinarius.org website renowned in our community for its treasure trove of articles by and about real Vampyres and vampyrism. This resource dates back to the roots of the OVC itself, and to the time when the community began to change from solitaries and small local occult groups who often met exclusively IRL into the modern inter-connected and global community we take for granted today. Many of the articles on her site are articles which were instrumental in helping to form the modern VC, and in influencing the understanding of the modern Vampyre we have now.
SAVN: Sangi, please introduce yourself to the South African Community, including a little bit about your background in the community, when or how you awakened, joined a VC group, or began participating in the VC, and so on. In your case, you are one of our international OVC founders, so please give some focus to that.
Sanguinarius: I’m Sanguinarius, or “Sangi”, for short. I’m the founder and webmistress of Sanguinarius.org for Real Vampires. I’ve been involved in the community since it began forming online in the late 1990s, providing resources, networking and community, and helping to influence and build it. Around the turn of the century, I was involved in COVICA (Council Of Vampire International Community Affairs), a now-defunct organization of community “Elders”, or leaders, which sought to provide resources and materials for the real vampire community and the sanguinarium (vampyre scene).
I awakened in my mid to late teens; I am 41 now. For a number of years after awakening, I wasn’t clear on how I should be as a real vampire, having read volumes of vampire fiction and folklore; I knew how I was and I knew how I thought I should be, and sought to emulate the vampires of fiction. As I interacted more with others similar to me online, comparing similarities and contrasting differences, I learned a lot and came to have a more realistic expectation of myself as a vampire.
In early 1997, I launched my website as a small home page with a smattering of information and bits of advice I’d learned along the way. It wasn’t long afterwards, — when I realized that, yes, other people were taking me seriously, — that I changed the name from “Home Page of Sanguinarius” to “Sanguinarius: The Vampire Support Page” and actively began including bits of advice others sent in and actively seeking articles and feedback. It’s been growing ever since. Our message board, The Vampiric Community message (and Support) Board (the “VCMB, for short), has it’s own story: It started out, I believe, as a small, threaded message board on a now-defunct site called Inside the Web; then it moved to ezBoard, then onto Server.com. A malicious troll completely wiped it out on several occasions while on Server.com so we moved back to ezBoard (now Yuku) for a time before Lady Slinky, one of my admins, took the initiative and purchased it’s own domain and an excellent message forum script for it, migrated the ezBoard messages over onto it, and now admins it at <www.vcmb.org>.
SAVN: Please discuss or review your contributions to the VC, either in a local sense, or internationally?
Sanguinarius: I mentioned the VCMB already. I also maintain the Real Vampire Directory; the Vampire-Discussion Group on Yahoo (which began it’s life as the Vampire-Discussion eList on OneList, which survived several changes in ownership before finally becoming Yahoo Groups); and the Vampire Community Events Calendar. Sanguinarius.org is also home to Problems Vampires Have, Fun Vampires have, and Good Vampires Do (a fairly new section), which profile different aspects of real vampirism, and can be read for either support or entertainment, or both. A number of years ago, I collected a lot of the terms in frequent use by vamps in the community and worked on defining them and adding them to my site, the Terminology and Lingo. I published in print an early edition of this and then later, went back and edited and revised the book with over 60 new terms. (This is available on Amazon.com if you’re interested – The Dictionary of Vampspeak, Second Edition.)
Oh, and I can’t forget to mention Channel #Sanguinarius, the longest running real vampire chat in IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and the Internet. This was established in either late December 1997 or early January 1998. It’s on the dal.net IRC network and takes an IRC client to connect to (I recommend mIRC). For more information, go to the channel’s home page at <irc.sanguinarius.org>.
On several occasions, I have attempted to provide Sanguinarius.org in languages other than English, but have never really gotten off the ground; either I run out of steam or my translators wander off to do other things and forget about the project. So nowadays, I offer the site and information available for others to translate and mirror on their own non-English sites if they are inclined to do so (the only stipulation I ask is to give my site and the contributing authors credit and a link back to Sanguinarius). Those who do should be aware that some words may not translate well or at all into their language, and any word they use or create may well slip into their community or language as the word for that concept, so choose carefully.
SAVN: Many community members in SA probably came to know the SA VC by way of your excellent information resource (Sanguinarius.org). Do you have anything you would like to say to them?
Sanguinarius: I wish I could do more. I am glad to know that we have fellow vampires in other countries and hope your communities are safe and sound, strong and secure. If you have anything you’d like to contribute (from advice to fellow vamps, to articles about the development of your community, or the trials and travails of being a vampire in your own country), I’d be happy to look them over for possible publication on Sanguinarius.org. Attach your submissions to an email and send them to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. (If you encounter any problems with that email, then send to <SangiVamp@gmail.com>.)
I am eager to learn of other communities ways and ideas.
SAVN: What are your hopes for the future regarding the general Vampyre Community, and for younger communities like ours?
Sanguinarius: I hope it remains strong and vibrant, and that younger communities can learn from ours and not have to go through some of the growing pains that ours has had to deal with (like the psi/sang wars). Many of us are eager to seek cross-pollination of ideas and communications with other communities in other countries.
I hope in the future that other countries will be more tolerant of real vampires and vampirism. We sometimes forget here in the States just how fortunate we are to have as much political and social freedom as we do, and we don’t realize how bad it can get for some until we hear of things like the massacre of LGBT and Emo youths in Iraq, for instance. I find that appalling but it is just the way they have to live there; they shouldn’t have to go through that just because they are different but they do.
SAVN: Thank you ever so much for this interview, and we wish you all the best for the future!