Sang Castles, Fangtasies And Other Tales – by Octarine Valur

Recently there was some upset in the VC about, what else – but Vampyres? This article is not an attempt to prolong existing arguments, to incite new arguments about who is “more” of a Vampyre than who, or to place blame for any past events – or to take cheap shots at anybody. It is a simple examination of our history as a community, and about the issues raised in a number of separate debates, some in public, and some in private.

As with any discussion, we should begin at the starting point – a baseline, and for this discussion, it is this: Some people, particularly modern participants of the VC, understand that the Vampyre Community as we understand it today – that is, the online aspect of this subculture, once had no ‘Psis’ or ‘Hybrids’ at all. These individuals have stated that it once consisted exclusively of blood drinkers, and that it was founded by sanguine Vampyres. Psi-vamps – or psychic or energy vampires, are regarded by these same individuals, as an external group which was ‘allowed’ to identify as Vampyres and to participate in Vampyre groups due to what some have called ‘a lapse in standards and liberal allowance’.

In contrast to opinions expressed lately from some quarters, chiefly sanguine, I see no need to segregate the community, on or offline, based upon feeding method… and like any reasonable person, I can understand the need for sang-only forums and psi-only forums, which are there to deal with feeding issues – but what these individuals have described lately is a total separation, on and offline… and based not upon logic or some morally justifiable reason – but upon a festering dislike based upon the same lack of knowledge and ignorance as what sparked off the first conflict – and that I don’t agree with.

The posts made by most of those in favor of segregation of psi and sang participants frequently include derogatory language, leaving the reader in little doubt that they bear a festering hate for psi’s and ‘hybrid’ feeders. I’m a sanguine too – but I can’t wrap my head around that way of thinking.

One of the justifications offered in support of this opinion is the claim that “the community was started by sangs, and the psis stole it from us/we should never have allowed them in/the psis took over” etc.

While this last statement alone, in numerous permutations, has been and still is inflammatory enough to start a thousand-comment flame-war wherever it is posted in the modern VC, I again provide the assurance that the premise for this article is to provoke an interest in VC history, to test the claims made by these elements, and not to cause offense to any part of our community. Indeed, by the time you are through reading it, this article is likely to provide you with a new appreciation for the phrase and concept implied by they words “The Vampi(y)re Community”.

Again, to break the statement down in point-form,

  1. a) “The VC was started by sanguine Vampyres.”
  2. b) “Psi Vampyres were allowed to join the (allegedly) sanguine-controlled VC.”
  3. c) “Psychic Vampyres and ‘hybrids’ are not real Vampyres at all and don’t belong in the VC.”

Many, if not most participants of the VC today missed out on the formative years of the Online Vampire Community. They turned up one day and found groups on Facebook, sites on WordPress or Blogger, and can be forgiven for assuming that the VC has always been basically the same. Some have heard rumors that things were not always as smooth between psi and sang Vampyres as they are today, but for the most part these references are based upon third-hand information, and those making them have generally made no effort to research the past.

I started out to verify the truth behind these statements. Is it true that the VC was founded by sangs – and then later joined by psi’s?

It’s not so easy to find answers to this question, since most of our historical records appear to be kept online, and regrettably, many (if not most) of the sites where these events took place, no longer exist. Printed documents from the pre-internet age of the VC are even harder to come by, and there are also far fewer participants in our culture with sufficient interest in our history, to preserve and to even read or appreciate the lessons provided to us by those who went before.

We know blood-drinking has been around, well, forever. The Mayans did it. The Egyptians did it. The Romans did it. The Greeks did it. Even the Vikings did it. It’s been a part of religious and occult practices for eons. Certain famous poets and authors in classical literature have been suspected of doing it. Naturally, as any Vampyre knows, the reasons for feeding vary from person to person. Some people do it symbolically, and some really do it. Some people do it for amusement, some do it for spiritual reasons, some do it because they get sick if they don’t, and others do it because they are sick. That said, we know about the serial killers who infamously attracted the label ‘vampire’ for their activities. We also know about the ‘vampire hysterias’ of European history, where panic-stricken and fearful people would vandalize the graves of their ancestors and neighbors out of fear that the bloated, but lifelike corpses within, had been sucking blood or life force from sickly relatives – and we also know about the so-called ‘generational Vampyres’, whose feeding methods, experiences and family heritage are passed down from one generation to the next, upon their perceived awakening, as a tradition and closely guarded secret.

We all know how the image of the vampire in fiction has mellowed and changed over the years – from a walking corpse in Nosferatu to the eloquent depiction of Dracula in the Bram Stoker novel and 1992 movie version, from the classical-yet-fresh take in Interview with a Vampire to the organized and sophisticated underground cultures of Blade and Underworld. From the monster-almost-zombie devoid of feeling in the countless schlocky-horror movies from the 60’s and 70’s to the romantic icon and anti-hero in Twilight, Moonlight, True Blood and Vampire Diaries.

As those who have been in the community long enough to see it happen, will realize that modern fiction influences the culture – and the culture has influenced the fiction – and the fiction in turn influences the culture, and so it goes on, until sometimes it is very hard to tell one from the other – and this is especially true when seekers come knocking on our doors, begging to be ‘turned’ or asking if we are still at “war” with the Lycans. This sort of thing, while really good fiction, has long been the bane of the real VC and subculture, because it feeds the lifestyling element which for some, casts doubt on our sanity and maturity as vampyric people.

Yet lifestyling is not a general issue, because most people accept that there is a time and a place for everything – and after all, what self-identifying Vampyre doesn’t sometimes like to dress up for a ball or some VC event, or even Halloween? It should also be understood that it is probably rather difficult for outsiders to take a group of people seriously if they are portrayed as running around town or on shopping trips while dressed like Lestat, or wearing fangs and contacts at a Monday morning company business meeting.

This annoying trend of fictional influence aside, in general, the Vampyre Community today is founded on the common understanding that a ‘real’ Vampyre is someone that has an innate and inescapable need to feed on things other than ordinary physical food and nutrients, most typically sourced from other human beings, but also from things such as ambient and elemental energies – and that there are very real and measurable consequences for the individual should these needs not be met.

Now let us look at psychic vampyrism. While the mythical archetype of the vampire was always being reinforced by popular fiction, schlock horror movies etc – the sang’s distant cousins, the psi’s, had almost no such reinforcement or promotional material in popular culture. And while the notion of an aristocratic undead blood-drinker seemed appealing to a select public, there was no flattering equivalent in literary offerings of the times. Thus, there was no appealing reference for awakening psi-vamps to hold on to, or to consider as an explanation for their circumstances.

The basic concept of psychic vampirism has been around in various forms since long before the 2oth century, but it was Dion Fortune who wrote of psychic parasitism directly in relation to vampirism in 1930 in her book, “Psychic Self-Defense”.  This work predates what we now understand as ‘THE Vampyre Community’ by almost 70 years.

However, there is evidence to suggest that the term “psychic vampire” had been in use as early as the 1890’s, in occult groups such as The Golden Dawn, which would mean that the basic concept of the ‘self-identifying psychic vampire’ has existed as defined in a literary and non-fictional form since at least 110 years prior to the dawn of the OVC. However it is entirely more likely that this concept may have been clarified as a magical practice or act as part of occult mysticism rather than as an identity. The term ‘predatory spirituality’ may be a modern creation, but the concept behind it, as far as it involves energetic or even magickal workings, probably dates back as far as humans have imagined that their will or desires can influence other people, or the universe around them.

Going back to before the 19th century, we begin to delve into ancient folklore, myth, and legend. While we might feel that myth, folklore and legend are unreliable in terms of providing any answers, we need to compare what people may have been saying and believing about certain mythical creatures and perceived paranormal events in the distant past.

Interestingly, if you dig back into the folklore, the beings from whom the very archetype of the modern vampire stems, did not all drink blood. In actuality – and perhaps maddeningly for their critics, most of the folkloric vampires would better fit our modern notions of hybrids: some were believed to appear to their spouses and engage in sex the whole night, exhausting and ultimately draining their loved one through that means; some were believed to suck physical blood, the evidence of which was believed to be seen in the coffin, with all the pink-tinged fluids of decay swimming around the “life-like” corpse; some were thought to not walk physically, but to send their spirits forth and to visit in dreams, or hover over their victims as they slept, sucking out their life force.

The folkloric figure of Lilith who is viewed by some as the “Mother of Vampires”, is perhaps more akin to our modern understanding of a sexual or tantric Vampyre today, perhaps with a generous helping of astral vampirism to supplement her visitations, stealing the night-time emissions of males, while killing the newborn offspring of Eve by sucking the life out of them. The legends of Lilith, today still a recorded feature of Hebrew mythology, cast as “Adam’s first disobedient wife who was replaced by Eve”, go much further back than Hebrew religion, but reach back into Mesopotamian folklore from 6000 or more years ago. Rather than just one “Lilith”, the character appears to have been a consolidated figure coalesced from a class of ‘desert-spirits’ the Mesopotamians called “lilim”, which shared similar traits as Lilith, feeding on people in various ways.

According to renowned psychic Vampyre and paranormal researcher, Michelle Belanger,

“That life force was believed to be an aspect of the archetypal vampire myths is attested in Harry Senn’s ethnographic work, The Were-Wolf and Vampire in Romania, where he describes living vampires who are able to suck the vitality from fields of grain, suck the health from herds, and to suck vitality and health — even at long distances — from human victims who crossed their paths.”

When looking at all this, it’s perhaps not surprising that the image of the ‘psychic vampire’ has been a label applied to people as a form of insult to imply that they are needy or boring individuals who “suck the life out of a room” figuratively rather than literally – and one which even today still carries negative connotations and stigma. It’s also not surprising that anyone who encountered such legends and writings over the ages, who found that they shared all or some of the listed traits, needs and possessed the skills – and suffered the need to feed energetically, adopted the identity of the psi vamp.

It was not until Vyrdolak’s ‘Fireheart’ article, published (in print) in 1987 (or possibly 1988), when people first began to view the psychic Vampyre as anything other than a bother, an inconvenience – or an outright monster.

“I remember seeing that Fireheart article *in print* in 1996, when I worked at a bookstore.” Michelle said. “I saw a lot of magazines at the time, because I managed the periodicals section. I cheerfully used that position to get my hands on a number of obscure and otherwise impossible to find publications — and to bring them to my customers. Pagan magazines were super scarce even then, and really rare before that. That’s not to say they didn’t exist, but they were *really* hard to find and they had very little distribution.”

In fact it was this article, republished in internet form in 1997, ten years later, which appears to have been instrumental in providing affirmation to self-identifying psi’s that they were not just some isolated aberration, but a specific type of vampyric person. It was only natural that they began to seek each other out, to form groups and circles of their own. But psis were not the only Vampyres that they found.

At the time, the archetype of the real Vampyre was very different to what it is today. These days we think in terms of Psychic, Sanguine, Hybrid (Omnivorous), Pranic, Tantric etc… but in the 1990’s there were different concepts such as “Night-Timer”, “Classical Vampire” and others. At the time, there was another classification of “real vampires” – the lifestylers – the people who adopted the aesthetic look of the fictional vampire, typically without sharing our need for feeding, either sang or psi. Gamers were also present, to muddy the issue still further by playing out their V:tM roles on forums and message boards and to spark off drama aplenty. And (like ever so many other groups) each seemed keen on presenting themselves as the only ‘legitimate’ class of ‘real vampires’. Looking at this, the beginning of the OVC seems to have been inundated by chaos.

But of course, there was no Vampyre Community proper in those days – and in fact, it was not until 1997 (according to some VC historic accounts) – well into the growth of the early internet, that the term “Vampire Community” was coined by Sanguinarius in her article “About the Internet Vampire Community” of 1998.

Therefore, the archetype of the real Vampyre – whether psi or sang – is far older than the culture or community it created. That is the premise of this article.

What we need to understand is that even though there have been myths and legends about both psi and sang Vampyres for thousands of years, and even while there have been self-identifying, practising psi and sang feeding Vampyres – probably for about as long – there is a big difference between there being Vampyres – and there having been an actual, verifiable culture or COMMUNITY (or communities) based on these common traits.

 “As far as I’ve been able to trace, the term, “Vampire Community” was first used by Sanguinarius in the late 1990s, and primarily referred to the coalescing network of messageboards, chat channels and email groups on the Internet. But a loose and disconnected network of Vampire-Identified People had been in existence for at least several decades by then.

It’s impossible to document what may have existed prior to the 1970s. Very few people openly identified as “vampires,” and those networks or groups they may have formed were far underground and secretive, like the networks for gays prior to the mid-20th century. The earliest networks evolved out of several related sources.” – “The Real Vampire Community’s Early Days” by Vyrdolak

Well known vampirologist, the late Dr. Stephen Kaplan, who (according to his 1984 book, ‘Vampires Are’) founded the ‘Vampire Research Center’ in New York City in 1971. He is perhaps best known for reporting on written correspondence, phone conversations, and face to face interviews with individuals who self-identified as real vampires. According to Kaplan, these individuals had formed small private groups, but it’s still unclear how they communicated outside of their immediate local network, if they did so at all.

“Dr. Leonard Wolf ran advertisements in the late 1960s asking simply, “Are you a vampire?” He reported the response in his somewhat pretentious book about vampire fiction, the vampire’s mystique and (mostly) himself, A Dream of Dracula (1971). This was among the earliest commercially published works to describe more-or-less sane and law-abiding people who defined themselves as “vampires” to the mainstream reading public. While neither Kaplan nor Wolf issued a newsletter or helped Vampire-Identified People connect with each other, their published works showed isolated Vampire-Identified People that they weren’t alone and others like them existed.

Martin V. Riccardo founded the Vampire Studies Society in 1977 and issued a quarterly newsletter, Journal of Vampirism from 1977 to 1979. Riccardo went on to explore the nature of “psychic vampires,” and claims to have invented the term, “astral vampirism.” In 1978, Eric Held confounded the Vampire Information Exchange, along with Dorothy Nixon, after talking to Stephen Kaplan by phone. Both Held and Nixon were intrigued by the idea of “real vampires.” The VIE published the Vampire Information Exchange Newsletter (VIEN) from 1978 through the mid-2000s. Despite the interests of their founders, both of these newsletters tended to focus on vampire media and folklore, and did not treat Vampire-Identified People seriously. However, many Vampire-Identified People subscribed to them and attempted to contact the researchers.” – “The Real Vampire Community’s Early Days” by Vyrdolak.

Additionally, there have been numerous historical narratives made over the years by those who were there, of psi’s encountering sangs, and sangs encountering psi’s, before the advent of the internet, or the OVC in any form whatever. This in itself verifies that the vampyric archetypes of psi and sang had already been established before that.

Prior to the common public usage of the internet, which only began around say 1992-3, there was no actual Vampyre COMMUNITY. There were groups in the shadows, secretive, isolated and viewing each other with suspicion or mistrust, but that appears to be the extent of it. A few scattered isolated groups do not a ‘community’ make. The creation of the internet allowed Vampyres to find each other, to network, to learn, refine, and grow – pretty much as we are still doing today.

Returning to the original starting-point of this part of the discussion, and when looking at different recent statements objectively, I notice the VC’s origins appear to be viewed as having started out as ‘sanguine’, with psi vamps joining the party later, followed by the ‘hybrid’ contingent even later still. But is this really the case? Or is this just the way some particularly vocal sanguines see it?

I feel I’ve already shown that both feeding methods appear to have had demonstrable presence predating the onset of the OVC at the very least, by 60 years. Of course, most of us will insist that there have always been psi and sang Vampyres – but for the purposes of this discussion, 60 years prior to the advent of the OVC is sufficient, since it answers the question of both real vampyric archetypes having existed prior to 1990.

It’s time at this point to insert another question: Did Psi’s and Sangs not have their own communities or groups before the OVC came into being?

Michelle Belanger, one of the world’s premier celebrities in the paranormal research community – and a psychic vampire of note, is the founder of House Kheperu and the spiritual path known as Path of the Kherete, a path followed by many Vampyres to this day.

“I personally came across the specific term “psychic vampire” in Fortune’s work in 1991 (prior to that I’d simply been calling myself a vampire). Fortune’s definition of a psychic vampire, as well as “astral vampire,” fit my experiences far better than anything I’d previously run across. I then dug deeper and found that the term had been part of the Flying Rolls, or instructional missives, of the Golden Dawn. That dated it back to the 1890s. I’ve not been able to find where the term originated from prior to that – some claim it was Blavatsky. I cannot find hard evidence to attest to that, but it was certainly a term being used in the 19th century.”

Michelle first got formally involved in the vampire community, such as it was, in 1991. In the same year, she started publishing “Shadowdance”, a Gothic literary ‘zine focused mainly on fiction but which encouraged a lively correspondence behind-the-scenes with magickal practitioners and self-identified vampires. Between 1995 and 1996, she founded the International Society of Vampires, which unlike Shadowdance, openly catered to real vampires, with articles about vampirism written by real vampires in its newsletter, the Midnight Sun.

The International Society of Vampires was not specifically psi-focused, and it was not specifically Kheprian. It was a way for anyone who identified as a vampire to share their thoughts, experiences, and theories. The ISV saw the first serialized publication of the now famous Vampire Codex (later the Psychic Vampire Codex), and it had a membership that spanned the globe which, for a sent-through-the-mail, paper and ink organization prior to the internet, was quite a feat.

“Pre-Internet contact for most of us,” She said, “had diverse identifications among members.” “Before the Internet, there wasn’t a single community, but many small groups, knots, and circles — some of which intersected — and many of which existed in isolation from other groups. That isolation was rarely intentional — simply put, there were very few safe and reliable options for reaching and finding (never mind vetting) other real vampires, whether psi, sang, or otherwise.”

House Kheperu – a psychic Vampyre group, was founded in 1996 – a year before the term “Vampire Community” was even adopted by participants of the OVC, on the inspiration of Sanguinarius.

“There was an AOL chat room active in 1996 called RealVampiresNoRPG that included both psi’s and sangs.”

This is significant, because up until that time, the community as it were, was undefined as ‘A’ community.

This means that at the very same time, there were two very distinct vampyric identities – psi and sang – co-existing with each other, sharing the same newsletters, chat boards and rubbing elbows in the same clubs and  forums on the fledgling internet or OVC. And as yet, there had been no real friction or rejection – or serious attempts by one to invalidate the other. The early internet was not as stable as we take it for granted today. Message boards – the precursor of the later forums and today’s social media favourites, frequently couldn’t compete on the new market. Most shut down, and few remain in any kind of form today, under different names. But, as Michelle explains, the situation as it stood, was about to change.

“However, by 1997, several websites [were] devoted to real vampires. All of them were sang. Sanguinarius’s site and Sphynxcat’s were ones that stood out as legit. But (even though psi vampirism had been discussed as viable in the chat room, the majority of these sites refused to acknowledge psychic vampirism as a legitimate type of vampirism. Time and again, I was met with hostility and disdain, the bottom-line being as a psi, I was not a ‘real vampire.’ This continued for years.”

The narrative histories we have, show us that by 1996, psi’s and sangs already routinely rubbed shoulders in real life, at clubs, at BDSM groups, in meet-ups, in covens and via discussion groups and on e-lists and pre-internet mailing lists. At the start of the internet, while it initially appears by 1997-8, there were more sanguine-focused sites than psi-focused sites, the earlier trend up until 1997 had been combined sites carrying forward the pre-internet trend, where real Vampyres of diverse descriptions interacted. History appears to indicate that at this point, some of these sites chose to specialize in either psi or sang focus, and that psi sites and groups sprang up in reaction to the sudden friction between them.

So what we’re looking at, is the reality of a gradual merger and integration. Whether it occurred after 1987, or only intensified after 1997 is not really the point – the point is, that by the time the OVC – the Online Vampire Community – began to form, and by the time sangs and psis found themselves on one side – or the middle of a widening rift – it was already not segregated, or rarely so. But it had become an issue, for some at least. It seems then, that from this, the original Psi-Sang issue from 1997-8 was a reaction to something that had already happened, not just to something that was happening or still going to happen.

It is only logical that you cannot divide something unless it has already been previously unified.

This point is very significant, for several reasons – but primarily because, in itself, these facts invalidate claims that “THE Vampyre Community” was founded by sanguines. Or by Psi’s. Rather, it appears that two separately understood archetypes of real vampyric people increasingly overlapped and coalesced into a primordial kind of Vampyre Community before actually realizing it – and then, as sometimes happens, there was an adverse reaction by those who either did not understand the opposing viewpoint, or who did not appreciate it.

In looking for a specific point where a ‘merger’ was announced or orchestrated, I am left frustrated – because it seems that this merger wasn’t deliberately orchestrated. Nor was it specifically announced anywhere by some central authority that “henceforth these two communities shall be one and the same!” However, the truth is that something did happen in 1997 which unleashed the ire of the sanguine component, resulting in what we know as the “Psi-Sang War”, but as in most of these cases, the reaction was generally based upon a lack of understanding of – or perhaps to a lesser degree, a lack of empathy for what they were dealing with.

One cannot retell the history of our community without mentioning Sanguinarius, or others such as Vyrdolak, Amy Krietaz, et al. I will be drawing on quotes from articles by these respected figures from the formative years of our community in the following paragraphs. These extracts are relevant for this article because they give insight on psi-sang interactions of the day, and also background on what happened in various forums of the early OVC during the turmoil of the “Psi-Sang War” – and also clues as to what seems to have sparked it off.

According to Sanguinarius, in her article “The Beginning To The Present Time”, where she talks about events during the year 1998, she says:

“Most of the vampires whom I had come into contact with were or claimed to be psychic vampires. I concluded that most of these people wanted to be able to call themselves vampires, but excuse the fact that they did not drink blood. Thus, they claimed that they were psychic vampires. (After all, they are vampires, and they are feeding right as you watch, — you just can’t see them do it. So you can’t disprove it, eh? Perfect. And, therefore, anyone can claim to be a psychic vampire.) But I did believe that there are such critters, so I did continue to think of them as a being part of the Vampire Community, even though I didn’t know too much about them or their ways.”

“Meanwhile, there appeared more psyvamps and more psyvamps, seemingly out of the woodwork. All that ever got talked about was psyvamp stuff, and worse, they referred to themselves as “real vampires”, and stated that, for real vampires, consuming blood is secondary to consuming pranic energy; in effect, cutting sanguinarians — blood vamps — completely out of the picture of being real vampires. We lowly sanguinarians felt resentment at this, but it was nebulous and unformed. Nobody said anything, though — except for Amy Krieytaz, who is not herself a sanguinarian but had talked with enough sanguinarians to realize that the well meaning psyvamps were over-generalizing.”

“Giving back to the psyvamps what I felt they had been serving up to us sanguinarians all along, I excluded them in defining “real vampire”. Basically, I proposed that anyone who did not experience the Thirst, who did not have to deal with serious blood-lust (among other conditions of being a vampire), was not a vampire. I excluded the psyvamps, lambasted the Vampyres, and crucified the gamers and posers! This came suddenly, without warning, and took everyone by complete surprise. All hell and rubber chickens broke loose. Oy, with friends like me, the Vampire Community doesn’t need enemies! :-/ Much discussion of this and some more misunderstandings occurred when I attempted to apologise, which in turn caused even more discussion. People claimed a rift had occurred between the sanguinarians and the psyvamps, which I hope to try to repair over time and with effort. Many of the psyvamps just got up and left, forming their own forums and such. My God, I never meant to divide the Community!

Amy, Cymbelina, Virgil, I, and others, have talked about my … lapse in hospitality, and began the process of straightening things out (and increasing my understanding of those who are psychic vampires). I had since gone and re-read the Statements of Purpose, and my Intro Page, and, with those refreshed in my memory, gotten myself more or less back in line with my own aims and intentions. Besides that, it’s just plain rude to welcome someone into one’s house as one’s guest, and then behave in a rude and inhospitable manner toward them. That is, in effect, what I did. I do hope that those who were offended or hurt will forgive me the transgression.

Amy Krieytaz suggested that it would be beneficial to begin referring to the “Vampire Community” as the “Vampiric Community”, in order to take the focus off of who is / who isn’t a “vampire” and keep it on the “Community” where it needs to be. I did agree, and subsequently revised the title of the discussion board, the Statements of Purpose, and ferretted out references to the former on my site to change as time and opportunity allowed.”

According to Vyrdolak, in her lengthy treatise on Vampyre Community history “The Real Vampire Community’s Early Days”,

“As Sanguinarius describes in her essay, “From the Beginning to October, 1998,” the year 1997 saw a sudden explosion of serious, sympathetic “real vampire” sites and information onto the Internet. My Fireheart article, Sanguinarius’ website, my website (under the title, The Real Vampires Home Page), and others popped into being within the space of a few months. Very rapidly, Sanguinarius and several other people began creating online forums for direct interaction among readers of these websites, including Sanguinarius’ messageboard, AngelBitMe’s V.E.I.N. messageboard, Namadie’s Hall of Memories messageboard, and a number of email groups.

The venues available in 1997 left much to be desired. Free email group hosting had only just begun to be offered by a few companies, and the groups tended to be buggy, unreliable and prone to security lapses. Many of the “real vampire” messageboards were initially set up on Server.com, which operated on a complete laissez-faire principle and provided no way to control or block problem posts. Some of the same individuals who were active in these fora also posted to the Usenet newsgroup alt.vampires, which was more of a fannish/scholarly venue, and alt.culture.vampires for “real vampires.” The guestbook-cum-discussion-board on Liriel McMahon’s VRI website continued to be active. IRC chat channels also became important centers of activity for those Vampire Identified People who could access them, and some have been in use consistently since the early 90s.

The first reference to this loosely linked online subculture as a “community” appeared in the Statements of Purpose on Sanguinarius’ Vampire Support Page (as it was then named) website in the summer of 1997. At that time, the reference was all-inclusive, with “vampire community” indicating everyone who could be considered or who called themselves any type of “vampire,” whether they were connected with the online fora or not. In this sense, the term was used in the same general way that “community” has been applied to a number of subgroups that have in common a special interest or experience–for example, the Pagan community, the LGBT community, the leather community, even “the victim community” of survivors of violent crimes.

Sanguinarius suggested that self-defined “vampires” represented a “community” through broad common interest. Her Statements of Purpose asserted that her objectives included greater understanding and networking among community members, outreach to isolated individuals, public education efforts about blood-drinking and vampirism, and support for Vampire-Identified People suffering from persecution. This is similar to the basic goals of many founders of various “communities.”

One point, however, was more assumed than articulated: by “vampire” Sanguinarius meant blood drinker.”

This point would be proven during later events leading up to the ultimate conflict around the psi-sang issue. As Vyrdolak explains further:

“As websites, e-groups, messageboards and chat channels continued to proliferate during the winter and early spring of 1998, a core membership of regular participants evolved. These members did not restrict themselves to just one online venue but circulated among almost all of them (although most had a favorite “home”). This meant that discussions, interpersonal issues, hot debate topics and so forth did not stay in one isolated place but spread throughout the network of Internet fora. Strong personalities emerged, and inevitably, so did strong disagreements. There were even one or two community scapegoats. Some community members became highly distressed at the occasional lack of civility in discussions and complained or announced their departure (usually temporarily). However, an objective look into all the online turmoil reveals some interesting changes going on underneath the surface.

Beginning in the early spring of 1998, a variety of online debates centered on a critical issue: what, exactly, was meant by the term “vampire” (or the then-current “real vampire”), what characteristics did a “vampire” have, and who should be considered one, and hence a member of “the vampire community?”

Many of the heated discussions had their direct or indirect origin in my own website. The direct origin came from a couple of features of that site in particular: the “real vampire traits checklists,” which some felt were misleading, and the FAQ question “What is a psychic vampire,” in which I made the (apparently contradictory) statements that “there is no such thing as a psychic vampire,” and “all real vampires are psychic vampires by nature.”

What I meant, and made a complete mess of explaining at the time, was that I believed that all “real vampires” could and should be drinking blood, that “real vampires” needed blood for its pranic energy content, and that the community should not dismiss or invalidate any bona fide “real vampire” merely because he or she didn’t, or couldn’t, find a source of blood. How my article and website were interpreted was a bit different–and unfortunately, I apparently was extremely obtuse (and remain somewhat skeptical) about what some people tell me was “my influence in the community.”

There were a growing number of self-defined “psychic vampires” in the Online Vampire Community (OVC), and an even larger number of what were then called “psi-blood feeders”–people who reported craving for, and/or being satisfied by, both blood and “energy.” I heard from a lot of these “hybrid vampires” in my own email, and independent surveys by the original owner of the Psychic Vampires website seemed to support this “bell curve.” It appeared, at that time, that the majority of Vampire-Identified People reported a need for blood and “energy” in varying proportions.

Like Sanguinarius, I was less concerned with categories and definitions than in uniting the entire community according to what it shared. I expected a high degree of diversity. I hoped to encourage varieties of Vampire-Identified People to see themselves as having vampirism in common and so feel more like a unified class of kindred spirits, despite their differing needs and practices.

Community member Amy Krieytaz, however, continued to bring up the question of supposedly “pure psi-feeders” and “pure blood vampires” feeling “excluded” by my model, which was anything but my wish. My chief sympathies were with blood-drinking vampires, but I got the impression (accurate or not) that many “pure” blood-drinking Vampire Identified People (i.e. Sanguinarians) in the online community did not have a high opinion of me and my website. Meanwhile, Amy attempted to address the situation by inventing more and more hair-splitting “overlapping categories” of so-called “real vampires,” and we debated this issue in private email.

I perceived an ominous change as the summer of 1998 went on. The online “psychic vampires” (with and without blood-craving or blood interest tendencies) continued to increase in number incredibly rapidly, and websites, chat channels and messageboards specifically for them were being founded enthusiastically. As this was going on, “psychic wars” began to break out in which the “psychic vampire” community rallied around one or more members who complained of being attacked, often during IRC chat sessions, by other “psychic vampires” (either members of the group or hostile outsiders).

These claims baffled and disturbed blood-drinking Vampire Identified People who could not understand what these attacks meant or how to assess reports of something they could not perceive. The skepticism–no matter how quiet and noncommittal–the “psychic vampires” sensed from other members of the OVC contributed to a widening crack. Instead of seeing themselves as “real vampires” with an experience in common (a need to “feed” on blood or “energy”), the online community was beginning to separate into two halves. One side still felt that vampirism by definition implied a need to drink blood. The other side was beginning to openly suggest that “real vampires” should not need to drink blood, but instead should “evolve” or progress to the “higher” level of “psi-feeding.” Long before this difference of opinion became openly contentious, it was creating a deep psychological rift. But the greatest irony of all in this development, at least from my perspective, was that it was all my fault.”

One of the underlying causes of psi-sang friction might be seen in the following passages from the same article by Vyrdolak, not in a point of ‘blame’, but perhaps more in understanding the mindset of the sanguines participating in the online community of the day:

“Prior to the publication of my FireHeart article in fall, 1987, nobody, under any circumstances, considered a “psychic vampire” something that could be positive, or that anyone would ever admit to being. Every book that dealt with “real life vampirism” defined vampirism on the basis of blood-drinking. If psychic vampires were mentioned at all, it was in the context of early occult literature that described psychic vampires as people (or astral entities) who drained the vitality of others, either unconsciously or maliciously. Some books described “psychic vampires” as the leechlike, clinging, using personality types defined and denounced by both the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set. The sole “positive” reference to a “psychic vampire” from his own point of view occurs in Norine Dresser’s American Vampires, and that was published two years after my article. Without meaning to, I had introduced a totally new paradigm for psychic vampirism. When it was dropped into the whirling maelstrom of the Internet, with the posting of my 1987 article on the EarthSpirit website at the beginning of 1997, it was like a bomb going off. When I put up my first website as a response to the article, I only managed to pour gasoline on a roaring fire.”

This article is generally known as “Vyrdolak’s Fireheart article” – and at the beginning, probably like most of you, I assumed that was the title of the article itself. It turns out that the name of the zine that first published it was called “Fireheart”, and the article itself was called “Real Vampires”. It is visible on the Earthspirit website, along with other noteworthy articles from the Fireheart zine run.

While there is some debate around the actual publication date of Vyrdolak’s article, given by several sources as “1987”, the zine that first published her article states on their website “Seven issues of FireHeart magazine were published between the years 1988 and 1993. While the magazine has ceased publication, we are making available here a number of articles and other information which may still be of interest or relevance…” The article is also listed as having been included in issue #2 of the publication, although dates for when issues went to print are not provided.

This indicates that it’s possible that Vyrdolak wrote or completed the article in 1987, and that it may just have been first published in 1988, and not 1987. I sent the admin of the Fireheart site an email, but did not receive a reply at the time of posting this article.

“All of these people who were reading my website weren’t adopting my ideas as a whole package. They were extracting from my site what agreed with their pre-existing worldview and ideology, which ninety-nine percent of the time meant completely ignoring my assertions that all “real vampires” need to drink blood and that “psychic vampires” are not a separate class of vampire. My site acted as a psychic vampire manifesto, and those who read it adapted my ideas, and passed them on to others who further adapted them, and so on. I had started a revolution, in which a “psychic vampire” suddenly was not a draining, energy-challenged individual who leeched off other people and needed to be “cured,” “magically bound,” or avoided, but a kind of superior being, a potential master energy-wielder, who could outgrow any need to “feed” on blood, or on other people.

But I didn’t own this revolution. I watched my ideas, my terminology, and often my exact words circulate through the Internet, and I didn’t get the credit for them. (To be fair, most of the people passing them on evidently had no clue about their origins. For example, the term “pranic vampirism” originates with me–I’m the first person to link the word “pranic” and the word “vampire.” But nobody remembers that now, except a few people who have recently attempted to claim, without a shred of documentation, that they were using the term “pranic” earlier and are blatantly lying.)

But I did get the grief for the results. Many blood-drinking Vampire-Identified People didn’t like me because some self-defined “psychic vampires” were adapting my ideas in ways rather unflattering to them (and very much at variance from my intentions). Some “psychic vampires” didn’t like me because I continued to insist there was no such thing as a “psychic vampire.” Almost everyone was dubious about me because of my “vampire traits checklists,” which were widely seen as a bad idea. As I was buried under an avalanche of email that mostly pled for an explanation of checklist scores, I was beginning to agree with that point of view.

The Psychic Vampire Revolution was a movement whose time had come, and the self-defined “psychic vampires” (or “Psivamps”) can’t be blamed for the way they expanded into the nascent online community. After all, so many Vampire Identified People continued to bravely maintain that the “vampire community” should (somehow) include every self-defined vampire. What nobody seemed to realize–perhaps not even the “Psivamps” themselves–was that the “psychic vampire” community was hiving off into its own completely independent reality, with its own leaders, its own subcommunity, its own vocabulary, and its own concepts. It was also growing explosively, with self-defined “Psivamps” outnumbering both blood-drinkers and self-defined “hybrids.” (I think many “hybrids” were intimidated into believing their blood-craving was “unevolved” or unethical and tried to suppress or deny it. The anonymous surveys distributed by Suscitatio LLC in 2006 reveal that the majority of Vampire Identified People still claim to need both blood and “energy.”)

As the “Psivamps” became stronger, more self-assured, more articulate, and developed a better consensus, their collective influence naturally became much stronger in the general online fora. The blood-drinking Vampire Identified People found their opposing self-definitions thrown into sharp relief as a result, and began reaffirming their own identity, pulling back into their own subgroup and grumbling behind the scenes.

Under the mounting pressure of this still unacknowledged and widening breach, the explicit issues finally erupted publicly in September 1998. Some blood-drinking Vampire-Identified People logged complaints that the “Psivamps” were “taking over.” Sanguinarius forcefully stated her view that “real vampires” were defined as blood-craving or blood-lusting Sanguinarians, period, and that “psychic vampires” were not worthy of the name. She posted this message on both the original Bloody Minded messageboard and then the general Vampire Community messageboard, and the “Psivamps” suddenly found themselves brutally challenged by an acknowledged leader of the vampire community. They were, naturally, hurt and dismayed, the more so because a few other Sanguinarians cheered Sanguinarius’ message and added their agreement.

Some “Psivamps” angrily responded to Sanguinarius’ message while others simply abandoned the messageboard for their own exclusive “Psivamp” fora (at least until they cooled off). Sanguinarius later relented on her strong position and apologised, but she continued to state that she simply did not understand the “Psivamps'” perspective on life, and that her real allegiance was to other Sanguinarians and their issues. Her view was probably representative of many blood-drinking Vampire-Identified People. However, Sanguinarius and many others reaffirmed their dedication to the community as a whole. An uneasy truce was settled, and Sanguinarius renamed her main messageboard “the Vampiric Community Messageboard” in accordance with a new suggestion of Amy’s that we consider ourselves the “vampiric” community of “vampiric” people (not just “vampires”).

At about this same time I was undergoing a private capitulation, based partly upon my finally realizing what I had, in a certain sense, wrought, and partly upon bowing at long last to another in a string of disappointments I had encountered ever since getting online in December of 1994. I threw in the towel for good on any ideas of unifying “real vampires” under a single multi-faceted definition. I posted a long, abject, public apology to Amy Krieytaz for misunderstandings regarding her proposal to name “hybrid” or “psi-blood feeding” Vampire Identified People after me, as “Arthenian vampires.” I then temporarily took down some sections of the Real Vampires Home Page website, including the troublesome “real vampire traits checklists,” for long-planned and extensive revisions.

Although some of the upsets settled down, the general tenor of the online fora did not improve. As I saw it, the contention of the big split created a psycho-social atmosphere that attracted a huge amount of negativity to the Online Vampire Community. “

A contemporary of both Vyrdolak and Sanguinarius, Amy Krieytaz, described Vyrdolak thusly in her article “About The Internet Vampiric Community” (formerly titled “Social and political matters pertaining to vampirism”):

“Vyrdolak is one of the few people in the community with much knowledge of the history of other subcultures and is thus a valuable leader, in my opinion. Although her theories have been used by some to justify an exclusive definition of the “vampire community,” she herself has generally advocated a community including everyone who identifies as a “vampire.””

She describes the psi-sang conflict as follows:

“When Sangi set up her Bloody Minded message board, the frustrations of the blood vamps finally exploded into the public arena, both on Bloody Minded  itself and on Sangi’s original “Vampire Community Message Board”  (which has subsequently been re-named the “Vampiric Community Message Board.”

Unfortunately, instead of voicing their frustrations clearly, some blood vamps made remarks about how psivamps had infiltrated and taken over” the community that had grown up around Sangi’s site, and there was some temporary reversion to the notion that only sanguinarians and not psivamps are “real vampires.” (Sangi subsequently explained the latter as a reaction against the idea that all “real vampires” are really psivamps by nature.)

A lot of psivamps felt deeply hurt by the sudden and (to them) utterly unexpected burst of hostility toward psivamps. Unfortunately, the psivamps too have been reluctant to voice their feelings in public, and thus the misunderstandings haven’t yet gotten resolved. In only a few weeks, a lot of psivamps went from an attitude of total and undifferentiated “vampire community” unity to a largely silent desire for complete separation from the blood vamps.”

Sound familiar? It seems that then, as now, the same opinions keep repeating themselves. Be that as it may, the work done by these respected figures in laying the foundations of the OVC is immeasurably valuable, and the misunderstandings that led to assorted drama are quite understandable under the circumstances, and forgivable – but theirs is only one side of the story.  Michelle Belanger, a psi-vamp who had also been party to the conflict, adds to the background of the matter:

“One of the many things that makes it difficult to track the history of our community is the fact that real vampires, prior to the formalization of the current VC, were spread out through other semi-related groups, such as the BDSM scene.

Some vamps were “out” in these scenes, some simply used them as cover. [name removed] is a good example of one of the folks who was actively vampiric and engaged in most of that via BDSM. There are several self-identified real vampires who are active and high-profile members of the BDSM community even now who eschew any direct interaction or connection with the VC as it stands.

The 70s, it seems that the most common fringe culture to find active vampires was the kink scene. By the 80s, that had expanded to also include the punk and goth music movements, where vampire archetypes were romanticized and, as such, could make vampiric behaviors acceptable. Raven Kaldera, for all he’s written on vampirism, wants nothing at all to do with the VC. He finds it a messed up and largely toxic community.

Also, by the early 90s, another fringe culture that facilitated vampiric expression (and a lot of potential confusion about such) was the Vampire: the Masquerade community — especially the LARP or “Live Action Role Playing” scene. A lot of people like sweeping that under the rug, but it is imperative to remember that Endless Night was originally billed as a weekend-long Vampire LARP.

The VC as we know it would not exist without the Internet, which facilitated contact among geographically distinct and otherwise isolated individuals and groups. The first well established pages belonged to blood-drinkers. In my opinion, a prime reason for this was the need for information and especially safety tips about blood-drinking in a decade still reeling from the onset of the AIDs pandemic.”

This background is necessary since it provides context for one of the key reasons for the conflict – blood consumption. At the time, AIDS (and later HIV) was THE hot topic. People were afraid of contracting it and dying – and I am old enough to remember the scourge of AIDS, the many people from all walks of life who died agonizing deaths, suffering all kinds of exotic opportunistic infections that took hold while the victims immune systems bottomed-out. Society hung on the verge of a paranoiac meltdown for a decade or more. Media screamed ‘safe sex’ and ‘abstinence’. The alleged ‘permissive society’ – inherited from the ‘free-love’ era of the 1960’s and liberation of women, were blamed by conservatives – and the LGBT community took the worst hits for it – from their critics and from the disease. Huge sections of LGBT communities simply died off and vanished. At the time, there were absolutely no medical treatments or answers to the disease, and contracting HIV-AIDS was a death sentence.

Although nobody was immune to the disease, and anyone could contract it – in 1984-5, at the height of the scare – Ronald Reagan is said to have even considered putting LGBT people in concentration camps and exterminating them, on the advice of a certain ‘Dr’ Paul Cameron who was a disbarred former psychologist and the hot conservative darling at the time. Like the ebola scare in the USA now, people were afraid to even be breathed on by someone sitting beside them on a bus, catching the disease from using a public toilet seat – or sharing a glass. People caught AIDS from blood transfusions, and were expelled from schools afraid the disease would spread.

People with the disease were assumed to be promiscuous and entire category of people were stigmatized overnight. For about 2 years as the hype and fear raged on, society seemed to melt down and change, becoming more conservative about various things. I shudder to think what it might have been like had people like Cameron caught on to the idea that there were real vampires feasting on human blood while disregarding any safety protocols!

Lest I digress further, by the early 1990’s HIV testing had become viable, and could be administered at a GP’s office, or a clinic or hospital. The trouble is, by 1993 when I had my first test, it took anything up to 2 weeks to confirm a diagnosis – and at the time, there were even a lot of misdiagnosed cases, resulting in numerous unnecessary and tragic suicides.  If having sex or receiving a blood transfusion was risky, then being a blood drinker was suddenly a very risky business.

Even so, in the midst of all this early hysteria surrounding AIDS, it seems there were those who believed themselves immune to blood-borne pathogens on account of being ‘vampires’. This sort of assumption is probably the deadliest face of the otherwise relatively harmless lifestyling component. And the tragic thing about it all, is you only needed to be proved wrong once.

“There were quite a few active folks back then who maintained that their vampirism made them immortal, resistant and/or completely immune to “human” diseases, etc. Several of those individuals are still active in certain capacities, although they have learned to be less overtly vocal about their beliefs of biological superiority to the herd of humanity.

There are rumors, but rumors only – never confirmed – of whole groups that died off. I personally know several old-school blood-feeders who had contracted HIV through feeding. I have lost contact with one of them (based in New Orleans) who I suspect may have succumbed. He had full-blown AIDs. I suspect the tales of the group of street kids/squatters in New Orleans in the 80’s who were also sangs who all supposedly contracted AIDs and died are merely apocryphal.”

Of the conflict itself, she said:

“Sangi & Vyrdolak absolutely were at the heart of that conflict. And it was ugly. And I was on the other side — one of the few voices — trying to make a case for both approaches being valid. I took a lot of shit back in the day. It’s one reason I fight being bitter now, when so many A) take the psi material for granted B) forget almost completely where it comes from and who fought to advocate it and C) seem to think it’s the psi’s who are being exclusive/judgmental of the sangs. Because it wasn’t that way at the start.

The primary offense the sangs took away from things I said back in the 90’s was that I maintained psi feeding was, on the whole, safer. Blood-feeding comes with risks to all parties. Period.”

“As for the whole “sangs built the VC” line — what I feel is frustration. Frustration for the fact that our community as it stands collectively has a memory with a lifespan equivalent to that of a tsetse fly. Very few people seem interested in actual historical research and documentation as it pertains to the development of our community, and instead, the most vocal elements seem more inspired to “sell” their favorite narratives of how that history should be. But most of those narratives exist separate from the actual facts. And no one seems to really be bothered by that. As an academic, I also experience a certain amount of morbid curiosity as I watch in real-time as a history is *constructed* through popular opinion and intentional campaigns to redact events.”

Of course today we don’t even argue that sang feeding is inherently risky for both donor and Vampyre – it’s a given, even in a time when a complete cure for HIV and AIDS is expectant, and people infected with the disease have a virtually normal life expectancy. Nevertheless, I have no doubts that a lot of sangs vanished during the onset of AIDS in the 1980’s, cutting sanguine numbers down a great deal – simultaneously wiping out a great deal of what we would call ‘living memory’ of what the earlier VC was like. This is also one reason, I think, why many sanguine ‘OG’s’ claim psi-vampyrism is a ‘reaction’ to the AIDS pandemic, one of fear of contracting the disease from sang feeding – and this is a position I feel, which is taken out of ignorance or lack of understanding, or even bitterness or envy.

However, when viewed as a whole, these narratives seem to describe how, in general at least, Psi’s and Sangs – both before and after the conflict, settled into the idea of being part of a larger Vampyre Community – and that it was by the conclusion of these events, generally viewed as ‘A’ community – and one that included both Psi’s and Sangs.

Sometime later, some people put into words and action what many already felt was the truth (and a great many doubtlessly experienced for themselves – that there were Vampyres who could – and needed to – feed using both psi and sanguine means, resulting in the adoption of the awkward label of ‘hybrid’, those whom we in South Africa call ‘ominvores’ or ‘adaptives’.

Often, incidents where ‘hybrids’ felt sidelined or resented, led to them boiling over into open exchanges on message boards or the like, but none perhaps so eloquently as the documents entitled “An Open Letter To The Vampire Community” and “A Hybrid Vampire Manifesto”  written by then 16-year old Zerochan in January 2011. She began the first with the opening words “This is a rant, and thus composed of opinions that may be unpopular”, which seemed a pretty fair warning – however, it is probably one of the more composed, clear, objective and logical “rants” I have ever seen – and was bound to ruffle a few feathers.

“Ten years ago, the vampire community experienced a schism, now known as the Sang/Psi wars over who could consider themselves a vampire. Over the years, many had considered the issue to be solved. Both sanguinarians and psychic vampires were vampires, and were free to use the term. This did not however mean that they were the same. Bad blood has boiled between the two groups for years, but never has it escalated into the “wars” again. Much of this comes from left over prejudices. Psychic vampires who experience no blood need will tell Sanguinarians that they are simply sucking energy, whereas some Sanguinarians will tell Psychic vampires that they are not true vampires.”

“Sanguinarians: I know you hate being called elitist, but when you suggest splitting the entire community, claiming the word “vampire” for yourselves, telling everyone else they’re full of shit, and saying that you’d rather most boards be sang only, THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE BEING. You are NOT the only ones with claim on the word due to myth. There are PLENTY of myths out there where vampires sucked energy rather than blood. On top of that, it is wrong to try and “blame” every energy feeder for any discrimination you have faced. Plenty understand your point of view in things, and if they don’t, then look to the minority of elders who taught them those views in the first place! Do NOT go after the newly awakened, or those who don’t know better. Try to educate a young vampire who simply hasn’t heard it from the horses map. If it’s an elder who should know better? Sure, rip ’em a new one if you want to. But you still have NO right to tell energy feeders that their need isn’t just as real as yours. You don’t like it when the WORLD says it to you, so why the hell would you do it here? And if you don’t believe in metaphysics, FINE. Stay OFF the metaphysics boards, and don’t reply to their threads. It is not hard to simply ignore something that you don’t like without trying to make those of us who do believe in it suffer.

Psi Vamps: You do not drink blood. You feel no blood need. SO STOP TELLING BLOOD DRINKERS WHAT THEY NEED. You know about as much about blood drinking as a five year old knows about rocket science! Oh, you drink blood to feed on the energy? GOOD FOR YOU. It doesn’t mean that the rest of us are doing the same thing! GROW A BRAIN! Don’t sit there on a talk show and say that blood is a rudimentary way of taking energy, don’t publish books saying that we’re psis on training wheels, and biggest of all, don’t claim that you’re the only true vampires! You’re being just as bad as the sangs that do it, if not worse because most of you act appallingly stupid to the point where the rest of us would throw you in a pit with JS. On top, do not, EVER, in a million years, claim you are facing discrimination from the rest of the community. There are psi-only boards, psi only covens/houses, psi only gatherings; but if anyone else does it you scream discrimination? Sit down, shut up, and stop trying to tell everyone else who they are.

Hybrids: Get your shit together! We’re tired of being excluded, but you know why we’re excluded? Because we sit there and let it happen! We need to decide who is, and who isn’t a hybrid, start our own boards, write articles, and get our own damn representation! I’m in the process of writing a hybrid manifesto. To me, we NEED both blood AND energy. A psi vamp who feeds on blood, or a sang who learned to suck energy is not a hybrid. They are adaptive, meaning they have conformed to their environment. You do that and want to call yourself a hybrid? Better back yourself up in a damn good way. Go to the media, explain to others what it means to be a hybrid, what it means to need both. Make theories about WHY we need both (I have a couple), and discuss them with other hybrids!

Donors: I have no beef with you guys. You’re amazing, and the only ones I’m sorry to see caught up in all this. You don’t deserve it, and your vampires should know better.”

Zerochan continued her treatise in her second document “A Hybrid Manifesto”, which was very clearly not a rant:

“We’ve all heard, and explained to death the realities of psychic and sanguinarian vampires. But how often do the other main type of vampire, hybrids, get mentioned? I know, I know, when you hear the term “hybrid” you often think a crossbreed… or a car. But that’s not the case, well, not exactly. While we are not cars, or “half breeds”, we are in fact a combination of both sang and psi vampires! But why? How? How did we find out?

Now, does this mean that we can simply choose which one to feed off? No. While there are psi vampires out there who choose to draw energy from blood (perpetuating the myth that that’s what sangs take) those people will still get by just fine on energy. In other cases where sangs have learned to psi feed in order to try to quell their blood cravings, they are simply using energy as a sub. Blood feeding will make the symptoms go away entirely in a sang. So what do hybrids need then? Simple, we need both! A true hybrid cannot get by on just one or the other, they will NEED to consume both in order to maintain their health, though they may lean more so towards one side or the other.”

“There are some out there of a mind that we simply chose to take both. The main proponents of this are what I call adaptive vampires. They are psi’s that choose to feed on blood, or sangs that suck energy as a sub. They are not true hybrids in my opinion.

But what’s the difference? A true hybrid will ALWAYS need both. They cannot simply subsist on one or the other without experiencing detrimental effects on their overall health and well being. An adaptive however, WILL ALWAYS be able to get by on one or the other, depending on what they actually awakened as.”

It may come as a surprise that both articles were very well received by the community, although I am sure it was hotly debated and dissected in some quarters, and I’m fairly sure I remember one or two discussions where some who didn’t agree with her point of view played the player instead of the ball by attacking her youth and her “experience” as a member of the community.

Zerochan was something of a prodigy. Soon after these amazingly well thought-out and articulate contributions to the VC’s archives, she also contributed to the “Vampi(y)re Declaration of Community” – alongside notable personalities like Belfazaar Ashantison and Deacon Gray, which is quite an achievement for one so young, let alone so new in the community. Regardless, it’s very sad that not much, if anything of Zerochan has been seen in the OVC since then.

In my experience, there are a lot more Vampyres out there with adaptive feeding needs and methods. But while some vamps may find it easier to stick to one method, and others find it easy or satisfying to use both, they remain just that – feeding methods. What a silly thing to divide a community over! People might as well argue about what flavour of milkshake they prefer as a way to differentiate between them! At the end of the discussion, all the milkshakes listed will still be nothing more, nor less, than milkshake.

In South Africa, mercifully, we have escaped the insanity of the argument of who or what feeding method defines a ‘real’ Vampyre. Instead, here we do not isolate or pigeon-hole ourselves into little groups based upon feeding methods, nor do we spend time categorizing – or criticizing each other for them. We learn from each other, and we support each other. We are Vampyres – we feed as we must, or as we can, and that is good enough for us.

Sadly, it is an inescapable truth that not everyone is as magnanimous. Even today, it seems that some ‘old guard’ sangs feel that the community has been overrun with psi’s and ‘fakers’ – people whom they feel are not ‘real Vampyres’. They adopt an elitist view that this is ‘their‘ community, being ‘destroyed by liberal allowance’… And yet, despite all their insistence that the community as a whole was once purely sanguine – and in their own lifetimes too, the facts do not bear witness to this.

They may feel that psi-vamps are not ‘real Vampyres’, and they may feel that the VC shouldn’t include them – or ‘hybrids’ – but it does now – and from the look of it, it has since the very beginning of the OVC – or at least since 1987, and that’s the reality.

The argument in favor of segregation, in my view also provides an excellent example of the adage that ‘those who don’t know their history, are doomed to repeat it’. Attempting to use history as a justification for segregation is also not historically justifiable, since no participant of the VC alive today can rightly say they were part of THE Vampyre Community ‘when it was sang-only’ – since before the advent of the internet or Online Vampire Community, which was not segregated at the start – there WAS no Vampyre Community perse’ as an actual identity.

In January 2011, the Vampi(y)re Declaration of Community was released, which put into clearly defined words, the ethic and principle: “Hey, other people identify as Vampyres too – get over it.”  In the introduction to the document, the drafters state:

“Since the advent of what we today call the OVC (Online Vampi(y)re Community), and over the past few months, there have been incidents where individuals have sought to exploit weaknesses in the VC which rest on deep-seated and long-standing divisions between various groupings which form part of the Vampi(y)re Community. As most of us are already aware, these groupings have formed around and been based upon the different feeding methods employed by Sang, PSI and Hybrid Vampi(y)res.

In spite of many efforts and appeals, our many common needs and characteristics as Vampi(y)res have been ignored, while our few small differences have received increasing and unwarranted attention at the hands of those who would intend that the VC be partitioned and deteriorate into chaos and to ultimately disintegrate.

The Vampi(y)re Declaration of Community was drafted by several Vampi(y)res, who come from each of these backgrounds or disciplines, and who sought to put an end to the seemingly endless drama and bitter contentions surrounding these divisions, by drafting a statement of Community, common beliefs and goals, and unity.

It is our belief and feeling that while there are different feeding methods for Vampi(y)res, and that exploring these feeding methods is an important part of understanding our nature as Vampi(y)res, that these feeding methods should not be used as a means to foster enmity and division within the Community.

The intentions of those who drafted the document, embodied by the document itself, is not for it to be a Law or Canon, but a statement which embodies the Community unity, ethos, agreement, common ground, foundation, fealty, belonging, sanctuary, tolerance and diversity each of us looks to find within the Vampi(y)re Community.

The intention is not to erase the differences between our diverse groups, but instead to understand them, educate each other about them, and embrace them as all equally Vampi(y)re, and to end this destructive bickering and in-fighting about who is more Vampi(y)re than who – thereby greatly limiting future potential for this unfortunate history repeating itself.

It is with these intentions that we, the drafters, humbly present to the Vampi(y)re Community, The Vampi(y)re Declaration of Community.”

It’s a little disappointing to see that while this document was disseminated throughout the VC in 2011, almost 4 years later, this tendency has still not gone the way of the dinosaurs. Perhaps it never will. There’s no hate like old hate, and after all, we tend to imagine that other people who identify as Vampyres are more or less the same as we are.

Sometimes it’s not always that way, and it’s a little disturbing when we realize that other Vampyres see themselves as what you ought to be – as a different kind of animal altogether.

Of course no matter what anyone says, people will make whatever groups they wish, on and off line, with no way to enforce any decision made by any particular individual upon the will of the masses. In the VC, there is no ‘one ring to rule them all’, and no mass of willing lips to reach down and to kiss it. VC participants generally do as they please, and if they don’t like where they are, they tend to move somewhere else. Politically speaking, the VC – as the broader human society we live in, is diverse. Getting Vampyres to agree on anything, as the now famous saying goes, is like ‘herding cats’ – and the history says that the general VC couldn’t care a toss about some old farts who come sashaying back onto a scene they abandoned 10 or more years ago to tell them to ‘break it up’ and to ‘stop playing with those kids, they’re from the wrong side of the tracks’ and throwing the term ‘back in my day…’ about, because of the lingering chips on their shoulders.

Every faction in the VC has its own version of “truth”. It’s always been difficult to weed out fakers and larpers (and the trolls) from the real Vampyres, and even more so online than off – and that’s as true today as it was in 1998. Barring unforeseen events, this will still be true in 2028.

References:

Michelle Belanger (Interview)

“The Beginning To The Present Time” by Sanguinarius

“The Real Vampire Community’s Early Days” by Vyrdolak

“About The Internet Vampiric Community” by Amy Krieytaz

“An Open Letter To The Vampire Community” by Zerochan

“Real Vampires” by Inanna Arthen (Vyrdolak)

“A Hybrid Vampire Manifesto” by Zerochan

“The Vampi(y)re Declaration of Community” by Belfazaar Ashantison, Deacon Gray, Octarine Valur, Wraiths and Zerochan

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About Octarine Valur

Octarine Valur - Founder: House Valur, South African Vampyre Community, South African Vampi(y)re Alliance (SAVA), SA Vampyre news (SAVN). View all posts by Octarine Valur

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