Yes, vampires really do exist.
They go by a variety of names: human vampires, real vampires, real-life vampires. There are actual vampire scholars, who study the habits and lifestyles of these communities of people. There are organized groups that go by official names, like Atlanta’s Vampire Alliance, and websites to guide you through the process of figuring out if you really are a vampire. For human vampires, blood consumption is a choice, not a genuine biological need (although some claim that it is). The real-life vampire may be your next door neighbor, your girlfriend’s sister, or your child’s teacher. Some may walk the streets of New Orleans openly sporting fangs, whereas vampires living in a place like Albuquerque may not be quite so obvious. The demographics are not what you might think. But yes, they really are out there.
According to John Edgar Browning, a vampire scholar who has spent many years researching communities of the sanguinarians and their lifestyles, some vampires are so well organized they live in communal style with hierarchical structures involving elders and leaders and other members. Other vampires may be more individualistic.
Most within the community do not associate or keep up with pop-culture examples. Real-life vampirism doesn’t occur in the way of The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, or Twilight–there is no killing associated with the practice–and members insist that the participants are willing and the bloodletting and consequent consumption is safe. In most cases, there is no biting. And the neck is not the target zone. Too many arteries. There are those who feed upon blood and those who feed upon “psychic energy,” but for those that choose the blood route, there are procedures–documentation to show healthy blood before incisions are made upon areas of the body that pose no threat.
In a 2015 article in The Guardian, Interview with a real-life vampire, Kim Wall interviews Merticus, a vampire and member of Atlanta’s Vampire Alliance, who claims to have been in the life since 1997. Merticus admits that vampirism is undeniably predatory but claims that many real-life vampires need blood in order to maintain energy levels. However, an upstanding member of sanguinarian society has an understanding of ethics and concern for the welfare of blood donors. It’s also desirable to find what he calls a “steady donor.”
I’ll be featuring more about real-life vampires in the next couple of blog posts. There are far too many interesting facts to divulge in one feature. Stay tuned for more fang-tastic information about the real vampires.
A scene from one of my favorite vampire shows–Being Human (UK) Warning: A little bit of language in this one.
Have you ever met a real vampire?