In a previous blog entry, I addressed the subculture of vampirism in which people practice bloodletting and consumption, or vampirism that consists of siphoning off another person’s energy, but most of these self-professed vampires are living a lifestyle that doesn’t involve actually hurting anyone. In Whickering Place, the second book of the Legacy of Darkness series (although the books can be read as standalones), The Colony is a dangerous vampire cult that spans all ages and socio-economic groups and involves human sacrifice.
So do vampire cults like this actually exist?
Well, if they do, they’re probably staying very much hidden away. However, in 1996, a small group of teenagers out of Kentucky and Florida called themselves the Vampire Clan.
Rod Ferrell, 16, believed he was a 500-year-old vampire and would eventually commit murder. Ferrell claimed to have had a highly troubled childhood with a non-existent father and a mother who was an exotic dancer and a prostitute, who also confessed to dipping her toe into the practice of vampirism. Ferrell also claimed to have been raped by a family member at a young age. As a teenager, he became entrenched in role-playing games and managed to drag several other teens into his fantasy world of rituals, bloodletting and consumption.
Ferrell’s clansmen included a host of other troubled teenagers such as Howard Scott Anderson, 16, Charity Keesee, 16, Dana Cooper, 19, and Heather Wendorf, 15. When Heather’s family moved to Eustis, Florida, Heather Wendorf ran up massive phone bills talking long distance to Ferrell. Understandably, her parents finally said she could no longer talk to him. In a rage, Heather told Ferrell that her parents abused her, sparking the fateful chain of events that followed.
On November 25, 1996, Rod Ferrell and his clan drove from Kentucky to Florida. There, Ferrell met Heather in a graveyard where he helped her “cross over” by feeding her his blood. Then, in a drug-fueled state, Ferrell and Anderson went to the Wendorf’s home, where he first bludgeoned Heather’s father to death. Then, as her mother came out of the shower, Ferrell hit her with a crowbar hard enough to instantly kill her.
The group was tracked to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and were finally arrested. Although Ferrell tried to say a rival clan was trying to frame him, he and the other members of the cult finally cut plea deals in an attempt to save their lives. Ferrell was first sentenced to death, but the sentence was later converted to life in prison. Anderson received two life sentences (in 2018, the sentence was reduced to 40 years), and Keesee and Cooper were given 10- and 17-year sentences, respectively.
Believing Heather to have no knowledge of what was going to happen to her parents, she was allowed to walk with no sentence.
After Anderson’s commuted sentence, Ferrell now reportedly has cause to hope his too will be reduced.
If you want to read more detailed accounts of this vampire clan or their leader, check out the links below.