Recent History of the Vampire Community:
Where It Has Been and Where I See It Going
By LA. Judge
In talking with folks and reading online discussions, one thing that comes up again and again is the perceived divide or schism in the vampire community as a whole. So I guess to understand where the community stands, and maybe what is perceived as a schism, there should be an understanding of the past and how things got to the present point.
Let’s jump back a generation or two…maybe even three. Go back to the 1950’s, and start looking forward from there. In the early 1950’s, both here in the US & in Western Europe, energy work of ANY kind was considered a crime. Without question, you could be arrested, convicted and sent to jail. The end. You would also be ostracized in your town or community. You would loose your job, your kids would be taken for adoption, people would not serve you in a restaurant, work on your car, etc. So just for it being known that you did energy work, your life would dramatically change – for the worse. The energy work community was a loosely connected underground of Pagans, (both white & LHP), those that needed energy, (what is now called vampirism), and those that read or manipulated it, (including mediums, healers, etc.). Because of the danger that you would become known, most folks banded together in small groups, (houses or covens), and used alternative names. This was done as a much needed form of protection. The fewer that knew and the less they about you personally, (including your real name), the safer it was for you and your family. This is the way things had been done for generations and generations. You knew everyone in your small energy work community on a face-to-face basis. Outsiders were suspect and not welcome. To become part of the community you had to have an insider vouch for you. They literally had to put their standing in the community on the line so that you could become a member. There had to be trust. Hence, folks made sure that the person for whom they were swearing was on the up and up and in fact an energy worker of some sort.
In the mid 1950’s things started to change. In 1955 the UK dropped criminal charges for practicing Paganism and energy work. By the late 1950’s / early 60’s most areas of Western Europe & most US states had done the same. It is easy to change a law, but much, much harder to change public opinion. Anyone doing energy work was still deemed as “satanic” well into the 1970’s & 80’s. (There are still pockets of areas in the both the US & Europe where this is an issue. In 2006, the US military finally recognized Paganism as a legitimate religion. This seems to have put an end to most of the legal issues, at least in the US.) In the days before the internet, the “community” as it was, slowly grew and developed as things became less restrictive. The Pagan community that had tolerated energy work others when there was a common bond of fear, started pushing out those that they called “energy thieves” or “blood junkies”. It is that community that banded together to become the “vampire” community.
In the mid to late 1970’s / early 1980’s several things happened that started changing the face of what was now becoming openly known as the vampire community. The community entered the computer age – well almost. In large towns, bulletin boards went from being at local hangouts to being posted publicly on a local BBS computer system. It was far from the interactive, online world of today, but it did mean that anyone that could login and read the local static text notices that were on a school or public library computer system. Because of openness of early BBS systems, anyone in region with computer access could read the information. Slowly as more access was opened to the public, the vampire community became more widely known. Instead of knowing everyone locally in your close circle of energy friends, and knowing that they had real energy needs and abilities, there were now people beginning to seep into the community that were just there for the “cool” factor that knew nothing about energy work. Anyone with a keyboard & access could now declare themselves an “expert”. People that would have been pushed away by the face-to-face community just a few years before were now worming their way into the emerging community online and making a name for themselves with never having to back-up what they stated in a real face-to-face meeting. Secondly, in the late 1970’s, a little book called, “Interview with a Vampire” by Anne Rice hit the best seller list. Being a vampire, complete with a Gothy clothing, (long coats & tails, top hats, lacy shirts), was now quite fashionable in underground circles. Take a look at the music videos from the late 1980’s and you will see what I mean. And lastly, around the same time, a live action role-playing game, known as D&D, (Dungeons & Dragons), became the hit of the college underground scene. Suddenly it was hip & cool to be a “vampire” and much money was to be made.
By the mid 1990’s this scene had reached a feverous pitch. Interview with a Vampire was the heart throb movie of the summer. White Wolf publishing company had released a role-playing game known as Vampire the Masquerade and the new national TV network, Fox, had a huge hit with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The internet also went from static text to interactive with the explosion of pictures and the World Wide Web. Gradually, home computers started becoming less of a rarity. So the energy work community that was hidden for generations was now outted in public, and they welcomed any that came to them as accepting and non judgmental. Unfortunately, most of those that came into the vampire community did not do it for the energy – they were there for the cool factor and the quick money. Dental assistants that could make fake fangs and writers that invented long elaborate “ancient” rituals for the role-playing gamer crowd became the new sweethearts of the “vampire” community. Yes, there was still a core of quiet people that did energy work and really needed the energy, but that was not flashy – and money & attention went to those that put on a good show.
By 2000 or so when I jumped into the online community, things had gathered into online houses, covens, etc. All but a very few online sites had some type of hierarchy based entirely on a fictional structure. Things had gone way beyond a few community elders in a group. There were now “Lords”, “Masters”, “Mistresses” and degrees and levels to be achieved or bought. Some groups even claimed to be a religion, or have “ancient secret” knowledge and would offer those secrets to anyone paying the right price. Personally I found this all very appalling and quite frankly I kept my distance for a few years. I took my time sorting through all the bs that was being taken as “true vampirism” by those that had no energy work credentials.
During all of this time, the other parts of the energy work community, (Pagan religions & energy manipulators), had also been growing in strength and numbers – only the community leaders in those communities did something smart. They built bridges to the academic and scientific communities. Science had now discovered the tools it needed to peer into things on a sub-atomic level and to see what was inside the human body beyond x-rays. It could now be stated and proven by scientific method that human “energy” was real and that all things had an innate energy signature. Energy was literally the glue holding the small parts of the universe together – and that could be shown. No longer was it just the claims of some odd folks that did energy work. With the upturn of those practicing Eastern religions and the increased importing of Eastern style medicines to the West in the late 1970’s / early 1980’s, these parts of the energy work community sought to greatly distance themselves from the “energy thieves” that were now looking like class clowns. Energy work was real and science could prove it, no need to taint the image of the community with a bunch of role-playing, mouthy folks that would steal energy without asking. (Unfortunately at the time, rudeness seems to have been deemed a vampire “quality” by many of the so called masters and houses.) As a legitimate member of the Pagan community, I was very tight lipped about my involvement with the vampire community. I did not want to have my local community position jeopardized, tainted or be called an energy thieving role-player.
In the early 2000’s I decided to join the Vampire Church community. At the time, it too contained a number of folks that were very into the fangs, role play and religion aspects of “true vampirism”. Since the VC community has always been public and open, it draws folks from every genre of the vampire community and beyond. What I really liked about the VC though is that there was no bs, no lords & masters, and none of the drama and vampire wars that raged for years between other community groups. At the core of the VC was a basic group of folks that had a real, almost an old-fashioned, understanding of basic energy principles and energy work. In the VC, the word “church” has nothing to do with religion. It is only meant to indicate a safe haven – a place of sanctuary from the outside world. While some may take that differently at first, it becomes quite clear once time is spent within the VC community.
So where do I see the vampire community today? Things are starting to correct themselves. After 30+ years of Hollyweird and money, folks have pulled into two camps – those that like the role playing, make-believe and drama, (including vampire “rituals” and “religions”), and those that are really here for the energy. It has taken a long time for the community to get where it is, and it is going to take a generation or so to sort it all out. In the long run, I have faith in the energy work / energy need community – science is on their side. In the 10 years that I have been involved online with the VC, science has made a number of discoveries into how energy is used in the body and even how it is perceived by others. People are starting to see that this energy need thing is legitimate and energy need has become a common point of discussion in places out side of energy based communities. People are also starting to see the ritual, role-playing crowd for what it is – pure make-believe. Below, the flashy Gothy clothing, the rituals, titles, and fake fangs there is nothing of substance. So in the long run, while we energy wielders & manipulators cannot seem to hold a cool flashy dance party, we will be here as a community long after the Hollyweird crowd turns old and returns to dust.