Real Vampires Walk Among Us

November 19, 2009 by  

VAMPIRES TODAYFor some people, vampires are more than just a pop culture fascination or entertaining characters to read and watch but, rather, a way of life. A recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution looks at the Atlanta Vampire Alliance, one of several vampire communities in the US.

These people are serious and devoted to their lifestyle, having adopted the gothic culture of vampire legend. “Merticus,” the leader of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance, believes that vampires are physically and psychologically different:

They draw energy to feel good and stay healthy, and they absorb it psychically from close contact with ‘donors’ or from drinking a tablespoon of blood from them maybe once a week. They do not claim mythic powers such as immortality, and the screen depictions are often off-putting to members.

Suffice it to say, they are not fans of True Blood and Twilight, although they owe it to the popularity of these books, series, and films that people are interested in learning about them now, especially scholars who seek to study them.

One such man is Joseph Laycock, who spent time with the Atlanta group and then wrote and presented a paper about vampires, not as some sort of religious cult or cultural phenomenon, but as a self-identifying group. They are teenagers, stay-at-home moms, and professionals, who blend in with appearance and behavior, but identify as vampires. Most of them keep that part of themselves hidden because they fear discrimination, although there are those that don’t care what people think and wear fake fangs and gothic dress.

For his research, Laycock used a survey–the Advanced Vampirism & Energy Work Research Survey–that “Merticus” and his fellow members had distributed to more than 900 self-identified vampires.

Laycock’s observations were also published in May 2009 in the book Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampirism. Since then, he has been doing interviews across the country. TV psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw was among those who contacted Laycock:

“He said he was doing a show about teenagers biting each other. I said, ‘Dr. Phil, have you ever heard of hickeys?’ “

Other academics are skeptical of the vampires as being anything more than people who love the power and mystique, so they adopt alternate identities. “Merticus,” however, claims that the survey he conducted presents many physical ailments that set vampires apart from normal humans. He says that he would welcome genetic testing and scientific examination.

Whatever that research would reveal, they are just people who want to be understood for their differences. That’s a feeling everybody can relate to.


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