The following articles are posted here with the kind permission of the author, Vyrdolak Inanna Arthen. Our own copy of her articles will be updated as and when she updates the originals on her own site. Links to the original articles on By Light Unseen are in the chapter headings and also below these in text form. But a loose and disconnected network of Vampire-Identified People had been in existence for at least several decades by then.
The earliest networks evolved out of vampire chat rooms for real vampires related sources. Vampire fiction or media fan groups e. Dark Shadows fan clubs attracted some Vampire-Identified People who found or recognized one another. Once a few Vampire-Identified People had gathered under the auspices of one of these communities, they frequently formed their own smaller group or organization and kept their shared interest secret from the larger community.
They often were conflicted between risking exposure by reaching out to find others, or remaining private and constantly fearing discovery and ostracism. An ephemeral medium, most are now long lost except for those few copies that may have been filed away by their editors or subscribers. Originally focused on vampire literature and fandom, especially Draculathe CDFC amassed a research library of over 25, books and in changed its name to Vampire Empire.
Manchester, a huge admirer of Montague Summers, believed that folklore vampires like those reported in the 18th century panics were real and dedicated himself to detecting and destroying them. He had no patience with ordinary people who called themselves vampires, although like Dr. Youngson, he certainly heard from some of them. Martin V. Riccardo founded the Vampire Studies Society in and issued a quarterly newsletter, Journal of Vampirism from to 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. Folklorist Norine Dresser distributed questionnaires to college students and members of vampire fan clubs as she researched American Vampires: Fans, Victims, Practitionersand opened the book with a discussion of several blood-drinking Vampire-Identified People. Kaplan himself gave presentations at New York area fan conventions. These appearances usually included contact information for the guests. But it seems to owe a lot to Anne Rice.
InAnne Rice was at the top of her game. She had published the first three of her Vampire Chronicles Interview With the VampireThe Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damnedall of which were enormous best-sellers among mainstream readers, not just genre fiction or vampire fans. Accessible and friendly to her fans, Rice had recently moved to New Orleans.
Readers found themselves inside the minds and feelings of vampires, something that had rarely been attempted in fiction before. But obviously millions of them did, and that created a subtle change in the collective consciousness that both the Vampire Community and conventional wisdom completely fail to appreciate. Anne Rice and her first-person narratives may have tilled the fertile ground into which White Wolf Games dropped the seed of a role-playing game called Vampire: The Masquerade in But whatever the explanation, V:tM exploded in popularity almost the moment it was released.
Vampire fans no longer were passively experiencing vampirism through narrative: now they could act it out and improvise their own stories. Vampyre Lifestylinga spin-off from both the Goth movement and the gaming subculture, also grew at a fast pace. All of this provided positive jungles of protective coloration and camouflage for bona fide Vampire Identified People to become more public and search for others like themselves. Several Vampire-Identified People launched amateur magazines or newsletters in the early s.
But it was the Internet that was about to facilitate an explosion of participation, interaction and change among Vampire-Identified People, as it gave equal access to all and rendered geographical location and restrictive personal circumstances moot. During all of this time, all of these Vampire-Identified People, whether online or offline, public or private, were blood-drinking vampires.
That was what made them vampires. That was the one thing they had in common. They all stated that they needed, or wanted, to drink blood. Until the early s, computer networks were not available to the general public. Technical professionals could access networks through their jobs, and college students and staff had some connectivity via large university systems. Even those people who had home computers and access to networks generally had to dial in with modems that by modern standards, operated at a crawl.
A very few bulletin boards and Usenet groups for vampire fans were created, but they were devoted to vampire fiction or media.
As the s began, the protocols that established the true Internet, and allowed the creation of websites and browsers to read them were established. Some of the very first vampire-related websites were up and running as early as AOL had some members-only chatrooms for real vampires by The Usenet newsgroup alt.
The venues available in left much to be desired. Free 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. Some of the same individuals who were active in these fora also posted to the Usenet newsgroup alt. 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.
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. As websites, e-groups, messageboards and chat channels continued to proliferate during the winter and early spring ofa core membership of regular participants evolved.
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.
Paranormal psychic chat & forums
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.
Many of the heated discussions had their direct or indirect origin in my own website. Like Sanguinarius, I was less concerned with 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.
Sanguinarians in the online community did not have a high opinion of me and my website. I perceived an ominous change as the summer of went on. 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.
One side still felt that vampirism by definition implied a need to drink blood. But the greatest irony of all in this development, at least from my perspective, was that it was all my fault. 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. 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 article on the EarthSpirit website at the beginning ofit was like a bomb going off.
The ultimate vampire resource and directory
When I put up my first website as a response to the article, I only managed to pour gasoline on a roaring fire. 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. To be fair, most of the people passing them on evidently had no clue about their origins. But I did get the grief for the. As I was buried under an avalanche of vampire chat rooms for real vampires mostly pled for an explanation of checklist scores, I was beginning to agree with that point of view.
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 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. 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 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. When I launched my completely redeed website in December,now named Living VampiresI created an accompanying messageboard for it, and also started a couple of lists.