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What came first- The Black Veil or Fiction/LARP?
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19:17:59 Sep 19 2019
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Just perusing the profiles of Vampire Rave you can read about people who claim that Hollywood is keeping the "real" HLV (human living vampire) down by pushing stereotypes. It's often been a peeve of mine that people say this, because those walking this path wouldn't be if it weren't for what fiction has brought to the table. And quite frankly, these HLVs perpetuate the "stereotypes" by wearing capes, fangs, and using otherworldly manipulations and animations in their photos. Many years ago I had a long conversation with Michelle Belanger- a woman at the head of the table in this path, and she shared with me the facts of this topic that most people around here don't like to admit (or simply don't know). I will share with you, just one of her messages to me that she gave permission for me to share here.


Heidi --

The first Vt:M book hit the shelves in the fall of 1991. And although Fr. Sebastian will deny it to his dying day, the original Black Veil was based upon the Traditions of the Masquerade. In fact, Todd's events in NYC as well as his annual bash, Endless Nights, were billed first as vampire LARPs. (See attached ad that appeared in a 1998 issue of "Realms of Fantasy").

This begs the question: was there a vampire community before Vampire: the Masquerade? Yes and no. There were certainly individuals who identified strongly with the vampire archetype, either as what we now know as "lifestylers" (a term that has roots in the fetish scene and carries the same implications: the vampire archetype gets integrated thoroughly into that individual's fashion, philosophy, and sometimes their bedroom), as blood-drinkers, or as psychic vampires like myself.

Most of these individuals were secrective, especially those coming from the later two groups. I think the lifestylers were just desperately hoping for more art, music, and other outlets that catered to their tastes. Because the individuals were secretive and very hesitant to explain what they practiced or believed, there was very little communication between people. Sometimes small, isolated groups existed, but these were clandestine and guardedly private.

Older folks in the scene carry tales that suggest such private groups existed as far back as the 60s and 70s. A gothic soap opera, "Dark Shadows," was popular at the time, and gave the vampire archetype an extra boost of appeal in the character of Barnabas Collins, one of pop culture's first really sympathetic and "human" vampires -- who very likely helped inspire Anne Rice's own interest in the archetype, as she's from teh generation of young women who spent their teens pining after Barnabas.

To return to this issue of the community, especially as it stands today, V:tM did play a role in how that community came together. A number of other communities also helped birth the vampire community and shape it during its formative years, including the Fetish community, the Pagan community, the Gothic subculture, and even, to some extent, the Renfaire/Scadian community. All of these pre-dated the vampire rp community but what V:tM, and especially the LARPs did for the vampire community is prove that it could be a community -- and that getting out with others who shared an intereste in the vampire archetype could be both educational and fun.

A lot of serious vampire houses have at least some members who LARPed. Some folks in the community, comfortable with the line between their fantasy and their reality, still indulge. This is something of the "dirty little secret" of the vampire community, because some people believe that if the cross-pollination of these two sides of things became known, outsiders would be less inclined to take real vampires seriously, assuming that they are nothing but roleplayers who took the game a little too far. Admittedly, it's a sore point because the community does indeed attract that sort of person every now and again, the most infamous being Rodney Farrell -- who enjoys the distinction of being the youngest person ever to be placed on Death Row.

In my book, "The Psychic Vampire Codex," I admit that I actively used the LARPs to see who had a deeper interested in vampires, magick, and the occult. I ran games at the big conventions, like Origins and GenCon, and after the game, I usually got together with a select few individuals from the game, made it clear that all game talk was to be set aside, and we sat in a closed-doors meeting to discuss our actual practices and beliefs. It was through such sessions that I first made contact with several key members of my own House Kheperu.

So ... which came first? V:tM definitely existed before the Black Veil and very definitely influenced it. Vampire groups existed prior to V:tM, but the formation of an actual community that worked together, communicated, and shared common rules and practices -- I have to give some credit to V:tM for showing us that it could be done.

PS When looking for Fr. Sebstian, keep inmind that he likes changing his name. He's in Mick Mercer's "The Hex Files" under his real name, Todd Hoyt, and he's gone by Father Todd, and is currently going by Father Sebastiaan or Sebastiaan Van Houten. Although an early organizer, he is a mixed blessing to the community.


--M

If you're following a vampiric path- there's no need to act like fiction and LARPing have no place in the world and are giving a bad name to you. If it weren't for those things, you'd have no name at all. You may claim all you want about the ancient origins- but that doesn't mean you'd have a place in society now without with realm of LARPing and fiction that writers have offered the world.

I've been to these vampire balls here in New Orleans- the Lestat Vampire Ball as well as Endless Nights. My experience in these circles along with my discussion with Michelle give me my understanding, and I encourage you all to not just fall in line with people here who will tell you otherwise. You can be who you are without acting like a victim to fiction. You should be thankful for the contribution.

Give me your thoughts on how you feel about Michelle's revelation and if this is new to you. Many members here I find are falling under the wings of some who are giving them a different spin.



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FiercelyPrimal
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20:54:59 Sep 19 2019
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I find this interesting considering there are many people on this site that manage to give twisted meaning to the vampire path lifestyle



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20:58:55 Sep 19 2019
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And that’s why I posted it. There are plenty of people who’ve come here proclaiming to be all-knowing who don’t really know the roots of this path as it’s being held today at all. Sure, there are people who don’t follow Michelle- but there are plenty who hold her in high esteem who’ve never really, not truly read her books or listened to her. It’s more important for some people to act like martyrs, I think. There should be no problem at all with tipping your hat to an origin that opened the door for thoughts, feelings, and a real journey.



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BloodRoseX
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02:02:00 Sep 21 2019
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No offense meant, but in my opinion, HLV seem to be misunderstood. I so not know about you, but there is a prominent member here, on Rave, who considers herself as such. I think it suits her.

The HLV is not an excuse, but if some beings can call Elemental Vampires as such, then why not the HLV? The HLV is definitely more credible than some of the categories out there.

Hail Michelle Belanger!



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02:18:54 Sep 21 2019
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I don't understand- who said people can't claim to be HLVs? What I was talking about are people who claim the HLV lifestyle and The Black Veil came before LARPing. If it wasn't for LARP- HLVs wouldn't have the foundation they have today. And if it weren't for fiction, many HLVs wouldn't have the styles they sport either. That's what I am getting at with this thread. There doesn't need to be "hate" on fiction and RPG when it birthed the path many are following.



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BloodRoseX
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04:03:54 Sep 21 2019
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@Cartomancer

Images, I think there is a misunderstanding. I never expressed any hate pertaining to this matter.

The title of this thread is "Which came first?" This would be akin to asking which came first, the chicken or the egg. This conundrum can only be answered by the beings who have been there from the start.

I do not much about the Western take on Vampirism, but over here where I am at, it is kind of taboo to be digging up history. I have been mocked and derided for digging up history. Society will have the impression that I am backward when all the masses have are first-world problems.

I mean no offense to those entrenched in this vampire subculture. I do not see them as backward, but learning from the past and ensuring that mistakes and oversights are rectified. I am an Ancient. So I feel entitled to be talking of such things related to history.

*shrugz*

The Black Veil is a code of Ethics. There are no rules, to my understanding. Being an Ancient like myself, there is only one thing on my agenda: to educate Vamplings and be a Vampire activist, through the expression of literary arts.

LARPs are amazing. It is like an aesthetic perfection thing. A very expensive lifestyle too.

But to.ask which came first... of course fiction and LARPs came first, from what I can understand.



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04:37:11 Sep 21 2019
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The question stems from the creation of The Black Veil and HLVs as presented today- which some act like is an ancient code... and it isn't. LARPing set the stage for HLVs to put a name and practice together. Michelle made it clear she wanted honest information out there- this conversation was years ago and there was more to it- but this was just one of the emails.

There are people here on VR falling under some and getting the short end of the stick with history and origin. I don't follow the path but I dove into the study of it pretty hardcore about 14 years ago when I joined VR so I could speak about it. I reached out to Michelle- at the time we both were members of another site (that no longer exists). We didn't become friends or anything- it was just a professional email exchange where she provided a lot and also sent me a .pdf copy of Sacred Hunger as "a freebie to help get reliable information out there".



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markus666
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12:19:13 Sep 21 2019
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Most of you, haven't read my journal, "The real Descendant of Count Dracula". (with a translation). The Vampire community has been around for centuries, before the euphoria about Vampires hit the west. When Hollywood and many of the writers saw the interest and how much money the subject will bring into their bank account, then, the stereotype of Vampirism was changed. The real HLV WILL not brake their secrecy to any person who is not associated with their belief and WILL not come to any computer site and brag about any their "power' or their "psychic" abilities. There are no such of power and any psychic abilities. There are So many misconceptions about the life of Vampires, that is laughable. Yes, to go to a party with a theme about Vampire is fun and entertaining, as long that doesn't hit your bank account to deep.



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PaganMoon
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16:59:48 Sep 21 2019
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I think there tends to be a misconception that something's authenticity is linked to a logical continuity to the ancient days of yore. It has been my experience that although it can be interesting to trace origins through a line you will always find a dead end where you have to fill in the gaps or realize that everything goes through cycles of life and death much like the waxing and waning of the moon. This includes the archetype of the vampire. Classical works like: Carmilla or Dracula definitely helped define or broaden the scope of the vampire especially viewed in the social stratum of the noble aristocracy comparative to modern views of the secret lives of the wealthy. Just as Cartomancer is relaying now via Michelle Bellanger's email about what influenced works like: "The Black Veil" that many who walk the spiritual path of the vampire take as a cornerstone to their beliefs, so It is not healthy to only think a work came from divine inspiration like other spiritual paths claim in exclusivity but rather a wholistic view that wherein many influences are drawn upon in the crystallization of a thought form and this should not devalue the work.



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18:06:50 Sep 21 2019
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I wouldn't argue someone's belief system- I just find it ridiculous to claim Hollywood gives you a bad name when many choose to wear Hollywood garb and fake fangs, and also- to act like LARPing didn't pave a foundation to what people are living today down these lines.

I think it's all fine (what people wear). But people don't have to act like Hollywood stole their ancient origin of MySpace glitter graphics while they're doing it. There's nothing wrong with owning your path and giving a nod to entertainment. I think for many people this comes from ignorance and not really knowing enough about what they follow or purport to lead.

I think it's helpful to post Michelle's words here. She mentioned a lot of this in her book The Psychic Vampire Codex YEARS ago... people here claimed to have read it and still deny these things.

NOW- it's a completely different story if you don't believe Michelle. Anyone is free to not be a fan of hers. But I do put stock into her contribution and place in this society.



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HisPet
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23:31:06 Sep 27 2019
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When it comes to this I think people should follow their own path and actually study to find real mentors not get lost under mind control



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00:36:07 Sep 28 2019
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Of course, if this is going to be a chosen path- people should be mindful of who they are following.



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Earthgrinder
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06:42:51 May 08 2020
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In following this thread what it comes down to is the path you have taken to get where you think you ought to go. Believe me there are many different paths and they all go to different places. I have great respect for Michele Belanger and what she represents. She is a very good spokesperson and represents the community well. As she said in her codex. The person in front of you at the check out line might be in the community you just don't know, There is a lot involved in this path. It makes no sense to argue history or influences. Those that are are.



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BloodRoseX
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01:05:24 May 09 2020
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In a socity/community, people's behaviour and conduct come first, then followed by rules and guidance based on common sense. This is where The Black Veil comes in.



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