One needn’t look further than the search bar to find content on living vampyres; Persons who engage in what is known by their fellow vampyres to be practices exclusive to vampyric society, or any variations thereof.
There are countless documentaries produced by unscrupulous media outlets famous for their controversial pieces or insights into sub-cultures and less mainstream groups; Vampyres being one of them.
The appeal is there, particularly when Sanguinarians are involved. Images of blood-letting and individuals clad in period clothes; Those who don custom-made fangs and appear glamorous, dramatic and truly out of a romance novel. That is how we are regarded by the world at large: Performance art. Make-belief. Pretence.
They do not much care about the intricacies and complexity of the community; Or the countless hours spent shaping spaces which are inclusive to vampires of all walks of life. They go after that which is flashy; Kitsch; Scandalous and which seemingly deviates from the norm.
In some ways, vampires are the eternal outcasts. Many have been driven to secrecy, particularly those groups which existed and thrived before the Internet sprang forth like a many-tentacled beast, bringing everything to light, even our most prized and well-hidden secrets.
Once exposed, there is little we can do about how they frame their narratives. There is nothing we can do to contain the public’s opinion and their view on that which they get to see through the lens of “investigative journalism”.
A documentary titled “American vampires” came out in 2001 and focused on sanguinary vampyrism. A later one simply titled “Vampires” explored the lives of self-titled vampyres in New Orleans.
Both shed light on a mostly hidden subculture and group of individuals; Focus was mainly on Sanguinarian vampyres.
A prevalent theme was their gathering places and indoor rituals. Tales regarding their taking of blood from willing donors; Oftentimes performed in the privacy of their own households.
All this is still met with scorn. Many would think them simple fetishists, even though there may be a sexual element there. Others would simply dismiss it as some sort of mental illness. Such are the consequences of opening up to the public in such a way.
I recall the first time I watched an interview with one vampire; One Don Henrie who fit the imagery of what a vampire should look like; The long haired, pale skinned, black clad, alluring and attractive individual with fangs. It was Tyra Banks who featured him on her show, if I am not mistaken. It caused quite the stir.
Years prior True Blood aired, and there was a special where one Michelle Belanger spoke up about her own vampirism, though she herself did not entirely appear as the stereotypical vampire--some would claim.
Is the idea of what makes one a vampire open to the scrutiny of the public? Themed events and balls are commonplace across the globe; Masquerades around Halloween time, as well as conventions. How many real vampires go there in hopes of meeting fellow creatures of the night? We may never really know.
Going on Facebook reveals just how much the interest has gone up. Discord servers also have gone up in number and popularity. More people are willing to come out of the coffin, so to speak. It opens up more doors for more participation, but also for dangerous individuals to enact in some sort of misguided fantasy.
It goes without saying that there will be distasteful propaganda and articles featuring one or more self-titled elders of the community that will seek to slander its members; Such is the price of popularity.
I may speak only for myself, but I do not seek glory. I also do not know where I fall within the community…
All I know is that there is strength in numbers; And we should seek to better control the kind of information that gets out.