Thursday, January 28, 2010

Do Vampires Really Exist?

The question of whether there are vampires in America depends on the definition one uses. If a vampire is defined as an undead creature, as portrayed by Bram Stoker, then there are no vampires in this country. However, if a vampire is defined as a person who merely drinks blood, then there are vampires in this country. In her book, Piercing the Darkness: Undercover with Vampires in America Today, Dr. Katherine Ramsland conducted extensive field based research with the vampire under culture throughout this country, and even abroad. She described in vivid detail the extent of blood drinking among those who consider themselves to be vampires. This extensive subculture exist throughout the country and as one might expect, is concentrated in the major cities or the areas near to them.

Blood drinking among this subculture ranged from sucking the blood out of minor cuts to drinking blood from larger cuts or incisions in the body. The people she interviewed had various reasons for drinking blood, but most of them centered on power and sexuality. Among this subculture, there are givers and takers of blood who gain various pleasures, as well as pain, from this process. A significant portion of this population is gay, particularly among the men. Dr. Ramsland described a layered subculture ranging from those who take blood casually and infrequently, to people who are members of secret covens or groups in which drinking blood is a major activity and take great care to preserve their anonymity.

A significant part of this vampiric process is related to people who take blood versus people who give blood, although the mutual exchange of blood is common. Dr. Ramsland described interviews with predatory blood takers who act as vampires not just in taking of blood, but also in their dominance of the "victim." The predators often play out the role of the traditional fictional vampire as they use the victims to meet their needs. A disturbing part of her book was her interviews with people, mainly but not exclusively male, who claimed to have inflicted serious harm or been involved in the death of other people. While it would be wrong to classify most of those who drink blood as having significant psychological pathology, several of the people that Dr. Ramsland interviewed were very disturbed, some to the point of psychosis. For those who are interested in this phenomena I recommend that they read Dr. Ramsland's book which is available through Amazon.

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