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I Am A Real Vampire
...And This Is My Story
Vampires have pervaded human myth and mystery. But is the true power of the vampire that the vampire is no myth at all?
Only after the third interview request I received this week, my partner said to me, "Don't you think it's time to just get out there? To tell your story? To let people know you a little better?"
What he meant is that I'm one voice in a huge choir called the real vampire community, but it's a voice without restraint or fear of convention.
I am out of the coffin, an open vampire and leader within the real vampire community. I suspect you would find me something of a surprise, as I am a vampire of a different fang as it were. I am no creature of the shadows nor do I readily buy into anything. Attend me.
I have been involved with the real vampire community since 1985. I am looking to continue working for the community, especially by bringing in my professional assets in the media and in publishing. Additionally, I am open to mentoring individuals who feel the pull of the vampire, but aren't entirely certain what they are. This is the story of how I have arrived at this point without getting into dull Dickensian description or some morass of pointless self-promotion.
Let me begin by saying I was raised in a philosophically open family. My family encouraged me to use my mind and my imagination, to explore and discover. There was no such thing as taboo. Now I can look back and see where the roots of my vampirism are in my own upbringing. I was raised to be open and aware, and so I have continued to be.
My "awakening", as it were, happened on August 6, 1985--the fortieth anniversary of the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima. Actually, that was the day when months of self-examination and reflection crystallized for me.
I was not yet 14 years old. I hadn't known the words "empathic" or "psionic" and consequently could not have used them to describe what I had been experiencing. I knew I was living with a different and heightened set of senses, and that the whole of me hungered and yearned for something I couldn't identify.
I had come into the sphere of the Order of Maidenfear, a vampire sanctuary, months before through initiated friends that seemed to really understand what I was experiencing. On that day, the puzzle pieces of my thoughts clicked into place. I too was a vampire. I decided that I would never deny that aspect of me--in fact, I could never deny it. I would embrace vampirism and my existence as a vampire.
For the following four years I spent a great deal of time at House Maidenfear, learning and developing my own abilities. My own initiation was in 1989, once I turned 18. However, I had to take the Maidenfear Way and my own life as a vampire on an adventure. I moved away to college, where I studied history and linguistics and became an expert vampire researcher. I was able to enhance that skill in graduate school in Florida. Wherever I went, I made connections with the local vampire communities. I came home to House Maidenfear in 2001 and I was elected to my current station in 2003.
I came to call myself Sappho after a thorough reading of her poetry. Her words have such an ability to wrench deep emotional energy that I came to regard her as something of a vampire herself.
I'm known affectionately as the "Vampire Philosophe" for the amount of time I've spent in the more cerebral aspects of the vampire existence.
Here are a few of my thoughts.
There exists an entity of living energy all around us and in the universe. I mean that this energy is both alive itself and imbues all things with life of one degree or another. A vampire is an adept at energy play, an adept at tapping into this living energy for self-benefit. For some this is achieved through drinking blood, for others it is a matter of psychic living energy. A vampire knows how to take what energy they want and need and use it for their own purposes.
I believe we as vampires are at an exciting time in our history. At no other point in the history of the world have circumstances been so ripe for us to fully express ourselves and be true to what we are. My commitment to the vampire community is to help us achieve our greatest potential.
In the 1960s, there was a woman here in Philadelphia who was taking a second, third, and fourth look at the idea of the vampire. We all knew her as Anne de Molay, although whether she was an actual descendant of Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, remains something of a mystery (for one thing I don't think old Jacques had any descendants, but whatever). Her theory was that it wasn't the blood that vampires needed, but rather what was IN the blood--living energy, which she called prana.
In an era of horror film schlock, Anne investigated the archetype of the vampire and came to the conclusion that vampirism was a very real interaction with life energy that could benefit the practitioner. Having shared her vision, Anne was able to form a group of like minds and established the Order of Maidenfear in 1966.
Why use a word with no obvious associations with vampirism to communicate the Order's existence to the world? Anne wrote, "I came upon this term, and for some reason it struck me deep, it resonated within me. What a perfect concept, the nervous excitement of fear and desire captured in a single word. For me, this word was so replete with energy itself that I could see nothing else but to apply it in my own form of vampirism."
In 1970, Anne inherited a generous amount of money after the passing of her father. She was about to turn 40, she was a history teacher, she had decided against having a family, and her one absorbing passion was the Order of Maidenfear. Anne invested in the future of her Order by buying a large Victorian house in Philadelphia, the building that became House Maidenfear. Dedicated to Anne's vision of the vampiric life, vampires from the city and the Eastern seaboard came to live in House Maidenfear.
In council on the Summer Solstice of 1970, the Maidenfear vampires wrote and approved the Maidenfear Entente, a document which would be the constitution of Order operations. For the next twenty years, House Maidenfear and the Order operated in relative obscurity. After all, this was not a philosophy that everyone was ready to hear. Like minds found and joined the order.
Anne de Molay was the first Grand Master and remained in that position until 1987. Myself I've been "Grand Master" since 2003, except that I changed the title to "Matriarch". I come bumbling in around 1985, guided by Maidenfear vampires who helped me understand what was going on within myself (and in reality I came to the conclusion myself and they were there to support me).
I was lucky to have Anne as a guide and a friend until her passing in 2003. But my point is that there was no Internet at the time. We kept in contact with each other the old fashioned way--snail mail or telephone. There weren't any publishers willing to snatch up anything about a real vampire community. If we wanted to come together, we had to work at it. And forget mentioning vampirism to anyone outside of the group!
Was it harder to be a vampire in my starting days than it is now? I think it might have been. We had to have strength and determination to see it through. But if we triumphed--when we triumphed--the experience made all the hassle worth the effort.
And so I don't know if this makes me any more or less real than any other vampire, but this is my heritage and my legacy. This is a true story, but I bid you to keep in mind that this experience has been my own truth. Your truth is probably very different. If not, you know the possibilities out there for you are endless. Dare to know.
Creed of the Kindred
I am vampire.
I kneel before no other creature.
I am an intelligent animal who has retained my animal intelligence.
This flesh of mine is a gift in which I celebrate passion and ecstasy, but my lot in the convoluted universal matrix is to exist as a creature of energy.
I thrive on the energy of the cosmos around me. That energy exists in many forms. It exists in lifeblood, in psychic forces, in the angry hurling of lightning bolts from cloud to cloud. This diversity manifests on the earth in the many different and legitimate breeds of vampire which share the world with mortal humans.
Knowing my lineage, I seek to mate my personal energy with that of magic and nature as a vital part of my existence. Pounding surf, rustling crisp leaves, magical ritual-all of these empowers me, and I take what is offered or what I have made for myself.
As a vampire, I am a natural being part of the natural universe. I am not confined to this plane or this dimension. I am a cosmic being of fluctuating energy. The matter that makes my flesh and flows through my body drifted down from the stars over millennia. My sight and my vision are necessarily wider and broader.
Life, death, what are these to me? They dance as close as hungry lovers. This is no two-sided mortal coin but one great continuum.
The impetus of eternity, then, is the power of the vampire. It is my power, and I claim that power for myself.