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DISCLAIMER: This article is presented as information about real vampires for educational purposes. The information presented in this is article should not be used as a checklist to determine if someone is a real vampire or not. Having any of the qualities described within this article does not make someone a real vampire. All other explanations (i.e., medical, psychological, environmental, etc.) should be explored before assuming that one is a real vampire. Also, the information presented in this article is general in nature, and does not go into any details. The author encourages you to do further research into any specific topics.
What is a real vampire? What are the different type of vampires and their differences?
This article originally started out as a response to someone asking those very questions in a discussion group that I am a member of. These questions are frequently asked in many different discussion groups by many different people, usually by those that are new to the vampire community. Depending on where one asks these questions or to whom one asks these questions, one will get many different answers. The answers I will give are my own understanding and my own opinion based on my own personal research.
There are often discussions about mythical/fictional vampires that most are already familiar with from myths, books, movies, television and role-playing games. There are also sometimes discussions about energy/astral beings (which do not have corporeal forms) and creatures (such as demons) with vampiric qualities; however such beings and creatures are not considered to be true vampires. In actuality, there is only one type of vampire: real vampires. Real vampires are individuals (mortal living humans) that have a genuine need for life force energies from outside sources because their bodies either consume energy too quickly or do not produce sufficient life-force energy to sustain them. Real vampires are then further classified by their feeding methods, but some will say that the different feeding methods are different types of real vampires.
"Types" of Vampires
Some will say that there are two main different methods of feeding on life-force energy; sanguine and psi; and that all other forms of feeding are subcategories or specializations of psi feeding. Others will say that each feeding method is a different form of feeding, hence different "types" of vampires.
Sanguine vampires (or sanguinarians) are vampires who feed by drinking blood. However, it is not the blood itself that they are feeding on. It is the life-force energy contained within the blood. Blood drinking is arguably the most potent form of feeding on life-force energy, and many sanguinarians can thrive for many weeks from a single feeding. (A single feeding is often about an ounce or two of blood taken from a willing donor.) Sanguinarians often describe blood drinking as a very fulfilling, very powerful and somewhat intoxicating experience. It also tends to be a rather intimate form of feeding.
Psi (or psy) vampires are vampires that feed psychically on life force energies. Psi feeding (in any form) can be done from an individual (most often a willing donor) or from the ambient energies of a group or crowd. However, psi feeding can also be done from a person without the person realizing that they are being fed from, although many may consider it to be unethical to do so. Generally though, the person being fed from is not harmed by the feeding in any way. It should be noted that there is no difference between a psi vampire and a psy vampire, other than the spelling. As for the difference in spellings, the only conclusion I have been able to reach is that psi is an abbreviation of psionic, while psy is an abbreviation of psychic. However both terms, psionic and psychic, refer to psychic phenomena. Psi vampires used to be referred to as psychic vampires, but the field of behavioral psychology has co-opted the term psychic vampire to describe a person who has a psychological need for attention and will do whatever they can to get that attention from anyone and everyone, leaving those that interact with them feeling drained. Psi vampires avoid using the term psychic vampire to differentiate themselves from the behavioral psychology psychic vampires. Some will also refer to psi vampires as pranic vampires, derived from the term prana, a Sanskrit term literally translated as life-force energy.
Empathic vampires are vampires who feed on emotional life-force energies from the emotions of people. There are those that will say that vampires that feed on negative emotional energies (anger, fear, etc.) are negative/chaotic vampires and are a subcategory/specialization of empathic vampires. Others will say that negative/chaos vampires are separate from empathic vampires. The reason is that empathic vampires will usually feed on whatever emotions a person is feeling without necessarily causing those emotions. However, often negative/chaos vampires will cause situations where negative emotions and chaotic energies will be stimulated and then feed off of those energies.
Sexual vampires are vampires who feed on the life-force energies generated from having sex, especially the excess energies generated at the moment of orgasm. They can do so psychically and/or from bodily fluids. Female sexual vampires are sometimes referred to as succubi (singularly, succubus), and male sexual vampires are sometime referred to as incubi (singularly, incubus). Some will also refer to sexual vampires as tantric vampires. Others will refer to sexual vampires as pranic vampires. There is sometimes debate within the vampire community if referring to sexual vampires as pranic vampires is correct or not as there are some within the vampire community that refer to psi vampires as pranic vampires, which could lead to some confusion when talking about pranic vampires. Those that support referring to sexual vampires as pranic vampires argue that pranic energies and prana are two different things, and that pranic energies are energies related to sex while prana is just life-force energies. There are those that think the use of the labels tantric and pranic in reference to sexual vampires is an attempt by some within the vampire community at political correctness who feel that the term sexual vampire is derogatory and/or offensive or simply think that tantric and pranic "sound" better than sexual. However, it is also possible that those who use tantric or pranic when talking about sexual vampires are doing so to differentiate them from any link to behavioral psychology which seems to also be co-opting the term sexual vampire to describe a person who has a psychological need for attention (much like a psychic vampire) through sex.
Soul vampires are vampires that are able to feed directly off the energy of a person's soul. As a result of soul feeding, soul vampires will sometimes gain some or all of the abilities of the person they are feeding from. Soul vampires will also sometimes receive memories, thoughts and desires of the person that they are feeding from. Soul feeding is a very intimate form of feeding, even more so than sexual and sanguine feeding. Soul vampires are also sometimes referred to as soul devourers.
Elemental vampires are vampires that are able to feed on the life force energies of the elements; earth, wind, fire, and water. Some will say that elemental vampires are elementalists who are able to manipulate elemental energies and then convert those energies into consumable life-force energies. Others will say that elemental vampires feed directly from elemental life-force energies. There are also those that will say that vampires who feed on life-force energies from plants and animals are also elemental vampires. However, there are those that distinguish such vampires as nature vampires. Another method of feeding often considered a subcategory or specialization of elemental feeding is electrical feeding; the indirect feeding on energies in electrical fields and lightning. Others will distinguish such vampires as electrical vampires.
Astral vampires are vampires that are able to travel through the astral plane and feed off of the life-force energies of other entities within the astral plane, and/or they are able to materialize in astral form and feed off the life-force energies of people that are usually asleep.
Dreamscape vampires are essentially astral vampires that are able to enter into a person's dream, and feed from the life-force energies within the dream. They can be invisible observers in the dream, or they can manifest themselves within the dream. Some are able to influence the course of the dream.
Magickal vampires are vampires that are able to feed on and manipulate magickal energies.
Vampires who only use one method of feeding are referred to by the way that they feed (i.e., sanguinarian, elemental vampire, sexual vampire, etc.). Vampires who are able to feed using some but not all psychic methods but are not able to feed sanguine are referred to as adaptive psi vampires. Vampires who are able to feed using all psychic methods but are not able to feed sanguine are referred to as eclectic psi vampires. Sanguine vampires that are also able to feed using some but not all psychic methods are referred to as adaptive vampires. Sanguine vampires who are also able to feed using all psychic methods are referred to as eclectic vampires.
There are several groups of people that are often mistaken for being real vampires that are often associated with the vampire community.
One such group of people is referred to as leeches or energy leeches by some within the vampire community. Such individuals are people who have developed the ability to manipulate and feed on life-force energies in many of the ways vampires feed; however such individuals usually do not have a genuine need for the life-force energies that they feed on. They manipulate and feed on life-force energies for the feelings it gives them; usually a sense of euphoria, power and intoxication. Leeches can become addicted to the life-force energies they feed on (much like a drug of some kind), and feel that they need the life-force energies because they will go through withdrawals when they do not feed for a period of time. They will sometimes call themselves vampires, and will sometimes try to be involved with the vampire community. However, their apparent need for life-force energies does not make them vampires, as the withdrawal symptoms will go away with time. For real vampires, physical effects felt from not feeding get worse with time. It is often very easy for real vampires to realize when an individual is an energy leech and not a vampire.
There are also vampire lifestylers, which are often involved in vampire communities and can often be mistaken for being real vampires. Vampire lifestylers are people that dress and live a life similar to that of mythical/fictional vampires. They try to emulate the Hollywood and fictional image of a vampire as much as possible:
In most cases, vampire lifestylers are regular humans that have chosen to live the lifestyle of a vampire. However, it should be noted that there are also real vampires who choose to live the lifestyle of a vampire (for example, Don Henrie from Sci-Fi Channels Mad Mad House). It is often very easy for real vampires to tell the real vampire lifestylers apart from the human lifestylers.
Another group of people that are sometimes involved with the vampire community and mistaken for being real vampires are blood fetishists. Blood fetishists are regular humans who engage in bloodplay (cutting, bloodletting and blood drinking) usually, but not always, within a BDSM setting. Although blood fetishists will often drink blood, they have no need to do so.
Yet another group of people that try to be involved with the vampire community are perhaps the most despised group of people by the vampire community; role players. The most predominant ones are the role players that play Vampire: The Masquerade by White Wolf Publishing. However, role players can be anyone who chooses to play the part of a vampire in any role playing game (RPG). What usually happens is that the role players begin to feel that they are the characters that they are playing. The lines between reality and role playing become blurred for them, and they begin to think and believe that they are vampires. Then they try to get involved with the vampire community, and try to pass themselves off as real vampires. However, they usually immediately expose themselves as role players by using RPG terminology and ideas (such as the different types/races of vampire clans (Brujah, Ventrue, etc.*), claiming to be immortal, being a member of a certain clan/house, etc*). Or, they come to the vampire community thinking that it is all RPG, and then find much to their disappointment that the vampire community is a very real community with a low tolerance for role players. However, it should be noted that sometimes playing role playing game may trigger the awakening of a latent vampire, and that there are some real vampires that also play role playing games for recreational reasons.
Society also tends to misuse the idea of vampires, and will sometimes refer to people as being vampires or exhibiting vampiric traits and behaviors. For example:
However, in most cases, the people referred to in such a manner usually are not vampires of any kind nor should they be mistaken to be vampires.
As mentioned earlier, the field of behavioral psychology has co-opted the terms psychic vampire and sexual vampire to describe people who have a psychological need for attention and will do whatever they can to get that attention from anyone and everyone, leaving those that interact with them feeling drained. In most cases, these people are not real vampires. The drained feeling that people experience when interacting with these people comes from having to tolerate an often uncomfortable and unpleasant situation, but not from an energy feeding.
There is also another psychological condition within the field of behavioral psychology known as clinical vampirism, or more commonly referred to as Renfield's Syndrome, based upon the fictional character of Renfield from Bram Stoker's Dracula. Those that suffer from clinical vampirism, in most cases, are not real vampires either. Renfield's Syndrome is described as a pathological and delusional disease, fetishistic and compulsive in nature, where a person (usually a male) experiences a psychological need for blood with a strong sexual component. Generally, those that suffer from the syndrome often go through a progression of stages beginning with auto-vampirism (drinking one's own blood) and progressing to vampirism (drinking the blood of others). The compulsion of the vampirism stage may lead a person to committing criminal acts to obtain human blood, such as stealing blood from hospitals and blood banks or going to the extreme of killing someone.
Another group of people that are often mistaken for being real vampires are criminal vampires, sometimes referred to as vampire killers or psychotic vampires. These are individuals that have committed criminal acts that are considered vampiric in nature, generally anything having to do with the drinking of blood or the criminal claiming to be a vampire. Some of these individuals may be in the final stage of clinical vampirism as described in the previous paragraph. In most cases though, criminal vampires are individuals that are obsessed with emulating fictional vampires, either from watching movies and television shows about vampires, reading (usually fictional) books about vampires, and/or playing vampire characters in RPGs. However, it should be noted that it is possible that some criminal vampires may have been real vampires. It has not been proven either way whether any criminal vampires were real vampires or not.
Symptoms/Characteristics of Vampires
What are the symptoms of vampirism?
I personally, and some others, dislike the term symptoms when referring to vampirism as it makes vampirism sound like some kind of disease or illness, which it is not. Some also refer to vampirism as a condition or energy deficiency, but I personally, and some others, frown upon those terms as well, because it gives vampirism a negative connotation.
No one knows nor has been able to determine what causes vampirism. The leading theory is that vampirism may be a combination of genetic, physiological and metaphysical causes. One will often see vampirism referred to as a condition, and then compared to some other physiological conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
I personally prefer to refer to symptoms of vampirism as vampiric traits, characteristics and abilities. However, possessing any or all of these traits, characteristics and abilities does not make one a vampire as many of these same traits, characteristics and abilities can be accounted for by other reasons. All other explanations (i.e., medical, psychological, environmental, etc.) should be explored before assuming that one has those traits due to vampirism.
The key factor in determining if one is a vampire is going to be if one has a genuine need for life-force energies from outside sources and their traits, characteristics and abilities are tied to their vampirism. Also, not all vampires will have all traits, characteristics and abilities. Each individual vampire is different and may have different traits, characteristics and abilities from each other. Just as every individual is different, every vampire is different. Some will have more abilities than others. Some will have more limitations than others.
Psychic abilities (although not necessarily psychic feeding methods) and metaphysical characteristics:
The above lists are not all-inclusive lists, as I may have missed some characteristics and abilities, but those are the ones that I could think of at this time. These lists of vampire characteristics and traits should not be used as a checklist to determine if one is a vampire.
Differences between Real Vampires and Mythical/Fictional Vampires
Again, the above list is not an all-inclusive list, as I may have missed some differences, but those are the ones that I could think of at this time.
In this article, I have defined what a real vampire is, explained the different types of vampires and their feeding methods, described people often mistaken for real vampires, listed characteristics of real vampires, and the differences between real vampires and mythical/fictional vampires. However, I want to make it clear that there is no definitive way or "test" for determining if one is a real vampire or not. Determining if one is a real vampire is a personal journey, and should not be taken lightly. One needs to do research and eliminate any other explanations (i.e., medical reasons for certain characteristics) before assuming that they are a vampire. A person needs to determine for themselves if a real vampire is simply what they are or what they desire to be.
If a person desires to be a vampire, then one needs to determine what the motivation for that desire is as usually that desire will go unfulfilled. If they are not already a vampire (i.e., a latent vampire), then they will not be able to become a vampire no matter how much they may want to become one. However, they can still become involved with the vampire community as a vampire supporter and/or donor. There are many people involved in the vampire community who are not vampires, and they are able to contribute to the vampire community.
As mentioned before, the information presented in this article is general in nature, and presented for educational purposes. Any areas of specific interest should be further researched.
* Sangi Note: Some real vampires are members of real Houses, although these are generally not named after fictional clans, vampires or houses.
** Sangi Note 2: Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
Description of clinical vampirism taken from, "Vampires, Werewolves, & Demons. Twentieth Century Reports in the Psychiatric Literature." Richard Noll. Brunner/Mazel Publishing, Inc. New York, New York. ©1992.
All other information for this article came from discussions in various Yahoo Groups and from various websites mentioned above, as well as personal experiences of the author and conversations with other vampires.
About the Author
Additionally, the author welcomes any inquiries, questions, comments and/or criticisms from readers about this article or any posts the author has made. The author also welcomes requests to repost this article to discussion groups, message boards and websites, subject to the copyright notice below and conditions that the author may require for reposting this article. The author can be reached at email@example.com. The author's only request is that any comments and/or criticisms be constructive. Messages of an inflammatory or derogatory nature will be deleted without a response.
Original Version: Saturday, Apr 24, 2004 at 9:56 pm Hawaiian
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