Many vampires awaken on their own, generally sometime in their teens, possibly during or after they go through puberty. Some awaken earlier, or as far as they know, are “born like that”. Every vampire is “born like that”, but there is usually some point where one begins to manifest vampiric traits. Sometimes this doesn’t happen until later on in life, in the person’s twenties, thirties or even forties or later, depending on the circumstances of the person’s life. Oftenly, this occurs on its own, but sometimes there are factors which contribute to its happening.
Perhaps the most frequently occurring thing to begin this process is the consuming of blood: either one’s own or someone else’s. This could be a deliberate act, or accidental, or incidental. It is often thought that one is “turned” into a vampire from drinking the blood of another vampire. There are several bogus theories floating around on the web about so-called “vampire viruses”, and this has also been the subject of a good amount of popular vampire fiction. Usually, when someone feels they have been “turned”, it is because they have consumed somebody’s blood, and it is easy to understand how they could see it that way, especially considering the lack of any reliable information to contradict what they’ve “learned” from pop vampire fiction, the movies, etc.
In an email to the Vampire-Discussion group (#5464; Thu Feb 8, 2001 7:01 pm), Sanguinarius wrote:
“I think that when people say or believe in ‘turning’, that is merely a misconception or misunderstanding of the processes behind ‘awakening’ another. Person X feeds Person Y their blood, and then Person Y begins to manifest vampiric qualities. Without knowing the factors behind the process, they both mistakenly assume that Person X turned Person Y into a vampire, when Person X merely awoke that tendency within Person Y. Granted, it still could be said that Person X ‘turned’ Person Y, but not in the manner of passing on a virus or anything like that. I suppose the term ‘turned’ could be used in the sense of ‘the clown turned bad’, or ‘Fred turned John sour’: ie, turned merely meaning ’caused to become’.
Shadomere <email@example.com> replied (#5473; Fri Feb 9, 2001 9:57 am):
“I agree with you. However, I also think the ‘psychological’ programs should be mentioned.
“Let’s say Person X is a vampire and tells Person Y what they are. Person Y says, ‘Hey, cool, I’ll let you take my blood’ (to speak frankly). So Person Y only knows of what a vampire really is from movies and their own perceptions. After the feeding, Person Y may be energetically off-balance; they may feel something they have never felt before (energy loss, primal aggression) and they think this change can only mean that they have been turned. When yes, they may have awakened their own vampiric nature if it was dormant, but it could (and I think this is more common) also be a case temporary energy loss until they are able to naturally stabilize.
“I have had this happen to me with some ex’s and I would laugh and tell them, ‘I did not turn you into a vampire. You’ll be fine in a couple days’, and they were.
‘I think, too, that our kind is fairly easily recognizable by others of our kind, so if you fed (either blood or psi-energy) from someone you absolutely know is not a vampire, and they claim you turned them, I would be highly skeptical. But if you recognize a glimmer of something and you feed from them, it may open a new chapter in that person’s life to say the least. ;)’
Though someone may exhibit vampiric traits after consuming blood, it is possible that the effects are temporary. This would be a case of sympathetic vampirism. Also, if somebody has been fed from rather heavily and/or frequently, — and this could be by either a blood-feeding or a psi- / energy vampire, — they may also begin to manifest vampiric symptoms and traits. This would be caused by an energy imbalance in the one manifesting the symptoms. Once the feedings stop, the person will eventually return to normal once their energy level begins to balance out. This is not a “true” case of vampirism, but only temporary. The effects of vampirism might also be felt by one who is empathic.
Lady Slinky reported on the Vampiric Community Message Board (Mon, 24 Mar, 2003 3:54 pm):
“I have awakened a psi before. I did this by reverse empathy. Basically I am a blood vamp (mostly); they were offering to be a donor. I felt they needed to truly understand the depths of that relationship, and being a empath, I figured that if I can feel what other people feel then I should be able to somehow reverse that and make them feel what I do. I did that, and sure enough, she felt my hunger and never really let it go…
“Now whether she was potentially [a vampire] to begin with, I don’t know but I don’t recommend it as it’s a total pain in the butt to deal with the aftermath of awakening someone.”
Of course, I have no doubt that some apparent awakenings may be attributed to MSD, or “Medical Student’s Disease”. This is where someone reads or is otherwise exposed to information about a condition, — in this case, vampirism, — and begins to see the traits and symptoms manifest in his or her own body. This may be just the person’s own perception, or perhaps the traits and symptoms may actually begin to manifest, at least on a temporary basis; pychosomatic manifestation. — I suppose that, in a way, this could be considered auto-induced sympathetic vampirism, lol.
“…MSD — medical student’s disease. The medical student, assumed to be a reasonably intelligent, level-headed person, reads about various unpleasant conditions with diffuse or common symptoms and becomes convinced that he or she has the disease. ‘Look at this checklist! Headaches: yes, I have headaches. Dizziness: I felt dizzy yesterday in the revolving door. Insomnia: I hardly got any sleep last night. Nervousness: totally! Oh my God, I have a brain tumor. Probably inoperable. It is both tragic and ironic. Wait, read these symptoms of tetanus! Headaches, dizziness, agitation …'” — from “Spin Doctoring”, http://www.salon.com/health/feature/1999/07/15/nocebo/index.html (on page 2).
Also, it should be noted that one who goes through this process of awakening — whatever you may call it — does not become any sort of inhuman or superhuman being, monster, or whatever. There is a train of thought that vampires are not human, or not quite human. We may be slightly different than other humans, but we are still human beings. There are some people who may not like to hear that because it means that they are not “special” or better than those they would like to view as nothing more than their food, or their “prey”. This is dangerous thinking because those people feel that it gives them license to prey on other “lesser” beings than themselves. That can lead to callous treatment of donors, feelings of being above “human” laws, and in extreme cases, careless or wanton violence. Unfortunately, these things bring a bad name upon us all. I know of more than one willing or potential donor who has been put off from donating because of attitudes like that, or from being abused or mistreated by one who carries such an attitude. Donors are our friends and allies, to be valued highly and treated well for their willingness to give of themselves — not abused, looked down upon as cattle or some kind of walking blood bag.