Recently I was in the bathtub and my thoughts strayed to vampires while I was thinking about masks people wear. The cause of my thoughts straying was a joking LJ conversation about a ninja zombie looking for a companion. I commented that the only zombies I knew were pirate zombies, complete with barnacles and seaweed. The whole ninja-pirate incompatiblity thing aside, I later realized that a cursed pirate zombie would be a quite unappetizing romantic companion for most.
So, last month I read most of the book Vampires Amoung Us by Rosemary Guiley. The text is an interesting study of several aspects of the vampire world. I learned that the folklore of the vampire holds them to be undead creatures. This means that they are dead, deceased, and not living. While the vampires looked more alive than the truly dead, they still smelled of death and the grave. Truly unattractive, kinda like the urchin encrusted pirate zombies.
Before I go any further with these thoughts I wish to acknowledge a particular type of vampire - the psychic/energy vampire. The comments I am making do not apply to these guys (and gals). They can look like the person on the street. IMO they exist. OK, they're off the table.
Back to the other vampires. It seems that the self identification to being a vampire was truly kicked off when the vampire stopped being the grave stinky apparation. The "Vampires Amoung Us" laid some (much) of the credit at Ann Rice's feet. Her "Interview with a Vampire" made the undead suddenly alive and sexy. People were awoken to the fact that they were vampires. Being dead was no longer a requirement. Most of these are labelled as "vamproids" (I think I go that right) by Guiley. The vamproid emulates the vampire in dress and habits, but does not claim to be a true vampire. A much smaller subset of people do make the claim of being a true vampire. There are few that claim to be hundreds of years old while continuing to operate in society. No grave smell for these guys. These claims are largely unsubstantiated, perhaps at the benefit of the said vampires. More numerously, there are vampires that acknowledge that they are alive in body, but claim an otherkin connection to the vampire. Part of their soul, perhaps all of their soul, is inhabited by that of vampire. Personally I feel there are some valid metaphysical explanations of this. All are difficult to prove.
Is sincerely being a vampire, a non-stinky live one, a modern mask? Would the vampires and vamproids exist if there was not the mindset of Ann Rice and others? Are (most) self-declared vampires "real", or are they a product of that part of the psyche that needs to be both special and different? These the questions that came to my mind.
Here's a final spin of thought. I believe that self-declared vampires are real. They exist in the realities of the participants. Fanciful? Perhaps. In contrast, I find realness of vampires as easy to accept as the realness of many more people who believe that they will be lifted up in to the sky on a special day, and the only prerequisite for this action is their belief in Jesus. To each there own. I'm just glad that the modern vampires have better hygiene than their folklore ancestors.