I first came across the Online Vampire Community in 1999, while researching the Therian and Otherkin communities as a child. I was looking for explanations for the “trans-species” body dysmorphia that has been with me most of my life, and the two communities existed at the time and continue to exist in relative close proximity.
My reaction to a cursory evaluation of the “Real Vampire” website was a somewhat self conscious “Pfft…People who think they’re VAMPIRES? Come on, now.”….after which I continued reading theories about animal souls being misplaced and trapped in human bodies (yes, with a slightly uncomfortable feeling of hypocrisy).
My Therianthropy stayed with me, though, after initial research into theories. With the exception of occasional re-visitation for the reassurance that at least what I was feeling was not unique, I largely did not look back at the online Therian/Otherkin community. The offered explanations of spiritual causes did not resonate with my critical perspective. The claims of access to supernatural realms or possession of special powers or physical abilities beyond the norm they attributed to this “Other-species” condition bestowed upon me more self-doubt than they did comfort. I could not identify with a belief system that supported such claims which went against my own personal sense of logic and intuition which, from my perspective, devalued and discredited the community behind them.
Skip ahead to 2003. I’m sitting in my school’s computer lab feeding the google search bar with every variation of “Human+Blood+Drinking” I can fathom and I spend several hours sifting through anthropological articles describing ceremonies of isolated primitive tribes, medical papers describing safety risks of including blood in the human diet, cultural histories of blood drinking, mythologies, and articles about various hematophagous insects and other critters who’s prey included humans. These were the days only a scant few years before National Geographic started featuring human blood drinkers on shows like “Taboo”, and it was literally HOURS before my young mind finally thought to plug in the word
“Real+Living+Human+Vampire”. Bingo. Finding myself, somewhat ironically, right back at Drink Deeply and Dream, I finally started reading. I remember maintaining my incredulity, eyeing the dramatic format and writing style of the site with distrust, but at some point I wandered onto a description of a “craving” state, and it struck an all too familiar nerve. My memories of the next few months are fuzzy, except that I became very depressed, that this concept dominated my thoughts, my grades faltered, my interpersonal relationships suffered and that I locked myself in my room several times to curl up on the floor, worried I may hurt someone if I didn’t isolate myself. I think I tried researching it a few more times during that period but it usually ended up either frustrating or triggering me unpleasantly. I became despondent.
A few years later, I had my first human donor, and became aware of sites like Sanguinarius.org and Sphynxcat’s Real Vampire Support Page. The atmosphere among vampires active online at the time was such that when I did reach out for help I was told to “learn how to Psi feed”. I gave it a good go; truly I did. Despite the concept being at odds with my belief system, I was desperate for relief and attempted to visualize everything I was instructed to and to imbue these visualizations with as much faith and feeling as I could muster. Meanwhile, I kept my violent thoughts and impulses to myself, thinking them private and shameful. The dominating theory that the cause of my symptoms was energy deprivation and that the answer was to absorb metaphysical life force was the reason I abandoned the online vampire community as a possible source of answers and decided to try to figure things out myself, only revisiting it for information from rare pragmatic articles like “How Much is Too Much?” [n1].
Nowadays, many Therians consider their condition to be psychological and possibly neurobiological, rather than thinking of their condition in strictly spiritual terms. Many blood drinking “Vampires” are turning their eyes towards possible medical explanations for their conditions, disregarding the glamour of the vampire image and focusing on how to quietly and safely acquire what is for them, the only medication they know of to effectively treat perceived physical and psychological symptoms.
Had these pragmatic, non-theistic points of view been more prevalent seventeen years ago when I was exploring my identity or thirteen years ago when I was beginning to actively seek coping mechanisms and reasoning behind disturbing new feelings within myself, I may have found more support, access to safety advice, and possibly even the peace that can be found in the solidarity of a real community, albeit via connection with individuals over the internet. My psychological development, my mental stability at the time, the understanding of my donors, friends, and eventually of my family, would have benefited greatly from the existence of such an environment and source of practical resources. Myself as well as my donors would have been safer and my condition better understood by myself and more easily explained to others.
This is why I believe it is imperative that the point of view of “Medical Sanguinarians”, the blood drinkers who feel that ingesting blood is necessary to maintain their physical and psychological well-being and that the cause is rooted in the material world as a medical ailment, these people who believe that research into our condition to either confirm or eliminate physical abnormality as a possible reason for the things we experience and the symptoms we perceive is worth pursuing, must not be suppressed within the Online Vampire Community.
The goals of “Medical Sanguinarians” do not include the negation or devaluation of identities of metaphysically minded individuals who perceive their experiences as being similar to ours yet choose to interpret them differently. We simply are looking for answers through another venue. Whereas those who believe all vampirism is tied into metaphysics have already satisfied themselves with their own answers, for many Sanguinarians these answers do not satisfy, alternative feeding methods based on utilization of metaphysical energy manipulation have never satisfied, and while anyone is free to enjoy the mystique and aesthetics associated with vampire mythos, many in the “Medical Sanguinarian” sect would ideally be able to go to the pharmacy, pick up a prescription that alleviates our symptoms, and go back to our daily lives without the hassle and safety risks associated with the consumption and independent acquisition of healthy blood to ingest.
I thus beseech the community at large to, if not support, please do not go out of your way to suppress the existence of this newly vocal, though longstanding sector of the Online Vampire Community. With an emphasis on easier access to safety information, honest self analysis of symptoms, collection of biological data for analysis and a generally non-theistic approach to our perceived need for blood we may move forward towards an appeal for answers within the context of the medical community. If those answers are not found after considerable effort, and a psychological cause emerges to us as the most plausible reason for our symptoms, so be it. Personally I support consideration of both possible explanations simultaneously.
It is my understanding that there are a number among those who label themselves “Hybrids” (meaning a person who feeds on both energy and blood) who consider their practice of manipulating metaphysical energy to be unrelated to and non substitutable for their need to consume blood, effectively perceiving and often conflating two separate conditions (a metaphysical issue and a physical one). This type of person may benefit from the results worked for by the “Medical Sanguinarian” community. The belief that Sanguinarianism is a medical condition is unrelated to any belief in the supernatural or theistic value system.
Rather than validation of personal identities, I think as a whole the Med Sang community is simply seeking information and understanding, and hoping for revelations and new coping mechanisms. If a genetic test were developed to either confirm or deny a newly discovered medical condition, it would not invalidate the identity of anyone else, anymore than would not having Porphyria. There is no insidious agenda I’m aware of to create an upper echelon of people who have more right to use the “V” word than anyone else by virtue of being “more sick”.
I ask that our views be taken into consideration when writing about the “Vampire Community” as a whole, and especially when using the term “Sanguinarian” as it applies specifically to blood feeders. I ask for this consideration out of courtesy, and so that newcomers finding themselves in the position I once did may be made aware that different viewpoints on this matter DO exist and that there is support for those who do not subscribe to the theory that “Chi”, “Prana”, or “Life Force Energy” is behind the symptoms they find themselves faced with.
Thank you for your consideration,