Please be advised that the views and opinions presented within these journal entries are the sole responsibility of their individual authors and may not reflect the stances of The Red Cellar as a collective.
Please be advised that the views and opinions presented within these journal entries are the sole responsibility of their individual authors and may not reflect the stances of The Red Cellar as a collective.
A private vent from a friend of many donors who have been abused by self-proclaimed “vampires” inspired this article. Many med sangs are loathe to acknowledge the existence of the “vampire community.” In the long run, active connections to the community may hurt our campaigns toward medical studies to find what may be behind our perceive need for blood, as evidenced through Dr. Tomas Ganz dinging Alexia stating that calling herself “Countess Alexia” resonates fantasy rather than actual need, despite the name being a nod to her Lady Gaga fandom rather than her sanguivory. Right now, providing practical support for blood drinkers with perceived physiological needs and donors without fantastic pretense is our priority and this necessitates some interaction with the vampire community. Many blood drinkers, donors, and even some metaphysically oriented people have found sanctuary in our community as an escape valve from the cults of personality and abuses of authority which permeate the vampire community.
In an informal survey, narcissism and grandiosity was the overwhelming choice for the heart of what is wrong with the vampire community. In his 2011 book Vampires Today, Joseph Laycock emphasizes the role of “re-enchantment in adopting a vampire identity”. To paraphrase, “re-enchantment” is the desire to bring back mystery and awe to one’s increasingly mundane life. In itself, this is not a bad thing: spiritual belief or adopting a radically different aesthetic can be very empowering. Re-enchantment can be the avatar through which someone is inspired to do wonderful things for others or discovers a self-esteem one never knew he or she had. Laycock did bandy about the idea of whether vampire identity will lose its re-enchantment effects as it becomes just another personal identity.
So far, this quasi-prediction has not come to pass. If anything, self-proclaimed vampires are doubling down on re-enchantment. The best example involves two well-known commercial cults (which are likely easy to figure out via the examples). The first of which spawned in the late 90s through a vampire party promoter who borrowed cultural elements and beliefs from the Gotham vampire scene. As self-proclaimed vampires became critical of his approach and his questionable business practices, he further isolated his group and his beliefs became more idiosyncratic. He now speaks to outsiders in a rather Zoolanderesque fashion: absolutely convinced of his greatness but just as clueless of the greater world around him as his followers are. He seems only cognizant of other similar groups who are a threat to his imagined empire, such as the second commercial cult which was designed to be the antidote to the first commercial cult. This organization started with a “Vampire Court” in the South and borrowed its stated beliefs heavily from mainstream vampire community beliefs (especially the blood=energy gambit) as well as popular culture such as True Blood. As its media imprint grew, criticism of the disingenuity of claiming “actual need” while clearly and almost exclusively emphasizing pop culture vampire aesthetic in their actions have led this organization following the path of the first commercial cult: blocking criticism and attacking critics with demagogic rants. With this isolationism, their beliefs are starting to become more idiosyncratic and less aware of greater world around them. Yet, these two commercial cults are mainstays of media presentations about “vampires” and “vampire events,” essentially free advertising for raw meat to enter their cults.
If narcissism is the fire burning down the community, mass self-delusion is the fuel. No one is actually a vampire, thus there is no wrong way to be a vampire. The former is a major point of insecurity to many self-proclaimed vampires who seem not to look for support, but rather have their vampire identity confirmed as legitimate. Questions urging introspection on the basis for one’s claims and beliefs are akin to personal attacks within the self-proclaimed “vampire community.” Such shutting down of honest discourse to prevent the shattering of “re-enchantment,” encourages self-delusion, and allows for abusive opportunists to create thriving cults of personality where donors are abused and donors and members alike are sexually exploited.
The vent brought up some sort of “donor protection racket”: the concept that a donor should be thankful and thus subservient to a self-proclaimed vampire for protecting him or her. This concept was absolutely foreign to me: what on earth would these “vampires” be protecting the donors from? The person making the vent was just as puzzled. Perhaps, much like the commercial cults, these “vampires” are defending their donors against subversive thoughts which could instill agency within the donor. Equally as likely, it’s narcissism fueled by the desire for re-enchantment mutating into full on self-delusion: adopting the vampire persona to feel more powerful and talking as if donors were food so often in that pursuit for illusory power that he or she begins to believe it themselves. Such controlling and infantilizing behavior is likely why there are very few donors as backbones within the “vampire” community.
Cults of personality and abuse of authority are no means exclusively among aesthetically oriented commercial cults nor anything mystical. Even the most mundane institution can have rampant abuses of authority and many people to excuse or protect the abusers. In the United States, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) had a proud football tradition. The Nittany Lions played in a stadium that seats over 100,000 people. The team has won a few national championships and had never been slapped with any NCAA violations. Penn State football has a large fan and alumni based proud of their coach Joe Paterno who led the team for 45 years and “did things the right way.” When reports came out of former defensive coach Jerry Sandusky being a serial sexual abuser of young boys while having free access to Penn State football facilities, Joe Paterno knowing of this abuse and doing nothing about it, the vast majority of the Penn State faithful came to Paterno’s defense. The community of Penn State football fandom: the memories, friends made, the shared belief that they “did things the right way,” wanted to preserve its own image of itself rather than admit the undeniable truth that the program aided and abetted child rape.
In this sense, you can understand why donors and other people in the “vampire community” stay silent. Authorities may hold some financial clout or leverage against those either formally below them or those who just hold less esteem within the group. However, most of the time it is that desire for donors or self-proclaimed vampires not to lose the community as they know it. Fear of expulsion or just having the majority of what they love about the group, whether supplying re-enchantment or just providing a haven for misfits to feel free to be themselves, will be completely uprooted if he or she speaks about sexual or emotional abuses to a donor or other self-proclaimed vampire. Much like Penn State football fans, no one wants to believe that a community they cherish was built upon lies and abuse and want to maintain the feeling about the community he or she always had.
Penn State purged the old Paterno regime (but sadly not its legacy) from its staff and is building anew and has become a football power again. Med sangs and the Red Cellar felt the necessity to break off from the vampire community and create something new where questions on the topic of blood consumption and physical need are freely asked and differing opinions are not sacrosanct but still respected. Donors, allies, med sangs, and even self-proclaimed vampires: feel free to ask questions and making challenging statements. If you are badgered for asking questions or making counterpoints: being called “ignorant,” a “hater,” or being told “I don’t have to prove anything to you,” run from that place as far as you can as that place is likely a breeding ground for a cult of personality. If you are already in an organization where you fear retaliation for speaking out or losing the community you have, I assure you there are organizations and communities you will feel far more at home at. It is important to always be cognizant about why you donate, drink blood, conduct metaphysical practices etc. If you lose track of this, there are always vampires willing to feed upon your insecurity to maintain their self-delusion.
[Interview request is from Cory Kai Draken, agreed to by Alexia for posting on TRC’s website]
1. So the first question has to be what is the difference between a vampire and a med sang?
Med sang stands for ‘medical sanguivore’. A med sang is a person who perceives a need to drink blood to maintain their physical health and to offset health deterioration; and perceives this to be entirely physiological, absent any metaphysical connotations to the condition. Typically, med sangs are skeptics and atheists, though some may have different beliefs. We drink blood in large quantities. ‘Vampire’ is a creature of folkloric myth and it is an identity I do not subscribe to. It’s an umbrella term and catch-all that many people identify with for various reasons. For the purposes of scientific inquiry, that all is undesirable baggage and we do not perceive ourselves to be vampires. Med sangs encourage introspection, asking questions, and the pursuit of ‘why’.
Many sangs require blood in a certain volume. Many stay underfed because they don’t know how to take what they need safely, or even that they need such an amount. As med sang ‘feeding’ methods have become more mainstream, a lot of curiosity has erupted about our practices. Some query how they can safely do the same things so they can get the volume they need.
The problem with this is that it’s impossible to write a guide for this, not only due to potential liability, but because it is such a complex, technical procedure. I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. Venipuncture is actually a minimally invasive surgical procedure technically. People go to school for it for a long time. It does carry serious risk and consequences if performed negligently which I’ve covered in previous articles.
That said, if it is a topic you’re interested in, there are resources around for you to begin your study. I think it is a highly beneficial skill for sanguivores to learn and to know more about the cardiovascular system.
The first and foremost resource I would recommend is The Apprentice Doctor’s Venipuncture course. It is a certified course designed to give you detailed knowledge about Venipuncture. It comes with an eBook, DVD and a full Venipuncture kit. The best part is, it comes with a ‘dummy’ arm so you can practice sticks without having to actually practice on a human. You can find it here.
An online course from Phleb.com can be found here.
If you want to go a step further, for $400, you can take an online class from a personal instructor and the price includes the National Exam. That can be found here.
North Carolina A&T State University offers an online Phlebotomy Technician program, but it’s a bit pricey at $1599; but you do get 90 hours of learning. Find it here.
A cheap, $20 basic Venipuncture Continuing Education module can be found here. This covers a lot of topics such as needles, tubes, vein selection, vein assessment, no-go sites, safety and Venipuncture procedure.
There is also a wealth of literature on the subject. A student study guide and its workbook can be found below, along with some other useful books for Venipuncture/phlebotomy:
Phlebotomy Essentials https://www.amazon.com/dp/1451194528/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_ZgglBbN4GDK3P
Student Workbook for Phlebotomy Essentials https://www.amazon.com/dp/1451194536/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_whglBbEYB3V5V
Phlebotomy Notes: Pocket Guide to Blood Collection (Davis’s Notes) https://www.amazon.com/dp/0803625944/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_diglBbEFD2DHX
Phlebotomist: A Bloody quick guide to Phlebotomy https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XT01GK6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_FjglBbDFC20MQ
Blood Collection A Short Course https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D0FG85W/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_zkglBbKRK8FA1
Venepuncture & Cannulation: A practical guide https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N80H3IN/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_jlglBbK7FW2PR
Venepuncture and Cannulation (Essential Clinical Skills for Nurses) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005C673HU/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_TlglBbWS689EF
I have kindly been given permission by Erin Chapman of popular vampire website Vamped.Org to share her latest excellent interview with Dr. Tomas Ganz, covering an in-depth discussion on blood drinking, sanguinarianism, and his perspective on the persistent myth of hemachromatosis with blood drinking.
Check out the interview here.
The Red Cellar now has a Discord server focused on practical, physiological blood drinking and support for med sangs and sanguivores. Blood donors are also welcome.
Cover art: Garth Knight
We have long espoused that blood drinkers do not have rules. There is no governing body. We have no laws other than those set by society at large. Laws are rules enforceable by an authority/the state which we are all expected to follow. Blood drinkers do not have any such authority, nor (I believe) would we ever. However, blood drinkers do not operate in a vacuum. As with all gatherings of people around a commonality, there are unspoken ‘rules’ or courtesies that we all follow. Cutting in line won’t end you up in Court (a real Court, not one of those vampire ones), but it will get you some serious side-eye. This is just one example. We are all, to a greater or lesser extent, expected to follow common sense boundaries set by society.
The blood drinker community is no different. There are unspoken courtesies that, over the years, have come to be properly expected of those involved in a topic so sensitive as blood drinking. Some people could lose their livelihood if ‘outed’. These can include things like discretion, trust, integrity. Not sharing confidential information, not blabbing or bragging about things that should remain private/between personal conversations. Talking about ‘the hunger’ and shameful feelings in the confidence that it will stay within that conversation. Use common sense. Be safe. Be trained. Don’t make the rest of us look bad through inappropriate or dangerous behaviour. There are little regional things I’ve noticed too – even so far as one sang offering another their donor, sharing sources or offering some vials of blood as one would offer a beer; a sign of generosity. There are obvious safety concerns with that with blood testing, but that is outside the scope of this article.
Due to the nature of blood drinking and the vampire archetype, it goes without saying that sanguivores will be perceived/related with the whole ‘vampire’ bit. Some circles handle things in their own way. If an individual is particularly dangerous, ‘community warnings’ or ‘excommunications’ can be posted.
Despite no ‘legal’ binding beyond the actual laws we are all expected to follow, how leaders respond to situations does set a precedent. We have to be extremely careful in how we handle situations as they arise. People watch, people remember, and people expect consistency with someone’s principles. We set for ourselves a margin of acceptance within which we manoeuvre. As with law, each case is unique and facts change; but if we flip flop from one stance to another, our integrity and conviction will not be taken seriously.
I rarely defend people in situations. I defend my principles and what I think is right. Sanguivores are my first priority. That includes them, their donors and overall well-being. We make mistakes and what is important is that we learn from them. The precedent we set lays the groundwork for what kind of community culture is to follow. It is the responsibility of leaders to cultivate a culture that is conducive to the growth of its people (i.e. sanguivores). An example of this is with a dear friend of mine whom, several years back, accidentally botched the slaughter of a rabbit for blood. Another sang made this public. Despite becoming highly proficient at the skill, she was vilified and called ‘bunny butcher’. I have always been of the opinion that it was breaking an unspoken, almost sacrosanct, rule to not sell out another sang with something highly confidential discussed in trust. If she were still alive, and if the community culture is one of learning, she could have been able to educate someone to avoid her mistakes. My stance on such things has never changed. Of course, if someone is breaking ACTUAL serious laws, they should be reported to the authorities accordingly.
As always, the precedent I want to set for sanguivores is one of openness, learning, guidance, and support. I will always stand by my convictions in that regard and openly oppose anything which I feel creates, or could create, a hostile environment for sanguivores. We walk a difficult path with few who understand, and deserve safe spaces with those of like-kind.
[Guest post by ‘Z’]
Sangs write about what it is like for them so I thought I would do something similar from my perspective. I have a main sang, but I do also donate to others. With my partner, my primary means of donating involves razor blades and direct feeding, and with others it will be with needles.
Every time I do either, I know the risks and even though they are low and I do as much as I can to lessen the risks, it’s still there, I am quite fortunate to of not experienced any of the worse potential side effects; but it doesn’t change the fact that I have hundreds of scars from donating. It might not seem like a big deal, but it really does add up… Using needles is much better because it means you don’t have as many scars, but it comes with more risks and sometimes with me it’s not even worth the reward, which is both extremely frustrating for all involved and drives me to take even more risks because of that. Which I know I shouldn’t, but it’s hard not to when you know people are relying on you.
After donating you’re left with your cuts and marks, which can make things kind of awkward as you have to hide them from pretty much everyone else, which isn’t always easy. It kind of makes you paranoid and feel pretty shitty at the same time, you feel bad because you are hiding things and lying to people who wouldn’t understand and paranoid because you don’t what what would happen if they found out.
Being a donor isn’t just about donating though, not many would really see it, but for me, what I do and what happens to me directly effects someone else and that is a big deal – if I am unwell, need to take medications, accidentally injure myself or have trouble sleeping for a while, it pretty much puts a halt on me being able to donate. There wouldn’t really be much point as not only would it make me feel worse, but it wouldn’t be as helpful. So, I do my best to look after myself, but a lot of things are totally outside of my control.
Overall, being a donor is pretty shitty, but knowing that you can at least help other people you care about feel better does go a long way to making it worth it.
I’ve made a lot of posts about donors lately, so I wanted to address something on the sang side of the coin. Now, my opinion is firmly that donors are amazing people who deserve our respect. However, it would be negligent of me to not address the impulses and tendencies that sanguivores can have and how it can influence our thoughts towards people. It is a source of guilt for us, and I think some light needs to be shed on the hunter within us.
The hunger is something present in every sanguivore in some form. Often, when it starts to flare up, it is referred to as ‘twoofing’. I wrestled with this for many years. It was the first thing to make me think I was crazy. But it’s alright. We need to accept this part of ourselves. A beast locked in a cage will fight harder than one who is allowed to walk on a leash.
There has been a trend lately that has been bothering me. The talk of donors as cattle. Some of it is subtle, but it is there. It is the same insidious condescension and oppression that other minorities experience, and as feeders, we should know better.
Donors aren’t things to be ‘farmed’. We should not objectify our donors. Donors are autonomous human beings, and we have a symbiotic relationship. In fact.. we need donors. Donors don’t need us. Wanting our donors to be healthy should be common decency as a human being, not viewing them as an object of use.
I have as much of a predatory nature as anyone else. Mine is intense and I had to practice daily meditation to control myself for years. That doesn’t mean we are okay to treat other people as food. Some may say the blood itself is objectified and not the person. When someone objectifies a woman for sex, they are still objectifying her as a person.
We have a responsibility to encourage the right attitudes towards the very people who help us stay healthy and sane. If I was a blood donor and was spoken of in that way, I’d walk right off. It alienates people. There aren’t enough visible donors as it is. We are all human beings, and we should care for one another regardless. Donors have autonomy. They cannot be farmed. If you treat them poorly, they will leave and there’s not a thing you can do about it. It’s that simple.
Every sanguivore is responsible for:
There are more things, but this is a start. Be safe, be mindful and be CAREFUL. Know that how you talk about donors reflects on you and also influences how others see them.
Blood donors are great. Seriously. Let’s raise a glass and give a hand to all of our blood donors.
No, this is not another April Fool’s article, by the way.
I was surprised at the response to my article about the nurture of blood donors. The number of donors who commented about sang abandonment was interesting indeed. It saddened me to see that people who understand something which is, let’s face it, pretty weird to the outside world had their heart broken for caring enough to give.
Now, I know there are two sides to every story. I will attempt to cover some of these points here. Still, I wanted to write this piece to share my personal appreciation of donors and share some thoughts about blood donation.