Vampires are real. They don't sparkle in the sun, but they will get sick if they don't feed, and their skin is probably better than yours. Real-life vampires are public speakers, computer programmers, and artists who may be sitting next to you on your morning commute. Because we're a bunch of prudes, they're scared of disclosing their vampire status to doctors, who are encouraging the public to become more accepting so these vamps and their donors will discuss their blood exchanges with their physicians.
To learn more, I went vampire hunting. I met Galatea*, a 29-year-old sang vampire from London, who goes through a nasty blood thirst if she hasn't fed. Sang is slang for sanguinary, meaning she feeds off of real blood, unlike energy- or psychic-feeding vampires. "Many people put psy vampires in their own category, however it is a handy dandy quick fix for those who have the ability to use this skill. What a vampire is looking for is the energy. The thing that's actually carried within the blood," Galatea explained to me. I also chatted with Pixie, a 22-year-old from Seattle, who is both a sang and energy vampire. And I spoke with Arycin, a 25-year-old politically-minded vampire from Long Island who is currently sustaining on energy from the cosmos, but would really like to find a blood donor. Arycin says the local sang community sucks, so if there are any "cloaked" Long Island vampires, please reveal yourself in the comments section.
VICE: Hey Pixie. What's your vampire lifestyle like?
Pixie: I have two feeding styles. The first is I'm an energy vamp. I feed off of the excess energy around me. Generally during that, if I do it to a few people instead of a large group of people, that person or persons will wind up being lethargic. An excess of feeding on a singular person, at least in my experience, can lead to mild depression. So you always have to be careful not to feed too much from any one person.
The second style is the more traditional, which is sanguinary. Blood. Usually vampires only have one type of feeding style and if they don't feed they themselves get lethargic, lazy, and immobile. I have the benefit of having the second feeding style so that doesn't often happen to me. It's hard to find a willing victim—I hate to say victim, a willing subject—who will let you feed on them via blood and also going through the trouble of getting blood tests done just to make sure they're safe.
If you haven't fed at all, is it noticeable?
Yes, it is very noticeable. It's a lot like if a normal person didn't eat for days and days and days.
How did you discover this about yourself?
People who are vampires all share a common point, their awakening point. It's very different from how fiction portrays it. My awakening point was about five years ago. I woke up in the fridge tearing into a package of raw bloody hamburger. It was pretty shocking to me; I had no knowledge of this prior to that.
How did you become involved in the vampire community?
I am truly a child of the digital age. [I do] research on the computer and [found] other people who also had this issue. I was hesitant to call it vampirism at first. I was scared of what people would think, 'You're confused' or 'You're living out a fantasy dream.' The internet went a long way to finding people who had similar experiences to me.
Will you tell me about the process for finding a donor/victim and then the process of obtaining their blood? What is the etiquette?
A lot of people have a hard time finding a donor because of the skepticism that exists. The best thing is the internet. I found a lot of people who were comfortable being a donor but didn't want to go get an STD test to prove that they're a safe donor to feed from. There are a couple methods of getting it. Some people prefer to use a surgical scalpel because it's a lot easier to do safely. Some people will take more obscure methods because they don't have the money. Some people will buy lancets like diabetics use.
VICE: Do you consume human blood?
Arycin: I haven't ingested blood, but I'm definitely in the market. I'd like to think it's easier than I make it out to be. I know that New York has more of a front than Long Island, so it's more difficult for me.
If human blood isn't available, can you feed on your own blood?
No, no, no, no. You never feed on your own blood. Rule number one. That doesn't do any good. To take when you have none, to take more of what you have less of, which can cause physical injury to your body. It's not good.
So without human blood available, what do you feed on?
I go with the cosmos. I spend the majority of the time studying the metaphysics about the universe and theoretical physics about how the universe functions. That's where I go. It's a different form of energy, it's very high vibrational and smooth so it sustains you for longer, but I have to take it in like that. I can't just have one person; I would burn someone out in a day. They'd get sick.
Will people's energies affect the quality of their blood?
Energy quality has to do with a lot of things. It has to do with emotions that the person is feeling. Generally if the person is feeling negative or looks at themselves with a very high ego, their energy will tend to be very muddled and it sometimes won't be the proper color that it's supposed to be. Muddled energy tends to look very greenish, yellow. A lot of humans have it because of the human condition. They want, they want, they want. Sometimes they want too much.
VICE: Tell us about yourself. Do you consume human blood?
Galatea: I am a modern vampire. I was awakened at a very early age. It is part of who I am. It's very beautiful, very spiritual. I do consume real human blood. Oh yes, I have read all the medical hoo-ha about no human having any medical or psychological need for blood. I personally, do not care what modern medicine or the psychiatric communities have to say about it. I know what I need to be healthy. I've tested the theory over and over for in excess of 20 years. I know others like me. Frankly, the medical world can go to hell. I know what I am. I am a Vampyress. I do not prey on the innocent. I don't go ripping people's throats out. I'm quite mature with what I do. I will only drink from consenting donors.
How did you discover you were a vampire?
My fascination with blood began as a young girl, during my first kiss. I [kissed] him really hard on the lips, and I bit him on the lip. It was my natural instinct to bite him, because for some reason, I associated that sensuality with blood. Needless to say, he never kissed me again. But I was hooked and wanted more. As time went by and meeting fellow vampire fanatics became easier, I eventually met my partner. When we made love, we consecrated our love for each other by sharing blood.
If you do not feed, do you experience negative effects on your health?
Oh, absolutely! There is something called blood-rage, which is a sanguine vampiric response to an unmet need for blood. The symptoms can include unprovoked anger, extreme agitation, unpredictability, physical pain, mental agitation, and if left unchecked, severe depression, apathy, even suicidal tendencies. When I haven't fed I'm an ill, sick, emotionally unstable, apathetic, hungry, disagreeable creature. It's hard getting out of bed, I want to sleep too much, I become angry and irritable on a regular basis. People have called me high strung and hyperactive; my attention span can suck. Or I go in the opposite direction and nothing appeals to me. On occasion, I have experienced such a state of pain and mental confusion from lack of feeding that I've found myself on the floor, writhing in agony, biting and banging my wrists, scratching myself, among other types of psychotic behaviors. When I have fed, I'm less temperamental and apathetic, and a lot healthier.
What is the process for finding a blood donor?
It can be difficult to find a blood donor. The main problem is that vampires are often too secretive for our own good, when it comes to finding our meals. If a donor cannot see you and know that you are a vampire, chances are they cannot, and never will, approach you to offer. My advice, if a vampire wants a donor, is to be more public about being a vampire! Donors cannot approach you or offer to donate if they do not know you are one! Now, of course I don't mean that you have to tell EVERYONE that you are a vampire, just a few select people… more than likely, they will come to you.
Do you have one blood donor, or many?
Donoring can be exhausting for a donor. So I try not to feed from the same donor too much, for this reason. I like to keep my options open, as donors can develop an emotional attachment to their vampire, and can sometime even become possessive of them. Many donors relate the feeling after having fed their vampire, to the afterglow of sex or deep meditation.
What safety practices do vampires use to make sure their blood is safe?
I'm careful. They have to get regular blood tests, to make sure they're not carrying blood-borne diseases, HIV, any of that. Because I wouldn't want to catch something nasty. If the donor has no desire to get a blood test, then they really do not care about the vampire's health or their own.
Are there other ways to feed than with blood? Do you engage in any of these?
Any vampire who has suffered through a severe bout of blood-rage knows that sometimes there is no substitute for blood. But for times when a vampire's need is not so strong, there are blood substitutes that many members of the community find helpful, if not exactly 100 percent effective. Nothing works all the time. Nothing except blood. There are some substitutes that work better than others, however the main goal of substitutes is to prevent a vampire from becoming sick, apathetic, or falling into blood-rage. I will give you a few: pomegranate juice, dark chocolate, blue-rare steak, black pudding, marmite.
For you, is there a fetish/sexual element to feeding?
Absolutely! With me, it organically happened one night. I was having sex. Sex didn't feel like enough, and no emotions were really enough, nothing felt like it was really… I didn't feel… there was always something I wanted to break out from, to feel more connected to someone, something more honest. And in a moment of kind of wanting to find something honest, I grabbed a knife, and cut him across the chest. I rubbed my hands in it. I tasted it. That was my natural instinct; I was liberated. And he cut me back. Blood ran down my chest, and we had this exchange of something. Somehow covered in blood, feeling my heart racing, there was something dangerous and alive. It suddenly felt more honest than whatever this 'sex' thing was supposed to be.
* Some identifying details have been kept in the coffin.
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