ISHAN RAYCHAUDHURI | Issue Dated: May 20, 2012, New Delhi
Vampires | the vampire saga |
Tonight as you sleep, silver white shining fangs may slowly pierce your neck and suck blood out of you... vampires are not complete myths after all, writes Ishan Raychaudhuri...
Vampire tales have invariably elicited reactions that are a mix of fear and awe. Something about their skin, their activities and their perfection make them one of those rare myths in which the aura and the aspects around the creature is greater than the creature itself. Of course, not to mention the blood. Blood sucking is the common thread running through different vampire myths across the world. But are they just myths? Or are they a personification of our deep rooted desires and a lust to get better and more powerful as humans?
“Vampirism is a worldwide religion based upon principles of self-validation of evidence instead of blind faith in dogma. Our motto is: “Test Everything. Believe Nothing.” We hold that the value of the individual is superior to that of any group or tribe or nation or species. In everything we do, we believe in challenging the power of anything opposing individual freedom. The way we do this is by empowering individuals to achieve independent control over their lives through wealth, health, personal power, and unlimited life extension. We created our worldwide organisation with proven methods for making this possible. For more than twenty years we have been actively doing so,” reveals Lucas Martel of The Temple of the Vampire (TOV), a vampire religion recognised by the United States government.
Vampirism has become quite popular in recent years as an alternate lifestyle. Those who are a part of it dress up in varied neo-gothic attire and some even go as far as fake fangs and make up to get the vampire look.
The notion of vampires and such energy sucking creatures have existed for long now. In India, there are the myths of Pishachas and Vetalas, which sound similar to early vampiric legends. The first modern form of the vampire can be seen in the European vampire archetype – gothic robes, night-risers, and coffins residents who stayed in old castles where only the bravest souls dared to enter. Lord Byron's The Vampyre written in 1819 may be one of the earliest works which contribute to the typical elements of vampirism. Lord Byron himself was quite fond of the occult and many claim that his extremely good looks and seemingly ever youthful skin were probably indicative of a vampiric existence!
Bram Stoker's Dracula of course immortalised the vampire and made it a part of popular culture and they have since remained a cultural phenomenon, now further bolstered by the Twilight series (love it or hate it, you can’t ignore it). Truly the vampiric legends of drinking blood, immortality, superhuman strength, unnatural charisma and beauty are things we all aspire for. But, how many of these are truly real? Once again Lucas Martel of the TOV comes to our rescue. “Some of these are metaphors for deeper truths. Real vampires do not drink blood, for example. However, the Temple does promote six agendas for personal success which do not require belief but do require personal effort to validate. Active members are offered immediate insights and instruction into how to master secrets of survival, get people to agree with you, improve and protect your health, develop willpower and self control, achieve authentic financial freedom, and even live beyond the usual human life span. We support everything we suggest with solid evidence of its effectiveness and reliability. However, we are not for everyone. Those who relate to our views of life and are willing to be completely honest with themselves can benefit from affiliation,” says Lucas.
The vampires of TOV may not drink blood, but many others are believed to. The vampire community can be divided into five major categories: Psychic vampires, Poseurs, Life-stylers, Donors and Sanguinarians/blood-drinkers. So what do these sanguinarians do? Go and hunt people in dark alleys on moonless nights? Not really. They have come up with a much safer and lawful alternative to their mythical methods: Donors. Donors are people who are generally very close to the vampire and they let the vampire feed off them through small cuts and by donating small phials of blood. Some vampires have been known to feed everyday, with the average being twice a week. So why do they have to drink human blood? Cryss, one such sanguinarian tells us, “We must drink blood otherwise we get headaches and can't go out in strong light and feel physically weaker.” When asked if there’s a scientific explanation to this, he says, “There is a particular chemical in most human bodies which we do not have and thus must drink blood to survive.” Cryss couldn’t name the chemical though; nobody said vampires were proficient in chemistry too.
The Psychic vampires on the other hand claim to get their energy from a much finer form: prana. They claim that astral tendrils emanate from their auras and dig into the auras of those around them and suck in their prana. This makes them live longer and better and stronger.
In their case, the ‘prey’ is believed to gets their energy blocks cleared and thus becomes a symbiotic relation instead of the usual parasitic one.
All said and done, aspiring vampires be warned, drinking blood and other acts associated with vampirism are still considered a taboo in most countries. As recently as February 2004, the relatives of the deceased Toma Petre of Romania feared he had turned into a vampire. They dug him up, tore out his heart, burned it, and mixed the ashes with water in order to drink it as a part of local custom for protection from vampires.
The mythical Chupacabra of Puerto Rico and Mexico is believed to be a creature that feeds on the blood and flesh of domesticated animals and is classified a form of vampire too. Vampire bats are known to be forms that vampires can shapeshift into.
Father Sebastiaan (www.sanguinarium.net), a leading figure in the community told us, “The vampire subculture is growing at an unprecedented scale. And it is slowly coming out in the open. People are getting more and more interested about it.” Lucas Martel in fact has a test to share with ‘potential’ vampires. “We actually offer a free online self test that people can read to determine if they might me one of us: http://bridgestotruth.com//vtest1.html By taking this quick test anyone can discover to what extent they are in agreement with real vampires,” he informs.
In the mortal world though, the undead vampire values are probably a good benchmark to aim for: to be the best we humans can be; never mind the blood...