Believe it or not, vampires are not just supernatural beings who sleep in coffins and morph into flying bats. Some humans report that they need blood or energy from other living sources to survive. These individuals are part of a subculture that is often misunderstood.
Today the Skeleton Key presents an exclusive interview with an intriguing person named Merticus, an antique dealer who self-identifies as a vampire and was a founding member of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance. Read below for his thoughts on vampirism and his clarifications about what it really means to be a vampire.
What are “real vampires” like?
“Vampires aren’t always sulking around graveyards, attending Goth nightclubs, or feasting at blood orgies. There are real vampire organizations who feed the homeless, volunteer in animal rescue groups, and who take up any number of social causes. We’re actively involved in our local communities and are often not afraid to do so under the ‘vampire’ banner. We recognize how ‘crazy’ it sounds when we refer to ourselves as ‘vampires’, however, at the end of the day after explaining to people that we are human beings who believe we must take the energy or blood from others and use it for ourselves, it ultimately comes back to the word ‘vampire’. This is simultaneously the greatest inhibitor for us being understood by the general public while also serving as one of the greatest allures and even means to attract donors.”
When did you first realize you were a vampire?
“I was aware at an early age of unexplained phenomena and underwent experiences some would deem paranormal or even disturbingly spiritual. I recognized an innate ability to seemingly without effort bend persons or situations to my will. I had a natural predilection to draw strength from charged situations — intensely ‘feeding,’ if you will, from conflict brought about by others. I felt a pull to find others of like mind and experience. This began as experimentation in feeding from ‘psychic’ or life energies and later progressed after research into the vampire community into feeding from small quantities of blood. The more proficient I became, the more pronounced the hunger or urge to feed grew — finding a balance is something vampires struggle to cultivate over many years.
My first experience with blood feeding occurred within a relationship where my significant other was also my donor; both of us were in our mid-20’s. Depending on the individual and their background, over the years these feedings have been ranged from highly ritualistic to being intertwined with sadomasochism — always performed privately, safely, and consensually. It’s an intimate and private event shared between two persons who connect on the deepest of levels. As I run my fingers over the body or draw breaths close to the skin, I can feel a connection or link being established that allows me to draw the energy to myself or cycle reciprocally. A calming energetic vibration or tingling sensation fused with an intense heightening of virtually all of my senses envelops me when I’ve fed at a deep level with someone whose etheric body aligns with my own. I generally identify as a tantric or sexual vampire but recognize blood is often more potent and has an undeniable psychological component. My first blood feeding was performed with a tortoise shell lancet made by Evans London that I keep stored in an ornately engraved sterling silver lancet case from 1850. I’m not a fan of pedestrian experiences — albeit vampiric, sexual, or life in general. If we’re not continually refining all aspects of our lives as we age, then we’re not achieving our potential and wasting the gifts and time on this earth we’ve been given. I married a non-vampire who is also my donor and our relationship couldn’t be stronger.”
Describe the donor’s experience.
“The feeling of the donor after feeding may range from a state of euphoria to complete exhaustion and even confusion. Proper aftercare for donors is important whether you are feeding from blood or from psychic energy and varies greatly depending on the individual. It’s important to get to intimately know your donor, their medical history, emotional health, and even mental state. Vampires also have to be cognizant of the connection that can form between a donor and vampire after feeding. While this connection can be rewarding and mutually beneficial, it can also be psychologically unhealthy if manifested in the extreme. Much of the appeal to vampirism lies in our adeptness at shielding, grounding, and centering energy as well as controlling emotional and sometimes behavioral situations. Some of us are able to utilize healing techniques for ourselves and others, instinctually interpret empathic impressions, and many of us have an overall heightened perception or clarity of the world around us. I feel an intense and prolonged wave of energy wash over me when I feed — I’m at one with my surroundings while deeply entwined with the one I’m feeding from.
The relationship of a donor (sometimes known as a ‘black swan’) and vampire are not always romantic or based around sexual intimacy. While it’s often ideal for a vampire to find someone who can satisfy the role of a significant other and a donor, this does not always work out. Some vampires have blood donors, energy donors, and even tantric donors aside from their spouse or partner. Some marriage rites between vampires include the exchange of blood in a chalice or mixed with wine. Some vampires engage in polyamourous relationships where one or both cycle donors as needed.”
What is problematic about the “vampire” label?
“Many eclectic spiritualists and chaos practitioners use the concept of the vampire as a powerful egregore in their beliefs and practices. The true power of the vampire rests not in his proficiency at extinguishing life, but in his ability to transubstantiate our fears into enticing visions of lust, pleasure, and even pain. Even though I’m not a fan of the ‘vampire’ label, if for no other reason than it often clouds people’s perception of who we are, I nevertheless choose to adopt the term. Vampirism is fundamentally an extension of who I am on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level; a facet of everyday life and the lens through which I view the world. It’s as much a part of who I am as is one’s familial heritage, genetic makeup, mental aptitude, or even personality (INTJ by the way). My association with vampirism arises not out of faith in something unseen or the need to distinguish myself from others, but from a peace in knowing that I have a certain awareness that others may or may not possess and it is to what end I use this awareness that defines me as an individual, not a label I choose to adopt or is given to me by society.”
What happens if a vampire does not obtain blood or energy?
“Many vampires complain of severe headaches, a sense of pain throughout their bodies, and extreme weakness. Some complain of a craving or hunger that they can’t seem to satiate with food or drink. Those who are fortunate find a donor to help them cope with these issues, while fewer learn to adapt their personal ‘vampirism’ into a powerful and corporeal force. In 2010 I began examining the correlations of sanguinarian (blood drinking) and psychic vampires who responded to the Vampirism & Energy Work Research Study (VEWRS) I wrote back in 2006-2007 — nearly 1,000 individuals — specifically respondents with a significant comorbidity of asthma, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. A far greater than normal prevalence rate (52% of respondents with one or more of the above diagnosed conditions) was observed with links to endocrine system and adrenal or pituitary dysfunction; serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine along with those who reported taking SNRIs. When thyroid, migraines, and insomnia were included the percentage rose to 58% of all respondents reporting one or more of these ten diagnosed conditions. This also corresponded with the age (teens) during which many reported psychic abilities or paranormal activities; a period of increased hormonal changes. For some these abilities or perceptions abated and for others they persisted well into adulthood. It’s those who claim these psychic abilities or a need to ‘feed’ off pranic/chi/subtle energies or blood well past puberty and into their 30’s-50’s that’s of particular interest and is an area I’d like to see genetic and other medical testing conducted in the future.”
Tell us about the groups you’ve been involved in.
“In 2005, four individuals and I founded the Atlanta Vampire Alliance as a local psychic and sanguinarian real vampire organization or ‘House’. Today, we’re a relatively close-knit friend group of thirteen individuals representing an eclectic slice of the modern vampire community. Most of us are in our thirties and forties and identify spiritually as everything from Christians, Agnostics, Luciferians, or Eclectic Neo-Pagans of our own stripe. Our membership includes everyone from rocket scientists to nurses and our focus is largely academic and centered offline. When we’re not writing 1,000 question research surveys or giving PowerPoint presentations on real vampirism, many of us enjoy social gatherings which range from upscale restaurants or coffee and dessert bars to the weekend Goth or Industrial club scene.
The majority of our involvement among ourselves transpires offline but we’ve worked hard to maintain a visible online presence through our various websites/forums, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. We’ve sponsored numerous offline gatherings, cultural events, club nights, and the Atlanta Vampire Meetup Group. We’ve welcomed many individuals to dine and drink with us from other Houses and groups when they’ve visited Atlanta and collectively have met hundreds of people from the vampire community. There are vibrant and organized vampire communities in cities and countries all over the world.”
Thank you, Merticus, for offering us a window into a very fascinating way of life!