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« on: June 15, 2010, 06:37:07 pm »

* This article is currently undergoing major revisions from the authors (as of June 2010).  It was originally published online in November 2008 for Sacred Tribes Journal (http://www.sacredtribesjournal.org).  I'm sure some of you have never seen this article before so it will be interesting to see your comments and then compare them to the revised article coming later this year.

It will also be interesting to compare and contrast this article with Joseph Laycock's printed article for Nova Religio; Real Vampires as an Identity Group: Analyzing Causes and Effects of an Introspective Survey by the Vampire Community (http://caliber.ucpress.net/doi/abs/10.1525/nr.2010.14.1.4)

Real Vampires as an Identity Group - Joseph Laycock
http://www.atlantavampirealliance.com/forum/index.php?topic=1891.0




Sacred Tribes Journal Volume 3 Number 2 (2008): Pages 102-131
ISSN: 1941-8167

“PREDATORY SPIRITUALITY:” VAMPIRE RELIGION IN AMERICA

David and Kiara Falk
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School


Introduction


Paralleling the rise of contemporary Paganism, America has seen not
only the rise of New Religious Movements but also new cultural
subgroups. Among these subgroups are the Goth and vampire
subcultures. As late as 1999, the vampire and Gothic subcultures were
categorized together into the ill-defined “gothic.”1 Today, 64.43 percent
of the vampire subculture would consider themselves as something
unique apart from the Goth subculture.2 In fact, contrary to the past
conception of the vampire as a kind of blood-sucking parasitic contagion,
the modern vampire is a romantic figure that has been highly refined by
the eloquent writing of Anne Rice, who herself has succinctly captured
the inner craving of a spiritual thirst. Rice’s vampires represent the
pinnacle of the evolving development of the fictional vampire from the
folklore of Eastern Europe as a ruddy peasant who had succumbed to a
sudden illness or quick violent death.3 Through Dracula (1897), Bram
Stoker refined the fictional vampire into a contagious curse symbolizing
illicit eroticism.4 Finally, Rice transforms the vampire into a charismatic

103

egotist who embraces his curse but is secretly seeking redemption; a
figure palatable to teen culture.

The vampire subculture is composed of highly intelligent and creative
individuals, immersed nostalgia and chivalry. The subculture comprises
of people who feel they have been sucked dry by supposed progress and
abandoned by the decaying artifacts of religion. Thus, without a place of
their own, this culture has reinvented itself into “a full-blown subculture
with its own rituals, relationships, and boundaries.”5 Yet, it is within the
vampire subculture that a new form of religious expression has
developed from both popular occulture and contemporary Paganism.

This article will discuss the trends of the emergent vampire religion.
In particular, we will discuss the demographics of the vampire subculture
and its religious tendencies. Then, the article will discuss the similarities
and dissimilarities between contemporary Paganism and vampire
religions themselves. Finally, we will briefly look at several specific
groups providing an introductory overview of claims and features unique
to each.

Context of the Study of Vampire Religion

Study of this new kind of spirituality is important because of the rapid
proliferation of vampire religion groups. In the early 1990’s there were
probably no more than three groups that could claim to be vampire
religions. David Keyworth’s research in 2002 recognized socio-religious
tendencies within the vampire subculture but also specifically identified
five groups that could claim to be vampire religions.6 Our survey of
vampire religions has identified nearly double that number, five of which
have yet to be cited in the literature.

104

While there are probably only between 5,000 and 15,000 adherents
belonging to all vampire religions combined, it is apparent that most of
the vampire religions are less than thirty years old. Many of these groups
experienced growth after the centennial of Dracula in 1997, after which
some expected interest in vampirism to wane.7 However, if anything,
interest in vampirism has continued to flourish in the media with Buffy
the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Underworld (2003), and Blood Ties
(2007), and shows no sign of abating with True Blood (2008), Twilight
(2008), and Being Human (scheduled for 2009).

Video media focusing upon the fictional vampire combined with the
contributions of print media, such as comic books, novels, and role
playing games has filled the pool of ideas Partridge calls “occulture.”8
Occulture provides a source of ideas from the popular culture which the
vampire subculture can draw upon. Nevertheless, this drawing is not a
one-way street as the media also draws upon occulture for its own
creative purposes.9 Hence, given that the interest in vampirism is
showing no signs of waning, we can expect vampire religions to continue
to grow in light of current cultural trends.

Since the vampire subculture is a group on the fringe, collecting hard
data can present methodological problems. Alternative subcultures can
change or fail to survive long enough to receive adequate coverage by
academics. To date no published anthropological survey has been
performed on the Goth subculture. One source of statistics is social
networking websites from which the estimate can be derived that the
ratio between Goths and vampires is at least 20:1;10 also social
networking sites can provide a source of informal polls.

105

The single most important source of statistical data comes from the
survey sponsored by Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC and the Atlanta
Vampire Alliance (AVA) conducted from 2006 to 2008 and available
from <http://www.suscitatio.com/>. The survey, entitled Vampire &
Energy Work Research Survey, is the only comprehensive
anthropological survey of the vampire subculture and includes 379
questions covering the range of background information, demographics,
feeding habits, medical history, and spiritual beliefs and is based upon
the input of 697 participants. The purpose of the survey was to not only
“raise the bar for future research” but also to provide the academic
community with accurate research that contests “a small but growing
body of published materials on the Vampire Community which paint it in
an unrealistic, dramatic, and very negative light.”11

Vampire Subculture

By means of introduction, it is helpful to define vampire within the
confines of the vampire subculture. The notion of a “living vampire” is a
departure from the view of a vampire as a re-animated cadaver. Rather,
within these subcultures a “living vampire” is a member of a cultural
subgroup that sustains life through the consuming of the blood or life
force of another individual.12

Living vampires are generally distinguished between two types:
sanguine and psi.13 Vampires of the sanguine persuasion actually drink
blood. Usually the amount of blood consumed is nominal, as the human
constitution cannot tolerate ingesting large amounts. According to the
anthropological survey conducted by AVA, 69.76 percent of living
vampires consume blood.14 The blood is usually either supplied by
volunteers or procured through legal channels. Such volunteers are
euphemistically called “donors.”15

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The other type of vampirism, the psi-vampire, involves the draining
of life energy. The means through which some living vampires claim to
drain energy varies but can include touch, penetration of the skin, sexual
contact, or even by line of sight. Furthermore, unlike sanguine
vampirism, which depends solely upon volunteers, psi-vampirism may
access unwilling subjects, since the legalities that constrain the collection
of blood from an unwilling host are not present with psi-vampirism. In
the AVA survey, 83 percent of living vampires practice psi-vampirism
with 30 percent practicing psi-vampirism exclusively, and 50 percent of
the survey respondents practicing both psi and sanguine forms of
vampirism.16

As a subcultural group, there are some interesting trends revealed in
the AVA survey. The first is that the majority tend to be female (62.9
percent).17 While previous works have hypothesized a significantly high
incidence of male homosexuality among living vampires this is not born
out by the survey.18 Nevertheless, in comparison, a high incidence of
bisexuality was found among female participants (40 percent). Further
revealed is the fact that the majority of participants are under 30 years
old.19 It is also interesting to note that the mean IQ of this group is in the
137-150 category, which is much higher than the general population.20

On the psychological front, AVA surveyed respondents who had
taken the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, a measurement of
psychological preferences as to how people perceive the world. The
Myers-Briggs assessments measure four dichotomies of preferences:
introversion/extroversion (I/E), intuition/sensing (N/S), thinking/feeling
(T/F), and perceiving/judging (P/J). The survey revealed that the group

107

tended to lean towards IN personality types with INFP (9.6 percent),
INTJ (10.1 percent), and INFJ (10.5 percent) forming largest personality
types whereas in the general US population these types are 1.5 percent,
2.1 percent, and 4.3 percent respectively.21 The vampire community
leans towards introversion (I) preferring information that is more abstract
or theoretical (N). As for abnormal psychological problems, this cultural
subgroup reported a variety of psychiatric illnesses with depression and
bipolar disorder being the most common. However, these numbers were
consistent with the general population. It is interesting to note that
unusual psychiatric illnesses that relate to vampirism (e.g. haemophagia)
were not present in the survey and the single incidence of Renfield
Syndrome is not statistically significant.22

Nevertheless, the one area in the survey that was a marked departure
from the general population was the incidence of childhood abuse with
43 percent reporting either physical or sexual abuse. While these
numbers are notoriously difficult to collect among the general
population, the incidence among the living vampire subculture is
significantly higher than what is reported from the population at large.23
Thus, we might see a factor that could help explain the self-inflicting
behaviors within the subcultural (such as ritual scaring and bloodletting).

Vampire Religion

Despite the panoply of information provided by the Atlanta Vampire
Alliance survey, very little is revealed by means of causative factors of
the origination of living vampirism. Unlike what is portrayed in the
movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), one does not usually become a
vampire by being bit by a vampire. On the contrary, it can probably be
asserted, as some living vampires do, that vampirism is a choice. One
adherent, who claims to be a member of Clan Lilith puts it well, “the

108

process of becoming a vampire is very intentional and is, in many ways,
similar to converting to any other religion or culture.”24 Thus, when we
discuss the religious milieu of vampirism we encounter something
similar: a myriad of choices. Among the 697 persons who participated in
the survey there were over two thousand faith-identities selected.25 The
notion of one religious identity per person must be discarded when
dealing with this demographic group.

Three out of five responses in the AVA survey self-identified with
new spiritualities and related practices such as Wicca, neo-druidic,
divination, and theosophy. Thirteen percent of persons self-identified
with atheism or agnosticism. Fourteen percent self-identified with
Christianity. Between 6 and 15 percent of survey respondents (99
responses) specifically self-identified with Vampire Religions, 26 which
will be the focus of the rest of the article. These numbers are consistent
with a separate poll that found that 83 percent of vampire community
members believed in life after death.27

While the number of persons identifying with vampire religions is
small, the significance of this new kind of spirituality is that it represents
a movement coming out of contemporary Paganism. While there is
considerable overlap between contemporary Paganism and vampire
religion, unlike other Pagan groups there are some adherents that have
left contemporary Paganism for vampire religion. Alexis, a convert to
the vampire religion House Sekhemu, comments as follows:

I was heavily into Celtic Wicca for about 7 years. Then I began
realizing that my local Wiccan community was little more than a
social club for Christian bashers and there wasn’t a whole lot of
room for spiritual advancement…. I believed that Wicca could


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be a stepping stone to greater spiritual and self-awareness but the
Wiccans I’ve been exposed to just weren’t interested in
progressing beyond spiritual mediocrity.28


As vampire religion came out of contemporary Paganism, and given
the overlap in memberships, we can expect some commonalties between
the two spiritualities. Both spiritualities ascribe to ritual magic and spell
craft.29 Vampire religion is indebted to contemporary Paganism for the
metaphysical foundation of its magical worldview, either to the
conforming to the natural order (right-hand path magic) or the disruption
of the natural order (left-hand path magic).30 The other area of common
ground is the idea of subjective truth constructs that run through both
kinds of spiritualities. The mottoes of several vampire groups reflect this
subjective truth ideology; for example, House Kheperu’s, “Find your
own truth” and House Quinotaur’s, “Unity through diversity.”

However, while there are some similarities, there are even more areas
of dissimilarity. In contrast to contemporary Paganism, vampire
religions have little interest in environmental concerns and by extension
nature in general. Contemporary Paganism tends to exalt nature deities
and ancient polytheistic systems as theological archetypes and is
concerned with the environment broaching into the arena of nature
worship.31 Vampire religions tend to be concerned with the ontology of
vampires, but once that question is resolved there seems to be no
compelling need for further theological inquiry. As such, the function of
vampire ontology seems to be to establish an epistemological position in
context to the rest of humanity rather than to establish moral or ethical
foundations.

Another contrast with contemporary Paganism is that vampire
religions tend to be conditionally exclusive rather than fully inclusive.
While vampire religions will accept their members being a part of other
non-vampire religions such as Buddhism, Wicca, or even Christianity,

110

membership into other vampire religions is often discouraged. While the
religious laity may tie this exclusivity to tribal kinship customs as
portrayed in media such as Kindred: The Embraced (1996) or Vampire:
The Masquerade (1991), we found that among the leadership practical or
philosophical matters often override perceived kinship. The Temple of
the Vampire, because of its claim to be the “only authentic vampire
religion,” will discourage other vampiric religious affiliations.32
Likewise, House Kheperu will discourage membership into elitist lefthand
path groups because of a conflict with House Kheperu’s populous
philosophy.33 Yet, the adherents of vampire religions are interested in
the affairs of other vampire groups to the point of being meddlesome
with conciliatory events, mergers, and even attempted takeovers.34 The
final contrastive element between contemporary Paganism and vampire
religion is the view of human nature. Vampire religion tends toward
pessimism. Contemporary Paganism tends toward an optimistic view of
humanity, where the individual is seen as having an inherent goodness.
Vampire religion sees its own moral emptiness in light of its
anthropology and projects it upon humanity as a whole.

When addressing vampire religions, there are general trends that
demarcate their spirituality as unique. There are attributes unique to
vampire religions that are derivative, but unrelated to its relationship to
contemporary Paganism. As a spirituality, there is consensus as to the
general definition of a “living vampire” yet there is disagreement as to a
precise definition. Vampire religions agree that a vampire is living
person that feeds upon blood or life energy, but debate as to whether a
vampire needs to feed, how often she needs to feed, how to feed, is
feeding to live or to feel alive. All the groups examined for this article

111

repudiate violence and lawlessness. Some groups have established strict
moral codes against violence. Because of the connotations between
sanguinary and the popular view of vampirism and a mass media that is
perceived to exploit these connotations to scare a misinformed public for
ratings, especially as Halloween roles around, the vampire religions have
been compelled to make their position on violence clear.35

A further commonality among vampire religions is dependence upon
the role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade (1991) for religious
vocabulary and ethical foundation. As we observe this commonality, let
us approach it with some cautions. Because Vampire: The Masquerade
is a game set in real places with exacting detail, it can be easy to confuse
the reality of vampire subculture with elements of the game not
excluding the potential for violence that is used in game play. It is also a
misconception to think that people who practice vampire religion take
the role-playing game for real.

However, vampire religion is indebted to Vampire: The Masquerade
for a rich religious vocabulary. Many of the terms used in a religious
context have analogs that are borrowed from Vampire: The Masquerade.
For example, they use “cub” instead of “convert,” “house” instead of
“church,” “sire” instead of “pastor/elder,” and “awakening” instead of
“conversion.”36 Vampire: The Masquerade does provide a rich,
convenient, and instant vocabulary for vampire religions.

The other contribution of the Masquerade is its contribution to the
ethical system. The ethics of vampire religion can be described as both
consequentialist and deontological. It is consequentialist in that it
focuses upon the effect and deontological in that it often prescribes rule-
based duties instead of ethical principles.37 The effect is that one avoids
unnecessary negative exposure to themselves and the group. The
Masquerade would call this a “masquerade violation;” however, this

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term is not used by vampire religions even though the principle is. Now,
for vampire religion the avoidance of exposure is as much pragmatic as it
is in principle. The Black Veil (also called the Rules of 13), a vampire
religion statement of ethics, states as its first rule, “This lifestyle is
private and sacred… Do not hide your nature, but never show it off to
those who won’t understand.”38

Another commonality among vampire religions is their anthropology.
On the one hand, they generally regard humans to be prey. They will
regard non-vampiric humans as being similar to unthinking cattle, i.e.,
suppliers of life energy needed for sustenance. While no vampire
religion condones murder, they will see ordinary humans as part of the
food chain:

The hierarchy of living beings on earth is based upon the food
chain. Ultimately everything is reduced to the issue of who eats
whom. To achieve the Vampiric Condition, the Vampire must
come to a predator’s perspective towards human beings. It is
impossible for one to become Vampire if one is unwilling to
prey upon the vital lifeforce of humans.39


On the other hand, they will also see living vampires as advanced or
superior spiritual beings. Among right-hand groups, being spiritually
advanced is often based upon the Gnostic idea that souls or angels
become trapped in human bodies. Yet, among left-hand (luciferian) 40
groups, being spiritually advanced means that one has become more
enlightened to one’s own self-interests. Both groups agree that the
essence of vampirism is the idea of the superior feeding off of the
inferior, which the Black Order of the Dragon calls “predatory
spirituality.”41

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A final common feature among vampire religions is that they claim to
practice psi-vampirism exclusively. There is only one vampire religion,
House Sekhemu, that openly claims a sanguinary basis for their
vampirism. It is fairly typical for vampire religions to practice the
drinking of blood even while disavowing the practice as is best expressed
in the words of Nicolas Strathloch who was interviewed by Katherine
Ramsland:

I do rituals on a daily basis, but blood rituals usually only during
the full moon, and it’s strictly from donors… We don’t publicly
acknowledge that the Temple [of the Vampire] practices blood
rituals. It’s a matter of personal taste. Publicly, we do look
down on it aesthetically. We’re primarily psychic vampires. We
feed off the life force of other persons, drawing energy from
their auras.42


Most vampire religions have guidelines regarding the drinking of
blood even if they do not officially sanction the practice. Such
guidelines may include not only how to drink, but may also include
restrictions against feeding off the ill or those who use alcohol or illegal
drugs.43

A Survey of Vampire Sects

The following is a survey of notable vampire religion sects. We have
listed sects that explicitly claim to practice a form of vampirism and have
purposely excluded groups that are not part of the vampire subculture
even if they practice blood rites. At the time of this writing, none of
these groups is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization even though they
may act as a church. According to IRS guidelines, churches are not
required to apply for 501(c)(3) status while religious organizations are
required to do so.44 It should, however, be said that many mainstream
religious organizations began as a movement before incorporating, and

114

vampire religion is truly in its infancy. As stated above, most of these
groups are less than thirty years old.

Temple of the Vampire

This group was founded in 1989 out of Lacy, Washington. The
leader is George Smith. It is essentially a mail order religion to the
degree that some have compared it to a scam. Nevertheless, even if it is
a scam, some adherents do take it seriously as a religion; thus, this group
requires serious consideration. Until just recently, Temple of the
Vampire was the single largest vampire religion, now supplanted by
Kheperism, a philosophy begun by House Kheperu. While Temple of
the Vampire is a secret society not disclosing its core beliefs to outsiders,
to insiders it promises to provide contact to other members and organize
events. The group claims to be the only authentic international vampire
religion, which has been “in continuous existence since its creation some
twenty years ago in 1989 when we registered our organization as a
religion with the U.S. federal government.”45 It is, however, not
disclosed as to what kind of registration they are talking about. The
Temple of the Vampire does not have a 501(c)(3) non-profit tax filing
with the IRS nor does it have a corporate filing with the state of
Washington. The only filing from this group is a Registered Trademark
for the logo, where George Smith is listed as sole proprietor.46
Theologically, Temple of the Vampire promises to fulfill human
potential, i.e., the attainment of power and wealth.47 There is also an
appeal to unknown masters, which are referred to as elder vampires, as a
source of authority. This is similar to what had been done by the Solar

115

Temple.48 As for personal eschatology, this group believes in
reincarnation. Also, the group claims to have ancient origins in Tiamat
worship and holds an apocalyptic vision in a future “Great Harvest,”
where vampire-kind will feed off the life force of billions in a
cataclysmic consummation.49

House Sahjaza

House Sahjaza was founded in 1997 in New York. The leader,
Goddess Rosemary, formed the group as a direct descendent of “a coven
of female pagan vampyres.”50 The group tries to appeal to artists, poets,
and other creative types. Unlike Temple of the Vampire that claims to be
a religion, House Sahjaza claims to not be a religion but a philosophy.
Yet, the philosophy has clearly religious overtones:

The House Sahjaza Family are spiritually intuitive beings who
exist between the physical and metaphysical worlds, thus
providing us with magickal, divinatory, psychic, healing and
empathic abilities. The Vampyre uses these to understand the
mysteries of the Universe, Goddesses, Gods, Laos, Orishas, and
other entities, and the complex yet exciting ancient and or
esoteric paths that we have knowledge of in this day. We
understand the importance of science but we also recognize that
science proves the existence of a 'un-seeable' force within the
Universe. We are a part of everything within nature, the 'unseeable'
force, otherwise known as the divine spark, is in each of
us, and through our teachings we become more and more a part
of the divine, opening up the God/Goddess potential within us.51


House Sahjaza also has strict ethical standards and dress codes, i.e.,
they always dress for success. Thus, the group does not attempt to
appeal to a broad base, preferring a more elite following.

Theologically, the group is Gnostic. They hold to a dualistic view of
nature. They also promise to unveil reality through the use of gnosis.
Yet, it is significant to note that the compensation, which they promise,

116

is not reality but personal fulfillment. Ethically, they adhere to social
Darwinism.

House Kheperu

House Kheperu was founded in 1996 in Medina, OH. The leader,
Michelle Belanger, has been a long-time resident of the vampire
community publishing one of the first magazines geared towards the
vampire subculture, Shadowdance.52 While she tours the United States
annually to promote her books, the influence of her books cannot be
underestimated. Many of Belanger’s books have formed the basis of
other groups; such as, House Sekhemu. The most important of her works
is the Psychic Vampire Codex (earlier and online versions of this work
were simply called the Vampire Codex). Belanger’s philosophy has
come to be known as Kheperism and can be synergized with a variety of
faith systems. The organization claims to be tax-exempt for the tax
benefits as a religious organization.

House Kheperu tries to appeal to something more ancient than itself
by grafting Egyptian symbolism over Masquerade concepts. The group
has a strong hierarchical caste system that includes a priesthood.53
Kheperism holds to reincarnation where one continually returns to feed
off the life energy of other beings.54 The philosophy promises greater
self-awareness through the process of vampiric awakening.55

A feature that is unique to House Kheperu is that it has started a home
church organization called Kherete House (http://www.kherete.org/).

117

The group does not approve or provide missionaries, rather it renders
assistance to those wanting to begin Kheperism home study groups.

House Sekhemu

While this group practices a brand of Kheperism and considers itself a
sister house to House Kheperu, there are some interesting differences.
Unlike House Sahjaza, House Sekhemu is not reticent to consider itself a
religion, even posting testimonials as to how House Sekhemu has
changed their lives as a religious system. This is also the only group that
claims up front to practice sanguinary vampirism:

Most Sekhrians drink blood in various fashions such as in
ceremony when the blood is mixed with wine (blood-wine),
and/or during relations (not always sexual) with a donor/lover.
Drinking one’s blood or allowing one to drink from you is a
most special and intimate act that requires trust as the sharing of
one’s blood has a tendency to bond people.56


House Sekhemu also does not hesitate to integrate practices from
Luciferian groups, i.e., magic ritual with a disruptive emphasis, yet
Sekhrians also believe in the existence of a “Supreme Being” and study
Theosophy.57

Black Order of the Dragon

This group was organized in 1994 in Houston, TX by Michael Ford.
The Black Order of the Dragon is actually the second of three tiers in this
form of Luciferianism. Initiates are gathered into a group called the
Order of Phosphorus. After two years, if initiates remain in good
standing they are promoted to the Black Order of the Dragon. Finally,
those who aspire to leadership are admitted to the Church of the
Adversarial Light. The group essentially defines vampirism through a

118

Satanist lens of elitist self-interest, “…Luciferian Desire that is not the
actual drinking of blood but from an initiatory point of view, the hunger
for personal knowledge, power and vital lifeforce within.”58 They hold
that the purpose of magic or “predatory spirituality” is to consume astral
energy or the Chi of others while spiritualizing belief and desire through
gnosis.

Order of the Vampyre

This group is organized in San Francisco by Lady Lilith Aquino and
William T. Butch. Order of the Vampyre is an order of the larger Satanic
group, Temple of Set, which was established in 1975. 59 Membership is
restricted to second degree initiates in the Temple of Set. The group
practices left-hand path magic and is best described as a special interest
group of the Temple of Set.60

Other Groups

There are other vampire religions that require mention. Some sources
have mentioned the Clan of Lilith.61 Little is known about the Clan of
Lilith. Viola Johnson, who is also the leader of the group, reveals very
little about the group itself. The literature available appears more selfpromotional
than informational. Almost nothing can be verified about
this group, where it meets, its basic belief system, or what kind of
vampirism is practiced.

Another new group, Vampire Awakenings was formed only two years
ago and claims to be a fast growing vampire religion in America with

119

over 200 members. One distinctive feature of this group is its strict
membership policies:

We do thorough background checks on ALL perspective
members. Those who have been convicted of Murder, Child
Abuse, Child Molestation, and Abuse of any kind will
IMMEDIATELY be denied membership. We will ask several
background oriented questions on the application and we expect
them to be answered fully and truthfully. We WILL NOT allow
anyone who has a history of mental illness to join our group, if
however, you have not had any symptoms or problems in the last
three years, you will be allowed to join as a member on
probation. This is where your activity will be closely
monitered[sic] while you are a[sic] active member of the group.
After one year and one day, if there has[sic] been no problems
you will be granted full rightful membership to Vampire
Awakenings.62


This group ritualizes the bond between donor and vampire through
ceremony plus each transition within the group is celebrated by a rite.63

Besides the previously mentioned vampire religions, some groups are
also providing religious paths within organizations that are not in and of
themselves religious; an example of this is House Quinotaur:

Non-Religious, we are working on developing a religious and
also magickal path within our House. This Path however, is not
necessary to follow to be part of House Quinotaur. We offer it as
an extra for those who wish to explore themselves magickally or
religiously.64


And while House Quinotaur claims to be non-religious (as is the
apparent norm for vampire religions), they also teach magic and the
manipulation of spiritual energies. Interestingly enough, House
Quinotaur holds that vampirism is genetic, i.e., that one has a genetic
predisposition to vampirism and thus all vampires are related.65 House
Quinotaur is like many of the unaffiliated vampire houses in that it
started out non-religious but is becoming religious as it explores issues of
spirituality. Thus, we expect that as the vampire religious movement

120

progresses that we will see a continued migration from secular to
religious organization.

Conclusion

While the proliferation of vampire religion is primarily an American
phenomenon, there are signs that vampire religion is beginning to go
international. Temple of the Vampire already claims to be an
international organization. House Quinotaur has members in 16
countries and on every continent. The Ordo Strigoii Vii, which is a
vampire church based out of Holland, is showing that vampire religion is
starting to have appeal abroad.66

Vampire religions represent a new religious movement that is unique
from the contemporary Paganism that spawned it. The development of
these groups has been rapid and unpredictable and many are still in a
process of theological formulation. They tend to be media savvy but are
also wary of negative publicity. While they represent a very small
number of adherents, their numbers are growing and in many respects
represent a development out of contemporary Paganism. Most groups
have carefully considered the role of violence and have adopted pacifist
creeds; thus, their potential for violence is minimal. Those who join
vampire religions and theological ideologies are looking for something
greater than “spiritual mediocrity;” they are seeking intimacy,
fellowship, and community and to satisfy a deeper hunger with predatory
spirituality.

121

1: Teresa A. Goddu, “Vampire Gothic,” American Literary
History, 11 (Spring 1999): 127.

2: David Keyworth, “Socio-Religious Beliefs and Nature of the
Contemporary Vampire Subculture,” Journal of Contemporary Religion,
17 (2002): 355-370. “Question 137,” Vampire & Energy Work Research
Survey (VEWRS) [article online] (Atlanta: Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC,
2008, accessed 23 Nov 2008); available from http://www.suscitatio.com;
Internet. While the authors of this article have used the data collected by
the VEWRS survey, their interpretation of the data is strictly their own.

3: Paul Barber, Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality
(New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), 2.

4: Christopher Herbert, “Vampire Religion,” Representations, 79
(Summer 2002): 114.

5: Katherine Ramsland, Piercing the Darkness: Undercover with
Vampires in America Today (New York: HarperPrism, 1998), ix.

6: Keyworth, 365-6. Keyworth identifies House Shajaza, Order of
the Dragon (of New York), Clan of Lilith, Order of the Vampyre,
Temple of the Vampire, and Ordo Anno Mundi as vampire religious
organizations. Of these groups, Order of the Dragon (of New York)
appears to have been disbanded and Ordo Anno Mundi was probably
misidentified as a vampire religion. While Ordo Anno Mundi practices
ritual magic that involves blood, their use of blood in ritual appears to be
incidental.

7: Personal discussion with J. Gordon Melton, 18 Oct 2008.

8: Christopher Partridge, “Disenchantment and Re-enchantment of
the West: The Religio-Cultural Context of Contemporary Western
Christianity,” Evangelical Quarterly, 74 (2002): 244. Christopher

122

Partridge, “Alternative Spiritualities, Occulture and the Re-enchantment
of the West,” Bible in TransMission, (Summer 2005): 2.

9: Christopher Partridge, Re-Enchantment of the West: Alternative
Spiritualities, Sacralization, Popular Culture and Occulture. Vol. 1
(London: T&T Clark International, 2005), 84-85.

10: This statistic is based upon the orders of magnitude of the
combined Goth and vampire social networking website Vampire Freaks
with 766,000 members [Reid Grey, “Online Social Networks, Virtual
Communities, Enterprises, and Information Professionals,” Searcher, 15
(2007): 37] when compared to dedicated vampire social networking sites
such as Vampire Rave with 13353 members
(http://www.vampirerave.com/levels.php) and Vampire Flirt with 3330
members (http://www.vampireflirt.com/).

11: Frequently Asked Questions [article online] (Atlanta, GA:
Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC, 2008, accessed Nov 28, 2008); available
from http://www.suscitatio.com/research/faq.html; Internet. “Examples
of this are Katherine Ramsland's Piercing the Darkness, and Dawn
Perlmutter's Investigating Religious Terrorism and Ritualistic Crimes.
These works, if unchallenged, will represent source material that future
researchers might have to go on when undertaking their own studies of
our Community, and they are as fantastic as they are unrealistic. So, in a
nutshell, one stated purpose of the VEWRS / AVEWRS is to address the
flaws in previous research and refute the more fantastic claims made
therein.”

123

12: J. Gordon Melton, Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the
Undead (Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999), xx-xxi. The words of this
definition are a condensation of the thorough discussion provided by
Melton who states that “all vampires are not resuscitated corpses” (p.
xx). Also, “Some vampires do not take blood, rather they steal what is
thought of as the life force from their victim” (p. xxi).

13: Keyworth, 359. “Psychic vampires have often been ostracized
by their more purist blood-drinking counterparts, or Sanguinarians as
they are often called, even though the Traits of Real Vampires website is
inclusive of both… Even so, it became apparent that blood-drinkers and
psychic vampires are not one and the same.” “Question 285” of VEWRS
has only three categories of vampires: “sanguinarian,” “psi,” and “hybrid
(Sang/Psi+).”

14: “Question 285,” VEWRS.

15: Blood donors may also be referred to a “black swans” or
“blood dolls.” Comprehensive Vampire Community Dictionary [article
online] (Baltimore: House Eclipse, 2003, accessed 23 Nov 2008);
available from http://www.house-eclipse.org/dictionary/b.shtml; Internet.

16: “Question 285,” VEWRS.

17: “Question 001,” VEWRS.

18: “Question 006,” VEWRS. Ramsland (p. 14) states that “[W]
was part of a large percentage of gay and bisexual culture that was into
vampires.” Of course, this depends upon what one means by “large.”
According to VEWRS survey, 12.3% of males identified themselves as
homosexual while 16.58% identified themselves as bisexual with 66.31%
identifying as heterosexual. It is probably fair to say that like the Goth
subculture, vampire subculture attracts a higher than normal percentage

124

of bisexuals. However, despite the high incidence of homosexuality in
vampire literature, the percentage of homosexuality is not a significant
deviation from other minority subcultures, e.g., science fiction
conventions.

19: “Question 030” and “Question 008,” VEWRS.

20: “Question 026 & 027,” VEWRS.

21: “Question 024 & 025,” VEWRS. These percentages were
calculated from the surveyed vampire group alone (228 respondents).
Energy workers were excluded from the calculations.

22: “Question 037,” VEWRS. Richard Noll suggests that
haemophagia, which is the uncontrollable compulsive act to drink blood
and Renfield Syndrome, named after the Dracula character, which is the
act of drinking (auto, animal, or human) blood tied with sexual
enjoyment should be classified as mental illnesses even though they are
not currently defined as such under the Diagnostic & Statistics Manual
of Mental Illness (DSM-IV). Richard Noll, Vampires, Werewolves, and
Demons: Twentieth Century Reports in the Psychiatric Literature (New
York: Brunner/Mazel, Inc., 1992), 16-19. Noll is sympathetic to the
vampire subculture and does not consider most living vampires to be
mentally ill under these definitions. Question 037 in VEWRS included a
category for Renfield Syndrome in the results.

23: “Question 151,” VEWRS. According the survey 26.5% of the
respondents suffered from sexual abuse. Haverkamp and Daniluk
quoting a study by Briere and Runtz said, “Estimates of the incidence of

125

childhood sexual abuse range from 15% to 22% for female children and
3% to 8% for male children” [Beth Haverkamp and Judith C. Danulik,
“Child Sexual Abuse: Ethical Issues for the Family Therapist,” Family
Relations, 42 (Apr 1993): 134].

24: Dnash, Fang Fetish [article online] (Shelton, CT: Teeth by
Dnash, 2007, accessed 13 Oct 2008); available from
http://www.teethbydnash.com/media/press/fangfetish/index.html;
Internet.

25: “Question 155,” VEWRS.

26: Since there were over two thousand responses, only 697
participants, and multiple vampire religions, it is impossible to determine
the exact percentage of participants that follow vampire religions. Thus,
the range presents the case where the maximum multiple selections is
assumed (6%) versus a case where there is only one selection per
participant (15%).

27: “Poll 4160,” All Polls [article online] (Maricopa, AZ: Vampire
Rave, 2008, accessed 28 Nov 2008); available from
http://www.vampirerave.com/polls_all.php; Internet.

28: Alexis, Testimony of the Vampyre Alexis [article online] (TX:
House Sekhemu, 2002, accessed 17 Oct 2008); available from
http://www.ordo-sekhemu.org/alexisbio.shtml; Internet.

29: William Sims Bainbridge, Sociology of Religious Movements
(New York: Routledge, 1997), 368. Keyworth, 367-368. While magic is
a dynamic of contemporary Paganism because of its connection with
“divine powers of nature” [John Peck, “Neopaganism,” A Guide to New
Religious Movements (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005),
135-136], vampire religion has no prima facie basis for a magical

126

worldview and thus must borrow the assumption that vampires are
spiritual beings [Madame Webb, House Sahjaza Philosophy [article
online] (New York: Z/n Inc., 2008, accessed 25 Nov 2008); available
from http://www.sahjaza.com/assets/php/main.php?sec=philosophy;
Internet.].

30: Justin Woodman, “Alien Selves: Modernity and the Social
Diagnostics of the Demonic in ‘Lovecraftian Magick,’” Journal for the
Academic Study of Magick, 1 (2004): 17-18.

31: Scott Cunningham, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary
Practitioner (St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd., 1988), xiii. D. J.
Conway, Wicca: The Complete Craft (Freedom, CA: Crossing Press,
2001), 15. Nicholas R. Mann, Druid Magic: The Practice of Celtic
Wisdom (St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd., 2000), 144. Michael
T. Cooper, “Research Observations: The Meaning of Life in
Contemporary Druidry,” Sacred Tribes Journal, 3 (2008): 36. Andrew J.
McLean, “Neo-Paganism: Is Dialogue Possible?” Sacred Tribes Journal,
2 (2005): 5-6.

32: What is the Temple? [article online] (Lacey, WA: Temple of
the Vampire, 2008, accessed 5 Oct 2008); available from
http://www.vampiretemple.com/temple.html; Internet.

33: Voices of the Vampire Community Public Meeting, 27 Apr
2008. Information accessed 18 Oct 2008 from
http://www.kherete.org/files/VVC_080427.doc, 23.

127

34: Voices of the Vampire Community Public Meeting, 27 Apr
2008, 3-4. “Court of Gotham is a LIE,” [article online] (UK: Vampire
Priest, 23 Mar 2008, accessed 30 Nov 2008); available from
http://blog.myspace.com/ahriman_adamu; Internet. “By virtue of this
person’s [Father Todd Sebastian] inaugural message, he has hinted at a
desire to eliminate the current status of our organizations... and, by
extension, their respective stabilities... in a decidedly unwise attempt to
restore personal power and influence over us all.” Also see
“Sanguinarium/Sanguinary,” Comprehensive Vampire Community
Dictionary [article online] (Baltimore: House Eclipse, 2003, accessed 6
Feb 2009); available from http://www.houseeclipse.
org/dictionary/s.shtml; Internet.

35: Vampire Hate on the Web [article online] (Stop Vampire Hate
on the Net, 2003, accessed 24 Nov 2008); available from
http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Hollow/6416/stop.htm; Internet.

36: Do note that this religious vocabulary is an analogous use of
the words expressed--it is not a one to one equality. Further there is not
necessarily agreement between vampire religions as to the exact meaning
of “cub,” “sire,” and “awakening,” any more than there is an exact
agreement between Christian organizations as to the meaning of
“convert,” “elder,” or “conversion.”

37: Father Todd Sebastian and Michelle Belanger, Rules of 13
(New York: Sanguinarium, 2001), Rule 5. “Live your life as an example
to others in the community. We are privileged to be what we are, but
power should be accompanied by responsibility and dignity. Explore and
make use of your vampire nature, but keep it in balance with material
demands. Remember: we may be vampires, but we are still a part of this
world. We must live lives like everyone else here, holding jobs, keeping

128

homes, and getting along with our neighbors.” Other rules expound
upon the treatment of donors (Rule 11), behavior in a haven (Rule 7),
how to handle disputes (Rule 6), and how to act in leadership (Rule 12).

38: Sebastian and Belanger, Rules of 13, Rule 1.

39: George Smith, Vampire Bible (Lacey, WA: Temple of the
Vampire, 1989), 9.

40: A common misconception is that Luciferian groups worship
the Christian conception of the Devil. Rather they are philosophical
idealists holding to the maxim, “Do what thou wilt.” They use the idea
of Lucifer as an archetype of being enlightened to self-interest.

41: Vampirism [article online] (Houston, TX: Order of Phosphorus,
1994, accessed 13 Oct 2008); available from
http://www.luciferianwitchcraft.com/vampirism.htm; Internet.

42: Ramsland, Piercing the Darkness, 125.

43: Michelle Belanger, Psychic Vampire Codex: A Manual of
Magick and Energy Work (Boston: Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, 2004), 119,
125-6.

44: Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations, IRS
Publication 1828 (Washington, DC: Department of the Treasury, 2008),
3.

45: What is the Temple? [article online].

46: US Patent and Trademark Office, Registration Number
3045235, Information accessed 5 Oct 2008 from

129

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=cmmrkm.2.1. It is
possible that the Temple of the Vampire may have filed for an EIN
number, which is used by churches to open bank accounts. However,
since EINs are non-public filings this is speculation. Besides, the IRS
does not normally check the veracity of anyone filing an EIN as a church
(or anyone else for that matter).

47: If Vampires were real, would you want to be one? [article
online] (Lacy, WA: Temple of the Vampire, 2008, accessed 24 Nov
2008); available from http://www.vampiretemple.com/index.html;
Internet.

48: Jean-François Mayer, “‘Our Terrestrial Journey is Coming to
an End’: The Last Voyage of the Solar Temple” Cults and New Religious
Movements: A Reader (ed. Lorne L. Dawson, Malden, MA: Blackwell
Publishing, 2003), 212.

49: Smith, Vampire Bible , 14-16.

50: House History [article online] (New York: House Sahjaza,
2008, accessed 25 Nov 2008); available from
http://www.sahjaza.com/assets/php/main.php?sec=history; Internet.

51: Madame Webb, House Sahjaza Philosophy.

52: Melton, Vampire Book, 721.

53: Michelle Belanger, “Introduction,” Vampire Ritual Book [book
online] (Medina, OH: House Kheperu, 2003; accessed 25 Nov 2008);
available from http://www.sacred-texts.com/goth/vrb/vrb02.htm;
Internet.

54: Belanger, Psychic Vampire Codex, 53.

55: Belanger, Psychic Vampire Codex, 55.

130

56: “Do Sehkrians drink blood?” Frequently Asked Questions
[article online] (House Sekhemu, 2008, accessed 17 Oct 2008); available
from http://www.ordo-sekhemu.org/blackFAQ.shtml; Internet.

57: “Do Sehkrians believe in ‘God’?” and “Why study
Theosophy,” Frequently Asked Questions [article online] (House
Sekhemu, 2008, accessed 17 Oct 2008); available from http://www.ordosekhemu.
org/blackFAQ.shtml; Internet.

58: Vampirism [article online].

59: Melton, Vampire Book, 503-304.

60: Order of the Vampyre [article online] (San Francisco: Temple
of Set, 2008, accessed 28 Nov 2008); available from
http://www.xeper.org/vampyre/; Internet.

61: Keyworth (p. 366) mentions the Clan of Lilith, and Dnash
claims membership to the group. However, Keyworth’s source is Viola
Johnson, Dhampir: Child of the Blood (Fairfeld, VA: Mystic Rose,
1996), the group’s leader.

62: Welcome… [article online] (Vampire Awakenings, 2006,
accessed 15 Oct 2008); available from http://vampireawakenings.
bravehost.com/index.html; Internet.

63: Awakening [article online] (Vampire Awakenings, 2006,
accessed 25 Nov 2008); available from http://vampireawakenings.
bravehost.com/awakening.html; Internet.

131

64: Introduction [article online] (Warsaw, Poland: House
Quinotaur, 2000, accessed 24 Nov 2008); available from
http://www.house-quinotaur.org/introduction.html; Internet.

65: Description [article online] (Argentina: House Nekhbet/House
Quinotaur, 2002, accessed 24 Nov 2008); available from
http://www.geocities.com/houseofnekhbet/description.htm; Internet.

66: Sanguinarius.org & Sanguinarium.net FAQS [article online]
(Topeka, KS: Sanguinarius, 2004, accessed 6 Feb 2009);
http://www.sanguinarius.org/sang-faqs.shtml; Internet. Talon Patience,
All about Vampires and Vampirism [article online] (Andover, MA:
Helium, Inc., 2002-2009, accessed 6 Feb 2009); available from
http://www.helium.com/items/89012-all-about-vampires-and-vampirism;
Internet.
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pinkearthling19
Level 2 Contributor
**
Gender: Male
Posts: 22


« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2010, 08:26:57 pm »

I will say it was well written and detailed, in a strictly scholarly view.
Personally, I found it somewhat useful when it comes to certain facts or reminders. It is good that someone takes the time to review the information and present it in an accessible manner to us all.  Each will take what he or she needs out of it.
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Nocturne
Level 5 Contributor
*****
Gender: Male
Posts: 214



« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2010, 11:27:13 pm »

This seems a proper kind of attention.  The authors are clearly taking time to get multiple perspectives and publish with as little bias and opinion as possible.  I'm still not so sure how I feel about literature about us in general, but this is respectful.

I've looked into vampire "churches" in the past, and I'm still not so sure how I feel about them for that matter.  But I'm still learning and thinking all the time.  I guess it just comes with the territory.
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The light which burns twice as bright, burns half as long...therefore we who live in darkness...live forever?
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