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Atlanta Vampire Alliance [AVA]  |  Vampires & Vampirism  |  Vampire Community & Subcultural Discussion (Moderators: Merticus, SoulSplat, Eclecta, Maloryn, Zero)  |  Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic) 0 Members and 6 Guests are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)  (Read 63116 times)
Merticus
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« on: December 29, 2008, 10:18:59 pm »

Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism
By Joseph Laycock


Publisher:  Praeger Publishers (May 30, 2009)
List Price:  $39.95
Format:  Hardcover
Trim Size:  6 1/8 x 9 1/4 
Language:  English
ISBN-10:  0313364729
ISBN-13:  978-0313364723


Amazon Order: http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Today-Truth-Modern-Vampirism/dp/0313364729/ref=sr_1_1

Praeger Publishers / Greenwood Publishing Group: http://www.abc-clio.com/products/overview.aspx?productid=111080





Description:  Vampires are not just the stuff of folklore and fiction. This book explores the modern world of vampirism in all its variety. Based upon extensive interviews with members of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance and others within vampire communities throughout the United States, Vampires Today looks at the many expressions of vampirism: "lifestyle vampires," those who adopt a culture and a gothic aesthetic associated with the vampires of art and legend; "real vampires," those who believe they must actually consume blood and/or psychic energy for their well being; or others who self-identify in some way as vampires. Is vampirism a religion? Is it a fantasy? Is it a medical condition? Is it a little bit of each? 

Throughout the world, untold numbers of people are self-identifying as "vampires" and following the ways of "vampirism." Over the years, but particularly in the past decade or so, vampirism has come under increased study, yet most scholarship has portrayed the vampire community at best as a cultural phenomenon and at worst as a religious cult. In this book, author Laycock explores the modern world of vampirism in all its variety. Having interviewed many vampires across the country, both "lifestylers" and "real," even those "reluctants" who try not to be vampires, he argues that today's vampires are best understood as an identity group and that vampirism has caused a profound change in how individuals choose to define themselves. As vampires come "out of the closet," either as followers of a "religion" or "lifestyle" or as people biologically distinct from other humans, their confrontation with mainstream society will raise questions about the definition of "normal" and what it means to be human. In this book the reader will meet "lifestyle" vampires, who adopt a culture and a gothic ascetic associated with the vampires of art and legend; and "real" vampires, who believe that they must actually consume blood and/or psychic energy for their well being. The reader will hear from members of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance and will learn about the Order of the Vampyre, the Ordo Strigoi Vii, and the Temple of the Vampire. Even before Dracula and Bella Lugosi, people have been fascinated with vampires, and this interest has continued, through Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire and other novels, to HBO's new series True Blood and the recent big-screen hit Twilight. Readers will find the details of real vampire life--including vampire role-playing games, grimoires, "vampyre" balls, vampire houses like House Sahjaza and House Kheperu, the vampire "caste" system, and other details--utterly fascinating. 


Additional Notes: The author holds a Masters of Divinity from Harvard University, a recipient of a grant from the Pluralism Project, and currently enrolled in the Division of Religious and Theological Studies at Boston University where he's working on his PhD.  He has presented on the topic of vampirism at the American Academy of Religion Conference in San Diego where he argued that "vampirism" should not be classified as a new religious movement (NRM), to faculty at the University of Michigan and other institutional bodies on the sociological and emergent scientific aspects of vampirism, and has a paper in queue for publication with Nova Religio concerning the Vampirism & Energy Work Research Study conducted by Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC.  He is very well versed in the structure of the vampire community, has interviewed many individuals from diverse paths, and attended multiple gatherings.  Based on what I know internally of this work it is a serious academic treatment of the community and I've personally known Joe for nearly two years and he has both my trust and respect.  I'm looking forward to the release of this important work and encourage others to do the same!
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2009, 01:56:01 pm »

I am so glad you said that the author was not responsible for the cover art work.  That is so garish and a caricature of who we are.  I suppose it's what the marketing people thought would "grab" people.  They should have poled us.  ;-)
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2009, 12:01:37 pm »

A groundbreaking academic work on real vampirism and the vampire community is now available.  The long-term academic and sociological significance of this work can't be underscored enough. Joseph Laycock offers a sweeping scholarly examination of the vampire community and the process of self-identification as a vampire. He counters many of the negative stereotypes of the vampire community and posits thought-provoking arguments regarding ontological diversity. Some of the repudiated claims include those made by Keyworth (vampirism is best described as a new religious movement), Perlmutter (vampires represent a dangerous cult), and popular culture (vampires are all disillusioned youth living a fantasy). I strongly encourage everyone to obtain a copy of this book and link to it as a resource for real vampirism and the vampire community.

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Today-Truth-Modern-Vampirism/dp/0313364729/ref=sr_1_1

Barnes & Noble:  http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Vampires-Today/Joseph-Laycock/e/9780313364723/?itm=1

Praeger Publishers:  http://www.abc-clio.com/products/overview.aspx?productid=111080  *or*  ABC-CLIO @ Telephone 800.368.6868, 7:00 AM - 4:30 PM (PST)

* This book is primarily aimed towards academicians, scholars, and professionals who are referencing information on the vampire subculture. Distribution will be primarily to universities and libraries; not the general public unless individuals assist with such (Praeger Publishers leaves all external advertising and promotion to the author or interested parties).

Religion Dispatches Article:  http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/rdbook/1438/modern_vampires%3A_your_neighbors_and_spouses/?page=1



Vampires Today:  The Truth About Modern Vampirism
Joseph Laycock


Chapter 1:  What Is a Vampire? or, The Varieties of Vampiric Experience
Chapter 2:  Why Vampires?
Chapter 3:  The Vampire Milieu
Chapter 4:  Initiatory Vampire Groups:  Vampirism as Apotheosis
Chapter 5:  The Vampire Community
Chapter 6:  Vampirism and Religion, a Dialogue
Chapter 7:  Out of the Shadows
Chapter 8:  Vampires and the Modern
Bibliography & Index

Sample Of Material From The Index:

Atlanta Vampire Alliance, Black Veil, Catherine Ramsland, Christopher Partridge, Clan Hidden Shadows, Corvis Nocturnum, Daemonox, Damien Deville, Dawn Perlmutter, D'Drennan, Don Henrie, Eclecta, Elizabeth Miller, Emile Durkheim, Father Sebastiaan, Father Vincent, Goddess Rosemary, House Dark Haven, House Eclipse, House Kheperu, House of the Dreaming, House Pantheon, House Quinotaur, House Sahjaza, Ian Hacking, J. Gordon Melton, Jeff Guinn, Kiera, Konstantinos, Lady CG, Lady Dark Rose, Lord Alistair, Lupa, Madame X, Maloryn, Martin Riccardo, Merticus, Michael Foucault, Michelle Belanger, Ordo Sekhemu, Ordo Strigoi Vii, Order of the Vampyre, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Sanguinarius, Sarah Dorrance, Shadowlore, Sky, SoulSplat, SphynxCatVP, Stephen O'Mallie, Stephen Held, Suscitatio Enterprises, Temple of the Vampire, Twilight, Vampire Church, Vampirism & Energy Work Research Study, Vicutus, Vlad, Voices of the Vampire Community, Vyrdolak, Zero, Zilchy

Inside Book Jacket:

Vampires are not just the stuff of folklore and fiction. This book explores the modern world of vampirism in all its variety.

Around the globe, untold numbers of people are identifying as "vampires" and following the ways of "vampirism."  But what does it mean to be a vampire?  Is vampirism a religion? Is it a fantasy? Is it a medical condition?  Based upon extensive interviews with members of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance and others within vampire communities throughout the United States, Vampires Today looks at the many expressions of vampirism.

In the past two decades, modern vampirism has come under increased study, yet most scholarship has portrayed the vampire community as a cultural phenomenon or, at worst, as a religious cult. Having interviewed many vampires across the country, both "lifestylers" and "real," even those "reluctants" who try not to be vampires, Laycock argues that today's vampires are best understood as an identity group and that vampirism has caused a profound change in how individuals choose to define themselves. As vampires come "out of the closet," either as followers of a "religion" or "lifestyle" or as people biologically distinct from other humans, their confrontation with mainstream society will raise questions about the definition of "normal" and what it means to be human.

In this book, readers will meet "lifestyle vampires," who adopt a culture and a gothic ascetic associated with the vampires of art and legend.  They will be introduced to "real" vampires, who feel that they must actually consume blood and/or psychic energy for their well being.  They will hear from members of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance, and they will learn about the Order of the Vampyre, the Ordo Strigoi Vii, and the Temple of the Vampire.

There is no doubt that anyone who reads this book will find the details of real vampire life--including vampire role-playing games, grimoires, "vampyre" balls, vampire houses like House Sahjaza and House Kheperu, the vampire "caste" system, and other details--utterly fascinating.

Quote Selections From The Preface:

"Despite increased media attention, the vampire community remains poorly understood.  Television interviews, often accompanied by ominous music, work to portray self-identified vampires as completely other.  The reality is that vampires are all around us and that their subculture is a product of our mainstream culture.  If we can look past the sensationalism, vampires pose compelling questions about how we define ourselves and the world around us in the twenty-first century."

"Some drink blood to sustain their health and some do not.  Some describe a sensitivity to sunlight while others enjoy the beach.  Many compare vampirism to a medical condition with tangible health needs while others dissent.  For some, vampirism is a religion or a spiritual path while others ascribe no religious meaning to it."

"Vampires are not just lurking in goth clubs in New York City; they are all around us.  I have met vampires in the fields of social work, medicine, information technology, and law enforcement.  Vampires cannot be studied as simply other than and isolated from society at large.... One of my goals in writing this book is to stimulate and inform a discussion on how groups like vampires may be understood by outsiders and by scholarship.  Despite the public's fascination with vampires, the same two questions are repeated over and over:  Are these people crazy and are they dangerous?  The answer to both these questions, for all intents and purposes, is a simple "no".  If we set these questions aside, the real vampire community challenges us with serious questions about identity, religion, and the search for meaning."
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2009, 11:30:20 am »

I have to read this book.
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2009, 11:12:04 am »

A note about availability...

Amazon*:  http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Today-Truth-Modern-Vampirism/dp/0313364729/ref=sr_1_1
Praeger Publishers*:  http://www.abc-clio.com/products/overview.aspx?productid=111080

* This is primarily an academic text intended for libraries, universities, etc.  Once the initial printing is sold through it's highly unlikely they'll be a second printing.  Likewise, this work will not be available in eBook format.  Therefore, this is your only opportunity and means to obtain a copy of this book.  We just want to make everyone aware of this ahead of time.  If you don't wish to wait on Amazon you may also order direct through the publisher at the link above.  If you've already placed an order with Amazon just sit tight... they'll be shipping soon.
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2009, 12:38:44 pm »

I answered this question elsewhere but thought I'd post here for others to see:

Question:  Is there any reason not to be reserved in your opinion?  What makes this book different from all the others?  I'm curious.

I've known Joe personally since February 21, 2007 so my perspective on this is somewhat different.  He spent over a year (actually still to this day since he follows events in the online and offline vampire community) shadowing us here in Atlanta and even traveling with us to Ohio to House Kheperu Open House in 2007.  We worked with him on a paper he delivered before the AAR in November 2007 and he was present during the time we were collecting data for the VEWRS.  He presented us with an outline for this book in early 2008.  He asked for guidance navigating the information available on vampirism and the community and enlisted our assistance with contacting individuals from a myriad of paths, beliefs, and individual perspectives on vampi(y)rism.  Throughout the entire time I've been in contact with him he's been completely forthcoming and understanding of the reservations this community has towards the media and interest from outside sources.  He's taken a solely academic approach to the community in an effort to counter the claims made by Keyworth (that we're best described as a new religious movement), Perlmutter (that we're a dangerous cult), and popular culture (that we're kids in capes and fangs living a delusion).  I personally think he accomplishes this and then some in the publication of this book.

If this gives you any idea of his interpretations...

"Despite increased media attention, the vampire community remains poorly understood.  Television interviews, often accompanied by ominous music, work to portray self-identified vampires as completely other.  The reality is that vampires are all around us and that their subculture is a product of our mainstream culture.  If we can look past the sensationalism, vampires pose compelling questions about how we define ourselves and the world around us in the twenty-first century."

"Some drink blood to sustain their health and some do not.  Some describe a sensitivity to sunlight while others enjoy the beach.  Many compare vampirism to a medical condition with tangible health needs while others dissent.  For some, vampirism is a religion or a spiritual path while others ascribe no religious meaning to it."

"Vampires are not just lurking in goth clubs in New York City; they are all around us.  I have met vampires in the fields of social work, medicine, information technology, and law enforcement.  Vampires cannot be studied as simply other than and isolated from society at large.... One of my goals in writing this book is to stimulate and inform a discussion on how groups like vampires may be understood by outsiders and by scholarship.  Despite the public's fascination with vampires, the same two questions are repeated over and over:  Are these people crazy and are they dangerous?  The answer to both these questions, for all intents and purposes, is a simple "no".  If we set these questions aside, the real vampire community challenges us with serious questions about identity, religion, and the search for meaning."  - Preface, Vampires Today:  The Truth About Modern Vampirism; Laycock

Something else to keep in mind... this book is primarily aimed towards academicians, scholars, and professionals who are referencing information on the vampire subculture.  Distribution will be primarily to universities and libraries, not the general public unless we take it upon ourselves to assist with such (Praeger Publishers leaves all advertising and promotion up to the author or interested parties).  This will also allow passages and information from the work to be directly cited without the challenge of it being self-published material.  I hope this answers your question... at least until you've had a chance to examine the content of the book yourself.
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2009, 06:24:18 pm »

I know The book Vampires Today is at Barnes and Noble I was just there a few days ago................
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2009, 10:24:38 am »

Just a heads up...

Praeger Publishers & Greenwood Publishing recently merged with ABC-CLIO (an academic publisher which distributes to universities and libraries).  The ordering system (e-commerce portion of the web site) for Praeger/Greenwood for Joseph Laycock's book, "Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism" was not fully transferred to ABC-CLIO's new system.  Anyone who ordered a copy of this book from this web link:  http://www.greenwood.com/catalog/C36472.aspx will need to call ABC-CLIO on Monday at 1.800.368.6868 from 7:00 AM - 4:30 PM (PST) to confirm that your order was indeed received and being processed.

Official ABC-CLIO Web Link For Book:
  http://www.abc-clio.com/products/overview.aspx?productid=111080

If you've not already ordered the book (or your order did not go through on the Praeger/Greenwood web site) you can place an order via the telephone number above during business hours or through Amazon:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Today-Truth-Modern-Vampirism/dp/0313364729/ref=sr_1_1
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2009, 03:26:56 pm »

There's been a temporary price reduction on Vampires Today based on new shipments from the publisher to Amazon's distributor.  You might want to take advantage of this before they are back out of stock.  Also, it's now listed as in-stock with Barnes & Noble and also available on the ABC-CLIO site directly.

http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Today-Truth-Modern-Vampirism/dp/0313364729/ref=sr_1_1

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Vampires-Today/Joseph-Laycock/e/9780313364723/?itm=1

http://www.abc-clio.com/products/overview.aspx?productid=111080 or ABC-CLIO @ Telephone 800.368.6868, 7:00 AM - 4:30 PM (PST) - Monday to Friday
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2009, 06:56:07 pm »

         Thank you for always keeping us updated on things..Waiting for mine to arrive...Looking forward to your questions on the book..
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« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2009, 09:52:28 pm »

Commentary by Zero of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance & Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC

In a media culture which has romanticized vampire fiction and a mainstream culture which has become increasingly curious about vampire realities, the texts on the vampire community that regularly make it into academic libraries and term papers are unfortunate works of armchair scholarship - gross misunderstandings and outright fabrications, allowed to exist because of a lack of answering material, armchair research allowed to pass for scholarship. The need for accurate information and scholarly, theory-based interpretations of the Vampire Community had been going un-met, and before this book, mainstream and scholarly interest had to make do with an ever-increasing body of substandard information. I'll not name any names, and some previous works were better than others, but none have provided what Laycock's book is offering -- the balance of accurate insider accounts with solid social theory.

Laycock did what no researcher before had really bothered to do - he studied the Vampire Community as if it were any other group. He researched the Community first-hand, he met with many representatives from the diverse sub-cultures within the Community, and he applied existing social and philosophical theory to what he found. In the process, he examined the previous work done on the Community, and exposed the prejudices, the incorrect assumptions, and the outright failure-to-comprehend that many previous analyses have offered.

In other words, many previous works have taken the Vampire Community as an anomaly, and then attempted to explain why we are sick, wrong, and dangerous -- outliers in an otherwise orderly world. Laycock has taken the Vampire Community as a working part of the greater society that its members participate in, and used it to explain how the Vampire Community is a product of, even a function of, mainstream society's ideas about self and identity. Previous analyses have placed the Vampire Community outside, or even in opposition to, the norms of society. Laycock's analysis has demonstrated that vampires have not only embraced the values of Western civilization concerning self and identity, they have jumped somewhat ahead of the curve in terms of self-exploration, self-narrative, and self-definition. It's possible that the "technology of the self" that vampires are negotiating today may be (or at least inform) the standard of mental health and self-integrity for future generations.

This represents a watershed in how the Community is approached and analyzed by outsiders. This book has decisively raised the standards for future interpretation of the Community.

I was delighted to see several chapters right up front that were devoted to sorting out the problems that researchers traditionally have in understanding the Vampire Community. Laycock pretty much lists every faulty analysis, every pitfall where a researcher has a blind spot or misses the point, and tears it to shreds. We have always known that vampirism is not in and of itself a religion -- vampires HAVE religions, plural, and many of them. We have always known that mental illness is not the origin of the Community, that we don't "think we are vampires" in the same way that one might "think he is Napoleon" or "think that aliens are out to get him." We know damn well that we are not suffering from porphyria, or any other "vampire disease," and that psychological explanations for why "we want to be cool" are not sufficient to explain our chosen self-identification as "real vampires." Yet, these analyses have been impossible to shake; they show up repeatedly in outsider treatments on the Vampire Community as possible explanations for our freakishness and supposed delusion.

The only truly shocking thing about these first few chapters is that Laycock needed only a few paragraphs to decisively take the above arguments apart. I thought it would take longer to take apart the misinterpretations of the past, to make room for a much more adept theory of the hows and whys of the Vampire Community. But it was a quick and painless process: here's the assumption, here's the history of that kind of thinking and the faulty theory at the root of it, and here's why it's not going to work. Laycock neatly dismantled almost thirty years of spurious psychological, psychiatric, religious, and medical "explanations" of vampirism. And he did it in less than thirty pages.

One of the first things that an insider reader will notice is a distinct and thorough exploration of the internal diversity of the Vampire Community. This is something that outside analysts usually miss; they tend to pick the groups within the Community that confirm their (faulty) theories, or focus on the most flamboyant and visible subcultures, and ignore the existence of the rest. Laycock gives the reader some important and, in my opinion, extremely adept distinctions by which to understand the Community. The most important thing that vampires can take away from his explanations is that the distinctions are based on the Vampire Community's own terms and analyses, not on any outsider interpretations. The idea of sanguinarian and psi vampires, initiatory versus Awakened models, Lifestyler and "real" vampires will be familiar dichotomies. Laycock allows the Community to make its own meanings, and in doing so has provided a much more accurate view of the Community to outsiders than I think has ever been shown before.

Laycock also does a very adept job of untangling the Vampire Community's relationship with vampire fiction and folklore. Usually, we just get a "facts versus fiction" rundown where a cheeky author explains that real vampires don't sleep in coffins and don't turn into bats. In the place of this nonsense, Laycock gives us a very adept analysis of what he calls the "vampire milieu," and its points of intersection and diversion with the real Vampire Community. Here, the reader's mileage may vary - I'm not sure I entirely agree with all the conclusions he reaches, and I definitely think that the "vampire milieu" served more as an an information surrogate than an inspiration for the early community, but the idea itself will be extremely useful as a replacement for the traditional bullet-points list of how real vampires are different from those of fiction. It shows how our culture has absorbed the word, the myth, the fiction, and the pop culture icon of the vampire, and suggests ways in which the Vampire Community has been informed by the milieu. Feel free to agree, disagree, or discuss.

Laycock includes in his "vampire milieu" ideas which are not explicitly attributed to vampirism in fiction and folklore, but which the vampire community makes use of: prana, "energy," magick, Chi, and holistic medicine theory, among others. With this argument, he establishes a cultural context in which many types and groups of people can separately make use of the idea of "vampires," and sets up arguments later on in the book for distinguishing these from one another. The Vampire Community will find this very useful in explaining how roleplayers, lifestylers, sanguinarian and psi vampires can participate in the same community, and why the media can label high-profile murderers "vampires," even when the perpetrators are unconnected to the Vampire Community. These are things we have always known to be true, but never had a clear explanation of before. Laycock has laid out the framework for an argument that "informed by" does not mean, or lead to "obsessed with," or "controlled by."

One of the most important ramifications of this book for our Community will probably come directly from Laycock's refusal to treat vampires as social outsiders. Vampires understand our own roles as members of society as we support our friends, relatives, and communities -- we don't feel disconnected from society "because we are vampires," as many outside analysts have guessed, and likewise, we don't "think we are vampires" because we are disconnected. If vampires feel like outsiders in society, it's usually because we feel that society doesn't accept us, not because we have rejected our communities. Survey says... most vampires are involved in their communities, as church members, PTA members, volunteers, or civil service workers. Some are firefighters, police, EMTs, and soldiers. How can this be, if, as the armchair analysts say, vampires are social outcasts, repudiators of mainstream values?

Laycock uses the accounts given by real vampires to provide an explanation of vampirism, not as a cult, a delusion or a psychopathology, not as a "new religious movement" or monolithic rejection of mainstream spiritual values, but as an "identity group," one identity construction among many which individuals in modern Western society use to construct their self. Laycock's interpretation of vampirism as a "self-narrative," a "technology of the self," and an expression of the free market style of person-hood which is dominant in the Western world today is especially important to the Vampire Community and to outsiders trying to understand us. Vampires have always prized the narrative of the self - the personal history of discovery, the story of personal Awakening. Vampires think of the vampire identity as what Laycock calls "essentialist - " we are a group because of our nature and experiences, not because of outside forces (though outside cultural forces like the "vampire milieu" have played a role in our choice of metaphors and aesthetics, at times). Laycock's argument is that in defining ourselves as "vampire," we are doing what every other identity group in the West is doing in demanding the right to define ourselves and our spiritual realities. I do disagree with Laycock that the "ontological reality" that vampires claim for themselves is actually a form of subjective individualism -- vampires themselves expect that physical realities for us like sunlight intolerance will someday be understood medical phenomena, for example. But the idea that individuals expecting to be able to define themselves through the experiences that are important to them -- the self-narrative, personal interpretations and subjective perception of experiences -- rings true, as does the idea that "vampires" are not rejectors of society or humanity, but instead are engaged in exactly the same work of self-definition that everyone else in our society is, and that the choice of a "vampire" identity isn't a warning sign of potential disaster, but just another instance of modern culture's everyday constructions of self.
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« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2009, 03:12:45 pm »

Book Review By Chris Braak
http://threatquality.com/2009/06/23/reviews-vampires-today-the-truth-about-modern-vampires/

Reviews: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampires

I have watched with joy and dismay as my friend Joe Laycock, with whom I attended Hampshire College, by dint of research and training, rapidly exceeded my own ad-hoc and eclectic folkloric knowledge.  Joy because it’s good to know a guy that knows about this stuff; dismay because I hate the idea that people are better at things than me.

Joe’s book, Vampires Today:  The Truth About Modern Vampires, is a piece that I could have never written.  It is an ethnographic study of modern, self-identified “vampires,” and it is exhaustive, clear, intelligent, and wholly non-judgmental.

This is about all there is to say about it because, like I said, it’s an ethnographic study.  Exhaustive, clear, intelligent, and wholly non-judmental are the four categories by which an ethnographic study is evaluated, and there you have it.

(Just to be clear:  I could probably do the intelligent part, but exhaustive?  No way.  Joe, you are a better man than I am.)

Do you want to know what modern vampires are like?  You’ll probably be disappointed to discover that they’re basically like regular people, only slightly kookier, and more committed to their lifestyle than you are.  And, in fact, they’re not even that much kookier than, say, die-hard Phillies fans, whose obsession influences their style of dress, behaviors, and makes their lives rife with superstition.  (No doubt once the Phillies won the pennant, ten thousand new post/propter fallacies were given validity, just like with Skinner and those pigeons.)

The two things that especially fascinated me (in light of a post I’m going to do this week about my first zazen session) were:  1) the technology of self.  2)  Self-narrative.

Actually, wait, let me do (2) first.  Joe offers up a theory that modern self-identified vampires are participating in a kind of self-directed autonarrative:  that because we live in a world in which our positions are not defined, expectations are unclear, our faith in authority has waned, and our experiences are not always satisfactorily explained, modern human beings must create a narrative of self-identity themselves.

The process appears to work both ways.  A person has an experience, chooses the cultural context from “the vampire millieu” (for whatever reason), and in turn continues to define and refine their experience according to those terms.  It’s a process that seems to lend itself to an oscillation between conformity and radical individualism, as contextual elements are reinterpreted according to individual elements.

What’s doubly fascinating, of course, are the circumstances of psychologists trying to define the “vampire condition”–using the word “vampire” in a new context to describe individuals who have repurposed the word “vampire” to be commensurate with their own context; which word itself was coined to describe a different condition entirely.  Civilization is revealed to be a series of increasingly elaborate metaphors designed to explain the failures of the previous metaphors.

It’s interesting to look at vampire self-identification as a kind of pathology, though not really fruitful, as most self-identified vampires don’t appear to be pathological.  I mean this in a very specific sense, I guess–a fear of spiders isn’t a psychological disorder; spiders are weird, and sometimes dangerous.  Arachnophobia–an uncontrollable, paralyzing terror of spiders–is a psychological disorder, because the fear is not commensurate with the reality (spiders, after all, aren’t that dangerous).

Self-identifying as a vampire, I think, probably is a kind of escape-fantasy, but not a pathological one–it’s no different than any of the many, many, many fantasies we concoct for ourselves to divorce our personal narrative from the reality of the world.  The process of needing to identify ourselves as individuals with special characteristics and with commonalities with other individuals is a natural, native human tendency, and the combination of Internets, the Age of Enlightenment, and Universal Pictures has just made it possible for that tendency to find expression in vampirism.

However, one of the interesting things about being a vampire is how it leads back to (1) the technology of the self.  That is this:  we build ourselves.  In the old days, we probably didn’t have to as much; because there were fewer choices available to people about EVERYTHING, the need to know about and have opinions about things was much lower.

But now not only do I have to decide what church I’m going to, I’ve got to decide what shoes I’ll wear, what music I like, what movies I’ll go to, who I want to date, where I want to live, what my favorite kind of sandwich is, do I want coffee this morning and if I do WHAT KIND?

All of this yields to a correspondingly-greater need for a specific individual identity.

Moreover, there’s also an innate human need for (or, at least, satisfaction in) self-improvement and self-discipline.  The modern vampire social context provides a vast array of tools with which to build self-identity at a psychological, emotional, and even physical level.

I like this idea of the technology of self, it is fascinating to me; a kind of personal alchemy that underlies all of those old esoteric lodges and your church sleepaway camps and martial arts and self-help books and Hermann Hesse’s Siddartha.  In virtually all respects, the commitment is more important than the object of that commitment.

So, good on you, modern vampires.  You have found the thing that I haven’t invented yet.

This entry was posted on June 23, 2009 at 11:19 am and is filed under Braak, reviews with tags Braak. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2009, 04:55:41 pm »

Amazon

Excellent, thorough, clear and non-judgmental
June 23, 2009
C. Braak


Laycock's "Vampires Today" is an excellent example of well-executed ethnography. With a simple, unblemished curiosity, he examines the lives of modern American communities of self-identified vampires; in so doing, he shreds the illusions fostered by them. Not gangs of criminals, or weird psychopaths, or burgeoning serial killers; America's modern vampires aren't any stranger than anyone else with a non-mainstream lifestyle. If the goal of good ethnography can be said to prevent the demonization of strangers, then Vampires Today can be rightly said to have achieved it.

A Fascinating Work
July 5, 2009
E. Snyder "E. Snyder" (Astoria, NY)


First of all, ignore the cover. There's nothing over the top or melodramatic about Laycock's study of modern vampirism. Instead, this is a thoughtful, balanced look at a subculture which is commonly sensationalized by the media and, from time to time, sensationalized by itself.

Self-identified "real vampires" represent one of several movements popularized and galvanized by the internet. Laycock offers an detailed history of the movement, including its origins in ceremonial magic, paganism, vampire films and literature, and even role-playing games. He neither attempts to demonize nor romanticize his research subjects: this is an entirely unbiased approach.

Anyone interested in vampires - real or fictitious - will find this a fascinating read. Those researching vampires or any other identity group emerging from the internet will find this indispensable as a resource.

A manual for understanding the vampire community
July 7, 2009
Telegram Sam


There's been a significant increase in the amount of vampire-related material in the popular media recently; vampire fiction has become more varied and more accessible, and with it, mainstream culture is becoming more acquainted with the concepts both of vampire fiction and of vampire reality. Fans of mainstream television and bestseller novels will now be familiar with the vampire as a cultural icon, and may have picked up on the fact that there is a real-life subculture out there which shares a name, maybe a bit of fashion-sense, maybe a bit of terminology, with the familiar tropes of fiction. They may have seen a recent talk show or documentary, where guests spoke of themselves as "real vampires," or read an interview with a community member online or in a local newspaper. However, despite this swell of interest in vampire fiction, and the attention it has brought to the real-life Vampire Community, there have been few materials about the Community produced for anything other than entertainment purposes. Respected members of the Vampire Community have been interviewed by these shows (often, they have agreed to the appearances to ensure that their community gets a say in how it is portrayed); as a result, many of the shows produced for educational TV channels have been more informative and less biased than they otherwise would have been, and many are a decent informal introduction to the Vampire Community. However, they're still entertainment - sensationalist, steeped in "spooky" music, and treated by the networks as a Halloween special. The fact remains that there is a distinct interest in the Vampire Community on the part of mainstream culture, and until this book, there has been a dearth of accurate, scholarly information about it.

In this sense, the public has really lucked out with Joseph Laycock's "Vampries Today;" this is a solid work of scholarship, it's smart and informed, and makes its arguments skillfully. The writing is appropriate for a scholarly and academic audience, but accessible enough to appeal to a mainstream, general audience. This is not an easy trick, but Laycock pulls it off well enough that this title will be equally at home on the Barnes and Noble bookshelf or in the stacks of your university's library. "Vampires Today" is informed by solid research, and is presented to the reader in a way that will shed light on the vampire fiction phenomenon and the Vampire Community alike.

Laycock did what no academic researcher before had really bothered to do - he studied the Vampire Community as if it were any other subcultural group. He researched the Community first-hand, he met with many representatives from the diverse sub-cultures within the Community, and he applied existing social and philosophical theory to what he found. In the process , he examined the previous work done on the Community, and exposed the prejudices, the incorrect assumptions, and the outright failure to comprehend that many previous analyses have offered. Many previous works have taken the Vampire Community as an anomaly, and then attempted to explain why self-identified vampires were pathological, delusional, or dangerous -- outliers in an otherwise orderly world. Laycock has taken the Vampire Community as a working part of the greater society that its members participate in, and used it to explain how the Vampire Community is a product of, even a function of, mainstream society's ideas about self and identity.

Anyone interested in understanding the Vampire Community from an academic perspective will find "Vampires Today" useful, especially in the realm of dismissing previous unhelpful theories. Several chapters are devoted to sorting out the problems that researchers traditionally have in understanding the Vampire Community. Laycock neatly dismantles almost thirty years of spurious psychological, psychiatric, religious, and medical "explanations" of vampirism, calling on his knowledge of the reality of the vampire experience to demonstrate the spuriousness of these analyses.

In their place, he offers a thorough exploration of the internal diversity of the Vampire Community, key distinctions based on the subculture's own terms and analyses. He uses the accounts given by real vampires to provide an explanation of vampirism, not as a cult, a delusion or a psychopathology, not as a "new religious movement" or monolithic rejection of mainstream spiritual values, but as an "identity group," one option among many, which individuals in modern Western society use to construct their selves.

Insider readers will find that this is an attentive and informed ethnography; as other reviewers have pointed out, the author remains unbiased and objective. His perspective will be refreshing to participants in the Vampire Community who are accustomed to the inevitable drama which some authors in the past have injected into their accounts. With the exception of the questionable cover art (usually the domain of the publisher, not the author) there is no "spooky music" backdrop to this story, no supernatural sub-plot running through the text.

For those in the Vampire Community wondering whether "Vampires Today" will represent you accurately, you will likely be pleasantly surprised. Some authors, especially the chief detractors and panic-mongers, tend to cherry-pick the groups within the Community that confirm their (faulty) theories, or focus on the most flamboyant and visible subcultures, and ignore the existence of the rest. In contrast, Laycock offers a thorough and accurate exploration of the internal diversity of the Vampire Community.

Readers from within the vampire subculture may also find several of Laycock's assertions useful; his ideas about the "vampire milieu" will shed light on the murky and often repudiated relationship between vampire folklore, fiction, and Community. The construction of vampirism as an "identity group" may be appealing for many Community members who sensed the solidity of the Community but had no theoretical framework to put it in. The author's assertion that vampirism is an "essentialist" identity is a formalized, theoretical way of framing an assertion that vampires themselves have been making for years. This approach will assist vampires in talking to academia about themselves, and provides a philosophical context that can shift the conversation about self-identified vampires from one of pathology to one of discovery and self-integrity, from sickness to health.

"Vampires Today" covers every aspect of why the Vampire Community is difficult for researchers to understand, it dismantles faulty thinking about the Vampire Community and about the phenomenon of modern vampirism, and it uses attentive research to provide the reader a framework by which to understand not only the vampire identity, but also the way identity and self-narrative function in our society in general. "Vampires Today" can inform the reader about vampirism, but it also spells out what vampires can offer the mainstream: the technology of self-exploration, and the processes of constructing identity out of self-discovery, meaning out of metaphor, and community out of shared experience.

Intellect Rising
July 8, 2009
Emily Eidson "Emily The Strange" (Atlanta)


In a world of sound-bytes and sensationalism, Joseph Laycock is a shining star of true journalistic integrity as well as sincere research and presentation. As paranormal fiction and it's sub-genre paranormal romance novels have become the fast food of books-cheap, easy to obtain, and leave you hungry only hours after a meal- Vampires today is real meat! Well researched, and unbiased, Vampires today truly investigates the roots of the Vampire/Vampyre community in all it's myriad facets. Laycock utilizes a wealth of historical resources, articles and quotes to amazing results. This should be THE resource for anyone who wants to delve into the reality of Modern Vampires, rather than being blizkrieged by the flash in the pan of the media's Vampire flavor of the month.

Barnes & Noble:

Recommended reading on the Vampire Community
July 5, 2009
TwoWeeksTillPayday


Due in part to the growth of the community on the Internet, and in part to the recent popularity of vampire fiction, there has been a determined upswing in interest in the Vampire Community on the part of mainstream culture. However, until this book, there has been a dearth of accurate, scholarly information about it. In this sense, the public has really lucked out with Joseph Laycock's "Vampries Today;" this is a solid work of scholarship, it's smart and informed, and makes its arguments skillfully. The writing is appropriate for a scholarly and academic audience, but accessible enough to appeal to a mainstream, general audience. This is not an easy trick, but Laycock pulls it off well enough that this title will be equally at home on the Barnes and Noble bookshelf or in the stacks of your university's library. "Vampires Today" is informed by solid research, and is presented to the reader in a way that will shed light on the vampire fiction phenomenon and the Vampire Community alike.

Joseph Laycock did what no academic researcher before had really bothered to do - he studied the Vampire Community as if it were any other subcultural group. He researched the Community first-hand, he met with many representatives from the diverse sub-cultures within the Community, and he applied existing social and philosophical theory to what he found. Many previous works have taken the Vampire Community as an anomaly, and then attempted to explain why self-identified vampires were pathological, delusional, or dangerous -- outliers in an otherwise orderly world. Laycock has taken the Vampire Community as a working part of the greater society that its members participate in, and used it to explain how the Vampire Community is a product of, even a function of, mainstream society's ideas about self and identity.

Several chapters are devoted to sorting out the problems that researchers traditionally have in understanding the Vampire Community. Laycock neatly dismantles almost thirty years of spurious psychological, psychiatric, religious, and medical "explanations" of vampirism. In their place, he offers a thorough exploration of the internal diversity of the Vampire Community, key distinctions by which to understand the Community, based on the Vampire Community's own terms and analyses. He uses the accounts given by real vampires to provide an explanation of vampirism, not as a cult, a delusion or a psychopathology, not as a "new religious movement" or monolithic rejection of mainstream spiritual values, but as an "identity group," one option among many, which individuals in modern Western society use to construct their selves.

"Vampires Today" covers every aspect of why the Vampire Community is difficult for researchers to understand, it dismantles faulty thinking about the Vampire Community and about the phenomenon of modern vampirism, and it uses attentive research to provide the reader a framework by which to understand not only the vampire identity, but also the way identity and self-narrative function in our society in general. "Vampires Today" can inform the reader about vampirism, but it also spells out what vampires can offer the mainstream: the technology of self-exploration, and the processes of constructing identity out of self-discovery, meaning out of metaphor, and community out of shared experience.
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« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2009, 05:32:17 pm »

http://welcometothemiddleroom.blogspot.com/2009/06/book-review-vampires-today-truth-about.html

Sunday, June 28, 2009
Book Review: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism
By Erin Snyder


Recently, I ordered Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism from Amazon, and have just now finished the last page. There are many elements which make Joseph Laycock's look at the vampiric subculture both fascinating and impressive. It can be said - accurately, I would add - that the work is educational without being dull, entertaining without being exploitative, funny without being insulting, and honest without being biased.

It is the work's impartiality that I find most impressive. Years ago, I studied religion back in Hampshire College (along with Joseph Laycock, by the way, which gets us past the requisite "interest of full disclosure" acknowledgement). While it was easy to find resources about large, organized religions, the only information about smaller movements tended to be produced by practitioners themselves. Trying to locate unbiased information about the Neo-Pagan movement, for instance, was an exercise in frustration: anything I found online was suspect by it's very nature.

"Vampires Today" was written for scholars of religion and cultural trends who are writing and approaching those who identify as vampires. Laycock provides a careful appraisal of the community, revealing, among other things, that these are not frightening people. Despite some very entertaining warnings, Laycock describes his interactions as being relatively mundane; certainly no more unusual than one would expect from other groups outside the mainstream.

The central point of the book is that the Vampire Movement cannot be understood as a religion, at all, but rather a culturally significant identity. Laycock's arguments are direct and rational, and his conclusions are highly convincing.

Laycock's exploration delves into the subcultures, organizations, and religions of the "real vampire," as well as their portrayal in the media. Laycock refuses to speculate on the validity of the vampires' claims: like any good scholar, he is observing, not judging.

While the book seems to have been written for academics, it has far greater appeal. Judging by the movement's positive reaction, it seems likely that many in the vampire community will purchase "Vampires Today." In addition, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the supernatural and history of the occult movement.

But, more than anyone else, this book needs to find its way into the hands of the myriad confused and depressed teenagers all over the world. New religious and cultural movements suffer from a lack of impartial literature, and, as a result, it's difficult to gain any perspective or realistic appraisal. Right now, there are unknown numbers of Twilight fans who are toying with the idea of adopting the label "vampire." This book provides a window into that world, along with a summary of vampire literature, film, and role playing games, which could provide an invaluable resource to those trying to define themselves. And, whatever choice they make, they'd be better prepared for what they would find.

Likewise, if you are a football player looking to elevate and better direct your insults against the goths you're giving wedgies; there is no better resource available. Truly, this is a work with wide appeal.

Whoever you are, if you are interested in the vampire subculture in any capacity, Laycock's book is a far better place to start than Google.

Joseph Laycock is an "independent scholar" and a graduate of Harvard University. He is not a vampire himself, however I can confirm that, during a long running Dungeons & Dragons game I ran, he once played a wizard who became a vampire.
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« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2009, 05:01:42 pm »

http://bostonist.com/2009/07/10/joseph_laycock_vampires_today.php

"We All Become Non-Vampires": Identity, Modernity, and Gamer Chicks In Corsets
By C. Fernsebner in Miscellaneous on July 10, 2009 11:00 AM


Joseph Laycock is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School who is currently working toward his doctorate at BU. He recently published a book called Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism. (Pro tip: they do not sparkle.)

Bostonist: What should we know about vampires?

Joe Laycock: There is previous scholarship about vampires, but it's mostly been done by "occult crime" specialists, and it's been done to present vampires as totally other. You can do that, and you can even make money hiring yourself out to law enforcement—they're actually paid tax dollars to set up little fake altars and teach about what your son is doing if he plays White Wolf games, and these are the signs that your kids will kill you in your sleep.

But what I'm trying to do with this book is say that, if we set all that aside for a second, there's a lot going on here with modernity. Vampires can tell us a lot about the state of modernity. Modernity's been a gradual shift from an identity that is ascribed to one that is achieved.

If you were to go to a medieval village and look at the peasants, they're all the same religion; they're all going to live in the same town their whole life; they don't have to worry: are my talents going to waste, being a peasant? Nowadays, you have to discover a career; if you stay in the same town where you grew up, that's considered a failure; if you stay in the church that your family's from, that's considered an inauthentic form of spirituality. There used to not be concepts or categories to describe different sexual orientations.

So I see vampires as the next logical step... This is the first time in human history you've been able to say, maybe I'm not ontologically the same as everybody else.

Bostonist: Do you expect that vampires will read your book?

Laycock: Yes. Vampires are reading my book. Vampires are doing more than anybody else to promote the book. They're happy that somebody is actually doing this in a way that's not sensationalistic. I've gotten complaints that Amazon can't get the book out fast enough.

Bostonist: How do colleagues and faculty at BU feel about your research subjects being a major market for your work? Not every Catholic grandma runs out to buy Robert Orsi's books.

Laycock: I don't think the verdict is in on that yet. A lot of the faculty at BU have been really, really supportive of this... I told them, MTV contacted me, should I do this? And some of them were like, hell yeah you should go on MTV! Huston Smith didn't know anything about religion, [but] he was on TV.

My advisor said, basically, you need to watch it with this shit, there is a risk in having done a bunch of popular stuff, that could hurt in the job market. But there is no job market for religion professors. So I kind of don't care.

I've adopted almost a Marxist view about academia: once we realize that there are no tenure track jobs—that we're doing this for nothing—then we're finally free. We can start actually figuring out what our next move is.

None of us are going to get tenure, so we might as well do what we want.

Bostonist: What was the concept of the MTV show?

Laycock: They said they wanted to do a show where they have an expert who goes around the country and interviews different vampires. So they needed an expert that was (a) young, and (b) not a vampire.

[The woman in charge of the show, having been referred to Mr. Laycock through multiple vampire sources] contacts me, and she's like, how old are you? And are you a vampire?

This is a totally serious question, and I don't get the job if I say, yes, I'm a vampire. That's another point I'm making: once the category is out there, we all become non-vampires. We used to not have to think of ourselves as non-vampires. But now, if I hadn't been a non-vampire, I couldn't have gotten that job.

There used to be no concept of homosexuality. If you're a man, you're supposed to have sex with women; if you have sex with a man, then you've sinned. And if you have sex with lots and lots of men, then you're a sinner. But you're not "gay." You're not different from other people, you're just bad.

Now we have this category of "gay," and all of us start thinking of ourselves as "straight," whereas before there was no concept of "straight."

Bostonist: And now we have a concept of "vampire" instead of just "people who happen to drink a lot of blood"?

Laycock: Well, if you drink blood that doesn't necessarily mean you're a vampire. There are blood fetishists. This is something I talk about in the book: there people who used to describe themselves as vampires and now describe themselves as blood fetishists.

And I've seen symbiotic relations form between blood fetishists and vampires.

Some of my contacts have said, it's not sexual for me, I don't find anything sexual about this, I have to do this to maintain my health but if I happen to meet a guy who just really gets off on me cutting him and drinking his blood—it's a symbiotic relationship. For him it's sexual, and for the vampire it's a health issue.

Bostonist: When we were at Hampshire College, you were King of the Gamers. Does it help at all, when doing your research, to have been part of a misunderstood niche yourself?

Laycock: Absolutely. In high school, I was in the Camarilla. I would go on weekends and play Vampire: The Masquerade with college kids, and that really helped because a lot of this actually comes directly from White Wolf live action games, especially the New York vampire scene.

I talk about it in the book: the New York vampire scene is extremely baroque. They have courts of vampires and titles and stuff like that. And it all comes directly from White Wolf. Father Sebastian, who was a fangsmith and helped organize the New York scene and now lives in Paris—I was talking to him long-distance, [he was in] Paris and he said he was running these games and he was like, yeah, all these really hot chicks would come.

And I think this [that really hot chicks would come] was something that even the Hampshire gamers would notice. They would go to LARPs at Umass, and be like, there's a lot of female gamers at these LARPs. They don't play the tabletop games, but the excuse to run around in a leather corset will bring them out.

[Father Sebastian] was like, basically I wanted to maintain a way to keep that atmosphere going, but to get rid of all the nerds, get rid of all the power gamers. And he eventually succeeded in doing that, and created this culture in New York. Vampire culture is not like that anywhere else in the world.

In Atlanta, it's the Bible Belt, so it's very much on the down low. In Los Angeles, no one cares if you're a vampire; people are very worried about power-tripping and stuff like that. But in New York you really have hierarchy and courts and who-is-your-sire. There's a documentary you can see with one of these courts, and there's a herald at the door, and as you walk in, he announces your name and who your sire is, your title and so forth.

Bostonist: Geographically, where are most of the vampires? Where is the community concentrated?

Laycock: I started this project because of a global survey by that group in Atlanta. They found vampires in every state except the Dakotas and Alaska. And there probably are vampires in the Dakotas; they probably don't have internet access.

A.B.D. McHarvardpants: That's werewolf territory.

Laycock: That's werewolf territory. We'll talk about the werewolves later.

There were big concentrations [of vampires] in New York, in California, in Ohio—that's partially because Michelle Belanger is out there in Ohio, and has drawn people to her—and in Georgia, and also Florida, Florida had a lot too. New Orleans used to, I think, have a pretty big vampire culture, and then Katrina kind of destroyed that.

First Atlanta got a reputation for being a cool city to be gay in. They had a gay mayor when I was living there. You'll see rainbow flags and stuff like that, and when you leave Atlanta you'll see Confederate flags, and you'll stop and take the rainbow sticker off your car... Gays started moving [to Atlanta], gay professionals. The same thing happened with vampires. Word got out that Atlanta was a cool city to be a vampire in. Various vampires began moving there.

And there was some theory floating around, about ley lines. Katrina had shifted the ley lines from New Orleans over to Atlanta, so that all of the mystical energy of New Orleans was now in Atlanta.

[The survey] found a lot of vampires in Canada. They found a lot in Australia, a lot in the UK, a fair number in France, some in Germany. And then there were some random ones: Malaysia, Jordan.

Bostonist: So what's the vampire scene like in Boston?

Laycock: Pretty dead, from what I've heard.

Bostonist: You mean that not as a pun.

Laycock: Yes. My contacts in Atlanta only knew of one vampire in Boston, and he was here because he was sick of the politics of New York. So he said, I want to move to another east coast city, where there's no vampires.

Bostonist: So he's like everyone else who moved here from New York?

Laycock: Yeah, basically.

Bostonist: As you're probably aware, there was a vampire scare at Boston Latin.

Laycock: I don't know a whole lot about that. What it sounded like was that there was, basically, a goth girl at the school, and that this all emerged out of conflicting stories: that there was a student drinking blood, or that there were Buffy the Vampire Slayer vampires living underneath the school. What surprised me was that the police came out.

If I were a kid, I would not believe that there were vampires unless the police came out and told me there were no vampires.

I saw that the Boston Police had a Twitter account—did you see it, with the zombies?

Bostonist: Yes! The BPD will tell you if the zombies attack.

Laycock: So apparently the Boston Police will respond to all supernatural threats. It's not like a horror movie, where the police always deny there being anything supernatural.

Bostonist: I have to ask: how has Twilight been received by the Vampire-American community?

Laycock: I don't think they really care.

When somebody told me that the vampires in Twilight sparkle in the sunlight, I didn't believe them. I thought, that is the stupidest thing I ever heard.

Bostonist: Did you read it, or watch it?

Laycock: I finally watched it last night. I thought it was the most boring vampire movie I've ever seen. The only thing that was good was—I watched it with Swedish subtitles. The word for "stop" in Swedish is "sluta." So every time the vampires start to get hot and heavy, they're like, "Sluta! Sluta!"

One consequence [of the Twilight franchise] has been—I think this happens with all subcultures, like punk rock and things like that, there's a real split between the older vampires, the ones that are in their twenties and early thirties and older, versus Twilight kids.

[Older vampires] have produced all these articles that are on the internet—"If you think you're a vampire, read this article,"—[Twilight kids] don't do that, they just start emailing them asking the same questions over and over again. There's transcripts of leaders in the vampire community saying, What are we going to do about these Twilight kids? And one of them started making YouTube clips, because maybe they'll watch a YouTube clip instead of reading an article.

Michelle Belanger was on Coast to Coast AM recently and she said, I do not sparkle in the sunlight. She felt that was necessary to say.

Bostonist: So there are vampires, and there are non-vampires, and there are non-Twilight vampires.

Laycock: Exactly.
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