Interview with a Vampire

It was a dark and stormy night in the spring of 1998, when the following interview was videotaped in Florida during a tornado watch, with the torrents of rain pounding outside the open door, gusts of wind making the candle flames tremble and blowing the backdrop down, and thunder occasionally drowning out the voices of the New York vampires, Right Reverend Raphael Osiris also known as Ralph Spindell, and his consort, Dominique Lazarus, also known as Debbie Bloom.



SONDRA:
What is a vampire?

RAPHAEL:
Thatís a very interesting question. A lot of it is what you perceive to be a vampire. Thereís many ways to interpret the word. What Iím mostly a proponent of, is itís personal interpretation first and foremost. Because the traditional vampire, folkloric corpse, is a corpse come back from the undead, and whether or not that exists right now, or is the most important definition of the word to modern-day society, is irrelevant. Itís what it is that we all perceive it to be currently.

SONDRA:
So, traditionally, this is a mythical figure thatís come down throughout the years, and weíve always known about the mythical vampire. Now we have quite a few urban vampires, or modern vampires. Please tell me what it means to you to be a vampire.

RAPHAEL:
For me personally it is mostly to do with social, communal representation and a taking in of the myth or what may be perceived as the fact of the vampire, and incorporating it into your lifestyle. It touches on the family, it touches on society, the culture, your likes and dislikes, some of your religious or occultist beliefs.

SONDRA:
So what is essential about being a vampire? What is the one thing all vampires have in common?

RAPHAEL:
The only thing they all have in common is they refer to themselves as vampires. Other than that, there seems to be far too much discrepancy between various groups, or connotations of how each group seems to use the word.

SONDRA:
What is the connection between vampirism and ritual occultism?


RAPHAEL:
Some vampires who perceive themselves as being vampire-occultists, they perceive vampirism as a religion, and have the most in common with occultists. They may follow varying paths, than the path these people are seeking, through using vampirism as metaphor for their occultist practices, and beliefs in ancient vampire gods or deities, or blood deities or entities.

SONDRA:
Is this self-styled or reinvented from ancient patterns? Is it actually an tradition that has come down all the way? Or is it kind of neo?

RAPHAEL:
Some churches say that vampire occultism, worship of vampire deities, has been with us since it was first enacted in ancient cultures, and that there are just small pockets of people who have kept the traditions going on throughout the years.

SONDRA:
So this has nothing to do with the Temple of Set?

RAPHAEL:
No. Like Hecate, the Temple of the Dragon Goddess, the Vampire Goddess, thatís pretty much known as the Temple of Vampire, that group pretty much states that they have been practicing that for thousands of years and they are connected with the people who founded that religion ancestrally.

SONDRA:
So it would be a mix between people who are doing this for a game, and people who have some serious spiritual beliefs. Iím interested in where it verges into violence. What is the tie-in there? What is the connection between the spiritual aspects and the ancient background, and what you might call wilding?

RAPHAEL:
There are many different types of vampires. Some practice spiritual occultism, whether it is to trying to develop or heighten the ability toward psychic development, psychic powers, awarenesses.

SONDRA:
Is this mind control?

RAPHAEL:
Mind control could be a facet of it. Most likely itís just usually just for gaining energy to help the psyche.

SONDRA:
Thatís ritual magic?

RAPHAEL:
Yes.

Vampire

SONDRA:
Whatís the connection between that and Aleister Crowleyís ĎDo what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Lawí?

RAPHAEL:
Iím not really into Aleister Crowley that much, so I canít deal with any parallels.

SONDRA:
So Crowley doesnít really have anything to do with the modern vampire movement?

RAPHAEL:
I havenít seen it connected to that as much. But then again, there could be those out there who bring a large part of Crowleyís practices into what they consider their vampire occultic systems.

SONDRA:
Iíve received a letter from a vampire killer by the name of Rod Ferrell. He mentioned in his letter, ďWhat is the most beautiful word in the universe?Ē And he said the word is ONE. And ďOnly when we attain Oneness do we attain Sanctity.Ē Does that sound like something he learned from his vampiric occult studies?

RAPHAEL:
That sounds very plausible. Some peopleís interpretation of vampiric lifestyle is occult. Whether it is occultic or otherwise is the admiration of a predatory being, or a predatory nature, where you are out for yourself and you are going through your existence and getting places you want to go in life spiritually and physically through other peopleís sacrifices towards you.

SONDRA:
Thatís a psychopath, basically.

RAPHAEL:
Yes.

SONDRA:
All right. Thatís what I thought they meant when theyíd say someone was a ďpsychic vampire.Ē I thought they always meant that they were basically psychopathic or someone who would thrive off of sucking energy from other people.

RAPHAEL:
The psychopathic vampire of that nature is more of what is called a vampiric magnet or social vampire. He intentionally draws people next to him so he can drain them.

SONDRA:
The black widow kind of thing.

RAPHAEL:
Right. The psychic vampire of today falls into a few different categories. You have the unintentional psychic vampire, who is basically a person who is not very aware of what they are doing. Their aura is weak.

SONDRA:
In other words, you would call them a vampire. They wouldnít call themselves a vampire.

RAPHAEL:
Right. They wouldnít even necessarily know what they were doing. Itís their aura acting on their behalf to gain energy for them because they are either weak, or they have a serious illness or disability, or some other energy drain, which causes them to perform psychic vampirism on those around them. Sometimes you just are in a room with somebody and you feel drained, or something like that. Itís because of the presence of an unintentional psychic vampire, who is just doing what they need to survive. Their aura, or their other self, is just acting as a survival trait. And then you have intentional psychic vampires, which are of two breeds, either of the black or the white. Not to say itís a demarcation of dark and light, but you do have ones that are practicing intentional psychic vampirism for the good of their other donor, letís say, the person that is donating the psychic energy to them. And those people tend to be very positive oriented, and they will try to drain the negative energies off their victim or their donor, and thereby actually making a symbiotic relationship for the benefit of both.

SONDRA:
This psychic vampire, will they be drinking their blood?

RAPHAEL:
Now, weíre just on psychic vampirism. Some psychic vampires do participate in some sort of blood-drinking as well. But it tends to be very tightly connected with their psychic abilities. And then you have the intentional psychic vampire who is pathological, who is intent on draining anything he can around him. He builds up practices and hones his psychic abilities for sustaining himself, regardless of the harm he would be causing his victims. Sometimes it has been known, it has been reported that people have been drained to the point of illness, and sometimes even death, resulting from attacks from psychic vampires of an intentional nature.

SONDRA:
People here in America today?

RAPHAEL:
People in America today. And there have also been a lot of reports in various cultures of receiving nighttime attacks or daytime attacks, and these are from psychic vampires.

SONDRA:
These would be succubi or incubi?

RAPHAEL:
Itís a similar myth, very similar, it depends on the culture of the phenomenon, and how it gets interpreted by the person who is receiving the attack. And you may have them reporting they have been visited by succubi or incubi during the night. What is very common is something known as a ďhag attack.Ē It may start with a very heavy pressure on the chest, maybe sometimes seeing visuals associated with it, either an energy light, or something taking the form of a person, which may be coming back, and it may be perceived as someone you know, or even someone else knows, as someone who has recently passed away, or another spirit you are receiving. But itís actually your mind interpreting what is going on in a psychic vampire attack.

SONDRA:
There is a term, ďpsychopompic state,Ē somewhere between asleep and awake. The sensation is unique. It sounds like what youíre talking about.

RAPHAEL:
Where almost anything could happen and you perceive another reality, different in some ways. Usually what the person senses is their inability to move. They have a sense of paralysis in the psychopompic state, and they cannot get up from that. Usually when the attack dissipates, they feel very drained and they just fall asleep.

SONDRA:
So those are psychic vampires. Now back to what Iím calling modern vampires, like yourself. Are you what you would call a vampire activist?

RAPHAEL:
What I do is pretty much vampire activism. Iím trying to promote within our community an outreach to people who consider themselves vampires and are seeking their own truths and the truths among others, to this phenomenon in our present day culture, and ways they can develop themselves. Iím seeking for them to be able to do this with only a positive outcome as the intention. And that others in our society begin to perceive this also in a positive light, and to bring any kind of pro-vampiric elements to our culture.

SONDRA:
What about the pathological aspects of the people within the vampire community? What is your program going to do for them? Try to help them or turn them around? Do you intend to change them in any way?

RAPHAEL:
Not so much to change them. The biggest help for most people is just to know there are other people out there like them, that they can start communicating with. What I do with my organization, is to lay lines of communication where other people can start contacting each other, and start talking about their differences and their likes.

SONDRA:
What is the number one thing that most people believe about vampires that is not true?

RAPHAEL:
That we all think we are immortal. The majority have no pretenses to immortality whatsoever. Some very few in our culture and society believe in slightly enhanced longevity, or at least being able to have a greater vitality through their lifespan. Just to be healthier, younger-looking, to be more vital, because of their lifestyle choices, whether it be energy feeding through a psychic energy, or direct essence with blood feeding.

SONDRA:
Do you drink blood?

RAPHAEL:
No, I donít.

SONDRA:
Do you think people should not drink blood? Or do you try to get people to drink blood?

RAPHAEL:
I donít try to get people to drink blood. Some people are blood fetishists, which is mostly they enjoy the aspect of blood-drinking, and some to the point where it is a sexual turn-on. Then there are blood feeders, who actually have a physical need or intense desire to consume blood. We like to keep these people in a separate group because they have a serious problem.

SONDRA:
Do they have a medical disorder?

RAPHAEL:
Yes, we are trying to promote the view that these people have a medical disorder that hasnít fully been looked into yet.

SONDRA:
Glen Rogers has porphyria, and as you know, this is a blood disorder that has been called in past times ďthe vampire disease.Ē

RAPHAEL:
The porphyria itself is probably mostly erroneously diagnosed as ďthe vampire disease.Ē There are several different types of porphyria.

SONDRA:
Eight.

RAPHAEL:
Seven or eight, and thereís only one, the advanced congenital porphyria, that has the smallest amount of symptoms related to the consumption of blood. Usually itís just the desire to bite, or to consume flesh, and other types of physical traits which may have been attributed in the past to the vampire stereotype amongst some cultures who didnít understand what was going on.

SONDRA:
I noticed that some of the physical changes in the advanced stage, like actual body hair, one of the medical books I looked at pointed out there may be some overlap between that and the werewolf myth.

RAPHAEL:
Right, the loup-garou or werewolf myth, just as well. But we donít put a lot of strength in porphyria as the clinical reason for that. It could be something that has been entirely overlooked up to this point. There are some other things, some diseases, which are an inability to assimilate certain types of protein.

SONDRA:
But these people are possibly patients, they are not going to self-identify and dress in black and go to a vampire store to buy vampire accouterments.

RAPHAEL:
Right.

SONDRA:
Itís a different group of people.

RAPHAEL:
Very good point. There is some overlap so far as dressing vampirically, and what youíd call a vampire lifestyle. Anybody could choose to become a vampire in lifestyle, whether they are clinicallyÖ

SONDRA:
Speaking of vampire lifestyle, your coat is so beautiful. Would you tell me something about it?

RAPHAEL:
Well, there are very few of these coats available. This was from a boutique in New York which has a lot of very interesting velvet and gowns and dresses and stuff. Itís a very good shopping choice for the vampire lifestyle, on the aesthetic.

SONDRA:
All right, so gothic and vampiric have the same look?

RAPHAEL:
They have some overlaps. They donít necessarily have the same exact look. Thereís a difference, itís very subtle, very fine, but thereís a difference between vampiric and gothic. People who are more into vampires tend toward capes and canes and doing the Bram Stoker type period vampire look. Itís all in the attitude.

SONDRA:
OK, you wear silverÖ

RAPHAEL:
Crystal and onyx and silver.

SONDRA:
And why is that?

RAPHAEL:
Itís what looks good.

SONDRA:
And whatís wrong, or whatís non-vampiric about gold, for example, or a sapphire, or ruby?

RAPHAEL:
I wouldnít begrudge anybody for what they choose to wear. I was just about to say, itís primarily in the attitude.

SONDRA:
Well, they certainly have symbolism.

RAPHAEL:
Yeah, they do have symbolism, and even golds and things like that, which are not in vampire mythology, but Iíve seen people who can be walking in plain-clothed, pretty much mundane garb, who are vampires, and they are noticeable by their attitude.

SONDRA:
What is a vampire attitude?

RAPHAEL:

It has a tinge of predatorinessÖ

SONDRA:
Cold?

RAPHAEL:
A little cold. Like, removed.

SONDRA:
Dignified?

RAPHAEL:
Some dignification. Like a lone wolf hunter type of thing.

SONDRA:
But well-controlled.

RAPHAEL:
Not like raving.


SONDRA:
I have a young friend who is in the post-skinhead absolutely neo-Discordian phase of his evolution and looking back over his pictures with the Goth phase, he was telling me about an evening he spent with his girlfriend drinking each otherís blood and I said ďSo, youíre a vampire,Ē and he said ďNo.Ē And I said, ďWell, whatís the difference between being a vampire and drinking each otherís blood?Ē And he said, ďVampires are depressed.Ē

RAPHAEL:
Ummm, no. I think most of us are happy.

DOMINIQUE:
[Laughs] Itís a big gothic stereotype. Which isnít always true.

SONDRA:
Can vampires have fun?

RAPHAEL:
Vampires can have fun, and they have a lot of fun. And we have really good fun.

DOMINIQUE:
We party down.

RAPHAEL:
Vampires party hard. But if there are any depressed vampires out there, Iíd like to change that.

SONDRA:
They need to be invited to the parties.

RAPHAEL:
Most likely the depression is because they need to get in touch with themselves, maybe to find out why they are taking this path, and to have more understanding about it, and to feel better about it. I think a lot of the depression that vampires may have is due to the fact that they feel outside, ostracized, and a bit lonely.

DOMINIQUE:
You know, itís like with the punk, or any of those genres, when you are in high school, and thereís not very many punks and freaks and Goths and vampires in high school usually, so a lot of high school kids feel like that, they get depressed, theyíre like, Iím the only oneÖ

SONDRA:
Well, it starts off to be a statement of being somebody, even though you donít belong. But you see today so many more are becoming outsiders, itís hardly outside any more.

RAPHAEL:
Right. As this chrysalis bursts forth into society and more people are becoming aware of it, itís important to create the right image at the onset, so that it will be accepted more.

SONDRA:
I understand that as a vampire activist, your are interested in being sure that everyone understands that all vampires are not out on a killing spree, but I am very interested in looking into the vampires that are out on a killing spree. I wonder if you could speculate with me. I mean, youíre not one of those, and neither am I. But certainly you know from the background that you have, I wonder if you could speculate on the recent two gangs of teen killer vampires coming out of Kentucky. Whatís with that?

RAPHAEL:
My first analysis of that would be that they are very misled people. They are obviously very pathological.

SONDRA:
This one said he wanted to open the Gates of Hell, and this one said she was the Daughter of Satan.

RAPHAEL:
Right. I donít put a lot of faith in either of these two being possible. I donít think she is the Daughter of Satan, and I donít think anybody is able to open the Gates of Hell, by themselves, and find the key or something.

SONDRA:
All they did was kill people. And they didnít suck their blood either. They werenít vampiric murders. They were just wilding, basically.

RAPHAEL:

And they just took the vampiric symbolism or whatever and shrouded their activities with it to make it sensational. Because no one in the vampire community that I know or operate with would consider these activities that they would partake of, or would consider those people vampires, in the true right. They are basically just misguided youths who have turned into killers, and who have just shrouded themselves with the vampire myth for a sense of sensationalism.

SONDRA:
After the Rod Ferrell gang had committed the double murder of one of their memberís parents, they set out for New Orleans. They wanted to go there because of the vampire mystique of the city. I noticed at the trial, that Rod Ferrellís Vampire Mom Sondra had an Anne Rice novel clutched very closely throughout the trial as she sat out in the hall. And I wonder, what about the appeal, the glamour, the sexier the style, and then the overlay between that and getting into something like killing innocent people. It seems to be they are verging from one to the other, but you are saying that as responsible vampires, if you will, that this really isnít a part of being a vampire at all.

SONDRA:

And I wonder, what about the appeal, the glamour, the sexier the style, and then the overlay between that and getting into something like killing innocent people. It seems to be they are verging from one to the other, but you are saying that as responsible vampires, if you will, that this really isnít a part of being a vampire at all.

RAPHAEL:
Right. It would be like if anyone was into gangsta rap music, and he becomes a killing street thug, itís as related as that. Itís the difference between being drawn toward a certain aesthetic or sensitivities of our culture, and you admire it, you want to be a part of it - and going ballistic and killing people. Itís entirely unrelated.

Vampire

SONDRA:
So how do vampires have fun? What are these parties like? I mean, you cut each other and drink your blood or what?

RAPHAEL:
No, itís usually just listening to music, a lot of discussions. A lot of people are into self-development.

SONDRA:
Well, they donít sound like vampires at all. I was expecting a little blood and you know, drinking, and you know, something vampiric.

RAPHAEL:
In my experiences with blood-drinking, it is a very secluded act, that people, whether itís two or three, or a small group, perform in a very special way. It wouldnít be something youíd do at a party with 60 or 80 people, itís not party tricks. Every culture puts a lot of strength into blood, as the essence of life, and itís spiritual importance. It doesnít just flow in our veins, our spirit flows within it. And every religion puts a lot of emphasis on blood, whether Judeo-Christian or whatever, and in terms of spirituality, and what it can do when people share blood, for those who choose to perform it, it really brings them much closer to each other, itís a very spiritual act.

SONDRA:
Raphael, is this a religion to you?

RAPHAEL:
It has some aspects of a religion. Because it brings together a couple of beliefs on spirituality between people, between you and your environment, that I have a very spiritual feeling for, so in some form, itís a religion. I donít have strong denomination religious belief, but I would say my outlook on how to interact with the environment, as to being one with it, being more like the beast or animal, and opening all your senses in a vampiric fashion.

SONDRA:
OK, do vampires in a vampiric fashion sacrifice virgins?

RAPHAEL:
[Laughs] Have we sacrificed any virgins recently?

DOMINIQUE:
Too hard to find.

RAPHAEL:
Theyíre way too hard to find nowadays. We would die off as a breed if we had to sacrifice virgins. We have to breed our own. No, but for me, my very personal statement is, like with my environment, to take in everything, to open your eyes, your ears, to sights and sounds, taste and awarenesses, and really absorb everything around you, and not lead a dull existence.

SONDRA:
I donít understand what that has to do with being a vampire.

RAPHAEL:
The myths surrounding vampire powers, and vampiric abilities, is one of enhanced senses, and I think that a lot of us do walk around with our senses dulled and clouded over.

SONDRA:
What kind of drugs to vampires prefer?

RAPHAEL:
I guess it runs the gamut.

SONDRA:
All the way from nicotine to caffeine, or what?

RAPHAEL:
A lot of vampires are very anti-drug. I myself am a vegan.

SONDRA:
Does that have anything to do with being a vampire?

RAPHAEL:
It has to do with my spirituality on life and all that starts mainly when you are exposed to the vampire lifestyle. Itís how you choose to interact with it.

SONDRA:
It seems ironic. To me you almost seem be saying everything we think if as vampiric is not necessarily true. I think of drinking blood as a central vampire quality.

RAPHAEL:
I became a vegan for efficiency of energy intake, and to live more harmoniously with the environment, not to destroy other life, to gain life for oneself. And thatís very similar to the philosophy of the modern day blood-feeder, that has a clinical need to consume blood, and finds willing donors, who are willing to share a small amount of their life essence with them to keep this person satiated and healthy, because apparently some blood feeders experience clinical problems and deficiencies if they do not consume blood on a regular basis. And this usually has been reported as being a very small amount, usually less than a teaspoon, with a very long interval in between, sometimes weeks or months. Itís just that when their body has the urge they need to do it, whether itís some sort of protein deficiency, that becomes too overburdenous for the system to bear and it creates a physical need.

SONDRA:
So youíre saying thereís two kinds of vampires, those who drink the blood and those who allow their blood to be drunk? What do you call that?

RAPHAEL:
Theyíre usually called donors or sources, by the people who are most afflicted by the blood vampires, and sort of have to form a community and create a vocabulary.

SONDRA:
So are you a donor or a source?

RAPHAEL:
Iím neither.

SONDRA:
And you donít drink blood?

RAPHAEL:
No.

Vampire

SONDRA:
Golly. So youíre saying itís a purely spiritual exchange that goes on there? Thereís no physical correlative to it?

RAPHAEL:
For blood feeders?

SONDRA:
For what you do. When youíre like being a vampire.

RAPHAEL:
Which is like 24-7. For me, itís mostly spiritual. But I do have physical benefits from it.

SONDRA:
But this is something you do with someone.

RAPHAEL:
You donít have to do it with someone. It can be a very solo act. For a psychic vampire to feed, there doesnít have to be anyone in the same geographical proximity.

SONDRA:
Would membership in a coven or vampiric group of which you would have knowledge, would it involve secrecy?

RAPHAEL:
Iíd say the levels of secrecy are currently only to protect each other, and to protect a growing community from misrepresentations right now.

SONDRA:
That sounds awfully vague.

RAPHAEL:
Secrecy isnít important in terms of like, if you say the secretÖ

SONDRA:
What about secret rituals, secret words, secret meanings, peopleís identity? Something like that?

RAPHAEL:
There are certain groups that are very shrouded in secrecy. They have several different levels of initiation and even those within the group arenít aware of what is going on until they reach the next level.

SONDRA:
Itís a typical secret society structure.

RAPHAEL:
I think the positive aspects of that are not getting too much too soon. Even if theyíre not secret societies, like the martial arts structure, you donít go on to the next level, until youíve fully mastered everything from the first level. And itís simply not to cloud your mind with too many unnecessary things until itís fully developed. Youíve spoken of developing psychic awareness and psychic abilities, and the strength of the mind is important to maintaining a definitive structure on that.

SONDRA:
Do you have disciplines similar to martial arts disciplines?

RAPHAEL:
Yes. The disciplinary requirements are like that. Itís a very physical and mental discipline and focus.

SONDRA:
Does this have anything to do with the OTO, Temple of Set, Church of Satan?

RAPHAEL:
No. Those are entirely different occult organizations. I mean, any vampire, occultist, psychic vampire or blood feeder is more than welcome to be, and could be expected to be, in any other society as well. Vampires arenít as segregated as you might think. They could be next door. They could be in your occult organization, in your church or your job, or whatever.

SONDRA:
But vampires donít proselytize or try to persuade others to become vampires, do they?

RAPHAEL:
No. Thatís a very minimal set, too. Most people, letís say the clinical vampires. One, they wouldnít know how to give someone else their affliction, theyíre not interested in giving anyone else their affliction.

SONDRA:
Well, take yourself, for example. Youíre an activist. Would that include, hey, join up with the vampires and be like me, sort of thing?

RAPHAEL:
If anyoneís had feelings and desire to explore this aspect of their personality or aspect of this culture as it develops, and hasnít been into it enough or has heard negative things about it, my activism is simply to say, look, itís not all that bad. This is what it is. Lay out the truth.

SONDRA:
Are vampires into free sex, like libertines, bisexual and like, do everything?

RAPHAEL:
No, it runs the same gamut, we have the same cross-section of sexuality as youíd see in normal people.

SONDRA:
So it doesnít include any wild orgies?

RAPHAEL:
Iíve seen wild orgies -

SONDRA:
Oh, so there have been orgies.

RAPHAEL:
Well, Iíve seen normal people throw wild orgies.

SONDRA:
Normal people. OK, so youíve been to orgies, but they werenít vampire orgies. [Laughs]

RAPHAEL:
Something like that.

SONDRA:
Do vampires socialize with other folks?

RAPHAEL:
It runs the gamut of what you see in modern day culture of normal, non-vampiric types. Iíve seen two vampires who are married, very monogamous and very into themselves, and donít open their bedroom doors to anyone else. Iíve seen bisexual, asexual, donít have sex, believe purely in, all of their physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs are purely satiated through psychic vampirism and blood feeding, and they donít desire anything else, they donít need to partake in any sexual practices whatever. And then Iíve seen people who have several partners but they are very possessive over their partners, and itís like a small, very inclusive family or circle, and there is a high level of respect for each other amongst them, and Iíve seen where thereís some chance for manipulation within that, too.

SONDRA:
Is the vampire community made up of warm, friendly folk who will take you in and be kind to you?

RAPHAEL:
Definitely.

SONDRA:
Is that right? So what of the cold and almost cruel facade of the vampire? Where does that fit in?

DOMINIQUE:
Like with any group or clique, once you get to know that group and you are in with them, youíre friends with them, everybody is nice to each other, pretty much. But there are some very close-knit groups that, they are not going to just let anybody in their group, you have to prove that that person is cool enough or fits their standards to hang out with them.

RAPHAEL:
What Iíve seen among our own culture is a lack of understanding for each other, first and foremost, that we need to overcome. What Iíve seen is recently in the past there has been a general lack of understanding amongst all the other groups, factions, or whatever, about each of their beliefs and understandings, and refusal to understand them, and just say ďIím a vampire, youíre not a vampire, youíre a poser, if youíre not like me youíre just like thoseĖĒ and a lot of petty bickering. ďIím more of a vampire than you,Ē or ďthat isnít true vampirism.Ē And itís like I said at the outset, true vampirism doesnít exist. Itís really only what we accept of it, and bring it into our mind, and our vocabulary. Okay, what is a vampire? Now when you come to that question, you have to be very open-minded and explore all the avenues, and there are these people that are falling into different categories that consider themselves vampire.

RAPHAEL:
There tends to be seven or eight types of vampires that Iíve come across. Other people have done some categorizations, but this has been from my research, and been brought to my awareness through my involvement in the community at this point. You have people who need to drink blood, with clinical blood feeding requirements. Then you have blood drinkers. They are considered vampires, and they drink blood. They donít have a physical need to consume blood like a blood feeder, but a blood drinker is one who consumes blood for any of various other reasons. And also keep in mind, that any of the other vampire types we will be mentioning, they also consume blood, either as a drinker or a feeder, it could be a component of what else they do, and then after that comes the other practices. There are the blood fetishes, who are the S&M type, who are not vampires, but are often confused with vampires or vampire blood drinkers, because they do either blood-let or blood-play, which is for the cutting, for the pain, and for the erotic turn-on of extracting blood from the person they are doing a scene with, in BD/SM scenes. Some of them consider themselves vampires or call themselves vampires, but the majority of the vampire community donít consider them vampires. Just BD/SM blood fetishists who revel in the drawing, extraction of blood and using it, getting involved in the letting of blood, but they donít necessarily consume it, and also some that do, also they have no illusions that what they are doing is anything of a vampiric nature. Their main involvement in it is sexual.


SONDRA:
Raphael, I must stop you. Illusion?

RAPHAEL:
Allusion.

SONDRA:
Is this an illusion? Is what you do an illusion?

RAPHAEL:
Allusion.

SONDRA:
OK, I see.

They donít allude to it, saying they are vampires. They are just blood fetishists, they might drink some blood once in a while, for any sexual involvement, an erotic turn-on, but they donít consider it vampiric,

RAPHAEL:
They donít have anything to do with traditional, folkloric or modern-day vampirism. Itís something they consider entirely separate, and belonging in the BD/SM community. Sometimes erroneously they may think what they are doing is vampiric, but by many others, it is considered not. They just mislabeled it, taking the short-cut path, stating what they do, itís labeling. This is all about labeling. Then you have the psychic vampires, and like I saidÖ

SONDRA:
That makes four? Blood feeders, blood drinkers, blood letters - who arenít really vampires - and blood fetishists, who arenít really vampires. Now weíre up to the next one.

RAPHAEL:
You have your psychic vampires. They fall into categories; you have the unintentional and the intentional. And in the intentional, there tends to be the light and the dark, according to what kind of energy they feed off of, which is just another subcategorization of psychic vampire. Motivation is the factor there. Then you have lifestylers, who choose to revel in the aesthetic.

SONDRA:
Is that what you are?

RAPHAEL:
Primarily mostly that, yeah, a lifestyler. And if you choose to partake of the aesthetic, dress in the aesthetic garb, wear fangs, stuff like that, contact lenses, makeup, then the lifestyle also goes further than dressing.

SONDRA: Would you stay up at night?

RAPHAEL: Right, it could beÖ

SONDRA: Would you not get suntanned?

RAPHAEL: Yeah, things like that, but Iíd do those things normally. There are things Iíve normally done that I donít consider vampiric. Iím just very nocturnal. Regardless of saying Iím a vampire lifestylist. But these are some things that people take into the daily routine, and they take it in a vampiric fashion.

SONDRA: Within the lifestyle, the exchange of energy, trying to remain youthful forever, that sort of thing, is that still under lifestyle or is that verging over into spiritual areas?

RAPHAEL: Like I said, all of these types overlap. Someone who is a psychic vampire does not necessarily have to be a vampire lifestylist. A vampire lifestylist could also choose to practice psychic vampirism or hone their psychic abilities, but dressing in the mythical or sensationalized attire of the vampire is not a necessary factor for any of the other vampire types. But someone who has clinical blood-feeding requirements could choose to be a lifestyler, because he harmonizes with the aesthetic. Anybody could be a vampire lifestylist. Not everybody can be a clinical blood-feeder.

SONDRA: Exactly. Itís something you assume.

RAPHAEL: Itís a lifestyle choice. And people say their choices are limited because theyíve been so driven and compelled, either by their society or their environment has shaped them, or other things that have gone on in their life, whether it is traumatic, this is what they have fallen into and theyíve harmonized with it and theyíve taken on the lifestyle choice and they donít stop being a vampire when they go home or anything.

SONDRA: So thatís five?

RAPHAEL: Weíre at five now. The vampire lifestyle also could impact relationships, like they could only have a relationship with someone else who is considered a vampire lifestylist, thereby limiting the range of their relationships, or those relationships could be done differently, in terms of a sexual relationship with a significant other. They also form familial relationships whereby you have a family of other vampire lifestylists.

SONDRA: Your sire - does that mean anything to you?

RAPHAEL: It means something to some people. I donít consider myself having a sire. In vampire terms, for those who believe in a sire or mentor or master, whatever, as in psychic vampirism, itís one who may be teaching you how to enhance your psychic activities.

SONDRA: In the case of these killer teens, that would be the cult leader?

RAPHAEL: Not necessarily the cult leader, depending on how large the cult is, there could be a structure, a hierarchy where other people can bring in new vampires.

SONDRA: The sire could be higher than the local guy.

RAPHAEL: Right.

SONDRA: Okay, so how much of that is going on? A hierarchy where you have an organization that goes nationally, internationally?

RAPHAEL:
And there could be an organization of lifestylers, an organization of psychic vampires. There doesnít tend to be too much organization between blood feeders, because the percentage is much smaller of that type of people. For every one hundred other vampire types you may find maybe one real vampire.

SONDRA:
It sounds like their need to do that rises from within their body, rather than socially or aesthetically or spiritually.

RAPHAEL:
Right, but the lifestylerís need arises from within too, but it tends not to be that much.

SONDRA:
Okay whatís next? When do we get to the killer teens?

RAPHAEL:
Well, there have been people who said they were vampire serial killers or what-not, but as many vampires as I have come to know, thereíd be a lot more killings if they were all of the killer type. Itís probably less likely that thereís a serial killerÖ

SONDRA:
You had Richard Chase, heís certainly a vampire by his own definition, but he was ill. And certainly he was a killer.

RAPHAEL:
Like I said, most vampires who need blood donít need to harm others to gain what they consider the amount they need for sustenance.

SONDRA:
Okay, so weíve got five, weíre up to lifestylers, weíve still got a few more.

RAPHAEL:
We have those who are occultists, who follow vampirism as a faith or religion.

SONDRA:
That includes actual rituals.

RAPHAEL:
Right, actual obeisance to vampire deities or goddesses. Sometimes that is a metaphor for self.

Vampire

SONDRA:
So is it goddess-oriented, self-oriented, or god-oriented?

RAPHAEL:
Thereís different ones, thereís different vampire cult movements or religions that have a different worship and paradigm.

SONDRA:
So even if youíre looking within the spiritual range of vampires, you have an enormous choice.

RAPHAEL:
Right. When you say the word vampire and people goÖ and this one image pops into their head, and that is the largest fallacy, there are just so manyÖ

SONDRA:
So when you meet someone and you say, ĎIím a vampire,í and they say, ĎWell, Iím a vampire too,í but you still donít know who they are.

RAPHAEL:
Right. You have to talk to them and get to know the person, the same as anything else. If someone walked up and said, ĎIím an architect,í that just barely scratches the surface of their being. And the same thing with vampire.

SONDRA:
Okay. Where were we, did we finish the catalog?

RAPHAEL:
These last, well, a lot of people have disdain for them, and theyíre the role-players.

SONDRA:
Oh, the Vampire Masquerade.

RAPHAEL:
Right, theyíve been drawn to portray the character on a temporary basis. Or even sometimes on a permanent basis. Theyíre psychopathically locked into their character. But itís something which is very deeply rooted in a fictional characterization, in a role they are playing. They are playing a game. The difference is, the vampire lifestyler knows itís not a game. Itís really what he feels like doing every day of his life. He feels like dressing this way, he wants to date his vampire significant other, they want to explore vampirism in whatever fashion they see fit, whether it moves them into blood-feeding, or psychic vampire practices.

SONDRA:
So these game-players are more like tourists.

RAPHAEL:
Tourists through the vampire lifestyle. Theyíre taking little tastes of it and some of them will stay, some of them will develop into lifestylers, some will go onto something else. Who knows what the next phase is. Theyíre kids in capes. They take on the persona for a little while.

SONDRA:
Posers?

RAPHAEL:
I donít call anyone a poser. I donít like to use that word. I think itís very derogatory. Iíve created through my activism, a greater respect for vampire role-players. Because in many ways, one is that some of them may come on to be the next vampire lifestylers.

SONDRA:
So youíre saying, donít disdain role-players.

RAPHAEL:
Right. Theyíve been introduced to the community, the culture, through something which many consider to be like ďThe EvilĒ - you know, like, the role-playing, and thatís what got them into it, but they may develop other deeper interests. They may get psychopathically locked into their character, which is a sad thing to see happen to many people, and unfortunately, role-playing incurred that in some people. The differential is, if you meet somebody who is a vampire lifestyler, and they are positive and they have a good outlook on life, and they like themselves, and they understand themselves, and they want to have a relationship with you, whether as a friend or a significant other or a companion, or employee/employer, whatever. That is a very different person to be dealing with than a psychopathic role-player, who has gotten stuck in his role, who is assuming he is a 4,000-year-old vampire, who thinks he has got powers and abilities, he is in this clan, and itís an entirely different story. And thatís a very unfortunate facet. And when you meet someone you have to determine, gingerly, through talking to them, finding out where their motivations lie, how they entered this culture, and what they are taking from it and what they believe in.

SONDRA:
It sounds like some of these people are very dangerous.

RAPHAEL:
UmÖ I consider people dangerous in general. I think theyíre the most dangerous thing thatís ever happened to this planet. [Laughter] And people in general are very destructive and the biggest danger is usually in being ignorant, in not being aware of whatís going on. And the people who are dangerous are mostly people who havenít come to fully understand themselves.

SONDRA:
Tell us about your group.

RAPHAEL:
My organization is The Coven Organization.

SONDRA:
So itís not a coven?

RAPHAEL:
Itís not a coven. Itís like an organization for covens and other people. A coven can be composed of a single person or multiple people. Itís to get people, open lines of communication and activism, and provide a pro-vampire outlet. We opened it in December, and we have about 350 active members now.

SONDRA:
Nationally?

RAPHAEL:
Thatís internationally. We have members in Italy, Hungary, everywhere.

SONDRA:
It appears that thereís quite a lot of vampire, or neo-vampires - lifestylers, if you will, here in America. Is this also happening in other parts of the world just as much.

RAPHAEL:
Yeah, just as much.

SONDRA:
Is this a millennial phenomenon?

RAPHAEL:
Yeah. Well, umÖ

SONDRA:
I mean, it has roots, but as a trend, as a proliferation, weíre seeing quite a lot of this now.

RAPHAEL:
Of clinical blood-feeders, itís said that their forefathers were the cause of the original vampire myths, and if so, theyíve been around for centuries, for thousands of years. Blood-drinkers and blood-fetishists have been around for thousands of years as well. Itís whether itís openly prevalent in our society that is new. Vampire lifestylers are fairly new, but new is relative, and I think Stephen Kaplan has traced them going back as far as the early 1970ís.

SONDRA:
Well, punks went back a ways too. But still, once it reaches a certain critical mass, it becomes a trend. I would think that being a vampire is at the trend level now, donít you?

RAPHAEL:
Itís verging on it. But like you see, the trend is probably within the role-playing. Lifestyling hasnít become that much of a trend yet. Itís got a little way to go. But itís almost there.

SONDRA:
The vampire community ethos has got to remain that of the outsider. This can never be so popular or so predominant that it is mainstream.

RAPHAEL:
You donít want to walk into a supermarket and everybody is dressed like a vampire.

SONDRA:
You already see that with the gothic stuff.

RAPHAEL:
Iím not really trying to create it into a mainstream thing - only within the community itself, that there are better lines of understanding within the community.

SONDRA:
Youíre not seeking to get more vampires.

RAPHAEL:
No, Iím just trying to find the ones who are out there, and get them involved with each other, and get them involved with themselves.

SONDRA:
Working for a little more self-respect and communication among vampires.

RAPHAEL:
Yes.

SONDRA:
Raphael, Iíd like to ask you about AIDS.

RAPHAEL:
Well, you know, AIDS is a touchy subject on everyoneís lips.

SONDRA:
It should be.

RAPHAEL:
If youíre a vampire who is engaging in blood-feeding or blood-letting or any type of blood practices, I would definitely say to use extreme caution. I think the biggest danger from AIDS would be the people who are just touching on it very lightly and arenít getting involved in it -

SONDRA:
Tourists?

RAPHAEL:
Tourists - because they havenít taken the precautions. They havenít taken the steps to gain the necessary knowledge surrounding safe, consensual bloodletting.

SONDRA:
What can you do? I mean, you can get an AIDS test, but you can have AIDS and it wonít show up.

RAPHAEL:
Right. Bloodletting basic, it would be that itís the most powerful thing you can do with a partner. Itís direct sharing of their essence, their life force. And a lot of people consider the letting of blood from the donor to be a sacrifice, and they often overlook that your consuming of the blood is also your ultimate sacrifice.

SONDRA:
No, I donít get that either. I donít hear how itís a sacrifice.

RAPHAEL:
Well, you are opening yourself up to their essence. You will always have -

SONDRA:
Youíre still imbibing it. Youíre not giving up. What are you giving up?

RAPHAEL:
Youíre giving up your individuality.

SONDRA:
Youíre merging?

RAPHAEL:
Youíre merging. And like I say, itís overlooked. That you are sacrificing part of yourself too, by taking in someone elseís blood. One, youíve opened yourself up wide to the trust level that you need to say that my drinking of your blood is a safe act, and youíve let down all your guard to take that personís life essence into your system, that could be damaging, it could destroy you. Thatís a sacrifice. Itís a social one. Youíve bonded with that person, youíve done something that -

SONDRA:
Well, when I was a kid, we used to say, Iíll -

RAPHAEL:
Iíll be your blood brother, right. Thatís usually a mutual act for each person.

SONDRA:
And your friend is your blood-brother, you will fight for him, isnít that it?

RAPHAEL:
Right. And thatís a sacrifice. The biggest kid in the neighborhood starts beating up on your blood-brother, youíre gonna have to jump in. So when you make that bond with someone you are really giving up your independence.

SONDRA:
Youíve giving up your boundaries.

RAPHAEL:
Yeah. Youíve opened yourself up and let an intermingling of spirit, life, and involvement with that person on a social level as well. So if someone is going to do any cutting or blood-feeding, the most thorough trust is involved, it probably even surpasses marriage.

SONDRA:
Youíre saying itís not something to do casually.

RAPHAEL:
Not at all. The implicit trust of one another is absolutely necessary before engaging in any of this.

SONDRA:
The fangs. I gotta ask you. To my understanding, people who do blood-sharing, they donít do it by going up on your neck and biting you with fangs.

RAPHAEL:
No. No. [Laughs]

SONDRA:
The fangs are absolutely a fashion statement.

RAPHAEL:
Absolutely.

SONDRA:
They really have nothing to do with fangs that are going to get in your neck and eat your blood out, right?

RAPHAEL:
Right, theyíre not safe or sane blood-letting implements at all.

SONDRA:
They donít work.

RAPHAEL:
Well, these work. These are a lot stronger than anything you could possibly think of when youíre getting fangs. These can rip through almost anything. [Laughs] These would create a lot of unnecessary trauma to your donor. In terms of damage to their flesh.

SONDRA:
Rather than what, a straight razor?

RAPHAEL:
A safety lancet, or a straight razor. The sterilization of equipment, knowing about human physiology, where to draw blood safely, not to cut too deeply, to have proper precautions set up at all times if you are going to partake in this, I canít stress that any more. Itís not something to perform casually, itís not something to perform under the influence of drugs, you have to have your full awareness about you when youíre doing something like this. Accidents can happen, and itís the last thing Iíd want to see happen to anybody who is trying to do this as a spiritual act between themselves. It may not be sexual even. Sometimes the feeder and the donor have no sexual relationship whatsoever. They could both be married to different people.

SONDRA:
The first time you partake in blood-drinking, is that what you call crossing over?

RAPHAEL:
That is a line that is crossed, but itís not the only crossing-over that takes place.

SONDRA:
Crossing over? What does it mean?

RAPHAEL:
Itís very blurry. The first time you perform a vampiric ritual if you are an occultist, would be the crossing-over point.

SONDRA:
In the case of Rod Ferrell, he had a crossing-over ceremony with the victimís daughter before committing the murders. In other words, the girl was crossed-over by Rod, and my understanding was, that she had become a vampire.

RAPHAEL:
If someone mentions that, thatís what they are alluding to. Crossed-over to become a vampire.

SONDRA:
So youíve never done this before, and youíre going to now join in the vampire cult, and youíre doing it for the first time, and then after that, youíre a vampire?

RAPHAEL:
I donít think that. Thereís got to be a level of mentoring with any of the types. With the clinical blood-feeders, thereís no crossing over, because they become it, if something triggers it within them, they could be said to have crossed-over. But learning how to live with that is an ongoing process. If youíre being trained to be a psychic vampire, the first time youíd attempt a psychic feeding, you havenít crossed over. Youíve dabbled. Maybe youíve succeeded in doing it. But you arenít really a vampire until youíve gone further into yourself in understanding your being. If you are practicing blood-feeding or blood-letting, just the first time you cut somebody or share their blood, itís simply a base physical act at that point. You have to continue to explore that before you say, ďI am a vampire.Ē Because if I suck someoneís finger because they got cut, which people do when they are growing up, if that happened at six or seven, if you sucked on your friendís scab, did that make you a vampire? Was that your crossing-over? I would say no, but some people refer to their crossing-over, ďOh it happened when I was six or seven, when I first drank someoneís blood,Ē but thatís not my definition of crossing-over. Itís when you really can examine yourself and say that youíre a vampire of any of the different types that may be out there.

SONDRA:
Well, Raphael, itís been very interesting talking with you, and I must say I learned quite a lot about vampires that I did not know, that vampires can be very nice people and can even have fun, right?

RAPHAEL:
Yes. [Laugh]

SONDRA:
And you can even bring a vampire home with you.

RAPHAEL:
Yes.

SONDRA:
And feel perfectly safe.

RAPHAEL:
But be careful. With anybody. [Laughs]

SONDRA:
Thank you very much.

Vampire

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