A psychic vampire (or energy vampire) is a fictional and religious creature said to feed off the "life force" of other living creatures. The term can also be used to describe a person who gets increased energy around other people, but leaves those other people exhausted or "drained" of energy. Psychic vampires are represented in the occult beliefs of various cultures and in fiction.
Terms used to describe the substance or essence that psychic vampires take or receive from others include: energy, qi (or ch'i), life force, prana, and vitality. There is no scientific or medical evidence supporting the existence of the bodily or psychic energy they allegedly drain.
The term "energy vampire" is also used metaphorically to refer to people whose influence leaves a person feeling exhausted, unfocused, and depressed, without ascribing the phenomenon to psychic interference.
Dion Fortune wrote of psychic parasitism in relation to vampirism as early as 1930 in her book, Psychic Self-Defense. Fortune considered psychic vampirism a combination of psychic and psychological pathology, and distinguished between what she considered to be true psychic vampirism and mental conditions that produce similar symptoms. For the latter, she named folie à deux and similar phenomena.
The term "psychic vampire" was popularized in the 1960s by Anton LaVey and his Church of Satan. LaVey wrote on the topic in his book, The Satanic Bible, and claimed to have coined the term. LaVey used psychic vampire to mean a spiritually or emotionally weak person who drains vital energy from other people. Adam Parfrey likewise attributed the term to LaVey in an introduction to The Devil's Notebook.
The English singer-songwriter Peter Hammill credits his erstwhile Van der Graaf Generator colleague, violinist Graham Smith, with coining the term "energy vampires" in the 1970s in order to describe intrusive, over-zealous fans. Hammill included a song of the same name on his 1978 album The Future Now.
The terms "energy vampire" and "psychic vampire" have been used as synonyms in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union as part of an occult revival.
The 2019 American comedy horror television series What We Do in the Shadows includes the character Colin Robinson, a metaphorical and literal "energy vampire" who drains people's life forces by being boring or frustrating.
Sociologists such as Mark Benecke and A. Asbjorn Jon. have identified a subculture of people who present themselves as vampires. Jon has noted that enthusiasts of the vampire subculture emulate traditional psychic vampires in that they describe 'prey[ing] upon life-force or 'pranic' energy'. Prominent figures in the subculture include Michelle Belanger, a self-described psychic vampire, who wrote a book titled The Psychic Vampire Codex: A Manual of Magick and Energy Work, published in 2004 by New Age press Weiser Books. Belanger details a vampiric approach to energy work which she believes psychic vampires can use to heal others, representing an attempt to disassociate the psychic vampire subculture from negative connotations of vampirism.
- A Vampire's Life? It's Really Draining: Forget 'Twilight.' These Folks Pale in Comparison to the Stereotype. By Monica Hesse, Staff Writer, Washington Post, November 24, 2008, Page C01
- (Frost 1989, pp. 16–18)
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- Fortune, Dion (2001) . Psychic self-defense. Samuel Weiser. ISBN 978-1-57863-150-6. OCLC 44926949.
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LaVey defines psychic vampires as "individuals who drain others of their vital energy... They fill no useful purpose in our lives, and are neither love objects nor true friends.
- Hammill, Peter (23 October 2006). "The Future Now". Sofa Sound. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
- DeNio Stephens, Holly (1997). "The Occult in Russia Today". In Glatzer Rosenthal, Bernice (ed.). The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. p. 468. ISBN 0-8014-8331-X.
- "What We Do in the Shadows". BBC Online. 19 May 2019. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
- Mark Benecke and Aleksandra Blak, 'Vampire Youth Subculture in New York City', presented as a conference paper at the Second World Dracula Congress (Poiana Brasov, Romania: 24–28 May 2000).
- A. Asbjorn Jon, 'The Psychic Vampire and Vampyre Subculture', in Australian Folklore: A Yearly Journal of Folklore Studies, 12 (2002), pp. 143–148 (p.145) ISBN 1-86389-831-X
- (Frost 1989, p. 31)
- Frost, Brian J. (1989). The monster with a thousand faces: guises of the vampire in myth and literature. Popular Press. ISBN 978-0-87972-459-7.