Vampire lifestyle

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The vampire lifestyle, vampire subculture or vampire community (sometimes spelt as "vampyre") is an alternative lifestyle and subculture based around the mythology of and popular culture based on vampires.[1][2] Those within the subculture commonly identify with or as vampires, with participants typically taking heavy inspiration from media and pop culture based on vampiric folklore and legend, such as the tabletop role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade and the book series The Vampire Chronicles by author Anne Rice. Practices within the vampire community range from blood-drinking from willing donors to organising groups known as 'houses' and 'courts' of self-identified vampires.

The vampire subculture largely stemmed from the goth subculture,[1][3] but also incorporates some elements of the sadomasochism subculture.[1] The Internet provides a prevalent forum for the subculture, along with other media such as glossy magazines devoted to the topic.[needs update][4]

Participants within the subculture range from those who dress as vampires but understand themselves to be human, to those who assert a need to consume either blood or 'human energy'.[2][4][5] Both types of vampires may assert that the consumption of blood or energy (sometimes referred to as auric or pranic energy) is necessary for spiritual or physical nourishment.

Though the vampire subculture has considerable overlap with gothic subculture, the vampire community also has overlap with both therian and otherkin communities, and are considered by some to be a part of both, despite the difference in cultural and historical development.[6]

Types of vampire lifestylers[edit]

There are several types of vampire lifestylers.

  • "Sanguinarians" (sometimes referred to as hematophages) consume the blood of others.
  • "Psychic vampires" claim to attain nourishment from the aura or pranic energy of others[4][5] in order to balance a spiritual or psychological energy deficiency, such as a damaged aura or chakra.[1]
  • "Hybrids" both consume blood and assert that they consume psychic energy.[5]
  • "Blood donors" willingly allow other members of the subculture to drink their blood, and may or may not exhibit subservience toward those who do.[7][2][4]
  • "Blood fetishists" use blood as a stimulant or sexual fetish, sometimes drinking it during the course of sadomasochistic sex.[5]
  • "Role-players" acknowledge that they are human beings. Williams[5] states that they may "dress up in vampire clothing, live a vampire lifestyle (e.g. sleep in coffins), and primarily participate in RPGs such as Vampire: The Masquerade".

Explanations for blood-drinking[edit]

Renfield syndrome is a clinical condition marked by a fixation on blood or blood-drinking.

Sex researchers have also documented cases of people with sexual (paraphilic) vampirism and autovampirism.[1][8][9] However, not all participants in modern vampire subcultures display a link between the vampire lifestyle and their sexual behaviour.



Some self-proclaimed Christian vampire slayers have arisen in response to the vampire subculture.[4] Online, they swarm vampire websites with hate mail and participate in other similar activities.[10]


Tracey Wigginton gained the nickname "The Lesbian Vampire Killer" in 1989, after committing the murder of a man, purportedly to drink his blood. Other crimes have been committed by people believing themselves to be vampires, such as Rod Ferrell, a murderer, and Jonathon Sharkey, who has repeatedly threatened public officials and harassed underage girls. However, the vampire subculture as a whole does not condone violence or crime; criminal acts on the whole are rarely associated with the vampiric subculture.[further explanation needed][7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Jøn, A. Asbjørn (2002). "The Psychic Vampire and Vampyre Subculture". Australian Folklore: A Yearly Journal of Folklore Studies. University of New England (17). Archived from the original on 2015-12-08.
  2. ^ a b c Benecke, Mark (2015). Benecke & Fischer: Vampyres among us!: Volume III - A scientific study into vampyre identity groups and subcultures. Remda-Teichel: Roter Drache. ISBN 9783939459958.
  3. ^ Skal, David J. (1993). The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror. New York: Penguin. pp. 342–43. ISBN 0-14-024002-0.
  4. ^ a b c d e Keyworth, David (October 2002). "The Socio-Religious Beliefs and Nature of the Contemporary Vampire Subculture". Journal of Contemporary Religion. 17 (3): 355–370. doi:10.1080/1353790022000008280. S2CID 143072713.
  5. ^ a b c d e Williams, DJ (2008). "Contemporary Vampires and (Blood-Red) Leisure: Should We Be Afraid of the Dark?". Leisure. 32 (2): 513–539. doi:10.1080/14927713.2008.9651420. S2CID 143339707.
  6. ^ Lupa (2007). A Field Guide to Otherkin. Immanion Press. pp. 25–26, 50, 52. ISBN 978-1-905713-07-3.
  7. ^ a b Guinn, Jeff (1996). Something in the Blood: The Underground World of Today's Vampires. Arlington: Summit Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-56530-209-9.
  8. ^ McCully, R. S. (1964). Vampirism: Historical perspective and underlying process in relation to a case of auto-vampirism. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 139, 440–451.
  9. ^ Prins, H. (1985). Vampirism: A clinical condition. British Journal of Psychiatry, 146, 666–668.
  10. ^ Thorne, Tony (1999). Children of the Night: Of Vampires and Vampirism. London: Victor Gollancz. ISBN 978-0-575-40272-0.

Further reading[edit]