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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Real life vampires: diseases, mysticism, inspiration, and philosophy from the world of fiction

The blending of fiction with reality is something which has happened for centuries. Often it's difficult to separate history from the myth, and myth from the history. Such is the case with a myth so compelling as vampires have been throughout the centuries. In my research and reading to develop my own stories about them, I've collected a number of tales about vampires in real life and connected with a number of people who have taught me a great deal about some fascinating subcultures and philosophies online. It has challenged my perception and forced me to become more open-minded than others on certain topics, but one thing remains for certain: I firmly believe that there's a lot in this world that cannot be explained, and I have very little feeling or opinion on what others do so long as they do not harm themselves and do not harm others.

I expect this to be a controversial post. In the interest of fostering positive discussion, I only ask that people remain adults--and I mean that in a good way. ;)

What some don't realize is how much the myth may be related to reality. There is a genuine medical condition which exists called Porphyria. Porphyria is a genetic blood disease which prevents those afflicted by it from being able to be exposed to the sun. Because of its characteristics, it's very possible that some of what we know about vampires in fiction may have been inspired this illness. You can read more about it here: http://popculture.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_vampire_disease

In addition to medical conditions, there are people who find a spiritual and/or physical need to ingest blood. Some argue that it is a fetish; others that it is merely psychological. For whatever reason(s) they feel they must, there exists a small sect of people who have sought ways to fulfill this need in safe, sane, and consensual ways--mindful of the obvious risks of injury, HIV, and other illnesses, not to mention the social stigma. More information about this particular subculture can be found at the following sites:

http://www.drinkdeeplyanddream.com/
http://www.sanguinarius.org

In spite of debates about their origins and how much comes from myth versus reality, there is another type of vampire known as a psychic vampire. In my life, I have known of two kinds: the negative sort who either literally or figuratively drain people, are often manipulative, depressed, and sometimes even sociopathic. Then there are the sort where similar to the previous example, they seek to have a sane, safe, and consensual energy exchange with others in order to fuel what they see as a spiritual need to connect with others on a deeper, perhaps mystical level. Michelle Belanger is a famous spokesperson for this particular community of people and she has spoken at great length and written books on the subject. I've often seen numerous comparisons between it and the BDSM community on ideas in regards to power exchange, trust, and the ability to open up on deeper levels with people.

You can read more about her and her works here: http://www.michellebelanger.com/

Of course, there are the other sorts: the so-called "lifestylers". Considered to be a subgroup of the goth movement, vampire lifestylers have taken to vampirism as a fashion, a philosophy, and a way of self-expression. Some have forms religions on it with very similar philosophies to those like Michelle Belanger while others have kept it as a strange mingling between goth, fetish, and BDSM lifestylers. Such people have been so inspired by the vampire mythos that they have integrated it into their clothing choices in ways that resemble an odd cross between RPGs and a philosophical and fashion movement.

All in all, I've found reality to be far stranger than fiction. I've met a number of people during my time as a writer who have forced me to think harder about life and challenged my own paradigms in regards to it. I'm grateful for that, for it has allowed me to write even more creative fiction than I otherwise would've had, and has inspired a number of interesting characters in my own novels.



Love & Magic,
Adrianne
www.adriannebrennan.com

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2 comments:

mkoning said...

I've heard of porphyria, it was a subject I first really thought about after watching an episode of CSI titled 'Justice is Served'. Your bit about the 'psychic vampires' is interesting and makes sense to me, I'll have to look it up some more. There does seem to be a bit of reality at the heart of some myths.
I have been through a lot and met quite a few different people in life, and I agree with you, life can be way stranger than fiction.

I find it interesting that when you look at the top selling movies or books of all time they are fiction, fantasy based. Not crime or drama or comedy or non fiction. People like to get away from reality.

Mark

Adrianne Brennan said...

Many people read fiction to escape. Some read it because they want to think about the possibilities, broaden their minds even for a little while.

I think there's an awful lot of influence of reality on fiction and fiction on reality, and I love the tales that blur the lines between the so-called boundaries. That's another post in a bit!



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