For centuries, members of society have regaled each other with tales of vampires and werewolves, shape shifters, dragons, and a long list of other “mythical creatures.” No one included witches in that category. History blatantly describes the decades of witch burnings; not the least of which were the Salem Witch Trials. However, the big question is: Do vampires REALLY exist?
Vampires in Today’s Culture
Our culture recently exploded with masses of vampire movies, books, and TV shows proving our embedded interest in the vampire culture. We have many new takes on the old legends, such as what happens to them when exposed to sunlight, as well as ways to kill them. We have even seen races of offspring that vamps and humans might produce, and a distinction between “living” vampires who only feed in small portions and age similarly to humans and “undead,” evil creatures who match the old ideals of these “demons” who kill to feed and feed to kill. Every corner we turn, we find a new spin on vampirism. Each angle makes these once purely evil beings more enticing and appealing, even lovable.
Goths Are Vampires, Too?
Goths are our modern vampires. That is a stereotype. While many of us have the pale skin, wear dark clothes and/or makeup, listen to rock and metal music, and have a fascination with the culture and lifestyle, many also either have no interest whatsoever in vampires, or they border on an obsession and play make-believe. No one can say for sure whether vampires exist or not, in any sense, but I will get to that shortly. The point for the moment is that gothic and vampire cultures should not always intertwine.
I’d like to digress just a moment and tell you a story about a “vampire” I know. Me.
A Vampire’s Tale
No, I do not need blood to survive. In fact, I am a vegetarian. However, I have a medical condition called “Porphyria,” more commonly known as “vampire’s disease.” There is more than one type of this condition, and mine is the most common and mild. Rather than affecting me neurologically, mine is little more than an adverse skin reaction to sunlight. However, mine is not hereditary, and its development is very recent. I was not born with the condition, nor do I know exactly what caused its sudden appearance. What I do know is how it has affected my life. And I must say, it is awesome!
I know how strange that sounds to some people. In fact, I have experienced a wide range of reactions and comments from my own friends and family. I have always celebrated the goth style, and I was born in love with all things macabre and horror. So naturally, some thought I was avoiding the sun on purpose to add to my creepy, Wednesday Addams-esque image. Since most of them have seen the sun’s effects on my skin, reactions vary from ignoring the issue completely to silent but conspicuous observation. However, the real fun begins when my anemia strikes. It, too, is very mild, but when both conditions play together, they seem to produce, well, a vampire. Allow me to illustrate with a story...
Not long after receiving my porphyria diagnosis, I went the doctor for an unrelated issue. I remember it was mid-summer, but I’ll come back to that in a moment. The nurse looked for a moment at the drastic pallor of my skin. Though she said nothing out loud, the curiosity was written on her face, and I barely stifled a giggle. She escorted me to my room, prepped her equipment, and checked my blood pressure. It registered me as dead; something like 60/45, I can’t remember exactly. My face suddenly had more color than hers, and she tried to hide her trembling hands by excusing herself to get another nurse and BP cuff. After two more puzzling readings and failing to find my pulse in the usual spots on my wrists and neck, they finally got a reading that told them I was at least alive enough to see the doctor.
When he entered the room, I saw that he thought the nurses were overreacting. He put down my chart and their notes, and offered his hand. As soon as I took it, and my skin touched his, he jumped away as if I had suddenly sprouted fangs. Please, forgive the pun, but I couldn’t resist!
That’s the short version of my story, but I hope my point is clear. This kind of thing happens to me all the time, and not always just at the doctor. Some of my friends and family cringe when I call them, laughing hysterically about my latest vampire escapades. I don’t completely understand their aversion to the subject, and honestly, it doesn’t bother me. I don’t laugh about these incidents to be cruel at all, and those who allow me to explain their strange experience always end up laughing along with me. I’ve made quite a few friends in this way, in fact. However, I also don’t apologize for my giggles because I do think it is fascinating (and just a little funny). I have always loved weird, morbid, and scary things, so why would I not love these things about myself?
Exist, or Don’t Exist, that is the Question (of Today)
Now, to the point of this whole jumble of words: Do vampires REALLY exist? And if so, how does a person “be” one today? Answer number one: NO ONE knows for sure. Movies depict vampire societies as secret, hidden from humans and dangerous in one form or another to any humans who stumble upon the creatures of the night. Many musicians are writing song lyrics that sound as if they have secret messages to, from, or regarding vampires. And authors are using combinations of legends and their respective imaginations to create their own versions of these mysterious beings.
Let me ask you a question: How often do we hear a fictitious story that is not based on some grain of truth? If the tale exists, it is because someone saw, or experienced, something at least remotely like a legend or fictional story that resulted of that person’s encounter. Nothing is impossible, right? Answer number two: Whatever you do, vampire or otherwise, do NOT go out attacking even homeless people or ex-convicts, ripping out their throats and draining their blood. Even IF you ARE a vampire, you are not exempt from the law and doing so would not be wise, even IF they are bad people. Trust me, in this vamp infatuated age, you can find more than enough willing volunteers practically swooning to be your feeders! However, this is also not wise OR encouraged in any way unless you know these people; there ARE plenty of viruses out there and none of them will give you pretty, shiny fangs and immortality.
Let Us Hear You Screech!
Take my advice: Don’t try to be a vampire. While my specific cases of porphyria and anemia are mild enough to be entertaining, there are people suffering from more severe cases, and that is no joke. Our bodies must have Vitamin D and iron to grow and stay healthy. Deficiencies of either one can make you ill, and, if untreated, can be dangerous. So never force yourself to stay indoors or reduce the iron in your diet for extra pale and cold vamp skin. I am proud of who I am, but I am fortunate with my conditions. I would never wish the more severe effects on anyone, and my heart breaks for those who suffer in ways I cannot imagine!
None of us should try to be anything other than who we are. If you feel that you fit in the “vampire” category, or any category that labels you as “weird” or “kooky,” give us a shout! We are proud of who we are and we would love to hear about how you shine with your own uniqueness! So send us a message; we can’t wait to hear from you “mythical” creatures!