Looking In From The Outside: External Research

Over time, interest from external academics and researchers has increased from being low-key efforts, to full-blown and overt and even funded research.

This has taken the form of polls and surveys, as well as personal interviews and even instances where scholars have befriended Vampyres, gained the trust  of secretive and closed communities and moved among them for lengths of time in order to complete their studies.

Several ground-breaking articles have been published as theses and papers in University annals and publications in recent years and been peer-reviewed to a degree of refreshing frankness, open-mindedness and honesty to which the Vampyre Community is  quite frankly, unaccustomed.

For many years, “experts” would interview one or two individuals as “specimens” for their studies, without themselves understanding whether they had interviewed real self-identifying Vampyres, lifestylers, role-playing gamers, or fetishists – or which was which – and would publish research which was actually rather damaging to the community.

This spate of early interest spawned by the rash of people clamoring to “come out of the coffin” on reality TV shows spawned genuine interest in the phenomenon from the scientific community, and also unfortunately produced Mundane “experts” on the Vampyre Community that didn’t know what they were talking about – who simply ended up fueling the “Satanic panic” of the 1980’s and 90’s.

Fortunately it seems that era is over, at least in some more forward thinking parts of the world. Serious scientists and scholars have again taken a renewed interest in the phenomenon of the self-identified Vampyre and our community, they are approaching us with unbiased curiosity rather than conservative condemnation and even religious zeal, and looking for a real tangible reason for why so many people the world over share the same experiences without having been in contact with each other before, and working to uncover the secrets of our nature.

Dr. Joseph Laycock (2009)

In 2009, author and lecturer Joseph Laycock went under cover with a group of Vampyres over a two year period, conducting interviews, and learning about the Vampyre Community from the inside. The result was the first objective study on the VC, which received wide acclaim from both the VC and scholars. Just reading the book has given Mundanes an impartial glimpse into the world of Vampyre-kind.

In his book “Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampirism“, Joseph Laycock argues that “Long before Dracula, people were fascinated by vampires. The interest has continued in more recent times with Anne Rice’s Lestat novels, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the HBO series True Blood, and the immensely popular Twilight. But vampires are not just the stuff of folklore and fiction. Based upon extensive interviews with members of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance and others within vampire communities throughout the United States, this fascinating book looks at the details of real vampire life and the many expressions of vampirism as it now exists. Today’s vampires are best understood as an identity group, and that vampirism has caused a profound change in how individuals choose to define themselves. As vampires come “out of the coffin,” as followers of a “religion” or “lifestyle” or as people biologically distinct from other humans, their confrontation with mainstream society will raise questions, as it does here, about how we define “normal” and what it means to be human.”

This study has made huge strides in the case for tolerance of the Vampyre Community. More studies by third parties have come in the meantime, such as this one, from January 20, 2011:

D.J. Williams (2011)

Pocatello, Idaho, USA – “Idaho State University Assistant Professor of social work D.J. Williams announces a new study focusing on the real Vampyre Community. In a press release, he states he is “devoted to researching “self-identified vampires” and the vampire sub-culture and educating mainstream culture about them.” Williams has published on this topic in peer-reviewed academic journals Leisure Sciences and Leisure/Loisir, and has acted as a consultant for the FBI regarding understanding vampire identities, issues and practices. He has also been approached as an expert for a proposed television documentary on these topics.

“It has taken me a long time to get the trust to work with these self-identified vampires, because they are skeptical about how outsiders will perceive them and they feel that they are easily misunderstood,” says Williams, who has made contact with the vampire subculture in several large urban areas of the United States and Canada. “The vampire community denies those things and isn’t associated with violent, dangerous or criminal behaviors,” Williams said. “This community wants to speak out and educate people on what they are and what they are not.” Extensive demographic research conducted within the international vampire community shows that they vary considerably in ethnicity, religious affiliation, education, and psychological profile, according to Williams.

“The underlying theme of all this is for people to be more understanding and compassionate,” Williams said. “We may be tempted to dismiss someone for what we identify them with, but these are human beings who have a right to live happily and with self-determination. With vampires and other groups I have worked with, they are at-risk for discrimination, which is based on misinformation. It is important for me to see how they are understood.” Extensive news media coverage follows over the next few days. The Atlanta Vampire Alliance (AVA) distributes a Community-wide request for participation.”

More studies follow.

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