Vampirologists & Vampophobes

Definitions:

The following are definitions within the Vampyre Community context.

What is a vampophobe?

  • Vampophobe – one who is intolerant, non-acceptant or fearful of Vampyres or vampyric people, and who may act or react toward them with hostility. Such a person is said to be ‘vampophobic’ – i.e. “many ‘vampirologists’ are vampophobic”.

What is a vampirologist?

  • Vampirologist – one who studies vampirology or a person who researches, studies, and discusses vampires in both the fictional and real world and the trends that follow them, usually without making contact with them or taking any actions against them or intervening or attempting to influence or change the culture or community.

What is an Academic?

  • Academic (person) – A person who is a member of a college, university, or other institution of higher education. (Dictionary of unfamiliar words)

Vampirologists – General:

In general terms, there is a trend of perceiving a vampirologist as an academic, someone representing a college or a university or another institute, who studies or observes or researches Vampyres, typically in fiction, but also increasingly in the context of the Vampyre Community or Vampyre subculture.

In recent years, several serious academics (people with academic qualifications in various inter-related fields of study) have engaged with the VC and studied the subculture. Examples of this group include Dr. Joseph Laycock and D.J. Williams.

This practice has proved mutually fruitful since it resulted in many useful and helpful articles about the subculture and community which have improved the outside perception of the community and by the academic world. In the VC itself, following the increase over recent decades of incidences of academic studies being published (typically of great benefit to the acceptance of the subculture) these individuals tend to be presumed to be people with an actual academic qualification, perhaps based at a university as a professor or doctor in a field like anthropology or sociology.

It is worth noting that NONE of these serious academics has EVER identified themselves *as* ‘vampirologists’, least of all, not to the VC itself.

Also, despite the lengthy definition of a vampirologist above, there is no external, dictionary, precise, specific, point by point, black and white definition of what a vampirologist does or doesn’t do.

This is because there is NO such actual THING in the academic world as a vampirologist.

You won’t find for example, at a university or other academic institution, an academic with that title – ie ‘Dr. John Smith – Vampirologist‘.

Misunderstandings About Vampirology:

The ‘standard definition’ of ‘vampirology’ appears to be focused on the study of fictional and mythical creatures which do not actually exist outside of a book – since it does not in fact recognize living people identifying as Vampyres as the ‘real vampires’ in question. No. They seek undead corpses slumbering in caskets hidden in forgotten cellars.

However, since the 1970’s, when the Vampyre Community began to coalesce into a visible and detectable presence, there has been a slow, gradual increase in interest in us. A mix of religious critics and curious (if sceptical) academics have increasingly been probing and investigating the Vampyre subculture. Since there are actual Vampyres and an actual Vampyre Community, there is a perceived need to study them, and hence, *poof* the ‘real modern vampirologist’ was born.

Goosewing

This lack of a concrete point-by-point definition of what a ‘vampirologist’ is or does, has in the recent past resulted in some unfortunate misunderstandings where people have entered the community by various portals proclaiming their academic status as ‘vampirologists’ – with or without academic qualifications – and then deliberately exploiting the misunderstanding around the term – and its total lack of actual definition – in order to interfere, destabilize, divide and to disrupt the community instead of adhering to accepted academic standards of ethical practice, and with the intention of advancing their own objectives, whatever these may be.

Instead of quietly conducting their studies or research without intervention, the trend with these individuals is to linger, mingle, insinuate themselves into as many groups as possible, where they then try to influence, argue, criticize, intimidate, set down roots within the community – and then disrupt the community by means of inciting drama and flame wars in forums or groups, and by attempting to redefine or reorient elements of the subculture to suit their own views. An apt description for the conduct of such an individual would be an ‘internet troll’.

Rather, we urge any Vampyre or Vampyre Community group to exercise extreme caution when approached by ANYONE who identifies themselves as a ‘vampirologist’ and expects to be taken seriously and at face value, without being able to produce some kind of formal accreditation or affiliation to a formally recognized institute of learning and a complete and detailed manifesto of aims and goals of whatever study they intend to conduct, up to and including a detailed break-down of the methodology they intend to employ.

Having a website, a blog or even a very nice full color business card proclaiming ‘Dr. John Smith – Vampirologist’ does not mean that person can or should be taken simply at face value. Anyone can call themselves a ‘vampirologist’ – and calling themselves an ‘amateur vampirologist’ doesn’t make it any better. Again, calling oneself an ‘academic’ should require some kind of proof, and more concrete than merely referencing a string of internet blogs.

For example, how would a “‘Dr’ with a Phd in English literature” be in any way qualified to run a radio show about medical issues? There is of course, a vast difference between this, and say – a sociology professor or even a student of new religious movements (NRM’s) asking to observe or study the VC – and a layperson who is not themselves vampyric presenting themselves as an ‘expert’ on the Vampyre subculture.

There is therefore a MARKED difference between a ‘vampirologist’ focused on studying or pursuing a mythical undead walking corpse (if at all these can be found anywhere outside of literature) and a serious academic researcher who is focused on studying the Vampyre Community in its own context for academic reasons and without prejudice.

Of course, either may be entertained in our community, provided their presence is not disruptive or their intent is not understood to be hostile towards the community or its participants – i.e. vampophobic.

The most dangerous type of ‘vampirologist’ is, perhaps as expected, the religious fundamentalist or skeptical critic, who has no real interest in observation, or research – except to learn weaknesses and to identify targets for hostile action. You can see some examples of this type illustrated listed below.

Precedents for ‘vampirologists’:

Vampirology is technically speaking, a prominent feature of fiction itself, such as “Dr Abraham van Helsing” in Dracula (or “Abraham von Goosewing” from Duckula, take your pick) for example – even though this most famous of all examples was an academic, his field of study was blood and diseases of the blood – and though he was very knowledgeable about Dracula, Van Helsing was technically a vampire hunter, not an academic in terms of VAMPIRE studies – and this naturally should be considered an example of vampophobia – and in the case of self-described ‘academic’ or even ‘amateur’ ‘vampirologists’, a form of academic vampophobia.

After all, Van Helsing wasn’t interested in studying Dracula or any other vampire in the Stoker novels, he only cared about staking and beheading them. Modern examples of ‘vampirologists’ have demonstrated no qualms about endangering those they claim to be studying or researching, and have several times placed individuals and even entire communities at risk.

The Roman Catholic Church still has a post for a ‘Vampire Hunter’, which might not be quite the same thing, but it is in keeping with the established tradition many who would wear the mantle of a ‘vampirologist’ would be attracted to.

Examples of alleged ‘vampirologists’ include individuals such as:

  • Sean Manchester (of the ‘High Gate vampire’ fiasco in the 1960’s and 70’s). Nowadays a Bishop in London, yet still chasing after the media spotlight, and not content with merely focusing on the fictional or mythological vampire, this individual has frequently launched scathing criticism against the Vampyre subculture and community. He maintains that his farcical accounts of hunting an undead apparition ‘vampire’ in London over several years, are true and accurate, despite being called out as a fraud by various critics, notably even by other ‘vampirologists’. Since he has demonstrated nothing more than scorn for living Vampyres, referring to them as ‘vampiroids’, Manchester is not known to have ever approached the VC directly or to have interacted or studied it internally, since he does not believe that ‘real living vampires’ exist, although he certainly seems to believe that ‘undead blood-drinking corpses’ and ‘revenants’ do.
  • Anthony Hogg – an Australian self-described ‘arm-chair critic’ with a passion for the fictional and mythological vampire, entered the online VC around 2013. He presented himself as an ‘academic’ and an ‘amateur vampirologist’, posting numerous articles on his blogs (shared among a network of external lifestyle ‘zine’ sites) about fictional vampires as well as critical articles about the VC and subculture. His ‘study of vampires in fiction’ and his blog articles appear to be the sole basis for his claim of being an ‘academic’. The drama and flame-wars in various groups across the VC resulting from his attempts to force his views on the community were most unwelcome, and by August 2015, Anthony Hogg had been banned and excluded from most if not all Vampyre Community groups and was essentially viewed as a ‘white swan‘.

Physical Dangers:

There have always been the kooks and nut-jobs skulking in the shadows, making a life-long hobby (or obsession) out of chasing ghost stories and tales of lurching undead revenants in the mists of their imaginations and craving media attention. Sometimes some of these kooks and nut-jobs have got together and formed little clubs to indulge their hobbies (or obsessions) and spend nights staking out cemeteries and even stalking ‘people of interest’ to them.

Some of these people have used the term ‘vampirologist’ too, to describe their interests, field of study or activities, even though they do not typically even remotely consider what they see as ‘Goth wannabes’ and ‘vampiroids’ as anything like their actual subject of study – an undead myth that it is extremely unlikely ever existed out of mythology or fiction or drug-fueled delusions.

Further, there is again another subdivision in these categories which has been noticed over time:

It is usually the ‘unqualified’ or ‘hobbyist’ type of ‘vampirologist’ that is of concern to the VC. Real academics associated with universities or other institutions of learning tend to abide by ethics and professional standards – whereas the part-time, unaffiliated and unqualified variety who relies heavily on their own personal biases tend to be motivated by some kind of personal agenda, typically hostile to the VC, which means they need to be carefully screened and preferably avoided.

Physical dangers presented by such people are synonymous with those of any misunderstood and often vilified minority group – threats and intimidation, persecution, assault, and worse.

Groups or communities which are divided or bogged down in drama find it difficult – and in a worst case scenario, impossible – to provide much-needed support to their members.

Vampirology’ Groups:

Yes, believe it or not, there are actually groups in existence which either form to keep an eye on real Vampyres, or which run around hunting shadows of fiction in the night. We have included both types in this listing. There are many, we are sure, but since we are in South Africa, we have decided to list local groups in preference to international ones, although some of the more prominent international ones also feature, since these days the internet (and Facebook) have shrunk the world and become ‘the Great Equalizer’.

Whether the creators of websites and Facebook pages which attack or incite harm or hostility against the real Vampyre Community do so to while away their boring existence by creating lampoon sites to send up religious fundamentalist lunatics who perpetually wax hysterical about “Satanists”, “witches” and “vampires” – or if they are just immature bored kids on a mission to attract attention – or if they are seriously deluded individuals convinced of what they are saying, isn’t always immediately clear.

Members of the community find sites and Facebook groups like this amusing just like anyone else, but also frustrating and annoying, because while humorous to a degree, they also help to perpetuate misconceptions about the real Vampyre Community, and in a way help to fuel the hostility against the community and subculture.

Most typically those who make sites like this have no idea that real Vampyres do exist  – and perhaps that is a good thing.

Almightywind Ministry (USA)

Category: Vampophobic

This American group, which focuses mainly on the conversion of gang members and gangster culture to a fundamentalist if eccentric strain of Christianity, and which is obsessed with ‘satanic panic hysteria’, has aside from a plethora of conspiracy theory videos available on YouTube about homosexuality, Halloween and even werewolf transformations, released modest quantities of vampophobic video material, mainly on YouTube, in which the real Vampyre Community is conflated with “Satanism” as well as the personal theories about alien origins (in particular, the “reptilians”).

In a series of inane video rants, this group has claimed to have infiltrated real Vampyre Community groups with the ultimate intention of destroying them in the name of their religious beliefs. In one video in particular, one individual embarks on a mission to defame a rival pastor from another similar gang focused ministry by portraying him as a real Vampyre, using musical taste as so-called evidence.

Ghost Spotter East London (South Africa)

Category: Suspected Parody Site

This South African group, apparently started in 2011, claims to act against occult and supernatural forces in the East London area. It makes references to alleged death threats received from “Satanists” while actively “fighting” them. Of course, since this group also posts reports about apparent observation and infiltration of supposed “vampire houses” in East London, it is of interest in this category. At any rate, the community is not aware of any actual Houses in East London, so this claim (along with the site and the “group” it represents, is most likely bogus – probably a watered down version of the “God Hates Goth” website and concept. No independent information exists to verify any of the claims of “action” made by the group. As of November 2012, immediately after SA Vampyre News exposed the group’s claims in an article, the group appears to have vanished, but may simply have gone underground – which is more concerning, because if it were a parody site, why would it hide from attention?

God Hates Goth (USA)

Category: Parody Site

ScreenShot034A website maintained by persons unknown, for reasons unknown, which purports to represent the “Parents Against Goth” society – a non-existent body fronted by an equally fictitious founder, the “Reverend R.G. Green”.

This site, ostensibly a fundamentalist Christian website (or a mockery of one) delivers scathing criticism and condemnation of both Goths as well as Vampyres using “supporting information” which is about as applicable and “well-researched” as Paul Cameron’s “studies” of homosexuality.

The disclaimer on the site reads: “The Godhatesgoths website, Parents Against Goth Movement and Gods Hammer Baptist Church are complete works of fiction. It is a satire/parody” and “This site is meant to be viewed as black humor, parody and satire on very real people and organizations out there, who DO think Goth and metal is the devil’s music”. Surprisingly though, often those who despise both Goth as a philosophy or lifestyle, as well as vampyrism, refer to this site in their comments.

Kanaan Ministries (South Africa)

Category: Vampophobic

ScreenShot036In 2009, shortly after the release of the first Twilight movie, Kanaan Ministries, a Christianist organization, released a lengthy research document entitled “Twilight: A Warning“, which included much of the terminology and culture of the real VC – but somewhat predictably conflated the real Vampyre Community with Twilight vampires and “Satanism”, and rather harshly condemned Vampyres from their religious and biblical literalist perspective. Kanaan Ministries, when last consulted, did not appear to be aware of the Vampyre Community in South Africa.

SAPS Occult Related Crimes Unit (South Africa)

Category: Vampophobic

Exposed in 2012 after a decade long hiatus during which this unit was claimed to have been dissolved, this SAPS law enforcement unit appears to focus more on violations of the Human Tissues Act (HTA) relating to muti murders etc, rather than on actual real Vampyres or the Vampyre Community.

Despite specific mention of “vampirism” in their mission statement, subsequent “clarifications” from SAPS spokespersons have created the impression that the real Vampyre Community will not form part of the central focus of their mandate. However, since their instruction, training and recruiting focuses totally on Christianist religious doctrine, the truth of this is uncertain.

Since 2012 several nonsensical statements have been released by various ORC representatives about vampyrism and the Vampyre Community.

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