After we published our take on the news story last week about runaway Shelby Ellis and how both her parents and the private investigator implied to the media that Shelby’s disappearance could be related to some sort of Vampire cult, the public outcry from the vampire community was immediate and loud.
There were several things that surprised me the most about the comments from self-described “vampires.” The first was the intelligence level.
I’ve been writing and blogging for many years, and the Internet and blogosphere is filled with flamers – commentators that seem to just scour the web for blog comment areas where they can attack writers and toss insults.
The concern from these “vampires” were intelligently laid out, sincere and straightforward, and most importantly they made sense.
Shelby Ellis ran away from home, and because her parents reported that the girl had an “obsession” with vampires and everything “dark”, that’s what the media reported. However, no one knew why she’d ran away from home, who lured her into running away (if she was lured at all), and of course whether her involvement in vampirism even had any part to play in the disappearance.
Now, the second thing that surprised me about the Internet comments from self-described vampires was the level of defensiveness. It is clear that this is a subculture that is accustomed to receiving scorn from media or frowned upon by the general public. The frustration about that social rejection was very apparent.
Cases of Violent Vampirism
To determine whether these social knee-jerk reactions toward vampirism are justified, I decided to take a closer look at the recent history of dangerous vampire groups around the world.
So without further ado, here are six examples of recent dangerous vampire groups in the news.
-> In 2009, a witness named Jessica wrote a piece for the "Girl Talk" section of Dolly Magazine, where she described meeting a boy named James (a.k.a. Corvus), who convinced her to run away from home. She writes:
"James seemed so wise and so sure of himself it was hard not to take his advice and believe his every word. He eventually convinced me to run away from home to be with him in Hobart. He paid for my flight down and my family didn't know where I was for months."
Once she unwittingly moved into the "vampire house" with James, Jessica was introduced to the subculture of vampirism, where members of James' group would stay up all night, perform various ceremonies and even "regularly drink blood from each other." She eventually escaped from her ordeal, but still bears scars on her arms from sharing her own blood.
-> In 2007, there were several media accounts of a young 15 year old girl in Springfield, Missouri named LaCallia Wiggins, who was lured into a group of vampires. Led by a 20 year old man, the group drank blood from each other's wounds and performed "awakening" ceremonies at the local cemetery.
-> In 2003, the Guardian reported how 22 year old Allan Menzies murdered his lifelong friend Thomas McKendrick in order to become a vampire and earn immortality. He stabbed Thomas 42 times, and struck him with a hammer 10 times, before eating part of the head and sucking on the blood that was coming from a wound in Thomas' neck.
Another case reported by the Guardian was the murder of Mabel Leyshon just a year earlier. Matthew Hardman, a self-proclaimed vampire on his own quest for immortality, stabbed Mabel 22 times and even removed her heart and placed it on a platter near her body.
The Guardian interviewed a forensic psychologist from Edinburgh named Ian Stephen, who stated:
"The cult of vampirism is to do with power and dominance, using blood to give you energy and immortality. If someone had ridiculed him, he may have needed to compensate for this - something like vampirism may have given him what he was looking for."
-> In March of 2010, the German Herald reported a story about a 150 member "cult of blood drinkers" in Germany. According to the story, one of the members, a 39 year old computer technician named Rafael, was arrested for attacking a 15 year old boy in 2004 for the purpose of sucking his blood.
-> In 2009, the Edmonton Sun reported a story about 20 year old "Buffy." The woman had become involved with a local vampire group and eventually took part in the brutal murder of 13 year old Nina Courtepatte. According to court records, Courtepatte was lured with stories that she was the "chosen one", only to be raped twice before the group, including Joseph Laboucan and Michael Williams, as well as Buffy, beat and stabbed the girl to death.
Looking Beyond the Media
Because of the collection of stories that any parent can find about such "vampires" online, anyone could be forgiven for assuming that these groups are made up of delusional, psychologically deranged or impaired individuals with an unhealthy and warped sense of reality. However, speaking with some of the leadership of some of these groups paints a slightly different story.
After covering the Shelby case and digging a bit more into the existence of this apparently large community (particularly online), I have had the pleasure of meeting Sappho Wolf of Vampgeist.com. Sappho agreed to an open interview to discuss some of these matters and this subculture in general, and for that I am grateful. On the issue of stories like these, where violence and crime is directly connected to the vampire culture, Sappho had this to say:
Anyone can call themselves a vampire, even if their intentions are brutal or criminal or otherwise harmful. Of course the vampire community is not alone in this--how many groups in the world make the news when a few fringe individuals act in the name of the group but in opposition to the accepted principles of the majority?
This powerful statement holds a lot of truth. Almost every one of the world's largest and most popular religions - Christian, Muslim or Hindu for example - fed the formation of fringe sub-groups which, in the name of the larger religion, conducted criminal, unethical or otherwise questionable acts.
Ultimately, the question comes down to those accepted principles of the majority.
Here at TopSecretWriters, we'll be digging further into the subculture of vampirism to learn more about what this community is really all about, the truth about the belief system, and the reality about those that call themselves "vampire" in this day and age.