Link to original: http://www.sanguinarius.org/articles/history.shtml
Before I was online, I corresponded with people in the vampire subculture and people who said they were vamps, researchers, etc. Eventually, I was contacted by someone who later invited me to join a network of real vampires that they were trying to form, and it had a newsletter. It had barely got off the ground, when a few viscious people, whom the founders had decided didn't fit the qualifications of what a real vampire was, started nasty rumors regarding us and the network: what we were, stood for, did, our goals, etc. Since we were very secretive (and a bit elite...read as snobbish, I suppose), -- we were instructed to talk about it with nobody outside ourselves, -- nobody outside the group knew any better. You know about sheeple and the rumor mill...ugh!
Well, a few bigwigs in the then-offline vampire subculture (I won't name any names) took the rumors and ran with them. We attempted some countermeasures to dispell the rumors and sidetrack people, and these backfired, bigtime, and only added to the confusion. *wince*
We only got out 3 issues of our newsletter before we fell apart. I was only one of the charter members and not the "evil mastermind" behind the whole evil cult. (*lmao at the word*). Anyway, for some reason, I had got targetted as the one to watch out for, who was begind everything. Granted, I did have my own ideas of where I wanted to steer the network, but I was far from the leader; just an article contributor. *shrug* Oh, well..
Anyway, with the network gone, and notable personages in the realm of vampire fandom apparently leery of me, I still wanted to reach out to others.
So, when I got a computer, I went online. And I'd learned my lessons about secrecy. This time, *I* was at the helm and I could take the page where I wanted to take it. So I have. And here I am now.
* * *
When I first gained access to the Internet, back in 1996 and 1997, there were a lot of vampire sites on the web. Most of them were general vampire fiction and nonfiction sites; some were RPG, and TV / movie-oriented. Some were just lists of links to other vampire sites (Dark Side of the Web, for instance). There were a few sites for "vampires", but which were primarily ... pretend, catering to those who would be vampires, as an outlet for their would-be vampirism, and probably attracting the occasional real vampire, as well. And there were a handfull of sites that did attempt to deal with vampires as a reality. The first ones that I remember are Vampiric Studies HomePage; Honest Vampires/Vampires of Great Britain (now password protected, and I don't have the url); The Vampire White Pages (apparently down; formerly at http://www.caput-mortuum.com/vwp/index.html); the articles Bela Lugosi's Dead....a dissertation on the modern vampire, "The Truth" by Devilrhyms, ...so you want to be a vampire?, and Vampires: the Real Thing, by Brian Chabot; the Vampirism Research Institute (VRI) and its message base.
I remember exhausting search engine after search engine in an attempt to find real vampire sites, and those are pretty much all that I came up with. As vast a place as the Web is, and I could not find more sites, try though I might. I must have gone through a zillion sites looking in vein (sorry) for any references to f/actual vampires and vampirism. In addition to the sites I've already mentioned, some of other my early online hang-outs included Vampyres Only, the net.Vampyric, and The Vampire Duck. I didn't have access to AOL back then; I was on a borrowed computer, and all it had was Netscape, so I couldn't frequent AOL's "Vampires Online" or "Real Vampires - No RP" chat rooms.
Then, in the spring of 1997, I got a computer of my own. I signed up with AOL, and seeing that AOL members get 10 megs of free web space (well, 2 megs per screen name), I set about publishing The Home Page of Sanguinarius. (I will not go into the nightmare of trying to publish a web page using a 386 with a 2400 baud modem, and Personal Publisher II, except to say this: I would literally spend 6 hours or more trying to publish a page no larger than the Statements of Purpose page! The reason being that once PPII / my disgusting modem started to upload a page, it would, 99.5% of the time, -- no joke -- lose the connection, and fail to upload a page in its entirety. To cease trying to upload it at that point, would mean to have a page on the web which was anywhere from, oh, say, 7% to 90% present, and that was just ... unacceptable. It was a nightmare, and I went a little psychotic; which, combined with the time I spent working on the page and trying to upload it, was a major contributing factor to the disintegration of my marriage. Well, ok, gee, I guess I did go into the nightmare of trying to publish a page under hellish conditions, after all. Oh, well. Anyway, my 386 hard drive later got fried during an electrical storm, and I got a 486/33 mhz computer with a 210 meg hard drive and a 14.4 modem, and I was able to download and use AOL Press. This was sheer heaven, and it revolutionized my page-making and uploading abilities!)
By the time I got online on my own rig and started putting up my page, I noticed a gross proliferation of Vampire: The Masquerade sites, Ricean vampire pages, and other sites that magnified the vampire into being something gloriously superhuman, powerful, beautiful, and mysterious. I also noticed a handful of pages that dealt with vampirism as a sort of dark / occult pathway, or even a religion! These were invariably dark and apparently influenced by various forms of Satanism, and some were downright evil. How many innocent, naive seekers will fall into this pathway to destruction? I was concerned.
On my page, I included the handful of real vampire links I'd collected, began the Guidelines, Tips & Advice section, the Statements of Purpose (left over from unrealized plans to start up an offline effort to find and connect real vampires, after a similar effort that I had been involved in ... fell through *choke!*), early versions of my Questionnaires, and, I think, the FAQs and Terminology pages. Soon after I was able to get the whole damned thing on the web, I changed the title to Sanguinarius: The Vampire Support Page, hoping, but not really expecting, that people would take it and me seriously. I expected to be inundated with a constant barrage of stuff like: "I'm a powerful, ancient and mysterious vampire, and I am watching you / gonna get you / will toss you scraps of time, attention, and/or secret knowledge if you kiss up to me..." and "You evil, disgusting, vile spawn of Satan -- we will destroy you so completely, there won't even be any record of your having been born!" Surprisingly, I am happy to report, this has not been the case.
At some point, I put up a message board, called then, I believe, Sanguinarius' Vampire Discussion Board. On it, and in emails, I got a lot of people either claiming to be vampires or wanting to be vampires. And sometimes people asking whether they are vampires or not -- I really don't know, and I hate making "diagnoses", especially over the net! (After all, how do I know that the information s/he has provided is true and accurate or not? Yes, So-and-So apparently displays some vampiric tendencies, based on the information that s/he has provided me. But I am not about to pronounce them a vampire!) My aim is not to scratch the itching ears of those who want to hear certain things, or indulge the fantasies of those who want to be, or believe in, vampires; my aim is to dispell misconceptions, to guide and influence in a positive manner those who are or may be vampires, and to influence people away from entertaining false hopes and ideas in what it is like to be a vampire, so that they do not desire to become one, based on these false notions [a pending Statement of Purpose addition...*blink*].
In the late summer or early fall, I believe, I ran across Vyrdolak's Real Vampires Home Page, and accompanying article, Real Vampires. It was a new page [Vyrdolak writes: "For reference, my original site went up on August 29, 1997 (which happens to be the exact date chosen by James Cameron for the nuclear holocaust in his film Terminator 2: Judgement Day! My site went up on 'Judgement Day'! *grin*). But the article was put up on the EarthSpirit Community website in February or March of 1997..."], although I only learned recently (a year later) that it popped up right around the same time that mine did, along with a few others, such as the Hall of Memories (HoM) Discussion Forum, and Sasha's page, A Theory on Real Vampirism (no longer online); although I don't for sure recall knowing about these others at that time, I may have known, or soon after discovered them. I wasn't quite sure what to make of Vyrdolak's page, because it obviously was a real vampire site, but she had a bunch of weird (to me), esoteric stuff thrown in about feeding on energy and the like. Anyway, it -- and other "Real Vampire" sites -- threw me for a loop, and I wasn't quite sure whether to include them or not. On one hand, they dealt with people really being vampires, but they all "went wrong" in some areas, I felt. Namely, the consuming of psychic energy, and that these "vampires" didn't necessarily even consume blood, and that psychic energy was interchangeable with blood. Sigh. Dern it, and they were otherwise good and informational sites. I figured that these people were most likely occultists or new-agers who perhaps knew something of vampires, or possibly knew someone who was a vampire, but who were not actually vampires themselves. This just goes to show how little I knew back then...
In the summer, fall and winter of 1997, I had been a regular on the newsgroup alt.vampyres, which focus is primarily on fictional, literary, and folklorical vampires and vampirism, but which was the only non-RPG-oriented vampiric newsgroup available. Many of the posters are not vampires, but write as though they are for entertainment indulgences, but it had its share of real and self-proclaimed vampires, who posted there as well. We -- uh, they (...sigh, okay, we) -- were tolerated, so long as we behaved ourselves and didn't post our "real vampire" stuff too obnoxiously. Catharene of the Vampiric Studies HomePage posted, I posted, Devilrhyms occasionally posted "The Truth", and some ... nice person ... who then went by the name of Shadowlkr posted, among the occasional others. Lots of people posted about wanting to contact real vampires, or be turned and whatnot. These people usually got flamed for this, and usually because they did not take the time to read the FAQs (*Sangi shakes a finger in mock rebuke* So let that be a lesson to you about not reading the FAQs...).
Shadowlkr kept posting crazy shit in alt.vampyres about invisible symbionts causing people to be vampires [read, if you will: "spiritual" possession--?], and how she had supposedly had her symbiont removed by using some sort of home-constructed electrical -magnetic device, which, if constructed or used by someone not knowledgeable in the area of electricity and electrical devices and hazards, could possibly cause electrocution or severe shock. [She later took to continuing to post this, but with an added disclaimer / "warning" attached.] What's this insane bullshit? I thought, and posted a couple of articles (which never purported to be anything other than theories), one of which was my Journal entry, to counter the pseudoscientific drivel that she was posting about invisible symbionts.
My marriage was on the rocks, and I suddenly found myself in a very unstable and insecure position, emotionally, economically and mentally. I was under a great deal of stress, and I did not react well to additional stressful situations. Basically, a flame war erupted in the winter of 1997 due to my reactions to others in response to what I posted in alt.vampyres. At that point, I was not communicating well, and BJ and others were running circles around me while I was thrashing out at them in feeble, poorly formed attempts to defend my position. They managed to make me look bad. *Sangi sulks* Anyway, the flames burned high into the night, and finally, I just said "fuck it, fuck you, I'm gone."
More and more real-life vampire sites began appearing on the net: informational sites, personal homepages, sites with links to real vampires' pages, etc. I continued tracking these sites down and linking to them on my page. The first rustlings of a "community" were felt. Others began to put up sites, or add sections to their existing sites, or change the focus of their sites.
In January of 1998, I established the IRC channel #Sanguinarius (on DALnet) so that those who are vampires, as well as those who are curious, could have a place to congregate on the web and communicate in real-time conversations and discussions. I noticed, when listing the "vamp" channels, that there was only one or two other channels registered that were having anything at all to do with real vampires (or fact / fiction / folklore, even) in their topics. (Nobody was ever in them. Eventually, they became unregistered, and I snagged them and re-registered them, but nobody ever went in them, so I eventually let them drop.) The rest of the "vamp" channels were used for role-playing. Eventually, #Sanguinarius started attracting more visitors. Sometime in the spring of 1998, the former owner of the Psychic Vampires site (the remains of this most excellent site are, alas, no longer on the web) founded #psyvamp, and it, too, became a lively place. Unfortunately, it, as well as #Sanguinarius, was troubled with incidents involving psychic feeding and / or attacks, and that tended to scare people off.
By late January, 1998, there was serious talk about forming a separate newsgroup for the Real Vampires and Truthsayers, which are the alt.vampyres derogatory terms for anyone claiming to be a vampire and have some scrap of "true" information, basically (I don't know why I got labelled a Truthsayer, as what I posted were clear that they were theories). From what I gathered, there had been talk of forming one for quite some time, but it had never really had any serious effort put toward that endeavour. Well, the flame war I mentioned earlier (which evolved into a flame war between Amy Krieytaz and Baby Jinx; by that point I had decided that further replies on my part weren't worth my time and effort, so I mainly stayed out of things) was apparently the last straw, because there began to be serious discussion in both alt.vampyres, and the Real Vampire camps about forming one, to give the Real Vampires a more appropriate forum in which to post. I know that Amy Krieytaz had talked to me and also others about this, but I was too busy doing other things at the time to be able to actively participate in any element of its creation, including the discussions that went on concerning it. On 9 Feb, 1998, alt.culture.vampires was created. A brief history of the newsgroup can be found here. Negotiating the Vampire: Conflict Resolution in a Usenet Newsgroup, by Kristina Miethner, is also an informative essay discussing this conflict and the formation of alt.culture.vampires.
Well, after I'd been online a while, and had contact with various people, I learned that the types of vampires who feed off of psychic energy are psychic vampires; not (necessarily) so-called "real vampires" (which to me meant someone with a need to drink blood), but calling themselves that, for a lack of a better term to distinguish themselves from fictional, "immortal", or supernatural types of vampires. Okay, I could swallow that. Since there were quite a few of these people and sites, and they did have validity, I started up the Psychic Vampires list of links (now found at The Real Vampire Directory: Real Vampire: Psychic Vampires) to include these sites, as well as to get them separated from the blood-drinking vampire sites (now located at The Real Vampire Directory: Real Vampire: Sanguinarian). This was also so that those who were looking for blood-drinking vampire sites would not be confused by what the psychic vampires had to say.
All the while, I perpetually conducted internet searches for more and new sites dealing with vampires and vampirism, blood, and now psychic vampires. Most of the vampires whom I had come into contact with were or claimed to be psychic vampires. I concluded that most of these people wanted to be able to call themselves vampires, but excuse the fact that they did not drink blood. Thus, they claimed that they were psychic vampires. (After all, they are vampires, and they are feeding right as you watch, -- you just can't see them do it. So you can't disprove it, eh? Perfect. And, therefore, anyone can claim to be a psychic vampire.) But I did believe that there are such critters, so I did continue to think of them as a being part of the Vampire Community, even though I didn't know too much about them or their ways.
One thing that the psyvamps are known to do is to swoop down on any unsuspecting sanguinarian, or "blood vamp", and try to convince him/her that s/he is, in fact, an unrealized or undeveloped psychic vampire. They do this out of a well-meaning desire to help, based upon their own experiences of being able to alleviate their own blood cravings via psi-feeding. They mistakenly assume that all sanguinarians are capable of doing this, as well, which gets extremely frustrating for the sanguinarians who hear this advice again and again. They tried this with me. They had me believing it for a while, but if I were a psychic vampire, then I should be able to feed like one, do the things that they do, and feel the things that they feel, right? Hell, I don't know. I may have some weak, weak psyvamp tendencies, but I am, above all, a sanguinarian. I don't feed from psychic energy, and I don't need it. Yes, sometimes I do get rushes off of high emotions or excitement, or whatever, but it's not "feeding" anything except my desire for entertainment or personal amusement, and it's certainly no damned substitute for blood!
Some people were posting on Sanguinarius Vampire Discussion Board who claimed to be vampires, but used concepts and terms from White Wolf's Vampire: The Masquerade gaming system to describe their alleged vampiric condition and existance, while insisting that they were not gamers, -- even after I'd made it clear, time and time again, that I did not have room for posers and fakes on my site. I screamed and hollered a lot and denounced these impudent ... people as fakes and posers.
In February, 1998, Amy Krieytaz (Vampiric Peoples' Resource Page and Blood Drinkers Resource Page), Alexander Vincent "Prince" Verthaine, and Rev. Raphael Osiris of The Coven Organization explained to me that there are certain types of people out there who identify closely with fictional vampires, and who incorporate fictional vampire-inspired trappings into their daily lives, but who do not actually claim to be V:TM or Anne Rice-style vampires. Many, though not all of these people also drink blood; some are real vampires in the sense of craving blood, while others are blood fetishists, and still others are just drawn to the "Vampyre aesthetic". I managed to swallow that somewhat as being valid without really understanding it at that point, even though I cannot distinguish most of them from "posers" and fakes, unless they are up front and identify themselves as being vampyre lifestylers, or "Vampyres". These people are very much into the Vampyre scene (which is an outgrowth of, but not the same thing as, the Gothic subculture), dressing in period-style costumery and emulating the ways of life of fictional vampires, going to Vampyre niteclubs, having a social organization structured similar to that which is laid out in V:TM. I still thought that they were attempting to convince themselves and others that they were vampires, though. -- Else, why go to all the trouble? But, okay. I grudgingly acknowledged their (somewhat) valid claim of being a part of the Vampire Community. Although I felt that I really could not relate and had no idea what sort of support or resources to provide them, I included a section of links designed for these Vampyre lifestylers. I guess they are happy with it, because I haven't had any complaints, but neither have I had any suggestions.
Prince Verthaine went on to produce a page which focusses on the Vampyre lifestyle: House Verthaine presents: Vampire Lifestylers.
Meanwhile, there appeared more psyvamps and more psyvamps, seemingly out of the woodwork. All that ever got talked about was psyvamp stuff, and worse, they referred to themselves as "real vampires", and stated that, for real vampires, consuming blood is secondary to consuming pranic energy; in effect, cutting sanguinarians -- blood vamps -- completely out of the picture of being real vampires. We lowly sanguinarians felt resentment at this, but it was nebulous and unformed. Nobody said anything, though -- except for Amy Krieytaz, who is not herself a sanguinarian but had talked with enough sanguinarians to realize that the well meaning psyvamps were over-generalizing.
The past has a way of coming back to haunt us. "OCaptain", who is someone that I had known from the early 1990's offline dealings in the vampire (sub)culture *blink*, found my site and contacted me again. Shortly thereafter, the individual going by the name of GodsAcre began posting certain "documents" on Sanguinarius Vampire Community Discussion Board. These would most likely have been played down as flights of RP-fantasy, had I and others whom it concerned not been familiar with certain names, events, facts, and addresses which GodsAcre mentioned. This matter caused some uncertainty, and a great deal of discussion behind the scenes. But, eventually, things quieted down regarding the matter.
At the end of August, 1998, whilst I was still concerned over the GodsAcre affair, I established Bloody Minded: A Message Board for Blood Drinkers, which was met well and somewhat possessively by those who consume blood, who first voiced their discontent with the psyvamps in that forum. Since I was on edge during most of the GA (GodsAcre) matter, and since I was also being subtly influenced by OCaptain's skepticism towards psyvamps as being anything more than mere energy-wielders (with perhaps a taste for consuming psychic energy), and since I already had a certain amount of unaired resentment towards the psyvamps for "overrunning" the place and basically drowning out the sanguinarians, I cut loose and let everyone but the sanguinarians have it. I was also, shall we say, under the influence of the Thirst at the time, which foiled my thinking objectively in regards to the Vampire Community.
Giving back to the psyvamps what I felt they had been serving up to us sanguinarians all along, I excluded them in defining "real vampire". Basically, I proposed that anyone who did not experience the Thirst, who did not have to deal with serious blood-lust (among other conditions of being a vampire), was not a vampire. I excluded the psyvamps, lambasted the Vampyres, and crucified the gamers and posers! This came suddenly, without warning, and took everyone by complete surprise. All hell and rubber chickens broke loose. Oy, with friends like me, the Vampire Community doesn't need enemies! :-/ Much discussion of this and some more misunderstandings occurred when I attempted to apologise, which in turne caused even more discussion. People claimed a rift had occurred between the sanguinarians and the psyvamps, which I hope to try to repair over time and with effort. Many of the psyvamps just got up and left, forming their own forums and such. My God, I never meant to divide the Community!
Amy, Cymbelina, Virgil, I, and others, have talked about my ... lapse in hospitality, and began the process of straightening things out (and increasing my understanding of those who are psychic vampires). I had since gone and re-read the Statements of Purpose, and my Intro Page, and, with those refreshed in my memory, gotten myself more or less back in line with my own aims and intentions. Besides that, it's just plain rude to welcome someone into one's house as one's guest, and then behave in a rude and inhospitable manner toward them. That is, in effect, what I did. I do hope that those who were offended or hurt will forgive me the transgression.
Amy Krieytaz suggested that it would be beneficial to begin referring to the "Vampire Community" as the "Vampiric Community", in order to take the focus off of who is / who isn't a "vampire" and keep it on the "Community" where it needs to be. I did agree, and subsequently revised the title of the discussion board, the Statements of Purpose, and ferretted out references to the former on my site to change as time and opportunity allowed.
Thus we come to the present, and the end of this article for now. It is subject to additions and revision, but I will make it known when I make any major changes (you can sign up for the Sanguinarius News & Updates newsletter, where I will make such announcements). I would also like to thank those of you who have given me feedback and suggestions for improving this article, and making it more accurate, especially Amy Krieytaz, who provided much invaluable information in regards to the sequence of events, clarifying various misconceptions and misphrasings that I had, etc.