ABC-CLIO

Vampires Today

The Truth about Modern Vampirism

by Joseph Laycock

 

Throughout the world, untold numbers of people self-identify as "vampires" and follow the ways of “vampirism.” But what does it mean to be a vampire? Is vampirism a religion? Is it a fantasy? Is it a medical condition? Is it a little bit of each?

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Cover image for Vampires Today

May 2009

Praeger

Pages 200
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Popular Culture/General
  World History/General

This book, about real vampires and the communities they have formed, explores the modern world of vampirism in all its amazing variety.

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.

In Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampirism, Joseph Laycock argues that 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.

Features

  • 16 illustrations
  • Numerous interviews

Highlights

  • Introduces the reader to "lifestyle" vampires, who adopt a culture and a gothic ascetic associated with the vampires of art and legend, "real" vampires, who feel that they must actually consume blood and/or psychic energy, and "reluctants" who try not to be vampires
  • Includes insights from members of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance, and information about the Order of the Vampyre, the Ordo Strigoi Vii, and the Temple of the Vampire
  • Looks at vampire role-playing games, grimoires, "vampyre" balls, vampire houses like House Sahjaza and House Kheperu, and the vampire "caste" system
Author Info

Joseph Laycock is an independent scholar and recipient of a grant from the Pluralism Project.

Reviews/Endorsements

Reviews

"An independent scholar delves into the phenomenon of people who identify as vampires in present-day America. From extensive interviews with lifestyle, 'real,' and reluctant vampires in communities including the Atlanta Vampire Alliance, Laycock observes vampire life in historical, media, religious, and definition of what is normal contexts. He considers
vampires as an identity group rather than a cult or distinctly-evolved humans (as some contend), and predicts that they will soon be able to come out of the closet like the gay community. The book includes photos."—Reference & Research Book News

"Laycock does a superb job of fully exploring and explaining the different aspects of vampirism. . . . All in all, this book was a very enjoyable and edifying read. It is so deep with content, from psychology, to philosophy, to religion. . . . But, with the topic at hand being vampires, it makes for a much more twisted and amusing informational read!"—HorrorNews.net

"Joseph Laycock’s Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampirism is a fresh, objective and long-awaited academic study about 'real vampires'. ... Laycock’s study is one of these analyses that demonstrate and reveal a different side of the vampire subculture, one that is more diverse, less sensational or romanticised and definitely not monolithic. It is an informative study that clarifies many misconceptions about vampirism and a book that scholars or readers interested in vampirism should own. It offers extensive notes and bibliography and a useful index for navigating through the vampiric webs of the book. In regards to scholarship, it raises new questions about subjectivity and being and opens up the potential for future research in the field."

—The Gothic Imagination, University of Stirling

Look Inside

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