Vampires Today
The Truth about Modern Vampirism
by Joseph Laycock
May 2009, 200pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-36472-3
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-0-313-36473-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

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?

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.


  • 16 illustrations
  • Numerous interviews
Joseph Laycock is an independent scholar and recipient of a grant from the Pluralism Project.


"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, August 1, 2009

"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!"—, January 24, 2010

"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, January 28, 2011
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