Vampires Among Us

Vampire (c. 1893) by Edvard Munch.

For good or ill, mankind has always had a fascination with vampires. Going back thousands of years, there are legends of demons that take their sustenance from the living. We have been fascinated by vampires in fiction – from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Bela Lugosi, from Hammer films to the worldwide phenomena of Anne Rice and later the Twilight series, we can’t get enough of them.

It’s easy to see why, too. Vampires have been painted as immortal, sexy, god-like creatures in modern media. Who wouldn’t want to be that? Most would jump at the chance to live forever and enjoy super powers along the way. However, the modern vampire is much different from the original legends and the hysteria that gripped Europe and North America.

Even here in New England there was a vampire panic which culminated in Rhode Island, most famously with the case of Mercy Brown. We have all heard her story and in hindsight understood she was a poor girl who died of tuberculosis and was buried during the winter, which caused her body to decompose at a slower rate. However, people, as they have a habit of doing, let their imaginations run wild.

Today, we no longer dig up corpses to check if they have become undead creatures. These days we have an endless stream of people who romanticize the legend of the vampire. Some are cosplayers, who dress up and invent entirely new personalities designed to make their lives more interesting. They have symposiums, vampire balls, and groups that get together in order to live out their fantasies.

There are literally thousands of groups online where like-minded vampires congregate and talk about books, movies, and lifestyle choices. Most of these are benign, albeit unintentionally comical. I was in one vampire chat room when a person popped up and announced to the group he was, “Dracula, the son of the Devil.” He also added he was the OG vampire. After the group finished laughing, he was booted from the chat room.

It was also amusing to me how many people showed each other pictures of their special vampire rosary beads and vampire crucifixes. I may not be a vampire, but I’m pretty sure if I were one, I wouldn’t be psyched about hanging a cross around my neck. Like I said, these people seem comical, but they are ultimately benign.

Aside from the online and cosplay worlds, there are many “otherkin” who believe themselves to be vampires. Some lay claim to the title of energy vampire – vampires who drain the life essence of people merely by being in their presence. Others are sanguine vampires who drink blood from willing donors, shun the daylight, and assume all aspects of vampire nature. Despite all of these people, I have yet to run into an immortal with vast powers, and it’s not from lack of trying.

I did, however, come across an interesting man that goes by the name Sevin the Daywalker. I first met Sevin a couple of years ago through the pro-wrestling scene. His gimmick was that of a vampire, complete with the catchphrase: Talk shit, get bit!!

It didn’t occur to me at the time that it was anything more than a wrestling gimmick. When I started to work on this article, I got in touch with him and found out it was much more than that.

“I first became fascinated with vampires as a child,” said Sevin. “My grandfather was a big fan of vampire movies. There was something about them that just resonated with me. As I got older, my mother told me I had certain gifts and I noticed that I was unintentionally draining the people around me of their energy. I didn’t want these ‘gifts.’ I just wanted to be normal.

“I went to a really dark place for a while. I drank, did drugs, and acted out until I finally got control of myself. I finally came to the realization that this was who I was, and I could take the darkness into myself in order to bring others into the light. There are all kinds of vampires. I don’t claim to be dead. I am very much alive. I’m just different and I have learned to control my baser instincts.”

People may say that he is delusional, but I found him to be a thoughtful, articulate, young man. Who are any of us to say what his reality is? I haven’t been able to locate a true undead vampire, but you never know, they could be all around us. Even here in Rhode Island. Especially here…