The increasing popularity of vampires in popular culture has created a small but growing subculture of devotees, some of whom have adopted religious elements and practices to suit their lifestyles, writes James Beverley in the Canadian evangelical magazine Faith Today (March/April).
Beverly writes that such TV shows as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, novels, such as those by Ann Rice, and even scholarship all reflect the interest in vampire themes. The phenomenon of people role-playing “vampyres” and those who actually consider themselves vampires sometimes takes on religious dimensions. Such groups as the Temple of the Vampire in the state of Washington see vampirism as a religious path, though they tend to forbid blood drinking, reinterpreting the practice as “feeding off human energy.”
Some Internet sites see such activities as getting blood from donors and learning how to handle the “Beast,” the inner urge to drink blood, as religious practices, according to Beverley. Vampire leaders have even drawn up a 13-point code of ethics known as the Black Veil, which counsels vampires to have self-control.
Vampire elders actually warn young people away from the lifestyle because of its morbid nature. Although some vampires claim to be Christian, Beverley finds most vampire Intenet sites to be far more attuned to witchcraft and the New Age, with some showing a “marked preference for sadomasochism and the bondage scene. Often the blood rituals in vampire life take place as part of sexual encounters.“
(Faith Today, M.I.P. Box 3745, Markham, ON L3R 0Y4 Canada)