You’re listening to Nearly Numinous, a podcast all about the religious side of life. We hope to provide our listeners insight into the lived experiences of everyday people as it pertains to any form of religion or spirituality. This includes embracing scholarly understandings of religion and sociology, but it also includes casual conversations and understanding real lived experiences. This podcast is hosted by myself, Steph, Jacqueline and Rachel, and we hope you join us every Monday for new episodes.
Welcome to Nearly Numinous. We’ve got a super spooky episode for you this week. And it’s being hosted by myself, Steph,
and me, Jacqueline.
All right, Jacqueline, do you want to, you’re the one that’s an expert in this field, so to speak. Do you want to tell us what we’re gonna be chatting about?
Most religions and societies have some sort of understanding of the supernatural,
like God, Vishnu, Allah and bodhisattvas.
Many also have understandings of other supernatural beings,
like angels, demons, witches, werewolves, jinn and the chupacabra.
What’s the Chupacabra?
The chupacabra is like, I don’t know,
I always mistake it for the capybara.
It’s those big like, they kind of look like guinea pigs, but they’re, like the size of large dogs.
Oh, what do they do? Is that a real, like that’s a real
It’s, it’s a real animal, yeah.
A Chupacabra, like, sucks the blood of goats and cattle in South America
So sort of similar to our topic today
Yeah. Oh. Um, so the supernatural is so essential to understanding of religion and spirituality, that some definitions of religion include it as an essential aspect.
So today, in honour of the month of October, we are going to look at a supernatural being with which most of you should probably be familiar with. They’re attractive or not really. They wear capes, or leather jackets, are usually fast, except when they’re watching Buffy do her pretty cool gymnastics tricks. They burn in the sunlight, or they sparkle. They can often do some sort of mind control. Like they can read your mind. Or maybe they can like, make you forget things. And oh, yeah, there’s like one pretty essential aspect: They vant to such your blood.
So if you haven’t guessed it, yes, we’re talking about
Across the world, it is not uncommon to have a myth about some sort of creature that sucks blood. We may say that there is some sort of reason that this persona keeps popping up across the world. Perhaps there’s something intrinsic to human nature or reality. Maybe there actually exists a vampire out there that’s just wandering around the world and people are, you know, seeing it here and there. But often these myths are actually quite different, as we mentioned with the chupacabra. The Chupacabra is quite different from a vampire, but they both suck blood. So, this approach of seeing the similarities of the myth as being the same creature actually flattens the diversity of this myth and ignores the variability of the context in which it is. So from the chupacabras in South America, whereas as we will talk about the vampire that we know it in popular media is largely known from Europe. So what I like to say is that a vampire is not a leech, nor is it a woodtick. Just because they all suck blood does not mean they are all the same thing or that they have that much in common. So today, we will be narrowing the scope to look at the vampire that is most known from its origins in the 18th century, southeastern Europe. This is the one as I said, that is quite common in popular culture.
I don’t know if you guys remember, but in Twilight, Bella does that Google search, where she searches up “vampire” and all these myths of vampires all over the world come up. That just reminded me of that, because there is, I mean, at least according to her fictional Google search, there are vampires in every culture across the world.
And that’s basically what we’re doing today.
We’re doing your Google search for vampire myths. I hope you’re ready. So as Jacqueline was saying, we’re going to focus mostly on the vampire myths that have its roots in Europe. And these European vampire myths are often found during outbreaks of contagious diseases, especially throughout the early 18th century. Much of this surrounded a lack of understanding of contagious diseases and a lack of understanding of the way the human body decomposes. Many of the ways in which they buried bodies incited the spread of this disease further as they didn’t understand the disease itself or understand incubation periods. So many of the original myths of the vampire were linked to how the disease spread post-death and during the burial. Communities saw this as the dead person kind of coming back as a vampire and preying on their loved ones as the disease frequently spread to the people they were closest with. Medical scholar John Buhler has outlined the fact that when these bodies were decomposing, oftentimes the process would lead to blood trickling out of the mouth. Furthermore, after a little bit of time, cuticles and gums would retract, which would make the nails and teeth appear as if they had grown into claws and fangs. So that’s where we get a lot of the imagery that we associate with vampires, especially, you know, Dracula are some of the classics. Some other explanations include over hasty burials because at the time, there was not a clear understanding of when someone was actually dead and when someone was almost dead. And oftentimes, these people who were not quite dead would then wake up mid burial or after the burial and terrify both them and their loved ones. Another explanation is that vampires had a tendency to show up not only in times of mass death, but also in mysterious disappearances. Medical students often needed cadavers in order to practice medicine, as they still do. And the money for cadavers was not great. And so there was a demand for the cadavers that the school and the school did not ask too many questions. So this is when we get Body Snatchers, who would snatch bodies from recent graves, or in some horrific cases, the cadavers were made. As well, there were certain medical conditions that led to people having vampire-like conditions such as sensitivities to the sun and abnormalities of levels of hemoglobin. So to us, belief in vampires may seem irrational. However, these events and the worldview at the time as well as you know, lack of understandings of science, belief in vampires and vampirism makes a lot of sense.
This very serious and genuine fear led to anti-vampire burials or what anthropologists call apotropaic burial practices, which are believed to have the power to deter evil. So sometimes these practices would include mutilating of the body in such a way as that it made it impossible for the dead person to return, placing the body with religious symbols like a rosary in order to ward off evil. Or in some other cases, the grave was even booby-trapped so that the dead body would not be able to get up if reanimated.
Could you imagine if you are one of the people that was buried prior to actually dying, and when you were woke, not only had you been buried alive, but then you, you know, managed to get yourself out of the grave and everywhere around you has been booby-trapped.
Yeah. Oh my god, it’s a double nightmare. So as recently as the 19th century, parts of rural New England held the belief in vampirism. After an outbreak in tuberculosis, the bodies of the dead were exhumed, their hearts burned and their ashes scattered. Anti-vampire burial practices decreased as diseases came to be better understood. However, understanding did not help very much if there wasn’t also a treatment for a disease. For example, the bacillus responsible for tuberculosis was discovered in 1882 but the first effective treatment was developed only in the 1940s. Thus, when there was an outbreak of tuberculosis in the eastern United States in the 1890s people continued to turn to anti-vampire burial practices.
So this is the why of vampire belief. Obviously, though, the myth of vampires has developed a lot through fiction. We know this from TV shows and lots of young adult books. This is the part that I as a literary nerd find especially interesting. There are many different vampire characters throughout fiction. And so the question that I like to ask is, who are these vampires? And how are they portrayed? What types of powers or limitations do they have? And what do these characters say about the context in which they were created? So why does this matter for religious studies? As religious studies scholar Joseph Laycock says, “the Vampire has undergone changes that parallel the effects of modernity on religion.” So in other words, the interaction between the supernatural, religion, and science found in the concept of the vampire also provides an access point to the effects of modernity on religion. Also, due to the vampire being both supernatural and monstrous, we are able to learn insights about the hopes, desires and fears of those in the context in which the vampire was created. As well, supernatural beings have an interesting effect on group identity formation. In some ways, they can become scapegoats for a group’s problems, in some cases, bringing the group together, in other cases, tearing the group apart.
Which reminds me a little bit about the myth of changelings, which, they are believed to be a fairy child that had been left in place of a human child stolen by the fairies and, as far as I know, they were often used as scapegoats to be able to explain away the appearance of various mental and physical disabilities in children.
Finally, the fictional vampires have created a vampire subculture which shapes lifestyle vampires of today. In 1897, Bram Stoker’s Gothic novel “Dracula” was published. As you may know, Dracula is both the prototype and archetype of a vampire. So he’s the first really well known vampire.
So in Dracula, Stoker based his villain, the vampire Count Dracula, off of a 15th-century ruler of Wallachia, which is in modern Romania. Vlad Dracula the third was given the name of Vlad the Impaler due to his reputation for impaling people. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? To be clear, Vlad was not considered a vampire. He was just Stoker’s inspiration for the character of Dracula. Vlad was cruel, a good characteristic for vampire. As well, his name “Dracula” means “the son of the dragon.”
I didn’t know that, that’s really cool.
Yeah! In modern Romanian, Dracula means the devil. This association with the devil is significant in the story of Count Dracula. He is said to have attended the School of Scholomance, which is a fabled school of black magic in Romania, which is run by the devil. There, Dracula and his fellow pupils were taught magic spells, the languages of animals and other talents relating to the natural world such as how to control the weather. Dracula is widely considered both a vampire prototype and archetype, as Jacqueline already explained. He has various special powers such as super strength and the ability to shapeshift into a bat. In later iterations of Dracula, he develops other powers such as not being able to be seen in a mirror or not having a shadow or even being able to travel using shadows, which is where we get a lot of our contemporary archetypes of vampires.
A certain skill, being able to hypnotize or mesmerize people and get them to do his will, is a power from Stoker’s Dracula that has continued on in many other iterations of fictional vampires. Conceived in 1779, mesmerism is a movement named after German doctor Franz Mesmer, who believed that all living things possessed an invisible natural force. Mesmerism was known by other names such as animal magnetism or hypnosis. By properly directing the flow of this energy or electricity, a practitioner could encourage acts of healing. It was even used in religious contexts for spiritual healing. This practice was especially popular in the century following its beginning, though books were written about it up until 1925.
I even feel like it’s pretty popular in contemporary spirituality practices, just maybe under different names or terms, right.
Yeah, hypnosis is definitely a popular thing. It’s still used in therapy, it’s used in entertainment shows; it’s everywhere.
So when people are under hypnosis, as you might know, they’re quite suggestible. Thus, there was a fear of mind control through mesmerism, which at times was seen as a political threat. It’s this sort of control that Dracula has over his victims in Stoker’s novel, which allows him to draw them to the window when he has not been invited into their house. This trope of vampires being able to control or glamour people or even read their minds, has been continued in other fictional adaptations of vampires, such as the famous vampires from Twilight: Edward, who mind reads, Alice, who tells the future, and Jasper who is an empath. It’s also continued into the modern vampire movement specifically with real vampires who consume energy and which we will talk about later.
And I should also clarify when we say real vampires, we’re referring to real people, like real people who practice vampirism. Not, you know, real versions of Dracula walking around.
Though that would be cool.
In Stoker’s novel, Dracula who was from Transylvania, which as Steph already said is in modern Romania, decided to immigrate to England. This was the beginning of the trope but the sophisticated foreign vampire, no longer just your neighbourhood vampire. Dracula’s choice for immigration is significant. Though both Transylvania and England were Christian, Transylvania was Catholic, whereas England was Anglican and Protestant. After freeing themselves from the “bells and smells” and superstitious behaviour of Catholicism, Protestants and Anglicans found themselves in a bit of a pickle. They didn’t just stop believing in the evil figures like the vampire. Rather, they found themselves with the same beliefs as before, just without the practices to protect them. So whereas they might have holy water or crosses to help protect them from vampires, but now, those were seen as superstitious, so they were left unprotected. This theme of Protestant and Anglican defenselessness in the face of evil is a recurring theme in Dracula, and some scholars see it as being subtly yet persistently pro-Catholic. When Dracula begins preying on the virtuous female characters of the novel, everyone, all the characters are at a loss. Not only is Dracula preying on the helpless women, but also he is in the words of the scholar DB Starrs, “the figurative antichrist who promises eternal life through the ingestion of not of sacramental wine representing the blood of Christ, but of actual human blood.” Luckily, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, one of the main characters and the doctor from the Netherlands, comes to the rescue and he is Catholic. He brings with him elements from communion that have been blessed by a Catholic priest, which serve as a weapon against the Count. Only these tools will help in the fight against the perversion of Christian lore that the Count is committing. Despite Dracula’s history at the Scholomance, Van Helsing is also convinced that there’s a scientific explanation for the phenomenon of vampires. Science just hasn’t been able to explain it yet. Van Helsing’s character brings together science and religion, making the supernatural scientific, while at the same time making the scientific supernatural.
Dracula was one of two popular works of vampire literature in the 19th century, including Carmilla too, which both position vampires as sexual in a time when Victorian attitudes of modesty were strong and overt sexuality was seen as scandalous. Dracula and Carmilla are two figures who embody that theme of predatory sexuality as a threat to innocence, purity and virginity, especially towards women. And Bela Lugosi, in his portrayal of the vampire in the 1931 Pre-Code film “Dracula,” really contributed to this sort of sexual and sexy image of the vampire. His female fans would even send him love letters, which honestly reminds me about the hype that surrounded Robert Pattinson after Twilight came out. But these early depictions of vampires retain their demonic natures, whereas it seems like more recent depictions tend to humanize them. We seem to be caught in a never-ending cycle of vampire crazes that we fall in and out of over the years. It makes me wonder if this is just part of a larger obsession with the supernatural or if vampires are unique in some way, because there have always been books about fairies and shapeshifters and werewolves. But vampires seem to continually be the most compelling to us. I have a couple of theories about this, including themes about forbidden or carnal desires are attractive to readers, especially young women and also themes of being drawn to eternal youth that you see in a lot of vampire literature. What do you guys think? Why are vampires so attractive to us as a literary device?
I think especially in modern society, how we’re so, so enamoured with like anti-ageing creams, and everything’s about anti ageing, I think your point really about eternal youth is, is really true. And I can, I can definitely see that.
Yeah, and I must say, I think my main theory is definitely the idea of forbidden or carnal desires. But I definitely think especially in contemporary iterations of vampires, you have kind of the turning a bad boy good, you know, so romanticizing that evil demon spirit that you’re able to turn into a human being who can love you.
Yeah, being able to sort of fix or cure this dangerous or evil force.
So when 1976 Anne Rice changed vampire lore forever. In her novel “Interview with the Vampire,” Rice deconstructs the stereotypes of the vampire that had been developed through the various iterations of Dracula. Instead, she presents Louis de Pointe du Lac, who is handsome which Dracula was not really, does not live in a grave, does not avoid garlic, is not killed by stakes, and can see his reflection in a mirror. The vampire as developed by Rice were still strong, fast and could not be out in the sunlight. However, Rice presents the sensitive, brooding and existentially angsty vampire. She gave the soulless vampire a conscience. This new vampire asks the big questions: are vampires evil by nature? is immortality worth it? So I like to see Rice’s vampire as kind of the beginning of what we know now is like the Edward Cullen vampire, or, or Angel in Buffy the Vampire… Slayer, I forgot the last word there. Buffy is not a vampire.
Buffy the Vampire
Um, so just kind of, yeah. The vampire that’s really, really concerned about maybe their soul or that sort of thing.
So you bring up Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But we should maybe be honest with our audience that none of us have actually fully watched this series. So we would be interested if you would have anything to say about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and how it fits into some of our theories that we’ve presented and we will present. But I think, you know, there’s some things that Jacqueline’s noticed and I don’t know if you want to talk about.
So I have some pet peeves about vampires in Buffy. I get really annoyed with just like, the ugly face masks that the vampires wear. It’s just the vampires that don’t have a conscience. So Angel does have a conscience for the majority of what I’ve seen of the show. But then he suddenly loses his conscience and then all of a sudden he’s wearing this like ugly vampire mask. And I, it’s just this weird, like this weird mixture of the handsome vampire but also like the ugly Dracula vampire that is kind of odd to me.
The Vampire in Buffy can be a good force some of the time, but he still got that, or they’ve still got that existential, angsty, angry monster sort of lying below that can come out at any time.
Well, and I think regardless of what contemporary visions of the vampire we’re looking at, that seems to be a constant theme. So regardless of how good the vampire seems, there still seems to be this underlying monster that they have to overcome. And it’s almost this battle between humanity and good versus the evil supernatural, right?
And redeeming yourself in some way.
That’s a big theme also in the Vampire Diaries, which I’m currently rewatching. The Vampire Diaries was a series about vampires written by LJ Smith in the 90s and came out in a TV show in 2009. And so it’s that theme of the struggle of the conscience; the good with the bad vampire is really just this constant struggle, especially for Stefan, the vampire there. He’s always struggling with like, if he drinks human blood, then he’ll just go over the edge and, and start killing everybody. Um, and so he, he’s, most of the time drinking animal blood. And so he’s a good vampire. So that’s a little bit also like Twilight, because don’t they also
They’re called vegetarian
Vegetarians. Yes. Or they, they drink from blood bags, which, yeah, they’re trying to be good vampires there. And on the note for Vampire Diaries, something that kind of drives me a little bit crazy is how especially when Stephen is, you know, just really, really concerned about you know, the awful thing of drinking human blood and then he does but he doesn’t, he doesn’t savour the blood. All of a sudden it’s just like all over his face and like dripping down his clothing and he’s he’s wasting all this blood. So it’s this big like moral quandary, but then he’s not even like, like, I don’t know, like
Stefan’s a bit of a messy eater.
It’s really gross. What’s with that?
Man, I hate when the cinematography and the design doesn’t line up with what you want it to ideology wise.
I guess they’re trying to show that he’s like a really true monster. But yeah, it’s just not lining up because he’s a monster in the way that he craves blood. But when he’s being his monstrous self, he’s wasting all of the blood.
Yeah, well, then we can turn to something like Twilight, which I think follows this theme of the monster beneath, but obviously, there is so much more sexualization in Twilight than I think we’ve seen previously.
Mm hmm. The story if you didn’t know, the story and world of Twilight was conceived in the author Stephenie Meyer’s dream, so she said that she saw two characters talking about the fact that they were in love. He was telling her that his problem was that he wanted to kill her because she smelled so tasty.
Oh. Well, that’s weird.
And these two characters came to be known as Edward and Bella and a worldwide phenomenon which particularly captured the interests of girls and young women. But what’s interesting to know is that Meyer’s faith, Mormonism heavily informs her work. When she was interviewed on Amazon, she said that the Book of Mormon was the book with the most significant impact on her life. And accordingly, her book said one critic are full of sexual tension, but remain as “decorous as Jane Austen.”
I guess that’s true. I’ve never really thought about it. But I’m sure when I first read the books, I was probably 13 or even maybe even younger. So I’m sure that was enough explicit content for me at that age to think it was still.
Well, Edward and Bella only kissed twice in the first book. And I don’t know if they even kiss in the second book, maybe once. It’s just
Nothing much happens in the second book. She’s just really sad.
Yeah, it’s just all very chaste while maintaining that sexual tension.
My mom, my mom once said, um, I asked her, she was reading the second book, and I asked her, “so how are you liking it?” And she said, “I skipped like three-quarters of the book, and I realized I didn’t miss anything.” Because Bella doesn’t do much in the second book.
Some of the Mormon themes that crop up in Twilight are to do with remaining abstinent until marriage, themes of immortality and eternity, becoming godlike upon transforming into vampires, as according to Mormon cosmology followers will attain godly qualities in the afterlife. However, some dialogue with religion does occur in the books, such as with indigenous spirituality when Bella and the vampires of the Cullen clan, interact with the Quileute tribe, or when Edward has worries about how his and Bella souls might be impacted by vampirism.
So we’ve talked a lot about vampires in a fictional or mythical setting, but there are people who identify as being a vampire. Vampirism has been seen as being a religious movement or a cluster of religions. So there are lifestyle vampires, who are those who participate in vampire subculture and dress, so they might dress like Dracula for example, or like wear like fangs but do not require feeding on blood to maintain their health
Aren’t those just goths?
Yeah, yeah, well, actually
Instead of feeding on blood they feed on sad music.
Um, some people have, what’s that really emo store?
Yeah. So I was reading some articles that were saying that without Anne Rice there wouldn’t be Hot Topic.
So that kind of gothy… Yeah, it’s pretty cool. So Anne Rice started that whole, well, as some people say, she started that whole movement of
The moody gothic vampire?
Yeah, exactly. Um, So there are also real vampires. So they call themselves like “real vampires,” that’s the quotation. Who do believe that they must consume blood or feed on subtle energy in order to maintain their physical, mental or spiritual health. So by subtle energy, that might mean, there are some people who actually like put their hand in front of an outlet to get energy from the outlets that they feel energized after, but they might also get energy from other people.
So you have the two different types of these real vampires, as you were just saying, the ones that feed on blood and the ones that feed on more that type of energy, right. So the energy ones that you were just talking about are often referred to as “psychic vampires,” which is a pretty common term, when you get into the field of mental health or psychology, even. It can take on different forms, like you said, where someone might put in their hand in front of an outlet and grab energy from that source. But from the mental health or psychology field, when they’re referring to psychic vampires, they’re talking about people in your life who are toxic, and may drain energy from you. And this kind of extends even more into the idea of, you know, spirituality and contemporary spiritual movements where people often refer to psychic vampires as the people that drain them of their lifeforce. And if this is something that worries you, Gwyneth Paltrow sells a psychic vampire repellent. So for 27 US dollars, you can have 3.5 ounces of a blend of sonically turned water, reiki, moonlight, sound waves, and a blend of essential oils to protect yourself from psychic vampires.
I’d like to note that we are not sponsored by Goop.
We’d like to be
We’d like to be; Gwyneth Paltrow, hit us up.
So a question that people always ask when I talk about the fact that there are real vampires in the world is, well, where does the blood come from? And why do they drink blood? These vampires describe the reliance on blood as not being the same as a psychologically-induced high or a medical condition. Some sanguinarian vampires, which is what these vampires are called that drink blood, actually urge those who haven’t ruled out a medical condition to go see a doctor before joining the vampire community. So there are different conditions where maybe you need more iron, that sort of thing. And the vampire community, these real vampires will say, “No, first go to the doctor.” The Vampire community is for those who, who need this blood in order to maintain a certain well-being. And so the question, as I already said, is, people ask, Where does this blood come from? Is it consensual? Do they just like walk up to a random person on the street and start sucking their blood like on the TV shows? And no, they don’t!
Thanksfully! We’d have a bigger problem on our hands if that was the case.
So what they do is maybe they get some blood from a donor bank or, but mostly, people will sign up to be these donors. And so it’s totally consensual. So there will be, in the vampire community, there will be people who are supporting the real-life vampires by donating by donating blood and it’s not, it’s, the vampire community largely encourages people to be aware of manipulation. So like these, these communities won’t manipulate people for their blood. And they’re very cautious about communities that do try to manipulate donors for blood and say, no, “that’s not that’s not the real vampire community.” So yeah, it’s very, it’s consensual.
So as Steph was saying about Gwyneth Paltrow’s view of psychic vampires, this can also fall into the idea that some would consider vampirism more spiritual than religious. This often has to do with the concept of subtle energies, with it being a metaphysical phenomenon that transcends the laws of nature. So similar to other forms of spirituality movements, there are links with complementary medicine. Some, of course, would also consider vampirism to be neither spiritual nor religious. But while real vampires may also be lifestyle vampires, they do not see their identity as a cultural affiliation. Many see their vampirism more ingrained in their very nature, perhaps as the genetic quality or sexual orientation.
So we can extend the idea of real vampires to look more directly at the Temple of the Vampire, which is a new religious movement. It was begun in 1989 in the US, and the Temple of the Vampire considers itself “the only authentic international organization in the world that represents the true vampire religion. It came into existence in order to allow membership to benefit from the legal protection of religion under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.” They had an explosion of membership due to the internet, which is similar to trends and other religions like paganism. They have a Bible and a priesthood. This religion prioritizes the concept of individualism. So based on their creed, which you can find on their website, they promote celebrating their own ego and identifying themselves as their own God. When I was doing my research into the Temple of the Vampire, I actually found a lot of similarities to the Satanic Temple, as I think both of them kind of developed out of the US and the desire to be anti-Christian almost and kind of pin itself against what the typical religious framework is.
It sounds like they both also share a lot of similarities with other new religious movements and contemporary spiritualities based on their prioritization of individualism and authenticity among their followers.
It also seems, and I might be wrong on this, but it does seem like the Temple of the Vampire does not promote sucking blood.
I couldn’t find anything that had that kind of specific language in it. I think their main idea was just promoting the values of vampirism.
Maybe they would practice more subtle energy vampirism. Yeah, interesting. Some vampires practice a religion other than vampirism. In a 2006 survey by the Atlanta Vampire Alliance, there was a question that was asked to real vampires about which religion a particular vampire identified with most. So they could choose from 51 religions and they could choose more than one religion if it suited them. So the top seven responses, interestingly are Magick, Wicca, Neo paganism, occultism, Christianity, shamanism, and altogether are: agnosticism, atheism, humanism and irreligious. There was also an “other” category that some responded saying just vampirism, but those are at the top seven responses. So that’s really interesting of, there, there weren’t a lot of vampires who said Satanism, which is quite, quite interesting. You would think that there would be due to the similarities, but nope.
Those responses do make a lot of sense to me though, especially with vampirism’s connection to like magic in literature, and occultism especially.
And I’m sure there’s maybe some responses that just weren’t listed in the top ones where they identified with Satanism. But I think as well, a lot of Satanists themselves, actually, when you ask them what religion they are, they identify as atheist.
So it could be kind of maybe the shift in wording, right?
Mm hmm. They also interestingly, block together agnosticism, atheism, humanism, and irreligious.
Clearly, they didn’t take the religious studies courses that we did.
Which, if they had separated, those could have proved interesting, or maybe they did ask them separately, but they thought to lump them together in the report.
So the one that I found especially interesting was the fact that some vampires said that they practice Christianity, which is quite interesting, because as we’ve said, throughout the development of vampirism, vampirism and Christianity have often been at odds, so some vampires will likely see vampirism as still being the antithesis to Christian ethics. But clearly, through the survey, there are some that do in fact, affirm Christian ethics.
The Vampire community is a very broad community and has very diverse opinions on most topics. The movement is an example of the diversity of spiritual practices just in general, as well as an example of how the internet has impacted movements in contemporary spirituality by allowing like minds to find each other on the internet and thus be able to grow community in a way that they haven’t been able to before. So this is also seen in paganism and witchcraft, whereas historically, they would often, like witches would often be fairly solitary in a lot of cases and so now they can, like compare practices online and they can build a community online, which is pretty cool. And other than having a commonality in some sort of association with vampires, the vampire community is exceptionally postmodern. As per the motto of the Vampire House Kheperu, which is a vampire group, “Seek your own truth,” which Religious Studies scholar Joseph Laycock implies should be the motto of the entire vampire community.
Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Nearly Numinous. You can subscribe on all of your favorite podcasting apps including Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts and Stitcher. Just search for “Nearly Numinous.” You can also find us on social media under the same name. Have a topic you’d like us to talk about? Would you like to be a guest on a future episode? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org Don’t forget to tune in next week for another episode.