Very few locals here in Central Florida will ever be able to forget the crimes known as the Vampire Murders. A group of teens led by an anti-social loser (raised by the kind of mother Casey Anthony might have emulated,) violently killed one of the kids’ parents. Before, during and after, Rod Ferrell, brain trust extraordinaire, vapidly insisted he was a vampire and these bored kids from Eustis played along.
Last year another Florida Mensa candidate was in on a murder and again Vampirism was brought up. Not only that, mind you. Stephanie Pistey says she believes she's part vampire and part werewolf.
In all fairness I should probably mention the Florida Christian who murdered someone he thought was a vampire in 2004.
Long before Bram Stoker various cultures had adopted myths that involved blood drinking and those who do it. Since Stoker you can’t swing an undead cat without hitting some human who has decided a love of Edwardian ruffles and nightlife makes them a Vampire. Perhaps they do role playing games. Maybe they dress beautifully and dance all night. The vast majority is simply embracing an aesthetic and would not hurt a fly. Others, sadly, have used the myth to hide in, and worse, to de-evolve in.
The crimes above, however, were not committed by any genuine religious sect. They were not even religious or ritual or occult crime. For a crime to be ritualistic it has to have a ritual/religious purpose, it has to be performed in a religious setting or after a ritual to make the crime scene religious, and the commission of it should demonstrate the religion in question. For instance, Rod Ferrell murdered Mr. Wendorff in his home while he was sleeping on the couch in front of the television. There is/was no sacrifice of the couch potato ritual. There were no candles. There was no full moon, or special holiday. If this was a Vampire murder because Ferrell thought himself a Vampire then every other crime in the US would be a Christian crime by the same token.
Yet for the last few decades the Goth movement has developed a Vampire subculture. That subculture has embraced the dangerous pathology of cutting as a religious tenet. They call themselves Sanguinarians. A more appropriate namesake would be victims of Renfields Syndrome, named after Stoker’s bug eating sidekick. With books by Rice, Brite, and now Meyer, with games like Vampire: The Masquerade, being a vampire is about as cool as it gets for a kid interested in something other than cheerleading and football. This can scare the Hell out of a parent.
Luckily there is a genuine and healthy Vampire Religion. The Temple of the Vampire has been providing an empowering and life affirming philosophy since 1989. It is a legal religious organization, run by brilliant and unique people who:
“...believe the value of the individual is superior to that of any group or tribe or nation or species.
In everything we do, we believe in challenging the power of anything opposing individual freedom.
The way we do this is by empowering individuals to achieve independent control over their lives through wealth, health, personal power, and unlimited life extension.
We created a worldwide organization with proven methods for making this possible. For more than twenty years we have been active doing so.
The Temple embraces only those aspects of the Vampire mythos that include a love and respect for all life, physical immortality, individual elegance, proven wisdom, civilized behavior, worldly success, and personal happiness.
The Temple rejects those aspects of the Vampire mythos that are negative including any that are anti-life, anti-social, deathist, crude, gory, self-defeating, or criminal.”
From Temple of the Vampire
The ToV encourages members to explore two sides of Vampire lifestyle which they term the Dayside and the Nightside. The Dayside explores the more mundane, but completely necessary life achievements, as well as the traditional Vampire pursuit of immortality:
- Physical immortality.
- Emergency survival.
- Physical health.
- Communication skills
- Personal finance
Conversely, the more esoteric side to the ToV exists in the Nightside explorations:
“Our esoteric (Nightside) teachings are found in five consecutive books beginning with The Vampire Bible and do not require Temple membership but do require a Nightside Connection…The Nightside Connection enables you to tap into the wisdom, guidance, and skills of the truly advanced Vampire. This esoteric Connection is the source of power that makes the Temple completely unique…….Nightside Vampirism is not merely absorbing Lifeforce, the esoteric energy of life that all living things radiate. Vampirism is much more than just taking in more Lifeforce from others. That is a common ability.”
The Temple offers members everything from an online message board to interact with Vampires all over the world, to some of the most widely recognized beautiful jewelry in the entire occult world. The ToV literature is powerful and vast.
While active membership is reserved for those 18 and over, teens will find basic membership more than busy enough while waiting for that birthday. The Temple of the Vampire encourages study over blind faith, learning over worship.
Not merely satisfied to dress up and be gloomy the ToV emulates this creed:
I am a Vampire.
I worship my ego and I worship my life, for I am the only God that is.
I am proud that I am a predatory animal and I honor my animal instincts.
I exalt my rational mind and hold no belief that is in defiance of reason.
I recognize the difference between the worlds of truth and fantasy.
I acknowledge the fact that survival is the highest law.
I acknowledge the Powers of Darkness to be hidden natural laws
through which I work my magic.
I know that my beliefs in Ritual are fantasy but the magic is real,
and I respect and acknowledge the results of my magic.
I realize there is no heaven as there is no hell,
and I view death as the destroyer of life.
Therefore I will make the most of life here and now.
I am a Vampire.
Bow down before me.
This column is about alternative religions, so those somehow offended by the notions of godless religions need only to open their minds and accept that they chose to read this fully aware of the meaning of the word ALTERNATIVE. The ToV is a legal religious organization that makes the following demand of their potential members: “…you promise to refrain from criminal activity, physical blood drinking, and discussing the Temple with the public.” Equally important is the statement found repeatedly on ToV literature and on their website: “Within lies fact and fancy, truth and metaphor. Discriminate with care.” Now, that is the kind of religious honesty we could all use more often!
These are the real thing. These Vampires practice a philosophy and lifestyle that transcends silly costumes and bizarre dentistry. These people can teach adherents magic, finances, survivalism (not the kind that requires a “compound” and a dislike for any particular race of people,) history, and the list goes on and on. I have spent 32 years learning about the various religio/philosophic groups in this world, and so many are based on fictitious and/or mythological entities/archetypes. Many come to the world of the Occult and alternatives due to falling in love with a particular mythos. Sadly, if you actually follow these fictions to their mythological conclusion you will end up in jail, dead, or psychologically damaged. The ToV has found the way to allow Vampires to live and thrive and grow and to do it all without regret on any level.
How cool is that?
Please check out: www.VampireTemple.comAnything in quotes in this article, unless otherwise stated, is copyright Temple of the Vampire, all rights reserved. Used with permission. Likewise Temple Artwork & jewelry.