This is the life of the human vampires of Atlanta and New Orleans

This is the life of the human vampires of Atlanta and New Orleans

() — As Maven Lore was getting his first set of fangs fitted, something lit up inside him.

“Something surfaced and it all felt right for once in my life,” he said. “I had this idea that there was more to it than just pointy teeth.”

He didn’t know how to describe the feeling at that moment; nor that it would take him from New York to New Orleans. But now he does know that it was an “awakening”: his first contact with his life as a vampire.

Lore found her place in New Orleans and never left. Now a craftsman of custom acrylic fangs, he has ascended to the role (which he only reluctantly accepts) of king of the vampire court of the Big Easy.

“Being part of the New Orleans vampire court means we all come together: a victory for one person is a victory for all of us,” he said. “Our mentality is ‘sink or swim’ together.”

Human vampires live and are quite far from the fictional creatures we can think of. Their interpretations of vampirism vary widely: many feed on energy and others on sexual encounters, but feeding habits and fangs are just symbols of a community that is as diverse as it is misunderstood by non-vampires. You may not even know that the person in front of you is a vampire, at least if you’re looking for stereotypical clues. There are no restrictions for vampires to identify themselves as such: they are not forced into the nightlife or to worship fictional vampires.

Today’s vampires are essentially people from different backgrounds with a common goal, belonging, who have found a community with their fellow vampires. Living as a vampire is a subversive choice, a proud rejection of social norms. And in that way, it’s an empowering way of life, said John Edgar Browning, a professor of liberal arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design, who spent years studying vampire communities in New Orleans and Buffalo, New York.

“Human vampires make accessible the infinite potential that exists to expose and disarm the repressive and oppressive categories from which marginalization is born,” he told . “So, in a way, these vampires are therapeutic for us.”

spoke with two giants from their respective communities, Lore from New Orleans and Merticus, the co-founder of the Vampire Alliance from Atlanta Vampire, about their lives, their joys, and the misconceptions about vampirism they’d like to see permanently abandoned.

Looking for a family, finding vampires

First of all: yes, some vampires today consume blood, often from consenting donors, usually loved ones or partners, in small amounts. But many refrain from or condemn the practice, instead finding sustenance in sexual encounters or other experiences from which they can draw energy (Lore and Merticus are among them). When strangers freak out and ask Lore if he’ll drink his blood, he jokes, “No, that’s called murder.”

While the uninitiated are often more interested in eating habits, Lore said that’s not what vampires care about. (He compared asking a vampire about his eating habits to asking a non-vampire if they eat cold cuts).

Many vampires do not fit the archetypes that the writing Bram Stoker and company have popularized. These are people who often have jobs just like anyone else: Lore is also a graphic designer, DJ, and jeweler; Merticus is an expert in antique furniture.

And most human vampires weren’t even attracted to the community because they idolized Dracula. In their ethnographic studies of human vampires, Browning said he found that members of vampire communities are attracted to each other primarily by social elements.

“I wouldn’t even call them vampire fans, they’re just people with a shared history from their teens, an innate need for blood or energy, and a shared need to find others like them who will accept them,” Browning said.

Merticus was searching for answers about others like him when he joined vampire chat rooms in 1996, after noticing for years that he could “draw strength from charged situations,” and later realizing that was psychic feeding.

“I never felt like my body or even this time was aligned with my spirit or soul,” he told . “Or more simply: I always felt there was something different about me that I couldn’t identify.”

The friends you made in those chat rooms are still in your life today, and offline, those connections have gotten even stronger.

Lore found those connections when she first visited New Orleans 24 years ago, days before Halloween. He has lived there ever since.

Maven Lore. Courtesy Maven Lore

“I didn’t even know there was a community,” he said. “But they were family.”

And now, they are also his family. He has earned a major role in the NOLA vampire scene: in addition to his blacksmithing business, he is also a mentor to young vampires, a role he stumbled upon by accident but accepts nonetheless. He resists being called a “keeper of the peace” among the vampires in the area, although he knows that he can advise and resolve arguments between members.

“We all want to get along and be loved, which is why I love the vampire community,” Lore said. “It doesn’t matter what race… what gender you are. You are accepted.”

What people don’t understand about vampires

The popularity of fictional vampires means that Merticus and the others must constantly make it clear that they are not like the nocturnal bloodsuckers that entertain and terrify them. In fact, Merticus said, many human vampires “remain out of the public eye” due to many misconceptions of what it means to be a vampire and fear of retaliation from their acquaintances.

Now Merticus works to educate people that vampirism is a “fusion of physical, mental…and spiritual attributes,” and that vampires are largely productive members of society.

Vampirism is often associated with the occult, and fictional vampires have been known to engage in human sacrifice among other grisly acts. The idea that the vampire subculture “encourages and tolerates such behavior” is not true, Merticus said. On the other hand, human vampire communities welcome members of all religious backgrounds.

Both vampires said they resist being recognized solely because they identify as vampires. And they certainly buck aesthetic stereotypes of vampirism: Merticus comments that he doesn’t wear fangs or goth clothing, and Lore describes his late-night style as a cross between dress-dressing and ’80s rock and roll. (When he’s making fangs, he prefers to keep informal).

Fortunately, though, Merticus said, all indications are that the portrayal of fictional vampires is headed in a positive, multifaceted direction: Gone are the days of pale-skinned bloodsuckers.

“The Hollywood interpretation of the vampire has been transforming the vampire into something more human than a monster,” he said, referring to Barnabas Collins, the lead in the gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows,” the David Bowie movie “The Hunger” and the adaptation of the Anne Rice classic, “Interview with the Vampire”.

“The humanity of the vampire has struck a chord with the public,” said Merticus.

But those and other popular vampiric qualities only intensify the media attention on off-screen human vampires. Merticus said he prefers to stay in the “shadows”: many vampire houses, clans, organizations and individuals have managed “pretty well” without all the fuss.

“This is what makes the tapestry of our collective experiences so richly rewarding and bonds us personally as we grow older together,” he said.

But as long as there is interest in human vampires, Merticus said he will be a somewhat reluctant spokesperson for them. He has even conducted surveys among fellow vampires to learn more about their backgrounds, eating habits, and social life.

Entrevista con el vampiro

Scene from the television adaptation of “Interview with the Vampire”

There is more to life than being a vampire

Both Lore and Merticus say that vampirism does not take up their entire lives. Both are in committed relationships with non-vampires, they said, and being a vampire is just one facet of who they are, not their defining quality.

Merticus’s Atlanta Vampire Alliance has become a relatively small, tight-knit team of “aging vampires,” he noted. The Georgia vampire’s life is relatively quieter than Lore’s: he prefers to sneak out to restaurants, bars, and cultural events rather than work and play in sleepless downtown New Orleans.

Just as some vampire groups in New York are highly influential, almost political, and the Ohio vampire community is made up mostly of psychic feeders, according to Merticus, each vampire house, coven, or court has its own traditions and nuances.

“Most of us communicate even if we approach the path of vampirism from different avenues of belief and practice,” Merticus said.

Vampires of all kinds, from all over the United States, want to support and protect the people who have become their family. As a family, they fight and disagree (that’s where Lore comes in, to mediate). But the goal, Lore and Merticus said, is always unity.

“Unity to me doesn’t mean we’re all the same,” Lore said. “It means unity of purpose. We are all family despite our differences; sometimes we love each other because of our differences.”

Source link

Written by Editor TLN

Technical workshop of the Statistical Records System Project for the exploitation of administrative data in the national statistical institutes (INE) of Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Peru

Archive - Grain carrier in the Ukrainian port of Odessa

Ukraine, Turkey and the UN advance preparations for the departure of 14 ships from Ukrainian ports