Hostile Interest – Who’s Watching Us?
As with many persecutions and moves to incite fear or hatred of diversity by spreading mis-information, the motive for this can be traced back to religion. Recently, a religious cult-group in the USA posted a lengthy video on YouTube arguing that a pastor of a group it had an ongoing feud with, is “a Vampyre”, employing exhaustive argument using circumstantial evidence such as tastes in music on the part of the pastor in question in order to discredit him. The video showed a heightened and disturbing level of interest in the actual local VC. The seriousness of this interest was somewhat offset by the group’s obvious preoccupation with “reptilians” – entities described as either aliens or demons, as well as its rampant and ongoing Jerry-Springer-esque grudge-match with the other cult-like Christian group.
Regardless, it seems that due to the increased hostile attention given to alternative communities and cultures by people like Don Rimer (until his death in January 2012) and Bill Schnoebelen since the 1980′s SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse) panic, there is an increased level of interest in communities like ours on the part of hostile religious groups today. These people billed themselves as experts on Satanism, the occult, and occult crime and bundled the Vampyre Community in along with these.
Typically, many such experts have been shown to have a relatively poor understanding of any Pagan religions which they have slandered or worked to undermine or defame in their writings or public grandstanding. Schnoebelen for example claims to have been a vampire at one time, but the sort of vampire he describes becoming, having retractable fangs, burning in sunlight and being unable to consume physical food, is a fictional invention and is well across the border where reality meets fantasy and brings his credibility into question.
Schnoebelen has been claiming to have been a vampire (with retractable fangs and all) since his book and 9 hour video set ‘Interview with an ex-vampire’ came out a few years ago, and has only just released a new book last month concerning his brush with vampirism called ‘Romancing Death‘. I wonder if he sparkles in this one?
“Providing an unshakable Biblical foundations to expose the evil of vampirism versus the gift of Eternal Life through Salvation, this new firebrand book weaves together Bill’s personal testimony (involvement in Wicca, Freemasonry and vampirism) and the literary and cultural histories of vampirism, while closely analyzing the romanticized ideals of the occult portrayed in the Twilight Saga series. ROMANCING DEATH is a clarion call and warrior handbook for the Church to take responsibility to be true salt and light in the world! ” Hmm.
‘The Vampyre Underground’ by Marcia Montenegro was first written in 2001. It is an outside look at the Vampyre culture from a perspective of the Christian religion, albeit from an evangelical Christian perspective. It’s at least less hostile, and possibly slightly more accurate in the use of some terminology and presentation than the one from the local Kanaan Ministries group who got their facts totally confused with the Twilight books and movies, leaving the unschooled reader feeling that Twilight and the real VC are somehow similar.
‘Twilight: A Warning‘ conflates fiction with reality and also perpetuates the compiler’s complete misunderstanding of the culture and of self-identified Vampyres themselves. However, even though these attempts to understand or interpret the Vampyre culture are misguided and confused, they nevertheless are fairly obviously attempts to understand and even to show a kind of compassion for people who identify as Vampyres, not specifically to incite open hatred or action against the VC.
Current efforts on the part of hostiles however do not seem like those of Schnoebelen and Rimer of whom it can be assumed sought to profit either in terms of financial reward or fame and esteem from the publication or propagation of their “satanic panic” hysteria, but who demonstrated little desire to partake in any physical action against their target groups. Schnoebelen appears to have received some support, in terms of audience at least, from some moderate to large evangelical church groups since 1986 but these are not known to be actively working against or targeting the real Vampyre Community.
Efforts against the VC by these fringe religious cults have been made possible by the increased awareness of the real Vampyre Community, indirectly resulting from the actions of people such as Rimer and Schnoebelen. These groups build on this foundation by drawing hostile attention to real individual Vampyres, Vampyre Groups and Houses, the Vampyre Community in general, pointing out all the reasons they feel threatened and endangered by these and applying liberal layers of cherry-picked fact, circumstantial evidence and a good dose of wild speculation to create a firestorm of misunderstanding, fear and hate.
On the less coherent and less sane or well-intentioned side of the tracks, we recently saw the ‘Liftaloft’ drama unfolding between two cults in the USA. To sum it up, two waring Christian (Amightywind) and Jewish/Christian (Rob Reed) ministries / fringe-cults have been going for each others’ throats with one of them calling the other a real vampire – as in a vampyric person. It even goes so far as to suggest or theorize whether the target of this attempt at character assassination drinks human blood. This video indictment reads like a medieval witch trial, where suspicion and accusation is good enough to have someone opinionated to death. In point of fact, the line of argument and presentation of evidence is nothing more than cherry-picking circumstantial evidence and then twisting it to suit the intended motive of the accuser, tactics both Rimer and Schnoebelen used well.
In this video, they allude to how they have conducted infiltration of VC groups in their area, divulge so-called “Vampyre secrets” in such a way as to imply that the subculture poses some kind of a threat to them and their ability to continue practicing their beliefs. The contempt they have for the VC and those who identify with it is clear. This sort of presentation perpetuates a vicious circle, resulting in yet more curiosity from hostile groups and an increase in hostile interest in Vampyres and the VC. It is safe to expect that the purpose of such interest will not be to seek knowledge or to understand Vampyres with the intention of respecting us for who we are, but in order to better take us apart.
There is a growing ex-gang member/culture, anti-Vampyre ministry movement in parts of the USA today and this video is loosely linked to such and to participants who are active in the Vampyre community. Thus it has to be repeated and emphasized: Be careful who you associate with, be careful who you let in to your Houses, and Groups. Be certain that people are who they claim to be, before trusting them.
Moving on to blogs, we look at one example The Death Of Satan blog, if you can call it that. It’s more like the long, inane rant of someone who can’t remember where he left that vital bottle of pills. Just looking at his Blogger profile is enough to convince me this fella is obsessed with his religion and blogs about nothing else. No use knocking on his door because nobody’s home. His “facts” are completely off. He condemns and dismisses the lifetime experiences of an entire community with the comment that he has “researched vampirism”, which translates to “I have spent five minutes researching your community just to find what I was looking for, in order to condemn what I clearly do not or want to understand”. His comment on HIV “coming out when it’s ready” indicates a poor grasp of biology, medicine and infectious disease transmission. The fact that he doesn’t take comments or provide email contact on any of his seven equally lunatic fringe blogs, says it all.
It’s not so much a formal movement, more like a couple of individual churches, cults or individuals, both Christian and sometimes also Pagan. Sometimes they work together, sometimes they don’t know they aren’t the only ones. It seems the real Vampyre hunters aren’t van Hellsing or Buffy types exactly, but are still religious zealots. It’s worth mentioning that there are various YouTube videos of pastors and street ministries preaching against vampirism and targeting those in the Vampyre subculture. It is also worth pointing out that there are many Vampyres in the community who also practice and identify with Christianity, among a plethora of other religions. According to the Suscitatio LLC VEWRS and AVEWRS surveys, not all Vampyres are Satanists as is so often claimed by these hostile groups.
These surveys show that of the multitude of religious affiliations within the VC, the 5th most common affiliation (in multiple choice format) is Christianity. This indicates that the 5th highest scoring religious affiliation within the part of the international VC which participated in the study, identifies as Christian, while Lucifarianism and Satanism only features at low to mid range affiliations. In fact even Michelle Belanger’s Kheprian spirituality, which is only about a decade old, scored higher in this study with 45 respondents, compared to Luciferianism’s 33 and Leveyan Satanism at 40. Responses of those who identified as Christian on the other hand topped the 100 mark and Neo Pagan at 155. The statistical facts seem to debunk the stereotype being perpetuated – yes, some Vampyres are Satanists – but like the general population, only a small percentage of them. This fact is also borne out by sources external to the VC.
Having a nightside name or profile doesn’t close my mouth or prevent me from posting a good dose of home truths where it is deemed necessary. Educating lunatics is not always possible and getting entangled in arguments with them only works them up into a frenzy and makes them more dangerous. Better to educate the silent majority who are more willing to listen.
A website notorious for some years now, within Goth and Vampyre Communities alike (you thought they were the same thing?) is the GodHatesGoths.com site. The site proclaims “The greatest threat to today’s society is the rise of the gothic subculture. Goth is a sinister and violent subculture obsessed with Satanism, Wicca, Vampirism, BDSM, rape, child abuse, Hitler, bondage, sick sexual perversions, serial killers, death, drugs, self mutilation and other sick practices to vile to mention. Goth’s are the Devil’s Children. In my opinion, Goths are more dangerous to children than pedophiles” – Rev. R.G. Green“. Built and hosted by persons unknown, and making extraordinary claims of Christian ministries and parental concern groups targeting Goths and the VC, led by some prophet who speaks out vehemently against such “aberrations”. All fake. Yup. No such parental body, ministry, or reverend exists, and never has. So what is its purpose? Why does it remain there year after year?
Though few actual sane people, even among Christian zealots may take this diatribe seriously or as factual, it provides misinformation, outright lies and incitement to fear, hate and encourages the gullible to take action against Goths and Vampyres alike. Similarly, a warning went out last week from the Otherkin Community, about a troll victimizing LGBT forum members on several Otherkin forums and groups, using Christian propaganda and claiming to be representing an ex-gay” ministry which has subsequently been shown to be about as real as the God Hates Goth groups and “Rev. Green”.
What about here in South Africa? So far, we seem to have gone relatively undetected by the regular lunatic fringe religious nuts who attack civil liberties of other social groups on a frequent basis. So far we seem to be off their radar. Not so? The Kanaan group which produced Twilight: A Warning do not seem to be either aware that there is a local VC, or if they do, they do not seem concerned or hostile. Another local Christian wing-nut group that pickets and boycotts everything from abortion to gay rights and freedom of religion, is the Christian Action Network, or CAN. They too have hopped on the Vampyre-bashing bandwagon, albeit through trashing Stephanie Meyer’s brainchild on their website and in their own vanity publications, and seem oblivious to the fact of our community’s existence at all.
The thing is, we know fanatical religious groups talk to each other, they network, they share ideologies, receive support from other countries fanatics and in the same way that they share tactics on breaking down human rights values and strategies to attack groups they share a dislike for, it is only a matter of time before one of them cottons on to the fact that “Hey, there are Vampyres in South Africa too – how do we deal with them?” It won’t be the first time that South African religious zealots and minority-haters receive assistance from their American stable-mates.
Generally speaking, modern efforts against the global VC do not seem to be coming from larger religious bodies or high-profile personalities seeking riches, fame and glory from any book or dvd deals that may result from it. No, the current trend appears to manifest from the direction of grass-roots-level, small independent religious cults, replete with apparent UFO conspiracy-theorists, employing tactics of infiltration, intimidation and the application of the image and concept of the real VC as a negative and threatening stereotype. This negative stereotype presently teeters on the edge of being used to incite hostility against the VC itself, and against all who identify with it.
Recent events seem to indicate a possible future increase in religious intolerance, not unfocused and indirect, but focused and directed at individuals and those who self-identify as Vampyres or vampyric people, energy feeders, and the existence of the subculture itself. This is not new. It has been employed by similar religious groups, including mainstream Christian churches, to demonize, exclude and persecute people on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity and other forms of self-expression, identity and belief.
During February, Iraqi Islamist militia are alleged to have murdered around 140 teenagers dressed in Western and “emo” style, whom they accused of being sexually depraved, practitioners of magick, and “vampires”. Closer inspection reveals that the ideology behind this crime against humanity was motivated by the conflation of the ideological hatred for non-heterosexual orientations, coupled with religious intolerance for non-conformism to Islamist dress and culture AND the use of the “V”-word was thrown in to demonize the victims still further, based upon propaganda manufactured by the Islamist
murder machine since 2009.
The world is changing. For decades now, since the matter of race has been discarded as a way to provide a potential “threat” to the integrity and unity of the Christian ideology, gay and transgender people have suffered their scape-goating and vilification and persecution. Once more, change is coming. A slow and creeping change. It is becoming clearer to those running the religious game that this threat is losing its potency and effectiveness in keeping the faithful glued together. Science, medicine and human rights have outgrown religion and the fetters the Popes and Bishops would tame them with, and have delivered fact and proof which invalidates claims that sexual orientation or gender identity are nothing but lifestyle choices. Logic and arguments mount to reflect that inborn and immutable characteristics cannot be sinful if a person was created so by a god they hold to be perfect and infallible. Those who continue to refute science and still persecute, are increasingly being unmasked as murderous villains and portrayed as human-rights abusing fanatics with a tenuous and failing grip on both sanity and reality. It will soon be time for them to find a new threat to use as a catalyst to unite the flock once more.
What group presents itself more conveniently and timeously, than those who embrace their vampyric natures, partake of human blood and spirit, do so in secrecy and by sheer coincidence fit the description of the “satanic” which has been forced upon them for centuries by the almighty religious machine? For centuries, the Christian machine has rolled over, chewed up and spat out those whose blood it employs as oil to run the gears smoothly, choosing as victims those overwhelmingly outnumbered or unable to defend themselves. Who would want to defend people who drink human blood or drain life from them, even voluntarily? Who would defend people their propaganda paints as evil?
Quite simply, if they don’t know who we are, or how to find us the loonies can’t touch us, can’t persecute us and can only stew in their paranoid fear and loathing of everything not on their ok list. With that cheerful thought, I wish you all a good week.
Magister, Mintaka Halo (SAVA)
Editor: Vampyre Bytes
Director: The Vampyre History Project