Thank you Octarine Valur
Thank you very much, Octarine Valur, for your in-depth critique A RESPONSE TO ‘WAKE UP AND SMELL THE BLOOD !’ of my article WAKE UP AND SMELL THE BLOOD ! . I believe this debate is very important as it not only widens our understanding of others, but also allows us to grow spiritually.
Val, you are indeed correct in writing that my article (an opinion piece) on vampirism is based on my understanding of the topic and that as an opinion, it does not follow that it is accurate (and here I feel that the words: “within everyone’s personal paradigm” should be added.)
You have left me with much to think about. Earlier this week I read your article Whose Reality Is More Real? which you posted on September 19. However, now that your response has been published on Penton, I wish to respond to a few things you opined.
You wrote “…and raises the question whether Pagans should or shouldn’t tolerate Pagans who are also practicing Vampyres (and therefore exhibiting mental illness) among them.”
What I wrote was “I want to make it clear that no Pagan should be marginalised within the Pagan community. However, the question is not how Pagan certain people within specific subcultures are, the question is whether we, as contemporary Pagans, should support certain activities even if we find them objectionable on a personal level, or when these activities are most likely the result of a psychological disorder?”
So, I wrote “support”, not tolerate – big difference. Neither did I specifically target Pagans who are practicing Vampyres. Neither did I write that they were “exhibiting mental illness among them” – what I did write was “… most likely the result of a psychological disorder”.
Regarding Renfield’s Syndrome you wrote “He says, and falls foul of the fact that most sanguine Vampyres readily admit to obtaining a blood feeding perhaps once a week, to every two weeks, and sometimes even months apart if lucky.”
Actually, I wrote “A person SUFFERING FROM Renfield’s Syndrome is convinced that without a daily supply of blood from an outside source he/she will die.” I did not say that ALL Vampyres need to drink blood on a daily basis.
Also you wrote “Since he states his opinion that Vampyres are suffering from a mental illness called Renfield’s Syndrome.”
Not really what I wrote either. I said “Although Renfield’s Syndrome has not been accepted as a formal diagnosis by the psychiatric community, the pattern of clinical vampirism that it describes is recognised. Vampyric people such as Sanguinarians would be labelled by psychiatrists as suffering from this syndrome.”
Please note the “would be labelled by psychiatrists …”.
You are 100% correct in saying that Renfield’s is not recognised as a specified mental illness in itself, and that it is not an acclaimed disease, but this does not mean that it does not point towards a number of possible psychological disorders, some which I mentioned in my article. Others include haematomania, a strong psychological craving for blood; haematophilia and haematodipsia – an erotic attraction to the taste, sight or smell or blood; haemosexuality – a strong relationship between blood and sexuality etc.
It seems to me that you may not understand what the term ‘syndrome’ actually refers to. Syndromes, for the most, do not point to a specific symptom and are as such not an illness in themselves, nor an acclaimed disease. A syndrome is, however, a “set of signs and symptoms that tend to occur TOGETHER and which reflect the presence of a particular disease or an INCREASED CHANCE of developing a particular disease”. Or also “a symptom, characteristic, or SET of symptoms or characteristics indicating the existence of a condition, problem, etc.” The word comes from new Latin from Greek sundrome, literally ‘a running together’. It is thus a collection of possible symptoms which may point to a specific condition.
It is not a pseudo-scientific term. Probably the most well-known syndrome is AIDS, and I personally doubt that it is pseudo-scientific (although some, including one of our own presidents, claimed it to be or even denied the existence of that specifi syndrome).
Regarding the study/survey conducted by Suscitatio Enterprises LLC, which I indeed did ignore, but, here is why. According to Suscitatio Enterpresis LLC, the advanced-vampirism-&-energy-work-research-survey is “a detailed sociological and phenomenological study of the real vampire community conducted by Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC. Two surveys were released in 2006 that were answered by over 950 individuals from all paths within the vampire community and throughout the world. The first was the Vampire & Energy Work Research Survey with 379 Questions in March 2006; and the second was the Advanced Vampirism & Energy Work Research Survey with 688 Questions in August 2006. From 2006 to 2009 a combined response total reached over 1 450 surveys or over 670 000 individually answered questions; making it the largest and most in-depth research study ever conducted on the real vampire/vampyre community or subculture.”
I have no doubt whatsoever that this was most likely the largest survey/study of its kind to date. However, this survey/study is not empirical evidence and this becomes clear when reading Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC’s own legal notification “Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC releases the Vampire & Energy Work Research Survey (VEWRS) & the Advanced Vampirism & Energy Work Research Survey (AVEWRS) and all information contained herein without warranty, expressed or implied, and is not liable for its accuracy, or for any personal or indirect loss incurred from participation. The statements, questions, and opinions offered in these surveys are not necessarily those of Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC nor do they represent the beliefs of all those in the vampire community. The information presented in these surveys are for general educational and research purposes only. None of this information should be considered a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment nor do we advocate potentially harmful behaviours or practices. It is up to the individual to determine for themselves in which manner to participate in these research surveys.”
It seems, in my opinion, that Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC is not prepared to back their own research 100%, and they also do rather seem slightly worried about the fact that their information could be mistaken for “medical diagnosis or treatment”. Diagnoses and treatment of what?
Regarding the survey’s credentials: Suscitatio Enterprises LLC is the research arm of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance. Both were founded or co-founded by Merticus, who is a principal contributing author and researcher for the Vampirism & Energy Work Research Study and a lead researcher for Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC.
As such this study/survey can be deemed as been slightly one-sided and slanted as most surveys worldwide tend to be depending on what they are attempting to show/prove, and depending who conducts them and who pays the bill. I am afraid that surveys are as real as “Reality TV”, but surveys can indeed be informative.