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Vampyre History and Why I Give a Fuck

Vampyre History and Why I Give a Fuck

A few years ago, I probably would’ve said it’s the responsibility of Elders and community leaders to document and preserve Vampire Community History. And I don’t entirely disagree now, folks who have been actively making that history throughout their lives have more access to the history and any materials and knowledge that should be preserved. Original copies of things, first hand memories and experiences, and knowledge and awareness of the people, places, and things that are important to save. I definitely believe folks that have all that do have a duty to make sure it lives beyond them and the community at large can access the history, knowledge, etc. well into the future. Making sure we’re actively backing things up and hosting them in multiple places. Making sure they tell their stories and share knowledge around the campfire so to speak.

So much of my time in the community had been made up of me metaphorically sitting at my Elders’ feet, listening to their knowledge and stories of the past or how they came into their wisdom and roles. It’s so valuable to me and it informs so much of who I am in this community today.  

I feel so called to Historian work, because a few years ago I had an experience where I needed some community information and so many of my usual go-to resources, websites, and videos, didn’t seem to be there. I couldn’t find any of my usual online haunts, the websites and forums I lived on back in the day, and many of the ones I did find were offline or long abandoned. The books I was searching for were often out of print and exorbitant amounts of money for used copies in less than pristine condition. A Google search that used to take me 30 seconds was an ordeal that lasted nearly a half hour and ultimately resulted in me digging out a couple of old books I bought in the late 2000s. When I awakened in 2003, it felt like there was so much out there that could be easily accessed, things I could stumble upon both online and in a bookstore. I felt like I had discovered a whole new playground when I first found the community and the information (some good, some bad, some bullshit 😅)  within it. If I had a resource or community I liked and trusted, that would make it easier to get others because most sites were parts of web rings or in top 100 listings, so I could just click over and explore the resources that my trusted sites and communities themselves trusted. Nowadays it can be hard to come by things I already know for certain do or did exist. 

If I’m struggling to find things I know are out there, what difficulty might younger and newly awakening vampires be struggling with on their journey? 

I’m no community Expert. I’m no Elder. I’m no Leader. I’m no Mover or Shaker. I belong to no House. I’m just someone who loves this community, and has seen some shit go down in it over the last 20 years. I’ve been a witness to so much and heard and learned so much more. I didn’t think any of this was valuable nor did I think I had anything to contribute to the community at large before I realized my memories and experiences hold knowledge and history that is starting to get lost. 

Our Elders are dying, our resources are decaying, inactive, and going offline at an increasing frequency. 

Now don’t get me wrong, there are new leaders, spaces, and resources emerging, and even a few older sources are being refreshed and republished like the Psychic Vampire Codex. But there does seem to be a resource and knowledge drought right now that concerns me, especially online and in terms of what seekers are able to access without being directed by folks in the community. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that we are all, as a community, somewhat responsible for recording, sharing, or at least speaking on the history and knowledge if we want to ensure our culture’s longevity and that new folks can find us and the knowledge they seek. Even if you think you don’t have much to contribute or share, if you even just sat back on the sidelines and watched important things happen or even just watched the community exist. That’s important. That matters. Personal anecdotes and first hand experiences matter. Your trial and error, your self discovery, your less than shiny, hard won knowledge and experiences matter. 

So I’m doing my best to preserve and share what I can where I can. I have a small library of vampire community books. I maintain a youtube playlist of relevant vampire community video content. I am writing down my own personal history  and experiences, and insight, making sure I am sharing that knowledge, history, and experience with the folks I am in community with. It’s starting to look like it’s time for me to take my place by the fire and share my knowledge with younger folks sitting at my feet, so to speak. It’s important enough to have just been there to see it happen, so I make sure that folks who weren’t there know that it happened. 

I’m actively recording the living history of the Mobtown Halo as we make it. 

Small things that I think many of us can do.

But why the fuck does it matter so much to me? 

So often, I come across people who seem to be under the impression that everyone already knows what they need to know or they can find out by simply asking someone around them. (Or, perhaps a darker notion that everyone who needs or deserves to know already knows and they don’t feel the need to expand beyond that)  That has always struck me as a bit short sighted and insular. It’s not usually ill intentioned, but it does fail to account for a large number of people in and around our community. So many people who were just like me at one point, young, awakening, overwhelmed, afraid and lost. Going through something big and scary yet also exhilarating and cool, but having nowhere to turn, not sure if I was maybe just a little bit crazy instead. Until I found the Vampire Community. Nowadays it’s a lot harder to find the Vampire Community, especially on accident like I did. I literally stumbled upon it by flipping channels. A documentary was on and that documentary pointed me in the direction of 2 books, one reality show, at least 5 Houses or organizations, other documentaries, and a whole host of individual people and experts to look into. 

A documentary I found on accident literally rolled out the red carpet for me in terms of finding VC resources. We don’t really have too much of that going on today. The way media consumption and the internet work nowadays, we are overwhelmed by and inundated with immense amounts of choice and outlets for information, but at the same time, things are more compartmentalized and the more specialized and legitimate stuff is harder and harder to find and vet. It’s often buried under pages and pages of clickbait, sensationalism, oversimplification, and bullshit. Especially for something as niche as vampirism. 

For those of us who already have the knowledge and all the passwords to the speakeasies of knowledge, we don’t have to wade through all that bullshit because we already have people, places, and resources we trust and regularly seek out. We know where the good stuff is and haven’t had to look hard for it from nothing, from a place of zero knowledge, in a long time. 

I think a lot of what happens—and I used to see this a lot in my previous job as well—Once you are entrenched in something, have been living and breathing it for decades, it’s really easy to forget that most people don’t know what you know. The things that are basic, common knowledge, simple, and beginner knowledge, are not in fact known by everyone and they certainly aren’t known by people who have no experience or who are seekers at the beginning of their journey. 

To bring it back to my old job, it was easy for me to forget, because I lived and breathed body piercing information, that for most people, they don’t even really know how a piercing works, how the body heals, or what materials ensure the best longevity of a safe, happy, healthy, piercing. Most people had their ear lobes pierced as a child and that is their only reference. They have no idea that most body piercings are not anything like that experience and that the experience they are familiar with is not ideal or the most accurate or up to date. Every day I had the experience of asking what someone wanted pierced and their answer was “My ears” or “My nose”. To them, that was a complete answer. They thought they provided all the information necessary. They were always shocked when I followed up with “That’s great! What on your ears or nose would you like us to pierce?”. So many people don’t know that we can and do pierce more than your lobes or nostrils. And we often forget that other people don’t spend 40 hours a week doing exactly that and then some. They don’t even grasp the tip of the iceberg and that isn’t their fault. How can I expect them to grasp what’s under the water? 

We have to lay the foundation first. 

It’s important, every so often, to step back, go back to basics and really write down and define what all that “common knowledge” stuff really means, especially the stuff that is like breathing for you, the stuff you assume everyone already knows, because the reality is, not everyone does know, even folks who need to. And I’m not truly speaking about EVERYONE in the whole world or folks who have no business having community knowledge or history. I’m speaking specifically on folks in Our community or young vampiric folks seeking our community and in need of its support and resources. 

Our community isn’t and shouldn’t be finite and stagnant. There will always be more, young vampires awakening, coming up, and seeking out the community, and I think we have a duty to them and to our history to have easy to access information, resources and historical records available of the most basic and foundational stuff. If folks want to dive deeper, they can, if they want to get really deep and pursue a house, they can take that step too and then learn oathbound, house specific, protected knowledge there too, but there should be an outer court knowledge that gets people oriented so they know what they want, what they need, and what is out there. 

The fact remains that so many folks don’t even know what the options are or what is even out there. They don’t know how to find what they are seeking because they may not even be sure it exists. Fuck, we have more and more people coming up that doesn’t even know Gotham exists, let alone anything about it. I think we can reasonably balance protecting secrets, oaths, and privacy while making sure there is a more accessible history or resources. 

We gotta really break all the basics down. Write it out as if the person who reads it has less than 0% base knowledge on what they are reading. Because chances are, that is the situation they are in. They know less than nothing either because they are at the beginning of their journey or because they got taken advantage of by someone spewing bullshit to manipulate people. 

This foundation of knowledge and history isn’t just about the legacy or well-being or future of the community. It’s also a tool to help arm people to help them better be able to vet people, organizations, and so called “leaders” and protect themselves from harm and being misguided and mistreated. 

People can’t tell what is good vampire info vs bad vampire info if they can barely find any vampire info at all. 

And even folks who have been in the community forever know there are big gaps in their knowledge or their understanding of community history. I care about preserving and sharing that because I know how fucking many of us are hungry for it. I know how important it is for the longevity of our community to feed that hunger and bridge those gaps. 

Sometimes established community members or older groups give a bit of pushback to what we are asking for here. They don’t always see the gaps in knowledge we talk about, or they don’t think what we are asking for is something that isn’t already being done. First and foremost, if their own Houses and Communities are doing a good job of seeing to that internally, that’s amazing and we need more of that! But it can’t just be the Houses that hold the knowledge. The houses are but a tiny fraction of the Community at large. 

I think part of the disconnect is that there are really two requests being combined into one. People are asking both for history and knowledge to be shared and preserved, but people are also asking for that history and knowledge to be made accessible to beginners, ronins, and seekers, or for folks who have been around for a long time doing their own thing but have struggled to feel like they could approach, access, or fit in to the community. 

They are asking for that information to be easy to find AND easy to understand for folks who may have gaps in their knowledge or who are building their knowledge base for the first time. 

It’s honestly a bit like watching a Soap Opera on TV—stay with me here. Those shows have decades and decades worth of history. On air every day for an hour, five days a week, every week of the year. Nonstop and almost always without fail. The same towns, the same families, the same characters, the same storylines and yet always moving, always changing, taking new twists and turns, making transformations. If you haven’t been watching it for years, or you haven’t been stuck in a room listening to your mom, grandma, and aunties talk about it for decades and you just turn it on out of the blue, you’re not gonna know what’s going on. You don’t know who those people are, why they have beef, what is at stake, or why you should care about it. You don’t know how it relates to you or what you can learn or enjoy from it. You don’t even know that it can be yours to learn and enjoy. It’s all gibberish and it looks melodramatic and even foolish from the outside. It’s hard to step in without any info and no one willing to step up and fill you in. 

But once you have a baseline of info, know who the major players are, how long this has been happening, major events, conflicts, and key pieces of information. Once someone tells you what’s at stake and why you should care and how this all relates to you, you can get into it. Get hooked even. Suddenly you low key give a fuck about Port Charles or the Young and the Restless, so to speak 😉

It’s the same here in our community. It’s impossible to come in and find your home, your support, your resources, and your family, if no one is stopping to give you the time of day let alone the Cliff’s notes.

There is some complicated gate keeping going on in the community, some of it is warranted and necessary, some of it is a CYA (some of that is habitual, and some of it is still relevant), but some of it is an over correction or over protection, and some of may even be based in Elitism, I can’t be sure, personally. But what I can say is it’s possible to provide a baseline of information to seekers and younger community folks without too much risk or without disrespecting or disregarding the higher level information and those who have earned it. How do I know? It already existed once upon a time, and that wealth of resources literally got me to where I am today. Folks can’t hope to have a shot of building up to more complex knowledge if we rob them of the foundation from which to build. 

Preserving and sharing knowledge and history helps strengthen us all. 

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About The Author

V.S. Nightborn

V. S. Nightborn is your friendly neighborhood Vampyre Historian. I awakened in 2003 and have been a member of the online vampire community since 2005. I am not a member of any particular house or bloodline, what some might call ‘Ronin’. I’m no expert, but I do think my decades worth of trial and error has resulted in valuable insight and experiences that I am happy to share in our community. In addition to my vampyrism, I have been a practicing Witch and Spirit Worker for the last 20 years with a focus on trance, journey, and relationships with the Fair Folk. Be careful, I may or may not be among their number. 😈 I’m incredibly passionate about preserving vampyre history & culture, and educating people—vampyre and non vampyre alike—about our community and needs. As Coven Historian, I own an ever growing library of books by, for, and about our community and experiences. If you need a resource, just ask!

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