Britain Has ‘Subculture’ Of 15,000 Vampires, Says University Lecturer
A psychology lecturer at a British university claims the UK has a population of some 15,000 vampi...
A psychology lecturer at a British university claims the UK has a population of some 15,000 vampires and is carrying out an academic study of their lifestyles.
Dr Emyr Williams, a senior lecturer from Glyndwr University in Wrexham, wants to discover more about Britain's vampire subculture, following the surge in popularity of films and TV shows about vampires.
The academic says vampires are not a myth but live and breathe a set of laws and ethics while meeting regularly all over the world, including the UK.
He is carrying out what is believed to be the first online academic surveyin the UK of people who say they are vampires aimed at gaining a better understanding of vampirism.
Dr Williams said that while plenty of work has been done on the phenomenon of vampirism before, it has never really been approached from “an academic perspective”.
“We are talking about a group of individuals who believe they have a psychological need to consume blood," Dr Williams said.
“Some books say there are between 10,000 and 15,000 people in the UK who call themselves vampires, with maybe another 30,000 being donors. So we’re trying to reach as many of these people as we can to try and understand them better.
“I’m trying to find out about those people who live as vampires, not because they read it in literature and they’re role-players, but who genuinely think they are vampires and genuinely live that lifestyle,” he said.
Interest in the myths and legends of vampirism has been boosted by films and TV shows including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and the Twilight series.
“This is a subculture that exists in every country, especially in the west,” said Dr Williams.
“They are a group of people who drink blood and drain energy from people, but their well-established set of laws means they know who it can be taken from.
“Sanguine vampires take blood and have a donor. They can only cut from certain parts of the body and are not allowed to take too much.
“Psychic vampires have a different ability to gain energy, but they are the ones who, when they come into the room, feed off other people and leave them feeling drained.
“It is fascinating and all very real, which is why I wanted to conduct this study.”
Dr Williams drafted a questionnaire to gather more information for his research and hopes genuine vampires will support his efforts.
“There have been many sociological and journalistic interviews but nothing really on the psychology of this group,” he said.
“I’m asking about how they form communities, what their levels of happiness and self-esteem are and what are their religious beliefs – most would associate themselves with Christianity – and trying to create a psychological understanding of this subculture.”
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Dr Williams added: “I don’t want to label them as mad, bad or dangerous, only interested in Gothic culture and graveyards. They’re just a group of people we need to know more about.”
Dr Williams admits access to the vampire community is difficult as they are so private, but is confident his research will attract their attention.
His interest in vampires began more than a decade ago after reading an article examining social and religious beliefs of the subculture in America and Australia.
Together with Dr Janet Goodall, a Research Fellow at the Institute of Education, University of Warwick, he wrote a study into vampires and the legend of Nosferatu.
The paper explored how modern culture and vampire imagery has glamorised the myth and placed the subject back under the spotlight.
He added: “The psychology of vampires is so interesting and I genuinely don’t believe it is linked to mental illness or madness.
“Some sleep in coffins at night but the kind of literature written on them is usually through interviews and case studies and they are usually the weirdest and goriest people they can get to try and sell it, rather than those who do this for simple and less sensationalist reasons.
“It’s a religious belief, a belief in anything – we all have different belief systems and for many people vampirism is a genuine way of life.”