A Vampire's Life? It's Really Draining

Forget 'Twilight.' These Folks Pale in Comparison to the Stereotype.

By Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 24, 2008

The vampire drank cola at the movie because the vampire does not drink blood. She remarked that the giggling teenagers buying popcorn in their capes were "really, really great," but the vampire herself wore jeans and a gray T-shirt, as she breaks out vamparaphernalia only for special occasions. And after the 9:15 showing of the new hit film "Twilight," the vampire went straight home with her teenage son, because the vampire is a doting mom.

The vampire is Linda Rabinowitz, also known as Selket. She's in her thirties, lives in central Virginia and radiates warm approachability. If you needed a quarter to get on the bus, she is the stranger you would ask.

If you maintained eye contact for too long, though, she might be tempted to quietly sip away at your energy, or prana, leaving you a little fatigued, because that is what empathic and psychic vampires feed on, and that is what Rabinowitz says she is. But she would never actually do that, because "good" vampires -- both psychic and blood-consuming sanguinarians -- operate under the Black Veil, a strict code of ethics that stipulates feeding only off willing donors.

What did you expect, some kind of monster?

Every time Hollywood comes out with an undead movie -- pale skin, exposed throats, eternal lust -- everyone wants to talk to real vampires. "Twilight" -- which made $70.6 million over the weekend and recounts the love story of human teen Bella and vampire teen Edward -- is no exception. (Hey! Tyra just had one on her show -- some woman called Vampyra who lights her son on fire and says he likes the rush!)

Vampyra is exactly what the vampire community does not need right now.

Because frankly, they are sooo over the negative exposure. Over explaining that many of them really like sunlight, over teaching that vampires are born and not made, over answering such questions as: Do you really sleep in coffins and never die? Please, people. Please.

Vampires, depressingly, are Just Like Us.

* * *

"I really look at my condition as more of an energy deficiency," says one 27-year-old Washingtonian, whose condition, she says, is vampirism. She goes by Scarlet in the vampire community, but she -- like many vampires -- does not allow her real name to be printed because she has not come out of the coffin in real life. "I don't always produce enough energy to sustain myself," Scarlet says. She noticed this deficiency while a child, she says, and "awakened" as a vampire in her teens.

So the woman, who recently relocated from the South, occasionally needs to take a little energy from her boyfriend. Just a teaspoon of blood, once every week or 10 days, and always collected with disposable single-use lancet. Safety first, safety first. Feeding is "not as parasitic as people think," she says. "It's more of a reciprocal thing." While she has an energy deficiency, she says, her boyfriend has an energy surplus. "He'd been a little hyperactive, and now he can actually sleep through the night." It's almost medicinal, really.

Rabinowitz is just as discriminating when it comes to empathic feeding. "I stay away from people with medical issues," she says. "There's just too much complex emotion there." Also, no drunks, no druggies, no head cases, and "I try to stay away from people who are evil, basically." Although she most often feeds from one willing donor (most often, her long-term partner), she is able to take in ambient energy from crowds, without people even realizing. Places such as Hard Times Cafe and Applebee's can be good spots, she says, because of the generally positive energy.

CONTINUED     1           >

© 2008 The Washington Post Company