Academic spends five years studying communities in New Orleans and Buffalo, New York

Tuesday 24 March 2015: ‘Real vampire’ communities live all over the world including the UK and USA, according to an ethnographic study published today in Palgrave Communications. Dr John Edgar Browning, of Georgia Institute of Technology has spent five years researching real vampire communities in New Orleans and Buffalo, New York. 

'Real vampires', or 'modern vampires', are terms used to describe people who say that they consume human and/or animal blood, absorb what they refer to as 'psychic energy', or both. Dr Browning coined the term ‘defiant culture’ for subcultures that identify with a term which has inherently negative perceptions, such as real vampires.

Dr Browning said: “People who self-identify as ‘real vampires’ do not sleep in coffins, and do not claim to live forever. I found them to be very kind, accommodating and pleasant. Some were loving parents, and some could have passed for everyday professionals one might pass on the street.”

He adds: “Often we think of culture and otherness as mutually exclusive entities, but the defiant culture of ‘real vampires’ demonstrates deviance from the broader cultural norm whilst still belonging to a subculture. Doing so, they critique categories like ‘normalcy’ and demonstrate its instability.”

The study finds that ‘real vampires’ say that vampirism begins to manifest around puberty, and they do not have the choice to change their behaviour. According to Dr Browning, real vampires don’t always adopt gothic dress or prosthetic fangs, although they may.  

The majority of Dr Browning’s field research was conducted via interviews, field observations, and a 36-question survey, which included questions such as: whether the subject consumes blood; has fangs; when the subject realised they were a vampire; and how the subject stores blood. 

The article is open access, and can be read and downloaded free of charge.



Notes to editors:

The paper will be published at 10am on Tuesday 24th March. When live, the paper will be here: Palgrave Communications

For more information, a copy of the full paper and interviews with the author, contact:

Amy Bourke
Corporate Communications Manager
Nature Publishing Group/Palgrave Macmillan
E: amy.bourke@palgrave.com

T: 020 7843 4603 | M: +44 (0) 7703717212 

The paper can be found here: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/articles/palcomms20156


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