No Betas Allowed — Vampire Verisimilitude

Consider this “Myth of the Immortal Court, Part II: By the Numbers.”

I’ve mentioned before the ridiculous Mathematical Impossibility of Vampires, or what I call the Daybreakers Fallacy. In short, humans postulate Vampires cannot exist because everyone in the world would have become a bloodsucker already.

As if Vampires would let such a thing happen. We’re not zombies, we’re not stupid, and one bite does not equal Vampire.

But this brings me to a key point: supposed “immortal courts” make no sense because all Vampires are alphas and see one another as mutual enemies. So what’s the big deal with dark princes and princesses and all that? Here’s my best guess.

We all know Dracula was a Count, but that doesn’t mean all Vampires are royalty or have to be. Werewolves draw strength from packs while witches have their covens — neither of which actually exist the way you think. I’m talking about social games — role-playing, LARPs, and MMOs — where human players get to become the “monster” of their choice. Some of these attribute packs and covens to Vampires, nests and the like, implying groups of Vampires huddled together…

Except they’d destroy one another. More often than not, they do.

Anne Rice had it right — only the lonely — but White Wolf Games needed to enable everyone to play Vampires, so there had to be plenty of bloodsuckers around and reasons why they would be. I think the ones organized like mafia make the most sense; they’re at least somewhat believable.

There are about ten thousand Vampires that exist on Planet Earth with a population of 7.5 billion humans.

That’s one Vampire for every 750,000 people.

430 Vampires in the United States of America out of 323 million people.

There are perhaps eleven operating in and around New York City.

I can count the number of Vampires in West Virginia on one hand, including myself.

If such a court exists, it would be populated by ghouls: helpful empowered humans trying to avoid becoming the next meal. It would in no way be staffed with other Vampires making plans to attack or be attacked… constantly.

If you’re a Vampire, you’re an Alpha. There are no Betas and certainly no Omegas. Call it Vampire paranoia; you’re always suspicious and you’re not wrong to be. Two can tolerate one another for short periods of time — very short periods of time.

If it weren’t for social media, we’d never talk to each other safely at all.

I know what I’m talking about. Trust me — I’m a Vampire.

Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
~ Janiss

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You Asked For It: My Magnum Opus – Vampire Verisimilitude

I’m still seeing swoons online over becoming immortal. “Please turn me.” “I want to be one of you!” “Vampires are SO cool — be my maker!” “I want to BE somebody!” And the one that floors me: “You’re so lucky that happened to you!”

All I hear is, “I wish I were handicapped so I could get better parking.”

Seriously: it’s the same damn thing — and you’re ASKING for it.

So here it is: my magnum opus. All further inquiries into being turned, remade, transformed, or whatever wonders you’ve imagined will now and in the future be referred to this post/document — I’ve been stewing over it for seven years and it’s time I unloaded. Feel free to skip all of this if you want to keep deluding yourself about becoming a creature of darkness and putting yourself in harm’s way that can’t be undone.

“Getting Lucky”: My Big Mistake

I turned left. That’s it — doomed in an instant. As I’ve done dozens of times before and a hundred times since, I crossed the Butchers Road bridge over the Little Kanawha River before turning onto Route 5. A right turn would take me in the direction of my Gramma’s old farmhouse; a left turn would head toward Glenville. I remember being a little hungry and a bit impatient, figuring I could nab a quick six-inch turkey sub in town and scarf it down it on the way back.

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The laziest bloodsucking bastard imaginable was already eying my little red Kia Soul from inside his stolen black Cadillac Escalade. If I’d have gone home to Gramma’s, I would have known he was following me. Once you leave the main road, only locals bother with the backwater twists and turns you have to take get anywhere — and we all have guns (welcome to West Virginia) since our nearest neighbors may be five miles away, never mind any possibility of the sheriff’s patrol getting there faster than a pizza delivery. To coin a phrase: city folks just don’t get it.

I turned left and the bastard followed. I often park farthest away from where I’m going because I like to walk, and he’d cleverly positioned himself between where I stopped and my favorite local sandwich shop. I left the safety of my vehicle, assumed the (admittedly) handsome man in the pretty SUV was lost and in need of directions — and I awoke naked in a shallow grave covered in dirt. One glance and a few words — that’s all — and I was his toy. No seduction, no sweeping me off my feet, no promises of a better life; he stole me away and took everything from me.

Okay, here’s where Joss Whedon suggests I should lighten the dire mood: How does a lady Vampire flirt? She bats her eyes. Funny, right? Yes? No. Moving along…

Myth #1: It Can’t Be As Bad As All That

Vampirism changes you physically. A thimbleful of your once-favorite beverage or a lick off of a medium-rare steak fillet are yours to enjoy without incurring ill effects, but none of that compares to your craving for the sweet taste and aroma of warm, living blood — and you’ll want more than you need. “That’s okay, I’ll just go to a local blood bank and make a withdraw.” Nope, nope, and nope. You can’t freeze it or store it, and anything drawn that’s over an hour old is repellent.

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You need warm living bodies to feed yourself (read: HUMAN only… no rats for you, Louis) and you need them readily. If you don’t satisfy that need, you’ll feel and look the part of a monster as your body betrays you and your mind devolves; you won’t be able to stop yourself if you slip too far away until that need is fully met. You’re going to want to connect with your old life — relatives, friends, co-workers — and they’ll be the first people you’ll want to sample. Oh, and children? Witches may hate them but Vampires LOVE them; that’s the blood you’ll want the most.

What would you get if your doctor became a Vampire? More blood tests than ever. Never trust “Dr. Acula.”

Myth #2: I’ll Still Be Me, Only Better

Sure, you get everything a supernatural predator needs: blackened eyes to see in low-light conditions, fangs and talons for ripping through flesh, strength and speed to catch and subdue your prey. If your victims can see and hear you, their minds become yours for as long as you like — but if you drink from them too heavily, their minds and memories stay with you… forever. A good rule of thumb is if you drain enough to kill them (whether you do or not) you risk a piece of their souls embedding itself within yours, starting with your maker (you can’t opt out of that one).

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They judge and distract you, and your mind’s eye sees them in anything reflective: mirrors, chrome, even still water. If those sound like things you’ve heard Vampires avoid, now you know why. If you give into their taunts and interact with them — we call it daydreaming — it leaves you vulnerable; it makes it difficult to distinguish memory from reality, especially if you’re in dangerous territory. Remember how Vampires on “Buffy” lost their souls after they turned? It can feel a little like that, and sometimes you’re not sure where you end and they begin… a bit like going mad.

Here’s another riddle. What’s it like to be kissed by a Vampire? It’s a pain in the neck.

Myth #3: No Honor Among the Un-Dead

Oh, and then there’s every other Vampire on the planet instinctively wanting to destroy you. None of this “nesting” thing like rats or bats; if you lock two Vampires in a box for an evening, only one is coming back out. It isn’t as easy as the movies and television show to make a Vampire, either, so it isn’t done on a whim and you’re technically creating a competitor and/or possibly your own self-destruction.

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We can even sense when we’re pushing up against another immortal’s territory, but not enough to pinpoint where they are exactly or how many there are. We believe it’s meant to warn us away from each other, but many take it as a sign of “getting ready to rumble.” Sure, you can keep human friends, but will they want to keep you? Maintaining a so-called masquerade is nothing short of exhausting — especially knowing you can kill pretty much anyone and be done with it.

Who does Dracula get emails from? His fang club.

Myth #4: Nothing Can Stop You

The good news: you don’t have to sleep in a coffin. The bad news: you don’t sleep at all… or dream ever again, for that matter. You’re always conscious and always aware — unless you’re daydreaming, which is just as distracting as it sounds. It isn’t unusual for Vampires to be seen talking to themselves, because they’re actually not (see Myth #2). But when the sun is up between dawn and dusk and its light can touch the earth, within the earth is the only place a Vampire can hide. Being up, active, and not below ground in at least a shallow grave feels like becoming the walking dead. Your heart stops, your breath ceases, and everything feels horribly wrong… but when you’re down in the dirt, it’s all comfortably numb. If you don’t plan for this at the end of every night, it won’t go well for you.

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At night, our physical bodies simulate life, retaining youth (unless we choose otherwise) and are hard to ignore. To quote a recent mockumentary: “We are the bait — but we’re also the trap.” People around us feel a fascination toward us, almost celebrity-like, an attraction they won’t understand, even to the point of empathizing our heightened emotion (read: if I’m sad, you’re sad). It’s difficult trusting anyone around us because we can’t always tell sincerity from influence. A Vampire becomes the center of attention but they can feel more alone than ever — never mind all the ways you can be subdued or destroyed (which I won’t go into details about here, mortal).

How do Vampires get around on Halloween night? Using blood vessels.

Maybe It’s Already Too Late

So, to recap: living human blood only; multiple personality syndrome; other Vampires want to destroy you; no sleeping or dreaming and you feel truly alone. Glamorous, right? Everything you wanted and more? Better than the way you have it now? Offing yourself is easy — just throw yourself at another Vampire and let paranoia take its course.

Having said all this, if you have been turned against your will or have found yourself unable to endure eternity, reach out to me; ask me anything. Modern technology and social media have created the perfect venue for immortals to interact in the human world like never before, all in a virtual place where we don’t need to fear one another.

Oh, and you can thank Timothy for telling me this one: Where do Vampires learn to suck blood? Law school.

Addendum:

As if asking to be turned, bitten, or unmade wasn’t enough, now I’m seeing folks tell others to ignore my warnings because I’m not talking about “real” vampires. Identify all you wish, but when I say “Vampires” (capital-V) I’m talking about the dangerous supernatural kind who’ll kill you when starved, not the misunderstood hemoglobin-deficient very-much-alive guys, a few of which who’ve decided at some point that “vampire” or “vampyre” meant them exclusively and that all other uses — including the origin of the word — are insults directed at them. Quite the contrary; I WISH the supernatural kind only existed in books and movies, but I can assure you no one talking about truly dangerous (read: Un-Dead) Vampires are referring to you: the kind I prefer.

Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
~ Janiss

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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Debunking Dr. Karl – Vampire Verisimilitude

Dear, Dr. Karl — may I call you that?

An article was brought to my attention earlier this week that both amused and gnawed at me: How long would it take a vampire to drain you of blood?

It’s not a bad read, but, well…hmm. It appears you’re omitting details to fit your revelations rather than follow logic to reach a fair conclusion. I won’t call these facts — that would require more evidence than I’m willing to provide — but I thought you might be interested in a more authoritative opinion.

First off: Santa Claus, Jesus Christ, Sherlock Holmes, and Dracula appear frequently as characters because they’re in the public domain and free to use. Just an FYI.

PerfectPintIt’s true that a victim won’t fall immediately unconscious, but you’re neglecting the amount of blood a vampire needs to survive and how frequently they need it. Single pints (standard units of blood) are donated all the time at the Red Cross with few ever passing out; would it surprise you to know that a Vampire can subsist on as little as this each night? Sure, they may be a bit irritable and need much more if they’re healing from a grievous wound, but it’s enough. Ideally, three pints are more than adequate — three meals a night, if you prefer — and no one needs to die. If a Vampire chooses to feed once and get on with their evening, a victim could still survive this even if they pass out (and they certainly would).

As far as the time needed to “drain” the victim? Let’s substitute in the words “feed upon” and not squeeze out victims like tubes of toothpaste. It’s hilarious to assume Vampires rely only upon arterial pressure when they can SUCK YOUR BLOOD. Easy in-home experiment! Fill a pint glass with ice first and then add your favorite liquid candy (read: soda pop) to the brim, then see which way you can drink all of the liquid faster: pouring it down or sucking it out through a straw. Get it? Good…moving on.

2016IanInYourEye600Playing down the romantic angle for a moment, Vampires can mesmerize their victims. You knew that, right? What may look like willing submission doesn’t have to be, but a smart Vampire will find willing donors they can come back to. Bodies stacking up can be a problem, and anyone who watches “Forensic Files” knows how hard it is to disappear bodies in many places. Why bother? It’s not laziness, it’s efficiency.

“Being set on the pathway of becoming a Vampire” just because they were bitten? This is probably the biggest assumption and fallacy of these so-called exposés. If that were true, we’d be up to our armpits in bloodsucking undead by now. No, turning is an intentional thing, and it isn’t guaranteed, either. Like an elected procedure where the human body is being subjected to a massive trauma or change, things can go south in a hurry and all you’ll have left is a corpse to dispose of (see above).

WorldOfDarknessHaving shot down the “zombie theory” that being bitten turns a victim every time, this also kills the grade-school penny-doubling math-calc that wipes out the human race in thirty-four months. To be fair, Daybreakers was a fun movie about exactly that scenario (all except for the hilarious “cure” part), but the other factor missing is Vampires actively destroying one another competing for that blood bank. Did you think being turned made you instant friends? Nope, because Vampire are alpha predators, not pack-loving werewolves. In the same way killing off your food supply is bad for business, allowing other Vampires to roam your fiefdom is a signal to all that you’re either foolish or vulnerable.

In those films where all the monsters come out together, which one is usually in charge? Top answer: the Vampire.

That’s because Vampires are smart…VERY smart.

Remember that the next time you reveal “big lies about the bite” as far as Vampires are concerned.

They’ll be watching…and so will I.

Love your show!

~ Janiss

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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Role-playing Tips – Vampire Verisimilitude

Isn’t the number of Vampires on social media amazing?

BuffyTheMasterSometimes they use names like Dracula, Lestat, Carmilla, or some other literary undead character. They may further claim they are old or even ancient…you know, however far back their social media settings will allow them to go. The bad part, however, is some folks argue and/or DEMAND that other users treat them as the real deal — even if the other users aren’t role-playing. My favorites are the ones trying to be mysterious using cryptic phases like “you don’t know me” or “pray we never meet.”

It’s enough to make an actual Vampire laugh their ass off.

Hey, it’s cool if you’re role-playing. The best part of social media is being able to show the world only the side you want it to see, but let’s think things through logically.

What kind of Vampire are you? How long have you been a Vampire? What do you hope to gain online by revealing your presence to the world?

If you’re unsure, you’re in luck: I have a few suggestions.

Tip #1 – Take yourself less seriously. A real Vampire won’t mind if you don’t believe them; anonymity is your friend. Any creature that secretly preys upon the living or has a need that can only be satisfied by drinking blood isn’t exactly a safe individual to be around, and you never know who’s monitoring public communications. Whether you’re a Vampire or not, making threats online is not only a bad idea but is highly traceable; no one likes local law enforcement paying a visit to their crypt, okay?

Tip #2 – Try being less infamous. Claiming to be Lestat de Lioncourt, Count Dracula, or Countess Bathory is even more ridiculous. It’s like all the people who confess under hypnosis they were Joan of Arc in a previous lifetime. “There can be only one,” as Clancy Brown’s Kurgan might say. No one wants to be Dracula’s piss boy, but just take it down a few notes. “The Vampire in my village was destroyed, but no one knew she’d visited me first already.” Ooh, sounds like a cool story; tell me more! And why can’t you be a younger Vampire? How have the last five years been since you were turned? What were the best and worst parts so far?

Tip #3 – Dare to be vulnerable. This goes back to reasons for being on social media: you’re untouchable. “FEAR ME; I AM VAMPIRE!” doesn’t exactly scream authenticity, okay? But talking about the years gone by, the loved ones you’ve lost, or the wonders of modern invention, these are things all mortals can relate to that immortals suffer. I’m not encouraging whining, crying, or whatever “emo” is; just show a little honesty and relate to how others deal with it. Does being an immortal give you a sense of childlike wonder through the ages or crush you with painful memories?

As the Master commands: “Share!”

Disclaimer: I am not in any way suggesting that the information provided on this page came from an actual Vampire…but I’m not saying it didn’t, either.

Keep each other safe.

~ Janiss

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Kate Beckinsale and Worlds of Darkness – Vampire Verisimilitude

Fair warning: I can’t believe I’m still dwelling on this.

It has become apparent to me that you cannot be taken seriously as a female Vampire in book lit (or anywhere else) unless you dress like a Victorian corpse who died of consumption…or maybe a pierced tattooed thug in heavy eye makeup with ankh jewelry and quasi-street rubber/leather New Religion goth clothing.

Or — you know — you happen to look like Kate Beckinsale.

KateBeckinsaleVampiresDon’t get me wrong: I like her, too. She’s gorgeous in a timeless way, looks bad-ass whenever she wants, and you WANT to believe in the character she’s playing. Yet at the same time, she’s a walking undead cliché: perfect dark hair, pale skin, the ethereal blue supernatural contacts, the custom-leather corset (accentuating whatever you have to work with) and, well, just all of it.

* bangs head on desk *

Here’s the problem: NONE of this makes any sense. Who makes up all this stuff? “LadyVamps R Us?” Maybe Blade has an excuse (“He makes the weapons; I use ’em.”) but where’s the sweat shop of old gypsies stamping leather for the Underworld Vampire lords and death dealers?

Xombie NephthysHere’s the truth: anyone can be a Vampire (assuming you survive the transformation), so Vampires can look like anyone; “True Blood” got this right. We should WANT to look like “anyone.” We need real living human blood to sustain us — blood that can’t have been outside of a body for more than an hour — so a source must be kept close by, and willing donors are always preferred to unthinkably trying to maintain a fully stocked dungeon. Never mind that the whole undead Cleopatra look attracts the worst donors: mortals who just want to become immortal.

Tattoos and piercings? Oops…Vampires HEAL. That’s right; subdermal ink and flesh holes go away. I have to re-pierce my ears every single time I want to wear a pair; the holes close as soon the posts come out and are outright ejected whenever I rest.

Back to Underworld: who builds all their little underground blood bank safe-houses with the fully stocked weapons cabinets? Who keeps those places sterile and so spotlessly CLEAN? Ghouled slaves? Island Fortress Cleaning Services?

Dracula never had to put up with this kind of disrespect. Then again, he was originally EVIL.

So the next time you’re watching a supernatural television show or horror movie where “the too-cool Vampire girl” walks on-screen (and it’s ALWAYS a girl because, according to writers, no self-respecting lady Vampire would ever want to look like a mature woman) just remember: real Vampires can and do look like anyone. Just because you rise from the dead doesn’t mean a mysterious crate arrives from France full of dark makeup, clothing, and smoke machines to celebrate becoming a creature of the night.

Nor do you rise knowing expert martial arts fighting skills — but that’s a rant for another night.

Keep each other safe.

~ Janiss

Email janiss.connelly@cedarcrestsanctum.com
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Creepy Fingers, Sexy Voice – Vampire Verisimilitude

I’m just going to throw out two words: Frank Langella.

Timothy, as many of you know, has an extensive collection of Vampire movies and television shows, but one I’d never heard him talk about was the 1979 Dracula. When you hear about classic leading actors playing Vampires, the names Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee come up, but you don’t hear the word sexy. Powerful and dangerous, sure — these Vampires took what they wanted, but Langella’s Dracula seduced.

Timothy and I watched his new Blu-ray of the movie early Christmas morning. He won’t admit it, but I think Frank is a favorite of his.

DraculaFrankLangellaAnd why not? The first time you see him, it’s only his fingers — long, slow, and deliberate — reaching for Mina tenderly but ensnaring her all the same. I think it was meant to be creepy…like watching a spider, but you still wanted to watch. The second time he is whole: tall, well dressed, moving with precision. His eyes linger and caress…wow. And his voice! Louisa once told me she knew I had been transformed from the quality of my voice, hearing that extra component that makes it “irresistible.” But hearing Langella pouring on the charm? Hearing him read a software agreement would be captivating.
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Dracula’s Bucket Brigade – Vampire Verisimilitude

Have you ever thought about a Vampire having to deal with something completely mundane?

I had to laugh at this.

FromTheDeskOfJanissSignatureWe have alarms at Cedarcrest Sanctum for various reasons, not the least of which is a trespasser on the property. With the safety of our residents being paramount, we monitor for several possible emergencies, but imagine my surprise when a flooding alarm went off. As someone who sleeps deep in a hole in the ground, flooding is not high on my list of favorite things. Fortunately, the flooding was traced to a pipe that had broken due to a freeze, but we had to carry equipment down into a sub-basement to pump out the water. Truthfully, I was doing a lot of the carrying.

This got me thinking about Dracula — silly, right? For the record, there’s no such guy, but imagine he and his brides waking up one stormy evening to discover the crypt was full of water. “Egads!” he’d cry out in a thick Romanian accent (I have no idea what he’d say, so I’m rolling with this). “Quickly, my brides! Gather all the buckets and towels you can find! For the love of darkness, save the tapestries!” Then there would be burst of motion and activity as four Vampires started bailing out a crypt and moving things away from the leak to wait out the storm. Turning into a bat, he’d brave the pelting rain to survey the roof, finding the portion that had given way.

DraculaBelaWax“Niña! Pinta! Santa María! Swoop down upon the unsuspecting village below the castle and use the cover of the night to snatch as many roofers as you can carry! Make all haste!” For full disclosure, I have no idea what the names of Dracula’s brides are, so I used Spanish ships — what’s he going to do, sue me for defamation of character? With the roofers secured, Dracula would use his command of the elements to make the storm over his castle stop so the roofers could fix the damage, then send them back to their village with a bag of gold each. Do you think that’d be enough to cover the workmanship plus free round-trip airfare to the castle and back?

Yes, I’m being silly, but I think the fictional King of all Vampires would be awesome at crisis management.

Keep each other safe — and dry.

~ Janiss

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