In ancient folklore, the act of becoming a vampire was transmittable only by committing an atrocious act that would curse the culprit’s soul and send them into a dark form of un-life, cursed to wander the world in a frail state of pain and suffering. Of course as the image of being a vampire changed so too would its contagion. And now in this electronic era, it seems the internet itself has become an incubator for throngs of those claiming to be the undead.
Once upon a time vampires would transmute normal humans into their kind by undergoing a dark ritual of blood drinking. Forever cursed to wander the Earth in darkness, these creatures of the night would be imbued with supernatural powers that would allow them several edges over the human race to whom they once swore fealty, but also would limit them to shadows and the night, and forcing them to sleep underground in coffins or dark mausoleums until the night once again rolled across the land. But now with the information age, the vampire curse has gone viral, infecting the youth through youtube, facebook, and other social websites. The kindred are seeking one another through the internet and spreading as more a social phenomenon and less a race of beings cursed by antediluvian forces of mystical nature. So with this new vampire phenomenon trickling into popular culture once again, many are suggesting the internet is to blame for a new generation of beings who believe they are supernatural creatures of the night. But is this curse something to be feared? Or is it no more dangerous or mysterious than the Rock and Roll culture of the 1950’s or the Hippie culture of the 1960’s?
Perhaps the largest difference in this respect is the vampire culture’s relationship with the supernatural and specifically the occult. In studying several vampire groups, it seems dominant religious unity is somewhat lacking even as the vampire culture itself is altered significantly by pop culture outlets in the form of musical venues, books, films, and television shows. But as with many other memes of its type there are several groups that seem to have done a significant amount of research and investigated occult texts and organizations in ways that go beyond the simple lit candle in a dark room.
But what cultural impact could this have? Will this ultimately result in a wider understanding of mystical and occult traditions?
In searching through internet forums, it seems a large part of the vampire culture is based solely on popular culture. As a result, information gathered into the collective codex of the culture is based on fiction rather than any ties to more difficult to access occult texts. Still, there is the occasional mention of an element that bears a striking parallel to the various texts of Dion Fortune, Aleister Crowley, or Robert William Felkin. Does this mean the vampire world is creating a significant number of occultists?
It becomes a question of causality. Are people interested in the occult because they are also interested in vampires? Or are the proportionally interested in vampire culture for the same reason they are interested in the occult? Is it a matter of aesthetic, personal choice, or genuine mystical inquiry? If the first two are the case, then the results will correspond. And yet if it is the third, then perhaps we should reassess how we think of vampires.