By Light Unseen

"Turning" and "Awakening"

Hypothetically and in the Modern Vampire Myth, the process of converting an ordinary human being into a full-fledged vampiric person (of any type) or vampire is referred to as "turning." Sometimes it is also referred to as "being embraced," a phrase from role-playing games, and there are a few other terms drawn from vampire fiction ("the dark gift," "the dark kiss," "bringing across," and "bloodsiring," are several of the most common examples).

Vampire-Identified People disagree as to whether "turning" is a real phenomenon or is even possible. Many Vampire-Identified People believe that we are born as we are and can't be "turned" or "turn" anyone else. However, some Vampire-Identified People report that they underwent a dramatic change that felt physical and externally catalyzed. They experienced a sudden development of either blood-craving or "psi-vamp" tendencies, along with secondary symptoms such as sun sensitivity, nocturnalism, and alterations in appetite. Less often, the secondary symptoms include positive changes such as greater strength and stamina, faster healing, better reflexes, enhanced senses and so on.

This sudden development (or awareness) of vampiric symptoms is commonly called "Awakening." In most cases, "Awakening" is seen as a spontaneous occurrence in a person with inborn, dormant vampiric qualities. But sometimes, Vampire-Identified People trace the changes in themselves to a specific incident. Sanguinarians most often identify an experience of sharing blood with another person who was already a Sanguinarian--either inadvertently, or with prior agreement that the other person was "turning" them. Self-defined "psi-vamps" may describe an experience in which they "linked" or psychically bonded with an existing self-defined "psi-vamp," sometimes via such media as online chat or the telephone. "Turn" stories involving sex or the injection of an unknown substance (supposedly blood) have also been described.

Although the Vampire-Identified Person reporting this experience believes that it was causative and that he or she was literally "turned" or transformed from an ordinary human, many others interpret the experiences as a triggered Awakening of inborn traits. Several years ago, Sanguinarians were more likely to consider the "vampire virus" hypothesis seriously, which supported a model for "turning" caused by transmission of the virus. Currently, more Sanguinarians favor a genetic basis for their condition, which supports the model of "turning" being a catalyst for "Awakening."

Only a minority of Vampire-Identified People give full credence to the possibility of "turning." While some believe that it may be possible, or is possible in rare cases, and a very few hold firmly that "turning" is the only way to become a vampiric person, the majority of Vampire-Identified People of all types believe that they were born as they are. Sanguinarians frequently say that their obsession with and craving for blood goes back as far as they can remember. At least one Sanguinarian reported a mid-life Awakening of her blood-craving tendencies but had absolutely no idea what could have catalyzed it. For the most part, vampiric people regard "turning" as belonging to realm of role-playing and fiction.

A separate issue, however, are the constant requests that almost every public Vampire-Identified Person receives from people asking to be "turned." The "turn fantasy" is a powerful one for many people who are deeply invested in the Modern Vampire Myth. Such individuals not only contact vampiric people asking to be "turned," but place personal ads and post messages on messageboards, guestbooks and other fora in droves. Those who are seeking to be "turned" do so with an earnestness and even desperation that amazes most Vampire-Identified People. I have only encountered a tiny handful of people seeking to be "turned" because they had a terminal illness. Most are simply unhappy with their lives, or are seeking to change themselves in some profound way. The majority of them (although by no means all) also seem to be very young.

Most Vampire-Identified People are appalled by requests for "turning," whether they believe such a thing is possible or not. Sanguinarians and self-defined "psi-vamps" overwhelmingly regard their condition as a serious liability, like a chronic disease. They often respond to "turn" requests with a litany of the woes they suffer and demand whether the aspirant has thought through all the disadvantages to life with an uncontrollable craving for blood or "energy." In many cases, it seems that the aspirant is not, in fact, asking to be "turned" into a Vampire-Identified Person as described in these articles. "Turn" aspirants nearly always seem to be seeking a variant of the Modern Vampire Myth. They appear to assume that the Vampire-Identified People are just trying to hide the truth from them; anyone who calls themself a "vampire," they think, must be a "vampire" like the Myth, someone privileged and special, and they want that special identity, as well.

The serious danger comes from the type of person who is all too happy to respond positively to "turn" requests, especially from young women. Like the social networking sites that are plagued by pedophiles and sex offenders, the online vampire fora have their own schools of sharks cruising for young girls (and boys) they can lure with a promise of "turning." These human vampire-like predators will spin stories about being immortals, throwing out more and more outrageous details to test their mark's gullibility. They will promise all the beautiful details in the Modern Vampire Myth: agelessness, immortality, power, endless love and an enfolding community of peers. If they succeed in meeting their mark at last, the results could be very serious. There have been a number of cases of girls being tricked into sex under the pretense of "turning," or of people being injected with harmful foreign substances. Some of these vampire-like predators have attempted to form a cult-like "vampire clan" of mind-controlled slaves.

Members of the Vampire Community try to be alert to these threats, and to denounce and banish vampire-like predators when they're detected. The best way the community can protect itself from negative repercussions is to deal immediately and ruthlessly with predators, and to treat "turn requests" with some sympathy and patience. If the "turn" aspirants are ridiculed or rejected, they'll keep looking until someone tells them what they want to hear.

(Note: Some of the offline Vampire Community groups and organizations use synonyms for "turning" to refer to the ceremonies or procedures for initiating members into the group, or into a new rank. In most of these cases, as far as I am aware, the group is using the term metaphorically. There are a few organizations in which a literal transformation of some kind is implied.)