creepy Modern Vampires and How They Practice the Ancient Art of Drinking Blood

Lisa A. Flowers
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How do modern vampires drink blood? When it comes to cinematic, full-blown IRL Gothic horror, nothing compares to the delicious terrors a plasma-slurping vampire cult can conjure up. (Most people, in fact, immediately think of Hammer Horror or serial murders committed by white faced, clove-smoking '80s kids). But the fact is that many “serious” blood drinkers (or “sanguinarians,” as many of them prefer to be called), regard their beliefs and practices as being close to sacred.

Information on these movements is admittedly scarce, and serious studies on them are mostly to be found within academic sociology departments; but rest assured that these present-day Nosferaturians are out there gorging themselves on the “elixir of life” as we speak, and they're probably closer to you than you think - especially if you live in a vampire-associated metropolis like New Orleans. Here's some of the most noteworthy contemporary cults/organizations.

The Atlanta Vampire Alliance Looks for Donors to Donate Their "Life Force Energy"

The Atlanta Vampire Alliance L... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Modern Vampires and How They Practice the Ancient Art of Drinking Blood
Photo: Hammer Horror

The Atlanta Vampire Alliance (or AVA) claims to accept members from both “sanguinarian and psychic” backgrounds; they're also clear on the fact that they're not a role-playing group, or a “religious, spiritual, or occult entity.” Rather, they define themselves as an organization devoted to “individuals who cannot adequately sustain their own physical, mental, or spiritual well-being without the taking of blood or vital life force energy from other sources, often human.”

Blood is obtained through willing donors, most of whom are found through networking within the group. All participants are encouraged to procure blood testing for safety reasons, and to make their arrangements through written or verbal contract.

How is the blood administered? According to an interview last year in The Guardian, “modern vampires get their sustenance through inch-long incisions made by a sterilized scalpel on a fleshy part of the body that doesn't scar,” and sometimes medical personnel even facilitate operations... just, you know, to be safe.

Tracey Wigginton and Her Lesbian Vampire Cult Attacked a Hitchhiker

Tracey Wigginton and Her Lesbi... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Modern Vampires and How They Practice the Ancient Art of Drinking Blood
Photo: Magnet Releasing

The "lesbian vampire" genre has long been beloved, and it's given us classics ranging from Sheridan le Fanu's Carmilla to the Hammer Horror classic The Vampire Lovers (part of the celebrated Karnstein Trilogy of films). However, the reality of press-dubbed "lesbian vampire killer"  Tracey Wigginton is anything but romanticized nostalgia. One night in Queensland, Australia, Wigginton and her four "vampire friends" saw a man waiting for a taxi, and offered him a ride home.

According to the other women, Wigginton was a ritual blood drinker who murdered the man because she wanted to "feed," but whether or not a bonafide cult ever existed has never been determined. One thing is for sure, though: Wigginton was a murderer, and for reasons that don't seem to be entirely sound, she was paroled and sent back out into the night in 2012.

Sanguinarius Helps Vampires Drink Blood - And Avoid Cult Brainwashing

Sanguinarius Helps Vampires Dr... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Modern Vampires and How They Practice the Ancient Art of Drinking Blood
Photo: Hammer Horror is a vampire community resource. Despite its reputation as a cult, it's actually an organization devoted to bringing the vampire community together. In fact, it even has a “cult danger awareness” section, which warns against the threats of “brainwashing,” “mass suicides,” and other pitfalls commonly associated with Manson-like depravity.

The group claims to promote “safer feeding practices” and strives for “acknowledgment of donor concern," and they're quick to explain that everything they do is strictly legal and by the books: human blood always comes from willing human sources, and animal blood generally comes “fresh from the butcher,” or from “rare-cooked meats.”

In other words, no sacrifices or nocturnal nabbing of possums.

Allan Menzies Was Inspired by Anne Rice to Murder His Best Friend

Allan Menzies Was Inspired by ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Modern Vampires and How They Practice the Ancient Art of Drinking Blood
Photo: Rank Organization

Not all cults and/or organizations are benevolent, supportive, and community-oriented, though, and some are every bit as psychotic as horror films would have us believe... even if they're just one-person cults.

In 2004, in Edinburgh, Thomas McKendrick was killed by his best friend, 22-year-old Allan Menzies, who believed that he needed to have a “fresh kill” under his belt in order to become a vampire. Claiming that he was under orders from Anne Rice's iconic vampire queen, Akasha, he bludgeoned McKendrick with a hammer, stabbed him repeatedly, drank his blood out of a chalice, and even somehow managed to consume part of his skull. In another mysterious twist, Menzies died (suddenly and under mysterious circumstances) in his prison cell, while in the process of serving a life sentence.

The New Orleans Vampire Association Is for Blood Drinkers and Do-Gooders

The New Orleans Vampire Associ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Modern Vampires and How They Practice the Ancient Art of Drinking Blood
Photo: Film Arts Guild

The New Orleans Vampire Association (or NOVA) is a non-profit organization comprised of seven “houses” (all bearing enigmatic names like “House of Mystic Echoes" or “Esoteric Gateway Order"). This organization is different in that it's focused on community outreach that goes beyond "mere" vampirism: members regularly feed the homeless and organize community benefits for the poor at Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas.

According to an article in the The Washington Post, many of the organization's donors are friends who simply volunteer their blood, and some donate it for money, like one would at any other blood bank or plasma center. Sometimes, too, members merely decide to approach individuals they think might be into it. (According to the author of this story, who did volunteer his blood for the sake of a juicy tale, the consuming vampire used a disposable scalpel to make a prick in his back, then “put his mouth over the warm liquid, and lapped it up.")

Voices of the Vampire Connects Blood Drinkers Through Their Facebook Page

Voices of the Vampire Connects... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Modern Vampires and How They Practice the Ancient Art of Drinking Blood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Voices of the Vampire, or Vampire Community News, is an organization that facilitates a wide variety of balls, get-togethers, and other events, and endorses safe blood-drinking practices. “We are physically human, and susceptible to human diseases,” the group's Q&A reminds active blood drinkers; and organization founders advise human donors to always “supply medical documentation to show they are free of blood-borne diseases.”

Feeding is done according to personal preference (i.e., open-mouthed or tubal), and the group's active Facebook page contains discussion on many feeding-related issues. It also contains links to many scholarly resources, like TED Talks on “how young blood might reduce aging.” 

Daniel and Manuela Ruda Murdered a Friend to Drink Her Blood

Daniel and Manuela Ruda Murder... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Modern Vampires and How They Practice the Ancient Art of Drinking Blood
Photo: Universal Pictures

The tale of Daniel and Manuela Ruda, the German Satanist couple who were finally committed (for life, but not to each other) after they murdered an acquaintance, is a sobering one indeed. According to reports, Manuela, who met her husband online via a Satanic "lonely hearts" personal ad, had a long history in the London vampire cult scene; by her own admission, she regularly "went to 'bite parties' where people drank each others' blood."

After the killing, the couple ritualistically consumed their victim's blood, though Mrs. Ruda expressed her dismay (and surprise) that "after the killing she did not turn into a vampire." The article also briefly touches upon the "growing problem" of "young Satanists," and points out that Satanic and vampire cults are "most common in the depressed towns and villages of the former communist east of [Germany]."

Vampires of the Sunshine State Congregate at The Castle

Vampires of the Sunshine State... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Modern Vampires and How They Practice the Ancient Art of Drinking Blood
Photo: Warner Bros.

Tampa's The Castle nightclub, located in the Ybor City historic district, is home to more than just partygoers with run-of-the-mill goth tendencies. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the club is home to a monthly gathering of real vampires, whose group was founded, and is led, by an enigmatic 39-year-old named Evan Christopher.

According to the article, some of the group's members feed on blood offered by donors known as "black swans," while others feed, reciprocally or otherwise, on their lovers during sex. The article explains how, "after a decade in the Air Force," Christopher "went to New York to apprentice as a fangsmith under a national elder;" he established his coven shortly thereafter.

One of the group's members claims she's been liking blood and eating rare meat since childhood. She also gets into various common modes of blood-drinking, which include buying a finger-pricker at a drugstore, drinking out of medical suction cups, or simply "nursing right off the skin." Which, like breastfeeding, is probably the healthiest option.