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Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampirism Hardcover – May 14, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0313364723 ISBN-10: 0313364729

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (May 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313364729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313364723
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #422,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


• Introduces the reader to "lifestyle" vampires, who adopt a culture and a gothic ascetic associated with the vampires of art and legend, "real" vampires, who feel that they must actually consume blood and/or psychic energy, and "reluctants" who try not to be vampires

• Includes insights from members of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance, and information about the Order of the Vampyre, the Ordo Strigoi Vii, and the Temple of the Vampire

• Looks at vampire role-playing games, grimoires, "vampyre" balls, vampire houses like House Sahjaza and House Kheperu, and the vampire "caste" system

• 16 illustrations

• Numerous interviews

"An independent scholar delves into the phenomenon of people who identify as vampires in present-day America. From extensive interviews with lifestyle, 'real,' and reluctant vampires in communities including the Atlanta Vampire Alliance, Laycock observes vampire life in historical, media, religious, and definition of what is normal contexts. He considers

vampires as an identity group rather than a cult or distinctly-evolved humans (as some contend), and predicts that they will soon be able to come out of the closet like the gay community. The book includes photos."


Reference & Research Book News

"Laycock does a superb job of fully exploring and explaining the different aspects of vampirism. . . . All in all, this book was a very enjoyable and edifying read. It is so deep with content, from psychology, to philosophy, to religion. . . . But, with the topic at hand being vampires, it makes for a much more twisted and amusing informational read!"


"Joseph Laycock's Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampirism</i> is a fresh, objective and long-awaited academic study about 'real vampires'. … Laycock's study is one of these analyses that demonstrate and reveal a different side of the vampire subculture, one that is more diverse, less sensational or romanticised and definitely not monolithic. It is an informative study that clarifies many misconceptions about vampirism and a book that scholars or readers interested in vampirism should own. It offers extensive notes and bibliography and a useful index for navigating through the vampiric webs of the book. In regards to scholarship, it raises new questions about subjectivity and being and opens up the potential for future research in the field."


The Gothic Imagination, University of Stirling

Book Description

Throughout the world, untold numbers of people self-identify as "vampires" and follow the ways of "vampirism." But what does it mean to be a vampire? Is vampirism a religion? Is it a fantasy? Is it a medical condition? Is it a little bit of each?

More About the Author

I first began studying religion at Hampshire College where my senior year was spent writing a thesis on the spiritual paths of my fellow college students. Hampshire was home to neo-Trancendentalists, Pagans, Thelemites, and more. My advisor prophesied that I would become "a wandering anthropologist of the occult." I have since been compared to Fox Mulder of the X-Files, although I prefer to think of myself as Twin Peaks' Dale Cooper (He had a more pleasant disposition).

I went on to receive a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. While at Harvard, I enrolled in the Program in Religion and Secondary Education. This led to a three-year career teaching history to at-risk high school students--first in Indianapolis and then in Atlanta. However, I kept one foot in academia and continued to produce independent scholarship. I believe strongly in independent scholarship.

It was in Atlanta that I met the real vampire community. This led to a conference paper, then a journal article, then another conference paper, and finally a book. Because of this work, I am often asked if I am a vampire myself. I am not. However, I am exceedingly grateful to my contacts. It took a leap of faith to grant me entree into their world and I hope that my book helps to foster understanding about this community and what it means.

I now find myself once again in the ivory tower, pursuing a PhD at Boston University. Sometimes I see teenagers with dreadlocks on the subway and worry who will teach them about the Bill of Rights. I remain concerned about religious illiteracy in America and I hope to use my experience and training to promote better pedagogy regarding religion--both in secondary schools and in higher education.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. Snyder on July 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
First of all, ignore the cover. There's nothing over the top or melodramatic about Laycock's study of modern vampirism. Instead, this is a thoughtful, balanced look at a subculture which is commonly sensationalized by the media and, from time to time, sensationalized by itself.

Self-identified "real vampires" represent one of several movements popularized and galvanized by the internet. Laycock offers an detailed history of the movement, including its origins in ceremonial magic, paganism, vampire films and literature, and even role-playing games. He neither attempts to demonize nor romanticize his research subjects: this is an entirely unbiased approach.

Anyone interested in vampires - real or fictitious - will find this a fascinating read. Those researching vampires or any other identity group emerging from the internet will find this indispensable as a resource.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Braak on June 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Laycock's "Vampires Today" is an excellent example of well-executed ethnography. With a simple, unblemished curiosity, he examines the lives of modern American communities of self-identified vampires; in so doing, he shreds the illusions fostered by them. Not gangs of criminals, or weird psychopaths, or burgeoning serial killers; America's modern vampires aren't any stranger than anyone else with a non-mainstream lifestyle. If the goal of good ethnography can be said to prevent the demonization of strangers, then Vampires Today can be rightly said to have achieved it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Telegram Sam on July 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There's been a significant increase in the amount of vampire-related material in the popular media recently; vampire fiction has become more varied and more accessible, and with it, mainstream culture is becoming more acquainted with the concepts both of vampire fiction and of vampire reality. Fans of mainstream television and bestseller novels will now be familiar with the vampire as a cultural icon, and may have picked up on the fact that there is a real-life subculture out there which shares a name, maybe a bit of fashion-sense, maybe a bit of terminology, with the familiar tropes of fiction. They may have seen a recent talk show or documentary, where guests spoke of themselves as "real vampires," or read an interview with a community member online or in a local newspaper. However, despite this swell of interest in vampire fiction, and the attention it has brought to the real-life Vampire Community, there have been few materials about the Community produced for anything other than entertainment purposes. Respected members of the Vampire Community have been interviewed by these shows (often, they have agreed to the appearances to ensure that their community gets a say in how it is portrayed); as a result, many of the shows produced for educational TV channels have been more informative and less biased than they otherwise would have been, and many are a decent informal introduction to the Vampire Community. However, they're still entertainment - sensationalist, steeped in "spooky" music, and treated by the networks as a Halloween special. The fact remains that there is a distinct interest in the Vampire Community on the part of mainstream culture, and until this book, there has been a dearth of accurate, scholarly information about it.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kiera on July 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In a world of sound-bytes and sensationalism, Joseph Laycock is a shining star of true journalistic integrity as well as sincere research and presentation. As paranormal fiction and it's sub-genre paranormal romance novels have become the fast food of books-cheap, easy to obtain, and leave you hungry only hours after a meal- Vampires today is real meat! Well researched, and unbiased, Vampires today truly investigates the roots of the Vampire/Vampyre community in all it's myriad facets. Laycock utilizes a wealth of historical resources, articles and quotes to amazing results. This should be THE resource for anyone who wants to delve into the reality of Modern Vampires, rather than being blizkrieged by the flash in the pan of the media's Vampire flavor of the month.
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