The sanguine (meaning bloody or blood-red) vampires may belong to the lifestyle groups mentioned above, but take the fantasy one step further by actually drinking human blood. They typically will not drink a glass of the stuff as one would a glass of wine, for example, but usually will add a few drops to some other liquid for drinking. On occasion, a sanguine vampire will feed directly from a volunteer or "donor" by making a small cut and sucking up a small trickle of blood.
Some of these sanguine vampires claim an actual need to ingest human blood. The human body does not digest blood very well, and there seems to be no physiological condition that would account for such a need. If the craving is present, then, it is almost certainly psychological in nature or simply a choice.
Psychic vampires, some of whom might also adopt the vampire lifestyle described above, claim that they have a need to feed off the energy of other people. According to The Psychic Vampire Resource and Support Pages, pranic vampires, as they are sometimes called, are people "who by reason of a condition of their spirit, need to obtain vital energy from outside sources. They are unable to generate their own energy, and often times don't have the best capacity to store the energy they do have." The website even has a section of psychic "feeding techniques."
Again, in the spirit of "keeping it real," we have to question whether this is a genuine phenomenon. By the same token, we've all been around people who seem to drain the energy from a room when they enter, and they get off on it. It could be argued that the effect is strictly psychological... but then that's why they call it psychic vampirism.
THE PSYCHOPATHIC VAMPIRE
If drinking human blood qualifies one as being a vampire, then several serial killers deserve the label. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Peter Kürten, known as "The Vampire of Düsseldorf," committed as many as nine murders and seven attempted murders. He achieved sexual arousal with the sight of his victims' blood and was said to have even ingested it. Richard Trenton Chase was dubbed "The Vampire of Sacramento" after he murdered six people and drank their blood.
Obviously, these "vampires" are criminally insane. Ironically, however, their murderous compulsions and ghoulish practices make them more like the demonic vampires of literary tradition than the other "vampires" described here.
CALLING ALL VAMPIRES
So, are vampires real? For supernatural beings like Nosferau, Dracula, Lestat and Twilight's Edward Cullen, we'd have to say no. But the lifestyle, sanguine, psychic and psychopathic vampires certainly are out there.
What about you? Have you had an experience with any kind of vampire? Are you a vampire yourself? If so, send me an e-mail about your experiences to share with other readers.