You don’t have to look too far to notice that Second Life has a highly evolved realm for vampires and lycans, a world I’ve had glimpses into but never understood.
I Was Really Frightened
It may sound silly but for me, vampires have always been truly frightening. As a child I saw vampire movies way too early in life and I suffered frequent night terrors until I was in my early twenties.
I’m aware of the popularity of vampire movies, television series and books, but I rarely engage. Inexplicably, I watched the John Malkovich movie “Shadow of the Vampire”, a film as terrifying and haunting as any of my night terrors. Even more inexplicably, I found it fascinating and watched it twice.
The Vampires Amongst Us
Then there’s this, I have several Second Life friends who are vampires. Other friends have dabbled and many wear vampire costumes for Halloween. I’ve even dated a vampire. Still, becoming a vampire remains a frightening idea.
Earlier this year, I wrote a story about a woman friend who underwent the “turning” ceremony.
I learned that a human doesn’t become a vampire until all the humanity is drained out of them and replaced with “Vital Blood” of the undead. That usually means a vampire “blood feast” and only then are they “turned” into a vampire.
Sue Hunniton is the vampire I wrote about and this past Saturday I interviewed her at her clan’s castle.
You Wonder How These Things Begin
My first question, how did you become involved with vampires?
Sue’s response was not surprising: “Well, my first husband in SL was a vampire. He told me a little bit about vampirism and that piqued my interest.” And she added, “I wanted it to be special, though, for my first time entering the vampire community. So I made him wait for a year after we met before I would let him bite me.”
That was a surprise for me, that a woman could be in love with a vampire for an entire year before allowing him to bite her. There were more questions but that distinction helped me realized that not all vampires are out to bite you for a quick fix.
Anyway, I was especially curious about what influences she had along the way, and we continued. Sue mentioned that she’d always had a bit of an interest in the supernatural and occult, but mentioned that she enjoyed the “Twilight” series and also “Barnabas Collins” of the show “Dark Shadows”.
The Power In Bloodlines
The night before our interview I asked Sue for some information about Second Life vampirism and she suggested I read the Bloodlines website. In the past I’d visited Bloodlines to see if I’d been bitten without my knowledge. But I never lingered longer than I needed to. This time was different, I wanted to prepare for the interview. So, I went to the “Guide” and was immediately surprised at how elaborate the role play rules are.
I know enough about role play to appreciate how difficult RP rules are to manage. This is the brilliance of Bloodlines, with its sophisticated website, supported by what must be a substantial database.
Despite all the information, I was a bit confused about how the rules work. Sue spent time explaining some of the basics and then got to the question of what happens if you are bitten. She explained that you are safe from giving up your soul as long as you don’t begin wearing a Bloodlines attachment HUD (Heads Up Display). There are several types of HUDs (vampire, lycan, human) and you have to purchase one or more.
Btw, if you aren’t sure what a lycan is, they are sorta werewolves. They don’t bite you, they scratch and slash.
If you decide to become a Bloodlines player but you want to avoid giving your soul to the person who first bit you, you take certain potions before wearing the HUD. And if you give your soul to someone you no longer want to own it, well, there are procedures to help you through that too. Like I said, the rules are elaborate.
The Curse of the Vampire
It was an obvious question to ask, how often do Vampires need to bite people to get blood? Afterall, isn’t this what being a vampire is about? Sue explained, “this is ‘the curse’ of the vampire.”
Blood, or lumen for lycans, is the driving force in life of a vampire. And there are different ways a vampire can meet this need, but biting is the obvious one.
As we chatted, Sue revealed to me that her Vampire HUD showed that I am “Fresh Blood” or as she called it, “You are a Freshy.” And in a region of vampires I’d be very desirable. Then she chuckled wickedly.
Sue also explained that there is relief from the need to hunt daily. There are Blood Cellars, where vampires store their blood, and Amulets with special powers. But Sue was careful not to reveal the secrets of her community.
The Vampire Community
Throughout our interview, Sue referred to her community often. Interestingly, it wasn’t until she joined the Sacred Spiritz Clan that she became active and even considered being “Turned”, having lived as a Human within Bloodlines for over two years.
I’m naive about vampires, especially all the movies and television series to come along. Nonetheless, I’ve thought of vampires I’ve always envisioned them as solitary monsters in coffins, hidden inside crypts.
The notion of a vampire community intrigued me. And as I mentioned at the beginning, this is what Second Life vampirism is about. Sue explained that “True vampirism in Second Life is about the gathering of souls.” She stressed there are strong family and social connections. Then explained about how she went about finding minions.
“For instance, if I took your soul, I would possess it and it would be a personal soul for me. You would then be one of my minions.”
And, “I prefer to bring people into the community as humans first, let them get to know what the community is like first. Actually being a vampire does take a bit of commitment…”
Before joining the Sacred Spiritz Clan, Sue and her partner Dooby, got to know the people and found the sense of family they sought. They were invited to explore the clan’s estate which includes a castle and a small village, but even a nightclub and a beach. So this world isn’t necessarily all dark and dreary, in some ways it is a private club.
Giving Your Soul
At the start of our interview, when I was asking about how Sue became interested in SL vampirism, I was curious about the rather intimate nature of being bitten by a vampire. I wondered if it was like a sensual or sexual experience, and her answer was intriguing.
“There is very definitely a romantic or sensual aspect to it. Yes, when Casey, my first husband who brought me in, first bit me, it was one of the most romantic experiences… maybe even more romantic than our wedding.”
“Imagine, giving your soul over to someone! That is such a huge part of you and your most precious possession.”
Ok, call me a hopeless romantic but that sounds wildly romantic to me!
More About The Vampire
There is much more to our interview, insights into the dark places the soul can fall into like Limbo, the Abyss and Processed. Becoming a vampire is much more than being bitten, it is a commitment to a lifestyle. You don’t have to abandon your existing second life, for example, Sue is also a hostess at a popular rock club. But it is a commitment!
Sue Hunniton-Weezles possesses over 30 personal souls and a growing following. Here’s how she describes herself in her Bloodlines profile: “Caring vampire/lycan and loving partner of Dooby Weezles, a true Bloodlines King. If you are looking for a liege who will take good care of you and treat you as the treasure you are, send me an IM. I’ll be happy to chat with you and bring you into my family!…”
When she’s not being a vampire, Sue is also a pose designer and accomplished photographer. She posted a photo from our interview on her Flickr page.
ps: I’m still not ready to plunge into the way of the vampire, but I’m thinking about it.
10 thoughts on “My Interview With A Vampire”
30 minions! Wow!
One of my students gave a really nice talk on the art of horror films this past semester. I must confess they’re not really my thing. I don’t tend to enjoy them and I worry that many of them promote socially undesirable values. But he was right, they’re damn popular! He walked through all types of horror films, talking about serotonin and catharsis, and he felt that horror villains very often represent our fears: of people, of disease, etc.
• Clowns – fear of perverts
• Alien – rape fears
• The Grudge – fear of foreigners
and Vampires – fear of sex
as you’ve expressed it is a little scary… and it is more than a little sexy… and there’s a damn lot of them in SL! haha, and every time a new Twilight movie comes out Linden Lab hits hard with the “be a vampire” ads! 😛 And of course there’s some pretty decent free, noob, Vampire avatars.
Like you may have, I had some less pleasant experiences in my early SL days, I remember going to places like Inspire Space Park and having to leave because I was getting a relentless stream of dozens of bit requests. I think you’ve articulated though that that’s not the, uh, “heart and soul” of the experience. It’s maybe just “kids” giving a bad impression.
It’s amazing how you with these posts, and Becky with her Virtual Family posts, have given us a little insight into such different ways of being in this world. The funny thing about “Game Space” for me is that it’s really a giant mirror held up to RL. In Game Space we often come right out and say and do things that actually do happen IRL too, but there they can sometimes be more masked or closeted.
Nice way to wrap up our 2012 year here at “The Virtual Identity Factory” Yordie. Can’t wait to see what we all TURN into in 2013!
Hi Van… “Vampires – fear of sex” Let’s see, I fear vampires so I guess that means _I_ fear sex. Lordy, you should half the men (well, not quite half) in Second Life before you put too much weight on that one. hahahhahahaha!
Btw, what is a “bit request” in Inspire Space Park? Was it a role play game? And yeah, a lot of role play experiences are messed up by immature “kids” who are more interested in “play” than role play. There was a “ninja” at Hosoi Ichiba who had the idea that role play was just hanging around with friends making jokes, then engaging in sword battles. It can be impossible to fit someone like that into formal role play, and it was a mistake to even try.
iRez has been collecting quite an assortment of virtual identities here in it’s pages. I’m finding that each identity I explore causes my imagination to find new possiblities for self-expression.
The one thing I’ve discovered is that there are some identities I can’t assume or play. My former partner used to note that as soon as we dressed in our Japanese attire, I would fall into my role so easily he was constantly fascinated. And that was true, for some reason I have such a connection with that culture I can assume that role effortlessly. However, in other role play themes I’ve found difficulty being something I don’t feel inside.
I’m ready to move forward in two different directions this year, Vaneeesa.
Oh wow! I am so much loving this article, Yordie! You
really captured the essence of vampirism in SL…at least from my perspective!
I’m sure that I’m a bit different than some, but I will say without hesitation
that joining the vamp community has been one of the more fulfilling things that
I’ve done here in SL. I truly feel like my minions are my kids, each one having
a special place in my life. Do I like to accumulate souls? I would be lying if
I said no. But for me, and for at least the people I know in my clan, there’s
so much more to it. We have a bond that I really can’t explain.
I do invite anyone who would like to learn more to hit me with an IM. I’m
always happy to share what i know with others. And, no, I won’t try to
bite anyone who doesn’t want it. Heck, I didn’t try to bite you! Although,
a set of bite marks would be a wonderful accessory to that great outfit you had
on – heeheehee…but I digress. Vampirism in SL is a constant learning
experience for me, which is one thing that keeps it fresh and exciting. I
know it’s a roleplay, but it’s so much more for me. I truly feel like I
belong and that is a feeling that is undeniably wonderful! *hugs*
Hi Sue, thanks so much for doing this interview with Yordie, and thanks for visiting and leaving this comment.
It’s amazing what different experiences people can have with Vampirism! I guess like other aspects of Identity, we all understand from different perspectives and different backgrounds and end up at various different points across the large unfurling tapestry of culture.
If you’d ever like to talk about your experiences or events first hand, here on iRez, just let us know, we’d welcome your contributions.
Hi Sue… Thanks Sue, this was a fun article to write and thank you for all the information you shared.
Your enthusiasm for your clan and the whole vampire community was infectuous, and I suspect you’ll receive many souls. I’d be tempted to plunge in and add my soul to your holdings, but I’m headed in a very different direction.
I learned a lot about vampires in Second Life but came to realize why it works so well as SL role play, it’s held together with a strong software application, Bloodlines. I’ve explored a half-dozen different role play groups in SL and many are “organized” but they don’t have a clear sense of direction.