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.