Vampires Among Us by Rosemary Ellen Guiley $5/paperback
THE WHOLE BOOK HAS THE REALLY GOOD PART:
This fantastic read, Vampires Among Us (VAU), begins by detailing investigated cases related to vampires throughout history. While many superstitions and former beliefs no longer sway today's general public, Guiley takes her research inside modern day vampire-related clubs and reviews the most compelling and popular vampires from both fact and fiction. She also discusses "vampiroids" (people who act like vampires) and interviewed a few for your and my reading pleasure.
How Guiley managed to get so much information into a mere 266 pages will amaze you (at least, it did me) because also detailed in this book are reviews of Lord Ruthven, Varney The Vampire and Dracula (to name a few popular but fictional vampires). I laughed heartily after reading a quote by Martin V. Riccardo, a professional hypnotist who helps his clients overcome their blood-drinking addictions when they feel terribly guilty about such behavior.
"It's interesting that in some vampire novels, such as those by Anne Rice, it appears that the vampires are impotent," Ricardo said and then went on to explain that many people "get sexually excited by the sight of blood or by drinking blood, but they are not turned on by the image of the vampire per se."
IN ADDITION TO PEOPLE DRESSING LIKE THE UNDEAD AND LUSTING FOR BLOOD:
Guiley explains how "belief is the key word in vampire reality" (page 69) and historically, vampires have been known to prey upon their own families, not upon attractive strangers with incredible sex appeal (like you and me).
"Frankly, there's nothing very erotic about vampirism." Said Bernard Davies founder-president of the Dracula Society. "Being gnashed in the neck by your lately dead mother-in-law -- who was probably a bit of a dog, as you Americans would say -- there's nothing particularly sexy about that, is there?"
Fortunately, for any modern vampire fan who reads mostly romance novels, and fights boredom with the daily grind by fantasizing about vampires, the hideous vampires that Davies spoke about have since shed their foul-smelling characteristics. Now we can easily empathize with a cologne-wearing but brooding vampire who needs rescuing or fantasize about the handsome individual behind that set of fangs when we wish to bring one home for a little wrestling match between the sheets.
These days? "The vampire is unique, exotic, alluring, romantic, sexy, appealing, sophisticated," writes Guiley (page 70). Basically, from reading this book, I realized a vampire can pretty much become anything you or I want to make of him/her/it and if we want to role play as a vampire and drink blood - that's a possibility too. That admission aside, I'm still a hard core fiction fan of Bram Stoker's. I simply adore everything about Dracula, with his nasty halitosis and all.
Reviewer's admission: I purchased this greatly used paperback from Powell's Books in Portland, for $3.95.