- Arts & Life
QU students received a bloody taste of the vampire underground last Wednesday night as self-proclaimed “psychic vampire” Michelle Belanger spoke in Alumni Hall. After giving students a history of both the media-built vampire and the modern day vampire, she sat down with The Chronicle to discuss the “tragic outsider,” as she called it, in American culture.
Chron: So you consider yourself a vampire?
Chron: What sort of a vampire?
MB: I’m a psychic vampire. I use the word only because it’s the best word we have in the English language for somebody who needs to regularly and actively take vital energy, or vitality.
Chron: How do you define a vampire–what exactly is a vampire?
MA: At this point, a real vampire is generally somebody who, for one reason or another, identifies with the vampire archetype; that may be because they drink blood, it may be because they take energy, it may be just because they like dressing up.
Chron: Are you sometimes put off by these people who just dress up?
MB: Well, in the vampire community a lot of other people get really irritated at them. They call them posers, and have some pretty derogatory terms for them.
Chron: Like what?
MB: Mostly poser or lifestyler. I think that I’ll end up hearing “fang-banger” a lot more now that “True Blood” came out.
Personally, as long as they’re respecting the archetype and acting in an adult and sane fashion, I don’t have an objection to what they’re doing.
Chron: How about your religion?
MB: I was raised Catholic. I’m best described as a universalist now, having studied so many world religions. My core religious view is that the divine is too big for one name or one religion, and is best described as a many-faceted jewel where we all have different perspectives of it.
Chron: You’ve talked about qi a lot-do you have any sort of a connection with Zen or Shinto?
MB: A lot of what started to make sense with vampirism for me was studying Chinese Daoism and Buddhism, and learning about their perception of energy and the way it flows in the universe-the positive and negative. I have a Chinese friend who is a first-generation American and his family imported a style of Daoist energy/healing techniques, and I asked him about if he had an explanation in his system for me. He said, “We have people who have too much qi and people who don’t have enough qi. So they sit down and they share qi. We don’t get hung up on this vampire thing.”
So, really, my problem is I was raised in a culture that doesn’t have a good context for vampirism.
Chron: You mentioned briefly in your presentation Satanism. Is there any connection between vampirism and Satanism?
MB: There are one or two groups that are influenced by the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set, which is another Left Hand Path satanic group. Those two specific groups have subgroups that sprang off of them. So for the Temple of Set, they have the “Order of the Vampire.” They use the vampire as a magical archetype, and in a lot of ways are drawing from that darker, pop-cultural image of the vampire. So there is vampirism of a sort among certain Satanists, but they make a clear line between the community that I represent and their particular brand of things.
In Levan Satanism, psychic vampire is about the worst thing you can be. The only piece of hate mail I’ve ever gotten was from a Satanist (laugh). My life–I can’t make this stuff up. In the Satanic bible, a psychic vampire is like the worst kind of soul-sucking person who’s this little drama queen and attention whore.
Chron: So you’re frequently on the show “Paranormal State.” What is the best moment or experience you’ve had with it thus far?
MB: We did an episode with a house in Pennsylvania, and an angry coal miner was the spirit there. So I was inciting the spirit and Chad Kalek (technical expert on “PRS”) had a thermographic camera pointed at me. As I was feeling this spirit’s presence around me, a handprint that nobody had placed showed up only in the eyes of the thermographic camera on the wall. And we had footage to prove I walked in, I walked over, and somehow this handprint just showed up there. That was one of the coolest moments.
Chron: You’ve also written three or four books, yes?
MB: Actually more than half a dozen now–yeah, I write kind of a lot. The book that’s best known for psychic vampires is “The Psychic Vampire Codex,” and it’s pretty much an instruction manual on that for anybody who’s interested in energy work.
The most recent one is “Walking the Twilight Path,” and that book explores death, our cultural attitudes toward death, other cultural attitude towards death, and tries to develop a more integrative and healthy approach to how we look at death and dying.
Chron: I notice your wearing an interesting pendant, what’s that?
MB: Oh, actually it’s just something a friend bought for me. (chuckle) It makes good bling.
Chron: What do you want people to get out of presentations like this?
MB: I’m trying to teach people, first of all, tolerance. Especially in a college setting, you run across people of every shape size and description and its not just different belief systems, and its not just different ethnicities. One of the things about our culture is humanity pulls itself down into tribes and so we have new ethnicities and they are the hippies and the vegans and all of these different ways of identifying ourselves.
This (vampirism) is a much lesser known one and one that people are more inclined to dismiss as too wacky. So mostly I’m trying to build tolerance and awareness that these people are out there and they’re serious.
Chron: So do you feel any weird energy here at the Quinnipiac campus?
MB: I haven’t really gotten to see enough of the campus to get anything.
Chron: (sigh) Bummer. Also, you mentioned a boyfriend earlier.
MB: Currently not, actually.
Chron: Ah. Was he a vampire?
MB: Nope. Actually more often than not you’ll have someone who’s vampiric and someone who’s not in a long term relationship. Two people who are vampiric trying to be monogamous to one another–well, someone always loses out.