Interview with a vampire

Vampires aren’t as mythical as one would believe. All over the world, vampires are being spotted, even in the streets of New Orleans

Ellen McCusker

When a vampire in Romania video calls you in the middle of a work day, you are compelled to answer.

However, instead of relaxing in his coffin or dining on the blood of an unsuspecting victim, Father Sebastiaan, a successful figure in the vampire community, was just sitting down to a chicken dinner with friends when he explained the various lifestyles a vampire can choose to take.

“Some vampires are full time, but there are also vampires who are not always in character; it could be your doctor or boss,” Sebastiaan said.

While the hours someone is in character are optional, Sebastiaan said that all legitimate vampires must embrace one thing: vampire mythology.

The mythology is extensive, but the main points are immortality, romance and sexuality, which are often represented in colors and costuming or, as vampires call it, shape-shifting.

“Black represents mystery, magic and power. These colors are a personality archetype for the vampire,” Sebastiaan said.

Beyond the traditional dark colors worn by vampires, fangs are also an option for someone who wants his or her shapeshifting to have a little more bite.

Using his skills as a fang smith, Father Sebastiaan dedicates a good fraction of his time to assisting those who identify as vampires.

“I have created more custom fangs than anyone else in the world,” Sebastiann said.

Introduced to the vampire community through his girlfriend at the time, who had a great appreciation for Anne Rice novels, Sebastiaan developed the need to create his own fangs.

While his grandfather, a dentist, did not wish to teach him how to craft sharpened teeth, he did refer him to another dentist who was well-versed in the procedure.

After a few years of shadowing this dentist, Sebastiaan was officially comfortable becoming a fang smith. Sebastiaan’s mother became his first client when he surprised her with a pair of detachable fangs on Christmas day.

For those wondering if vampires truly drink blood, the answer is yes. However, according to Sebastiaan, blood drinking is not as common as one might think.

While the act is taken quite seriously in the vampire community, and is usually done consensually between sexual partners, Sebastiaan said that approximately only 2 percent of the community actually partake in drinking real blood.

Sebastiaan said the primary reason the numbers are so low is because drinking another individual’s blood is extremely risky. Even though Sebastiaan said he has drunk blood before, he, like a majority of vampires, feel they can absorb more energy safely in intensely energetic settings such as a crowded concert or club.

For most vampires, the exchange of energy is symbiotic, but there is a fringe culture in which the sharing of energy is more one-sided than not. Sebastiaan said some members of fringe culture take energy from an individual, group or crowd without exchanging energy back to the people involved in the transfer.

“Fringe is more of a magical, spiritual path, and some of fringe culture can be parasitic,” Sebastiaan said.

While vampires are often creatures of the night and enjoy their privacy, cities throughout the world host vampire balls to celebrate vampire culture in public light.

Currently working to start their own vampire ball in Romania, Sebastiaan is one of the founders for the New Orleans Vampire Ball, an event which has earned high reviews as the best Halloween party nationwide.

For New Orleanians who wish to have a glimpse into vampire culture, Sebastiaan suggests attending the ball. While there will be secret symbols unknown to those who have not been initiated, the Victorian circus themed event is open to all.

“It is really about attitude. Attendees are encouraged to understand the culture, follow the dress code and raise the energy,” Sebastiaan said.