An academic in north Wales claims that the UK is home to a secretive “subculture” of 15,000 people who live as blood-sucking vampires – and has launched a psychological study to find out more about their lifestyles.
Dr Emyr Williams, a psychology lecturer at Glyndwr University in Wrexham, said that real vampires are a “global phenomenon” detailed across a range of non-fiction books and research papers.
He has set up what is thought to be the first online academic survey in the UK specifically looking for respondents who are vampires, with the hope, he says, of “publishing a series of academic publications that will help a wide audience understand the vampire subculture”.
The questionnaire – which if you are a vampire can be filled out here – looks at “the issues of satisfaction with life, self-esteem and religious belief among the contemporary subculture”.
Dr Williams told the BBC that while plenty of work has been done on the phenomenon of vampiric behaviour before, it has never really been approached from “an academic perspective”.
He said: “Some books say there are between 10,000 and 15,000 people in the UK who call themselves vampires, with maybe another 30,000 being donors. So we’re trying to access as many of these people as we can to try and understand them better.
“I’m trying to find out about those people who live as vampires, not because they read it in literature and they’re role-players, but who genuinely think they are vampires and genuinely live that lifestyle,” he said.
Dr Williams said vampires in the UK swap blood and “psychic energy”, and that apart from one vampire killing in Anglesey 10 years ago they are “not dangerous”.
“The codes and the laws of ethics that they live by are so well-prescribed that if you were to break those codes and laws you would be out of the community,” he said.
And since the fictional works of Anne Rice and the popular Twilight saga made vampires more “sexy”, Dr Williams said there is a greater interest among the general public in what it might be like to live as a vampire in real life.
“What want to do is shed light on this community so people can understand them so that fear can be reduced and they can start to be accepted more into society.”