Carly Lane
Updated Jul 09, 2015 @ 3:28 pm
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When we hear the word “vampire,” any number of mental images spring to mind. There are the vampires of television (like on Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The Vampire Diaries) or the sparkly vampires of the Twilight universe. Not to mention those older works of fiction like the classic novel by Bram Stoker about the infamous Dracula.

While vampires have long been the classic monsters of fiction and spooky stories, it turns out there is some truth to their existence. In sum: Yep, vampires exist.

DJ Williams, the director of Idaho University’s social work program, has recently published a study all about “real vampires.” Along with his co-author Emily Prior, Williams states that the world is home to two categories of vampires — those who are “lifestyle” vampires, or people who dress in dark colors and sleep in coffins, and actual “real” vampires, who practice feeding on the blood of others.

Real vampires don’t exactly stalk in the night, or prey on the weak. According to Williams and Prior’s findings, these vampires firmly believe that “in order to maintain physical, psychological and spiritual health,” they must seek out someone willing to donate their blood.

Williams also discusses the fear and anxiety that many of these real vampires experience over whether or not to disclose their identity — or, as he puts it, whether or not to “come out of the coffin.” Many believe they will face public backlash or risk that they would be viewed as delusional or a threat to others. Others don’t want to come forward for fear of losing their jobs. One participant in the study said they were afraid their children would be taken away if their identity was revealed.

Today, the subject of how a person identifies is discussed the world over. Williams says that while his study focuses on those who identify as vampires, it’s also pretty applicable to those who feel they must hide the truth of who they really are. “Any little-understood minority group can be at risk for not being understood. So the same fears that these vampires reported would apply to other minorities.”

The main takeaway from this, though? They “seem to be ordinary human beings with common, everyday human issues, such as trying to be successful in relationships and careers, managing stress, coping with daily living tasks, and adjustments to transitions.” They may be vampires but in essence, well, they’re just like everyone else.

[Featured image Tumblr.]