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LA. Judge

Michelle Gienow

By Violet LeVoit | Posted 8/31/2005

Get that flashlight out from under your chin. Nobody wants to hear about how spooky you are, especially LA. Judge. A local artist/photographer and administrator of the Vampire Church (as well as editor of the monthly internet mag VC Magazine), Judge is here to educate her fellow real vampires about getting the relief they need from their living energy disorder, as well as undo all the Anne Rice-y foofaraw that’s muddying the message about the condition. City Paper joined Judge at her favorite energy-rich spot in Baltimore—the back outdoor patio at the Mount Washington Mill Starbucks—and talked about the relative merits of chi, sunshine, type O, and java

City Paper: Is it “a vampire” or “a person with vampirism”?

LA. Judge: It’s “a person with vampirism.” We’re not the scary guys with capes and fake fangs at Halloween. A person with vampirism is a person who has a severe energy deficiency.

CP: What is your history with energy deficiency?

LAJ: It’s been my whole life. When I was 3 years old, they started diagnosing me with chronic mono. This is before they knew mono was a virus. Slowly they ruled out everything, and they go, “Yeah, we know you’re fatigued. We can see you’re fatigued. But we don’t know why.”

When I was in high school, somebody else where I was working at that time recognized what I was and showed me some energy techniques I could use to overcome the issue, and I was just like, “Wow, this is what’s going on here.” And the minute I stopped, I was back in the same hole. People constantly asking, “Do you feel OK?”, my hair lost its sheen, the whole deal.

CP: Like what kind of techniques?

LAJ: Well, one thing was that there’s many energy sources. It’s not just sanguinary energies, or elemental, earth energies, or psi energies. There’s many sources for energy, and you should be as open as possible to many levels of input.

Energy is the one constant in the universe, and science is just now catching up to where folk science has been for a thousand generations, where you understand that everything in the universe is made up of all sorts of little teeny parts and energy is holding it together. I hate to use the Star Wars cliché of “The Force,” but it’s like that. Other cultures call it chi, or living energy, or prana. It’s always been acknowledged, especially in Eastern medicine. And some folks like me, who have a severe energy deficiency, need more of it to get up and going through the day. That, and coffee.

When I put myself into high-energy situations, I feel better. But too much energy can affect me, too. Yesterday I was driving through a thunderstorm in the mountains, and the energy was so strong my vision started blurring. One side of my face dropped like I had a stroke. My ears were ringing. I had to pull off to the side of the road until the storm front passed and it was safe for me to be driving again. So it’s more about finding a balance rather than just getting lots of energy all the time.

CP: So is it like being diabetic and you’ve got to keep your insulin at the right level?

LAJ: Right. And that’s a good analogy, too, because science didn’t understand diabetes for many years, either. For many years, diabetics knew that if they held to a certain diet, they felt better. It took medicine a long time to catch up to that.

CP: So was this co-worker who taught you about energy in Baltimore?

LAJ: No, I grew up in northeast Ohio, and the folks that were the senior members of that group were in their 40s and 50s at the time . . .

CP: A group of vampires?

LAJ: Yeah. That was in the ’70s. And those people had learned from the people before them, which was in the ’40s and ’50s. And they had learned from the generation before them, so that pushes them back to the 1920s. See, before the internet, there were little pockets of people. And if you were lucky enough to live where there was a local group with people who understood this, then you could get a lot of support. But if you were out there by yourself, you were there thinking, Oh my God, what’s wrong with me, my body hates me, it must be in my head. Totally untrue.

Now with the internet, there’s a lot of information out there. But with the advent of role-playing and sci-fi movies and computer special effects, all of this got jumbled together into a Hollywood-esque fantasy of vampirism. I guess there’s a social, counterculture “vampire” movement that’s kind of mixed in with the goth scene, but not really? A lot of people confuse that lifestyle with what I’m talking about, which is actually a medical condition. I mean (laughs), I don’t see diabetics running around wearing odd costumes.

CP: Now, you’re one of the administrators of the Vampire Church?

LAJ: Yeah, and the editor of VC Magazine. The Vampire Church is not a religious organization. The word “church” was chosen for its meaning of “sanctuary” or “safe haven.” It’s a web site, a place to talk about vampirism and to get some real solid information that people with real vampirism can use. The owner and founder is a gentleman who I’ve had the privilege to meet named Damien Daville. Damien is in his 50s, so he came up the hard way, too, without the information, and that was his goal, to found the Vampire Church and put some information out there and do some myth-busting.

Some people come to us and go, “I have dark, deadly feelings! I must be affected with vampirism!” No, what you’re affected with is depression. (laughs) Maybe you should be on meds or something. But when we get people who go, “Wow, I’m constantly fatigued and they’ve ruled everything out and I don’t know what’s wrong,” we’re happy to help.

I’m really proud of the job we’re doing with VC Magazine. We publish articles about energy, dark culture, interviews, art, poetry, all kinds of things related to vampirism. Our poetry list is the sixth largest on the internet, to our knowledge. It’s kind of a fun magazine. We do reviews of places like bars or restaurants that have great energy that we can recommend to other vampires.

CP: OK, some of the myths . . .

LAJ: Well, we’re sitting in the sun and we’re not vaporizing, so that’s one. (laughs) But on the flip side, you’ve got to remember the sun is a huge energy source. And if you’re a very energy-sensitive person, it’s like a sugar rush. Too much of a good thing is going to make you sick, no matter what.

CP: And what about blood?

LAJ: Human blood is one of the most concentrated energy sources that there is. It contains a lot of what we call “living energy.” But there’s lots of other interactions going on when you’re taking a little bit of blood. And I do mean a little bit—a few drops to a tablespoon at the most. Blood is a natural emetic, and too much can make you puke.

But it’s got lots of “living energy,” and it’s also got an elemental energy due to the warmth and the wetness of the blood, and there’s also a personal interaction with the person it came from, so there’s some psi and emotional energy as well. It’s powerful stuff. Most folks who do use sanguinary energies—and not all vampires do—only do so a few times a month. Otherwise that’s a lot of energy.

CP: It’s like eating Thanksgiving dinner every day.

LAJ: Exactly. But sanguinary energy is also one of the most dangerous energies out there. There are so many health concerns with blood-borne diseases. Anyone who comes to us about sanguinary energies gets lectured long and hard about testing, testing, testing, testing, testing.

CP: So the Vampire Church doesn’t endorse drinking blood from the first guy you pull off the street.

LAJ: Oh my gosh, no. Many people in a sanguinary relationship use a lover, spouse, that kind of close, trusted relationship. And even then, it doesn’t hurt to test. And also practice safe bloodletting! Sterile lancets, don’t put your mouth on an open wound, you know? Collect the blood in a sterile container—a spoon, a shot glass—and go from there.

CP: What’s your hope for the future of the vampire community?

LAJ: I left my community in Ohio when I moved here in the ’80s, but with the vampire community growing on the internet through the Vampire Church web site, I felt this debt I needed to repay. Because the knowledge I had—if I hadn’t gotten it from someone older in the community, I wouldn’t have it today. That’s how our community functions, the older generations have to help the next. So I’m going to do what I can to help others and clear up misconceptions.

CP: Like garlic. Garlic is safe for vampires?

LAJ: Garlic is one of my favorite foods.

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