Highlights of 2003:

Find of human head in Swedish river, draft anti-vampire legislation in Wisconsin, “Vampire Gigolo” killing in Australia, founding of Vampyrian Temple.

January 3: Halmstad, Sweden – A 10 year old boy and his sister (13) find a severed human head frozen in the ice of the Nissan river on December 30. On December 31, rescue divers find additional body parts and pieces of clothing in the river. By January 1, the police are hopeful that they will gain valuable clues from the cellphone of the murder victim, Marcus Norén. In what has to be the understatement of the century, police say they are not certain how the 22-year-old died but they believe he was murdered. Two men are arrested in Halmstad under suspicion of murder, 46 and 28 years old respectively. The older man confesses. The victim is reported to have been devoted to vampire role playing games. At a press conference police confirm that the older man is facing a charge of murder, and the younger man a charge of aiding in a murder. Swedish media reports that Noren devoted his time to a vampire game called Vampire: The Masquerade. The game includes simulations of vampire life and lore, a variant of role-playing with strong elements of occultism and romanticism of death. The media attempt to connect the LARP game with a “vampire cult” and Noren’s death.

Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA – State Senator James R. Baumgart, Democrat from Sheboygan, drafts legislation aimed at criminalizing vampire or vampire-like activity directed at juveniles. Baumgart says the legislation will close loopholes in the law that hampered prosecution of Phillip K. Buck for his role in preying on teen-age girls. The proposed bill, Senate Bill 213, would classify any action “causing the mutilation of a child” as a Class E felony, with a fine of $10,000 and maximum imprisonment of up to five years. However, if during the mutilation of the child, the child suffers “great bodily harm,” the offender faces the same fine and imprisonment of up to ten years, which is a Class D felony. If the offender goes the next step and “consumes the child’s blood,” the person is guilty of a Class C felony, and could face fines of $10,000 and up to fifteen years imprisonment. Buck had pleaded no contest to fourth-degree sexual assault and causing bodily harm to a child. He was sentenced to ten years and nine months prison time for cutting several teen-age girls with a razor (or encouraging them to cut themselves with a razor), then drinking their blood. “This would protect juveniles from exploitation of people that want to get into this kind of sadistic ritual. If adults want to do that, it’s one thing,” said Baumgart. 

April 10: Kuala Lumpur – A bizarre tale of a bewitched palace, sexual jealousy, ghosts, vampires and the supernatural – and the murder of a beautiful royal bride, holds Malaysians spellbound as it unfolds in a sombre courtroom. The cast of the story, which vies with the Iraq war for front page newspaper space, includes Raja Jaafar Raja Muda Musa, 62, second in line to the Perak state throne and his first wife Raja Nor Mahani Raja Shahar Shah, 61. The raja’s second wife – as a Muslim he is entitled to four – is the murder victim, 26-year-old former model and actress, Hasleza Ishak. Five men, including two ‘bomohs’ (witchdoctors), are accused in the Taiping High Court in Perak of killing Hasleza. One of the bomohs, Mat Saad Isa, 50, confesses to manslaughter and is sentenced to 14 years in jail. He admits kidnapping Hasleza on October 6 2002, chopping her on the neck with his hand, and throwing her off a bridge. He tells the court that the first wife, Princess Mahani, masterminded the killing. Princess Mahani, convinced her that Hasleza had put a ‘santau’ (evil spell) on her, asked ‘bomoh’ Rahim Ismail, one of the accused, to kill the ‘santau’. A ‘santau’, she told the court when she appeared in defence of one of the accused, who is her nephew, “is like a ‘hantu’ (ghost) or ‘pontianak (vampire). ‘Santau’ is a devil. That’s why you have to kill it.”

June 4: The execution-style murder of self-proclaimed Vampyre, Shane Chartres-Abbott, who works as a male prostitute, is gunned down in broad daylight in Reservoir, in Melbourne’s north. One man assaults his pregnant girlfriend and father while another shoots Chartres-Abbott dead at the scene. 

July 5: Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa – About 150 people gather at the Library Gardens in Johannesburg on Saturday to protest against United States President George W Bush’s visit. Protesting the US war in the Middle East under the banner of the Anti-War Coalition, the demonstrators wave posters and sing struggle songs. Some of the posters read “Bush, the mass murderer”, “Bloodsucking vampire”, “Jou ma se bush”, “Behind every bush is a terrorist”, and “Bush you won’t rape our minds”. 

September: Seattle, New York, USA – the Black Mist Clan is founded by Mother Contessa. The group hosts regular seasonal events and gatherings in the Seattle area.

September 19: USA – “Underworld”, the first in a series of movies about a generational war between vampires and werewolves, is released. The makers of this film are later sued by White Wolf, the makers of “Vampire: the Masquerade”, the role-playing game for plagiarism and copyright infringement on account of the many similarities to the LARP. The case drags on for years, delaying the making of sequels. For the VC however, the movie franchise creates a new problem: hordes of teens come online to search for vampires and “lycans” and find the real VC and otherkin communities. This results in an influx of role players who muddy the issue with their trolling and fantasy. Many of these teens bring with them the misunderstanding created by the movie that there is a “war between vampires and werewolves”. Another effect which has spread its own particular brand of chaos in the VC, is the notion that one individual can be a “hybrid” between a Vampyre and an Otherkin instead of just one or the other. (Article)

October 6: Fauldhouse, West Lothian, Scotland, UK – Allan Menzies (22), accused of murder, tells police that he had drunk a man’s blood and eaten part of his head. The alleged comments come days after officers found a vampire book and film at his home, and the body of the alleged victim buried in the woods. It is subsequently revealed that Menzies would watch the movie Queen of the Damned “obsessively”. He claimed that he was ordered to kill Thomas McKendrick by a character in the movie Queen Of The Damned. The murder took place on December 11, 2002. At the High Court in Edinburgh, he relates that he was told he would be rewarded with immortality and become a vampire “in the next life” when he was “visited” in his home by the female vampire Akasha, who was played in the film by the late US singer Aaliyah. Mr Menzies also said he was “disappointed” that there were no other vampires in the state hospital.  (Article)

November 14: London, England, UK – Two “self-styled vampires” who bombarded a vicar and his family with abusive phone calls, howled in the churchyard and pinned obscene pictures on the church notice board are jailed. Judge John Boggis sentenced Benjamin Lewis, 25, to 12 months in jail and Scott Bower, 26, to six months’ imprisonment for the religiously motivated harassment of Rev. Christopher Rowberry and his family between October and December 2002. Lewis’s 19-year-old girlfriend, Natalie Gibson, who took part in some of the abuse, was given a three-month jail term suspended for 12 months on condition of good behaviour. All three, from Totton, southern England, denied the charges but were convicted by a jury last month. The judge said Lewis was the ringleader and had been responsible for making obscene telephone calls to the vicar’s family which included “howling noises,” screeching sounds and mechanical laughing. He also placed “truly disgusting” images on the notice boards of Totton’s church of St. Mary the Virgin, the judge said. “This is a case of repeated victimization of a man who showed you tolerance and understanding, the effect of which was to drive a wedge of fear into his family. The distress of his wife was clear for all to see,” the judge told Lewis. The court heard that Lewis had an “unshakable belief” that he was a vampire and was undergoing psychiatric treatment. Boggis said Bower had been “manipulated by Lewis but I am sure you knew exactly what you were doing and appreciated the effects you had on your victims.” The judge issued a restraining order preventing Lewis, Gibson and Bower from approaching anyone in the Rowberry family or entering the vicinity of the church and vicarage.

November 19: Burnham, Somerset, England – Reports surface from Burnham, Somerset, where a young mother claims in a newspaper interview that her partner has dumped her to become a vampire. Rebecca Roberts, says Matthew Barratt fell for a blood worshiping woman in a US cult. The 23-year-old mother says he began shaving all his body hair, dressed in black and used Rebecca’s lipstick to redden his eyes. She claims to have caught him performing “weird blood rituals” in front of his computer at night – cutting himself to prove commitment. She said: “I thought it was just a hobby. Everyone’s got a right to one, I was pleased he’d found an interest.” But then Matthew, 27, told Rebecca he was taking the vampire name Mathau, had sworn allegiance to a vampiress called Akasha, who heads an Ohio-based cult – and then left to be with her. Rebecca who has a five-year-old son, said: “He’s gone. I came home and there was a note saying ‘Sorry, I had to go’. We’d been together six years and he just upped and went. As far as I know he’s with this Akasha woman.” She added: “I never thought this would take over his life. Now, if he came back I’d say ‘fangs, but no fangs’.”

November 20: Romania – Announcements are made of the cancellation of plans to build a Dracula theme park on a hilltop near the medieval town of Sighisoara, the birthplace of the fifteenth-century Romanian count Vlad Tepes (1431?–1476?), said to have been the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s (1847–1912) famous vampire novel, Dracula (1897). Critics had opposed the idea of such an enterprise, stating that the park would undermine more dignified projects to restore the medieval spirit of the medieval town of Sighisoara. The Tourism Minister denies any rumors suggesting that the concept of a Dracula theme park was being abandoned due to the efforts of opposing critics. Romania’s plans for a Dracula theme park are also reportedly later revived, to be located on a farm formerly owned by executed dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. 

New York City, New York, USA – The Court of Lazarus, renounces the Black Veil in favor of the Pax Vampyri, its own internal guideline. Source: Naamah Aeterna, former Regent of the Court of Lazarus.

November 25: Toronto, Canada – a 14-year-old boy kills his little brother, known only as Jonathan, in a fit of rage. 12-year-old Jonathan’s bloodied 100-pound body is found in the basement crawl space of his east-end home with 71 cuts, hacks and stabs. Jonathan had died within minutes of the vicious attack, drowning in his own blood and unable to cry out because his voice box was cut. The youth is convicted of first-degree murder and during his trial it is learned that his love interest, the Crown’s star witness, is a poised 16-year-old girl who answers questions about her Web postings on “vampire” sites using email handles like “biteforblood”. She testifies in both the trial and the re-trial that on Nov. 25, 2003, at age 14, she was shocked when a vampire-fantasizing former boyfriend revealed a plot to kill Johnathan, his stepfather and mother as they returned home, one by one. She relates how she banded together with four girlfriends to phone and secretly record him and his friends repeating their claims, so she would have proof to bring police. All three, the victim, the perpetrator and witness had profiles on the website vampirefreaks.com. The media runs wild with the story. 

December: “Vampire Division”, a side project by Tony McKormack who is also the guitarist from Inkubus Sukkubus and Screaming Dead, is founded and plays two gigs before splitting up again in may 2004. The Vampire Division is now largely a studio project, making music for movies and games. Much of the groups work features vampires. Vampire Division provides a substantial portion of the Soundtrack to The movie “Vampires of Bloody Island”.  

December 18: USA – Vampyrian Temple UVUP is founded as an online spiritual resource by Father JP Vanir, focusing on Vampyre spirituality for Vampyres and dark pagans. It is registered as a church in Amsterdam, Holland.

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