History, And What I Remember Of It – by Deacon Gray

Contributed on 20141128 by Deacon Gray (House of the Dreaming).

“When I was waked to contribute to this scholastic endeavor I really struggled to sit down and write it. Not because I am shy about speaking, the gods, and everyone who ever met me knows better. I struggled with it because there is no one history of the Vampire community. Indeed in my view there really isn’t a vampire community at all, but I will get to that later.

Our community is made up of a lot of different histories, not all accepted as part of our community, not all believed as accurate. There is what happened, what we remember happening, and what other people remember. So where does a third generation guy like me fit in? Do I speak about what history I have uncovered, as House of The Dreaming’s historian, that could become a real challenge, or do I stick to my own history? Can I even do that considering how much of my own history was influenced by the history of this whole community?

I suppose no one can tell another person’s story, and I am far from being the guy who knows all the details about where we came from, or who did what and when. I could speak a little about Michelle Belanger, I could speak a little about Goddess Rosemary, or Lady CG, Damien Deville, and LA Judge, but that would just be hearsay and conjecture mixed with a few interviews. Not perhaps it is best to stick to my history in the community, for what it is worth.

It has been said before and I am sure I will say it again, but I didn’t start in this community as a mover or shaker. I wasn’t part of that original batch of old schoolers from the East Coast, or those from the West Coast that so much of the modern community chooses to ignore. I was more like…a drifting spirit wandering from place to place and learning as I went. Really engaging in the community as a whole didn’t start until around 2000. (though I might be off on that, the late 90s and early 2000’s are kind of a blur.)

So with all that said where on earth do I begin my own history in this community? Do I steal a good line to open the story, like Anne Rice did with interview with a vampire? “Shall we begin like David Copperfield? ‘I am born…I grew up.’ Or shall we begin when I was born to darkness, as I call it?” As amusing as I find that, both as a writer and as annoying fan of Charles Dickens, I think I will instead approach this from a more matter-of-fact way if I can. Pardon me if I get a little dramatic in my telling. I will try not to go there.

America On Line or AOL is what opened up this little world for me. It was before I truly engaged, I am thinking it was 1996, though I have claimed 1994 in the past, these days I am not so certain.

I think just about anyone can remember that annoying sound of dial up modems and the annoying voice chiming in every few seconds to tell you “You’ve got mail!” It was in the middle of that hell on earth that I discovered AOL chat. AOL chat, if you remember would allow you to make groups, but you could only have up to, I believe it was, 25 people in the room at one time. Because of this we had overflow rooms, and privet chats much more often than we do on Facebook.

A supposed elder of the time known, like everyone else it seems, as Vampy was one of the first I spoke too. She was bright, more pagan that Vampire in her path, but I excused that did my best to learn as much as I could from her. She was friendly, open and most certainly Sang. Psychic Vampires were a point of topic often, and though they were allowed into the forum, they were not really accepted as part of the Vampire Community, though we didn’t call it that back then.

I was aware of myself and aware of just how little people would think of me if I jumped out there with that knowledge so I tended to ask a lot of questions, play the politico, and when the time allowed, and the rooms were not full, I would engage as much as I could.

However the military had more of my life back then. I was deployed often, places like Panama early on, NTC, Florida, not the deployments as you think of them today, but it was a different time.

I found over and over that I would be gone for a few months only to return and see less and less of the people I had initially known. It got tiresome to constantly try to re-establish myself, and eventually I stopped trying. I was young and life was moving around me, there wasn’t a lot of time to hang out on line, and I wasn’t a gamer.

Instead I went searching. I had met several Wiccans and a few Pagans in my time, and they had me on a path seeking my own truths. From Seattle, to Olympia, Portland Oregon and over to Vancouver I sought out the locals. Local Pagans, but also local vampires, which even today, are very hard to find. Still there were whispers of an secret group known as the Temple of Set, though I never found any members.

Before long it wasn’t the Vampire Community I was looking for, it was just people I could relate too. I think now that, to some extent, that is what we all do. We kick around trying to find what interests us, than others who share that interest. Eventually we get lost in it, and off course. In my case off course meant pool halls, beer, and girls…did I mentioned how many Dance Clubs there are in Portland Oregon? I digress.

It wasn’t until around 2000 that I started seeking again for the vampire. I read everything, dug in to the different groups and eventually found one I could settle into. “My Rebel Years” as I call them now, were well spent seeking inside a group called “The Vampire Nations”

That wasn’t the only group I roamed, there was Vampires, Real Vampires, Vampyres, The Crimson Tongue, like the vampires I met at the time most had names that were very similar. I think we all know our share of “Nights and “Ravens” of course my ever favorite Vampy’s but somehow they managed to be pretty distinct.

Still, it was the Vampire Nations, that I really felt at home. Vampy, Lady Nightdancer, Val, and a whole bunch of others who become too numerous to name, became my friends. Countess spoke often through her writings about a European Elder Council, and how she was trying to form such a council here in the USA.

She was very aware of the NYC scene, but like most of us, we were not a part of that scene, so we basically disregarded it. They had their courts and regents, elders and grand houses, but we have a council. Actually we had a lot of councils, but that is not important. The simple truth was that the majority of us didn’t believe a word about the European Council, and those councils we participated in were mostly based on our own select interests.

I became infatuated with debate around then, and the Crimson Tongue was a great place to really sharpen your teeth. I met their leader, a neat guy, who refused to intervene when the debates went insane, but I understood his perspective. Bholanath, though I am not positive he was going by that back then.

He made mention of a New Jersey based house called The House of The Dreaming, but I quickly concluded that it really wasn’t for me. It was filled with those Courtly vampires, Scroll Keepers, and Matriarchs and I was more interested in vampires dressed in corsets who thought I was awesome. Hey I never once said I wasn’t a dog…never once…

Anyway back to the fairly droll history. I am not sure where I met Nessa, but in meeting her, it didn’t take long to meet Lord Dividian. She was bright and bubbly, blond and smiled a lot. I like girls who smile at me, so it didn’t take much to get me go check out her forum. I should have known my lack of brains would lead me into trouble, but hey, I was in my 20s, what do you expect?

At the same time I had met Lady CG, who had drug me off to Smoke and Mirrors. If Nessa, later known as Countess Nessa, had sparked my ego, Lady CG poured cool water on it. Countess Nessa, encouraged me to write and teach, Lady CG encouraged me to read and learn. It was around than that the idea came to me to build an online news magazine. I called it “The Graveyard Press.”

Both had their share of dramatics, based off very different things, but I liked being a white knight, so it worked well for me. Lady CG introduced me to people I still hold in regard today, people like Hawkmoor, who I tend to disagree with a lot, but whom I can respect for his history, and there was Sangy, and SpynixCatVP, Belfazaar, many more…again no disrespect intended but there are a lot of you out there I grew to respect, and I can only drop so many names.

It was then that I was asked to look at a project by the House of The Dreaming. They were conducting a survey, a community wide survey that was going to be huge. I remember it more because it gathered a lot of data, but that was never something that really went where it could have. The person making it was dealing with issues and things go that way.

Meanwhile, Countess Nessa was in a battle with Lord Dividian. The real point of contention was about leadership and how far to push that leadership. To me, it was a chance to measure my intellect and ego against a known elder. I am sure he would disagree, but I slaughtered him! (ok…ok…let me have my delusions)

I was asked to join the house and agreed with the idea of being that Knight. I wrote bi laws for the house, I helped to refine the education and I discovered just how out of place I was in that house. I think part of it might have been my first deployment, part of it might have been my own despair and pain when dealing with a war zone. Either way we had to go our separate ways.

Upon my return I went to Vegas and met with Countess Nessa, but I admit I had an alternate goal. You see I had left the House of Ma`at, Nessa’s house, and had been in talks with another lady, one I found fascinating and who had a strong real time house. The House of The Dreaming, and it was that house Madame X, Wulfsunus, Lady Sequanna that I went to meet.

They had a new prospective member with them as well, Alterra Von Feuers, another Idahoan, whose smile and easy going way really made the whole thing come together. It was a grand visit and I very much enjoyed myself.

We attended a local vampire club, hung out with the very active Vegas scene, and got to know a lot of people very quickly. Countess Nessa was an amazing hostess, and we, the guests were more than pleased with the graciousness of the group. A few too many glasses of “Blood Bath” and I was done for the evening, though I understand it went a lot further.

New names were popping up all the time. Merticus, as I remember it, was a name that popped up on a survey, and I remember thinking how much it was like the one Madame X started. I had no idea who this Merticus fellow was, but he seemed eager, and professional. I believe I wrote him off as another annoyance that would never become anything, and moved on, though I did fill out the survey for kicks.

By this time it was 2007, I believe and on line I was deeply engaged with some of the NYC community members. It didn’t take long for some of them to really learn to dislike me. It took less time for me to find them amusing if annoying.

Make no mistake I have met a great many there now that I hold regard for, but at the time the amount on line was limited, and pretty much all of them felt I should treat them as Royalty. I got into a scuff with a well known VC member on line, which did not please my prospective house at all. They wanted me to cool it, and I wanted to pit my massive ego against this silly man who made fake teeth.

What I managed to do was anger one member of my prospective house, and while he isn’t in the house any longer, we still aren’t friendly. Though I respect what he added to the community and him as a person really. I don’t have to agree with someone on every topic to respect them. Sadly this doesn’t always go both ways.

Once again I am getting into the muddy water, and jumped around a little…let me back up.

As I said I was deployed in 2005 to Afghanistan, 2006 I was still there but leaving the House of Ma`at behind, and 2007 I was headed to Vegas. So it must have been 2008 that I made the trek with one of the best friends I ever had, Alterra, to New Jersey to meet with the House of The Dreaming.

I was inducted into the house, and finally felt like I had joined something special. It wasn’t an ancient house, not like House Sahjaza, but there was an independence of thought with the members. But things change and for me it was another chance to go off to war, and I went.

It is odd to think about for me now. There I was doing daily patrols in the Iraq desert all day, then coming back and when possible working with the House of the Dreaming on various projects. I think in a way it helped me to get through it. People talk about how much they depend on their House to support them, but how many got support while at war? How many got the post cards and kind messages and emails when you just faced a rocket attack, or dealt with burned up kids? How much it meant to me to have a shoulder to hear me out when my mate passed away from cancer, and If not for Alterra and Madame X, and the rest of the House, I am not sure how things would be today. Perhaps the same, but I am not sure about that.

I am not saying I was all alone without them, no, I had family and friends as well, they did more than I could repay, but this isn’t about them is it? Anyway I went to war, I was there I did what I did there, and I came home.

With Alterra and another new member Ezekiel, we traveled the North West and visited what vampires we could. I got to meet people from the Temple of Set at last, and I have to admit to being impressed with their organization and dedication. (and complete lack of interest in the NYC scene) Much of this came together as we visited the Vampyre Masqurade Ball in Portland Oregon.

I was friends with one of the people running the whole thing, and it was funny to us all when we were introduced as members of a NYC House. It was like a silly dream, we stood there at the entrance as

someone called out over the whole ballroom… “Please welcome, from the Courts of New York, Deacon Gray, Lady Alterra and Lord Ezekiel of the House of The Dreaming.”

I later found out everyone got an intro, but hey I was in my ego at the time…leave me alone.

The place was amazing. I don’t think people would believe me if it were not for the ability to go to their website and look up PDX Ball, and see what I say is true. There were people on stilts walking through the crowd, I believe blowing fire balls, people doing gymnastics in the crowd, and everyone was dressed in amazing period costumes. It felt like the ball in the movie Van Helsing. I almost expected someone to turn into a movie vampire.

Many things happened between 2009 and today. We moved from Yahoo, to Myspace, from Myspace to Ning and Facebook. We saw people come and go, dramas kicked up, much as they do today and in all honesty I noticed the cycle really hard for the first time.

By cycle I mean, that there is nothing NEW in the community anymore. My ezine idea “The Graveyard Press” would fire up, and die down, others emerged and some stuck around others faded away. The NYC crowd would emerge from time to time, and almost always tell us how they had been around since the start, and how we should all listen to their sage wisdom.

Many demanded our respect, which without exception pretty much insured that they wouldn’t get it. Still others showed up along the way too. Goddess Rosemary, Madame Webb became well known, and from New Orleans we had Belfazaar and Soul Shroud, emerging from the swampy ruins of the 2005 Katrina devastation even as the old houses like St Germaine vanished.

Ultimately there are too many events, too many people and there is no cohesive history I can relay. People came and went, some to real life issues, some to death itself. We had friends come and go, but there are always those who remain, and those who join us along the way that we come to treasure.

I said before that there is not Vampire Community. I said that because we have become more than a simple collection of Sang Vampires, or Psi-vampires. We are donors, kin, pagans, the curious and the crazy. We have people from all walks of life, from every culture in the world with a huge amount of views and beliefs.

We have seen places like South Africa emerge with a whole new community, the Brits, the Brazilians, Russians and Norwegians. We are not just a vampire community; we are a worldwide community of amazing people. We have a lot of various histories, many I know, many I don’t but in the end we find ourselves here. We find we aren’t really alone, and it’s our experience and efforts of today that matter most.

May our histories continue to unfold, may our members continue to Dream.”

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