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Tim White, (Interviewer): Halloween, the streets are filled with ghosts and goblins and vampires. But "Sightings" has discovered that some of those vampires aren't out there dressing up for just one holiday. We found people who are so obsessed with vampires that they've chosen to live as though they are real life vampires.

Do vampires really exist? Bela Lugosi's theatrical vision of the vampire debuted in the film classic "Dracula". Lugosi is the most popular image that we have of the nocturnal beast that preys on the living. Our reactions are a mixture of fascination and revulsion when Dracula thirsts for human blood.

"Bram Stoker's Dracula" from Francis Ford Coppola is the newest of nearly 2000 Dracula movies produced worldwide. Evidence of our continuing fascination with the undead.

Vincent Hillyer: The undead would be someone who is pronounced dead and at a certain time the dead corpse reanimates and goes out with a thirst for human blood.

Tim White: Recent studies by researchers at 2 major universities in the United States show that nearly half the adult population of the Unites States believe that the world of the undead in, some form, is real. And that same research shows that our obsession with vampires is rising dramatically.

Stephen Martin, Ph.D.: The vampire represents the darker side of human instinct. The vampire represents the semi-animal-like quality that is part of our nature. That which in the cultural process of global development we've had to forego. Ordinary people go see vampires because they identify with a certain collection of characteristics that they don't live out, and which are ignited in what we would call the unconscious.

Tim White: The Dracula character in Bram Stoker's novel was based on the 15th century Rumanian warlord "Vlad the Impaler". Stoker took the ancient myths about this notorious killer and added elements of the supernatural. Of course the historical Vlad, Vlad the Impaler, he was not a vampire.

Rosemary Ellen Guiley: Vlad Tepesh was not a vampire, he was a real person. A 15th century Wallachian warlord who was a vary cruel and methodical man. Bram Stoker took him as the model for Count Dracula. There's only one existing account of him drinking blood and it was the blood of one of his impaled victims. This does not make him a vampire.

Tim White: Do you really believe, Rosemary, that there are vampires? Real vampires?

Rosemary Ellen Guiley: I do believe in the possibility of real vampires. I would call a real vampire non-physical being, perhaps a spirit of the dead, or another kind of being that would attack the living. During the day or evening, almost what we would call a biting poltergeist.

Martin V. Riccardo: Around the world there are many cultures that believe there are individuals who can fly out at night in some form. There is certainly a possibility that there are many other forms of energy many other forms of power that we just don't understand, that may form the basis for the vampire legend. That may actually form some kind of power for real vampires.

Stephen Martin, Ph.D.: As people grow more frightened and as the normal structures of life, society, economics become more uncertain people get very fascinated by the supernatural, and I would place vampires in a class like that.

Tim White: Sightings has discovered a subculture of people who worship and emulate the vampire lifestyle. Are these self-proclaimed vampires true devotees? Or do they merely have a morbid fascination with death? There's a growing body of evidence to suggest that these modern day vampires may do more than simply pose as blood drinking members of the undead.

Vincent Hillyer: I believe in to another type of vampire I call the living vampire. They'll go around attacking people, biting them on the neck and drinking their blood. In my way of thinking they're every bit as dangerous as the old legendary type vampire

Tim White: In Chicago, "Sightings" met one member of the vampire sub-culture who insists that he is a real life vampire.

Vlad: Most people consider me a vampire because I am a blood drinker. I use blood to insure my immortality in this world.
Martin V. Riccardo: Vlad is a very interesting vampire. He's not quite like any other vampire that has ever contacted me. Or that I've ever studied. Vlad believes that there is a special kind of reaction that he gets from the small amounts of blood that he takes.

Rosemary Ellen Guiley: Blood has a lot of powerful symbolism and has had since ancient times. It's the life force and any time we consume the life force then you enhance your own mortality. And blood also has an erotic aspect to it as well.

Martin V. Riccardo: I feel that Vlad may very well be getting some kind of special insight, some kind of special feeling from blood.

Tim White: Did any of the people you spoke with claim to be dead people who were kept alive by drinking blood?

Rosemary Ellen Guiley: None. in fact almost all of them apologized for not being dead.

Tim White: Vlad's lifestyle may seem more theatre than reality with his thousand dollar handmade porcelain fangs and sculpted coffin. But the practice of blood drinking is not an act. Vlad believes it is proof of his commitment to vampirism. But to outsiders it appears as nothing more than a desperate attempt for attention.

Vlad: What I do and why I've done it, is.... I really don't care if any of you believe it or not. That's your problem.

Tim White: Our long-standing fascinations with vampire is well documented, few people have carried out their fascination, drinking blood and living as vampires. What send someone over the edge? Is it simply a need to stand out from the crowd? A deep-rooted desire for immortality or an unnatural need to participate in a world of evil?

Stephen Martin, Ph.D.: To dream about vampires, to be attracted to vampires. Or for the culture to thrill to the idea of vampires is simply nature.

Tim White: Although it may seem as pure theatrics to us, the self proclaimed vampires insist that they have a real dedication to vampirism. Behavior experts argue that their dedication could be masking a psychological disorder. And they're asking the question, what deep need are people like these fulfilling, by drinking blood and living as vampires?

This is a transcript from the FOX Television Network's now defunct series "Sightings". I have transcripted it as accurately as possible. If any mistakes were made, sorry.

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