Belanger, Michelle(pop culture)
Through the first decade of the twentieth century, Michelle Belanger has emerged as the single most prominent spokesperson for the self-identified vampire community. She was born and raised in Ohio. According to her own account, she was born with a heart defect which, while significantly repaired with some early surgery, left her low in vital energy. She learned before she knew what she was doing to take energy from those she came in contact with, and thus markedly improved her own vitality. As a teenager, she learned to take such energy while she gave people backrubs. She experienced a watershed event when her grandmother cut her off from her friends. She stopped giving many backrubs and grew ill. Over her early adult years, as her condition failed to respond to medical care, she finally figured out her vampire nature.
Belanger welcomed the emergence of the vampire community of the 1980s. While mostly built by people interested in vampire novels and movies, a variety of people showed a more serious interest, and she became aware that several groups had appeared that provided an initial home for real vampires. In the 1980s she also began her study of various systems based on psychic energy such as Reiki and Qigong.
In the early 1990s she attended John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. While there she founded a magazine, Shadowdance. She also became involved in the role-playing game, Vampire: The Masquerade, and began to write the early version of what became her 2004 publication on working with magical and psychical energies, The Psychic Vampire Codex. Shadowdance provided a point of contact for people to write to her about their vampire experiences. By 1994, she saw a need to provide a forum for this small group of people and she founded the International Vampire Society. In September 1995 she began publishing the society’s magazine, The Midnight Sun. Her public role set her up for contact with Father Sebastian, who had developed similar interests and had begun to organize vampires in the New York City area. The two came into contact in 1998. He encouraged her to make her presence felt on the Internet. She saw the first edition of his vampire ethics code, the Black Veil, which he had adapted from Vampire: The Masquerade. The two worked together for several years; In 2000 she rewrote the Black Veil into a more acceptable version, which she expanded from seven to thirteen codes of ethics. Her version now circulates as the “13 Rules of the Community.” She also allowed Sebastian to publish a version of the Codex. During the years in contact with Father Sebastian, the International Vampire Society evolved into the House Kheperu. The occult-oriented groups began to explore past lives and came to feel that they were once together in ancient Egypt. The group associated for a while in the 1990s with The Sanguinarium, a network of vampires and groups founded by Father Sebastian. In more recent years, Belanger and Sebastian have gone in separate directions.
Through the first decade of the twentieth century, Belanger has become well-known as a self-identified vampire willing to speak to the media. She has published a series of books and numerous articles. The most recent, Vampires in Their Own Words: An Anthology of Vampire Voices, attempts to provide a spectrum of self-identified vampires to speak about their life.
Belanger continues to reside in her home state.