Piercing the Darkness: Undercover with Vampires in America Today

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9780061050626: Piercing the Darkness: Undercover with Vampires in America Today

"If you begin to hunt for vampires, the vampires will begin to hunt for you."
"Christian"

In the summer of 1996, a young female reporter named Susan Walsh disappeared while writing a story on downtown Manhattan's mysterious "vampire" underground. Suspicion immediately fell on the bizarre cultists who wore black, painted their faces white, and drank (or claimed to drink) human blood. One of the experts consulted in the search for Susan Walsh was clinical psychologist Katherine Ramsland, who was steeped in the subject as a journalist and bestselling biographer.

Susan Walsh was never seen again. But the search for her opened new doors of inquiry for Ramsland, who found herself drawn almost against her will into a world she had previously explored only through the investigations and research of others. Now Ramsland was face-top-face with her subjects and the questions were alarmingly intimate and direct: Were these vampires for real? Did they act from compulsion or choice? Did they really drink blood? What else did they do?

Often against her better judgment, Ramsland began to follow up personal ads and Internet inquiries with actual forays into the vampire scene, penetrating deeper and deeper into a world few Americans even dream exists. What she found was all too real. Hidden beneath the media images and the talk-show circuses, lies a dark realm with its own rituals, rules, boundariesand penalties.

Written in the bold tradition of participatory journalism, Ramsland's extraordinary investigative memoir takes you directly into the world of the urban vampire: a transgressive arena of dark energy and heat that overlaps with S&M, Bondage, and Gothic cults. Here you will learn the distinctions between Bloodists, Classicals, Nighttimers, and Inheritors. You will visit the members-only clubs where "liquid electricity" (blood) is the favored currency of intimate exchange, and explore the "feeding circles" that avoid the risk of AIDS. You will hang out with lovers whose sex toy is a razor and meet others who shun normality as we would shun the secret practices they hold sacred.

Ramsland returned with her eyes opened to new kinds of darkness. You may think you have seen or heard everything. You may even think you are unshockable.

You are wrong.

A daring writer's intimate odyssey into a world of darkness

"Whether someone wanted to drink blood or merely read about someone else drinking blood; whether someone wanted to exert a hypnotic influence over others, or be the one to fall into the swoon; whether someone just wanted to be a vampire once a week and then put it aside, or live the feeling of it with every breathit mattered not to me.

"I was prepared to listen to the stories of vampires, donors, victims, experts, chronicles, hunters, readers, writers, musicians, strippers, squatters, dominatrixes, role-players, criminals, divas, entrepreneurs, fetishists, and any other person who manifested some aspect of what I call vampire culture. It's as diverse a group as any subculture gets, and anyone who thinks that it's noting but what the television news flashes on the screen at Halloween, or what the talk shows portray, is missing the richness and complexity of the responses that the vampire has generated in recent years.

"That's how I got my start. And When I decided to immerse and find out more, I discovered a lot more about this culture that I ever expected."
from Piercing the Darkness

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Katherine Ramsland sets Piercing the Darkness up as a story about Susan Walsh, a wannabe journalist who mysteriously disappeared while researching "real" vampires. While that story line ultimately sees less light than the vampires themselves, Ramsland's rambunctious, rambling tales of nightclubbing, international travel, and meticulous wardrobe selection among the creatures of the night provide ample entertainment. The book traces her circuitous route through AOL chat rooms, Paris's underground tunnels, and any number of goth and "vampyre" clubs, pursuing leads and hunches that seem to materialize from thin air. What the story might lack in integrity, it more than makes up for in sheer strangeness.

With each new foray by Ramsland (previously noted for celebrating Anne Rice in several books) into the unknown, we are treated to fascinating insights into the personalities and motivations of people who might well be the world's most devoted fans of Rice's supernatural melodramas. Ramsland is admirably guileless throughout, throwing herself, body and soul, into situations that would run counter to most people's common sense. In one memorable scene inside an exclusive S/M club, Ramsland concludes an evening of research by treating a female masochist to a good, solid whipping. A rollicking story of blood, sex, violence, and fashion in all their various combinations. --Lisa Higgins

About the Author:

Katherine Ramsland's most recent book was A Writer's Biography, her revealing portrait of Dean Koontz. Piercing the Darkness is her first work of pure investigative journalism.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Book Description HarperCollins, New York, NY, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. No Flaws or Blemishes but minimal retail handling; Still Gift Quality. --- Illustrations. --- Written in the bold tradition of participatory journalism, Ramsland's extraordinary investigative memoir takes you directly into the world of the urban vampire: a transgressive arena of dark energy and heat that overlaps with S&M, Bondage, and Gothic cults. Bookseller Inventory # 008149

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Book Description Harper Prism, New York, 1998. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition (stated). FIRST PRINTING (stated) of the First Edition. The true story of a reporter's investigation into the strange phenomenon of alleged vampires across America and a reporter - Susan Walsh - having strangely disappeared while undertaking a similar project, the cultists who practice vampirism, their rituals and habits, whether these creatures are actually real or not, whether they actually drink blood, etc., as well as the search for answers re Walsh's disappearance. Hardcover with dust jacket, contains illustrations, bibliography, resources list, indexed, 371pp. A very nice copy, the jacket neatly encased in an acid-free archival plastic protector. Very rare, especially in this condition. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 00013454

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