Michelle Belanger is a vampire. Not the haunt the night shadows, sleep in a coffin, stake her in the heart and instantly turns to dust kind; she doesn’t even drink blood.
“The only time I wear fangs is when I sing with my metal band,” Belanger said.
Belanger calls herself a psychic vampire, someone who feeds off the life energy from other people because they lack, and cannot create, their own.
Belanger said the energy transfer is a boring process; it takes just a touch of the hand to get her what she needs. And she’s learned to shield herself in crowds of people to survive the onslaught of psychic images that comes with it.
Belanger spoke Wednesday night in Chumash Auditorium to a group of 35 students as part of the Associated Students Inc. True Life series. The event included a showing of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” ASI special events student supervisor Courtney Serafin said they had hoped more people would show up to hear the self-proclaimed vampire speak.
Belanger’s presentation was about the history of vampire folklore, pop culture phenomenon stemming from it and the modern lifestyle. She said there’s a lot of baggage that comes with the word vampire and she tries to educate people not only on the past, but the community that’s out there today.
Belanger walked the audience through the vampiric evolution from medieval Eastern European boogie-man to the current vampire craze brought on by “Twilight.” She referenced Meyers’ series saying she recognized her contribution to the vampire story, but hoped a hundred years from now vampires wouldn’t all be sparkling in the sun.
“Her vampires glitter in the sun like little gay boys at a rave,” Belanger said.
The audience burst into laughter and was engrossed throughout the hour long presentation. Serafin said she thought students would be coming for the film, but was surprised when most seemed to be there to see Belanger. Communications senior Gabrielle Rivera said she saw a poster for the event and thought it might be an interesting night.
“I love vampires. I don’t think it’s too far fetched,” Rivera said.
Rivera said her interest comes from her mom who teaches gothic literature and the show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” which was always a favorite.
Rivera wasn’t the only one out to meet the psychic-vamp. Computer engineering sophomore Karl Preheim said the idea of a real life vampire caught his interest. He said her description of increasing energy paralleled Eastern philosophies like Daoism and Hindu.
Belanger herself said if more people understood some of the Eastern religions and the concept of ch’i it might be easier to explain her lifestyle. She said in the post-modern age where people are no longer judged on background, race or religion it’s about finding out how to define ourselves.
Belanger compared the vampire lifestsyle to someone who identifies with country music and the associated culture of the cowboy persona. She said they are not a cult and the biggest part of her tour is to educate people to dispel unnecessary fears.
After she spoke, Belanger stayed with a group of a dozen students who were still asking questions when ASI wanted to start the movie. In the University Union she answered the curious and the nosey without reservation.
“I’m just another flavor of psychic, I’m just as surprised as anyone when I turn out right,” Belanger said.