Thursday, November 25, 2010

Katherine Ramsland

"The archetypal vampires are larger-than-life, charismatic entities of power and mystery who once were human and now display abilities beyond human limitations. They can defeat death, seduce anyone of their choosing, obliterate their enemies and stay up all night. What's not to like?" 

Renfield's Syndrome

Psychiatrists are aware that there exists a behavior known as "clinical vampirism," which is a syndrome involving the delusion of actually being a vampire and feeling the need for blood. This arises not from fiction and film but from the erotic attraction to blood and the idea that it conveys certain powers, although the actual manifestation of the fantasy may be influenced by fiction.  It develops through fantasies involving sexual excitement.

Psychologist Richard Noll, author of Bizarre Diseases of the Mind, says that the clinical cases have a lot in common with the behavior of a character from Dracula named Renfield.  He's a mental patient who eats spiders and flies because he craves their life force.  He suggests the clinical vampirism be renamed Renfield's Syndrome.  Noting that people who suffer from this condition are primarily male, he identifies a specific set of stages. 

"The first stage," Noll explains, "is some event that happens before puberty where the child is excited in a sexual way by some event that involves blood injury or the ingestion of blood.  At puberty it becomes fused with sexual fantasies, and the typical person with Renfield Syndrome begins with autovampirism.  That is, they begin to drink their own blood and then move on to other living creatures. That's what we know from the few cases we have on record.  It has fetishistic and compulsive components."
Click HERE to read article on Tru Crime Library

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"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." link
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"Forensic psychologist and horror-cultural journalist Katherine Ramsland's latest book considers the scientific possibilities and psychological implications of vampirism, from its literary genesis in Bram Stoker's Dracula to the present day. Ramsland's Piercing the Darkness: Undercover with Vampires in America Today chronicled the modern cultural impact of the vampire. Now she broadens her inquiry to examine vampire mythology and practice in scientific terms, taking the reader into discussions of psychoneuroimmunology, endorphins and psychedelics, psychopathology, and other areas of science and metaphysics.

Ramsland isn't advocating the existence of creatures of the night. Rather, she applies scientific methods and concepts to the aspects of the vampire that are most attractive--immortality, abilities of mental and sexual control, the maintenance of life through the blood or energy of others. The particular applications of theory aren't always convincing, but they will be entertaining and interesting to fans of vampire stories and culture who want to go beyond story into the realm of science. --Roz Genessee" link
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Katherine Ramsland Biography 
Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D. has published twenty-five books.  She holds graduate degrees in forensic psychology, clinical psychology, and philosophy.  Currently she teaches forensic psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania.  

After publishing two books in psychology, Engaging the Immediate and The Art of Learning, she wrote Prism of the Night: A Biography of Anne Rice. 

At that time, she had a cover story in Psychology Today on our culture's fascination with vampires. Then she wrote guidebooks to Anne Rice's fictional worlds: The Vampire Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, The Witches' Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice's Lives of the Mayfair Witches, The Roquelaure Reader: A Companion to Anne Rice's Erotica, and The Anne Rice Reader. 

Her next book was Dean Koontz: A Writer's Biography, and then she ventured into journalism with a two-year investigation of the vampire subculture, to write Piercing the Darkness: Undercover with Vampires in America Today.  Following that was Ghost, Cemetery Stories, and The Science of Vampires.  She has also written for The New York Times Book Review, The Writer, The Newark Star Ledger, Publishers Weekly, and The Trenton Times.

 Her background in forensic studies positioned her to assist former FBI profiler John Douglas on his book, The Cases that Haunt Us, and to co-write a book with former FBI profiler, Gregg McCrary, The Unknown Darkness.  

She has also written The Forensic Science of CSI, The Criminal Mind: A Writer's Guide to Forensic Psychology, The Science of Cold Case Files, and Inside the Minds of Mass Murderers and she pens editorials on breaking forensic cases for The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Recently, she co-wrote A Voice for the Dead with James E. Starrs on his exhumation projects, and became part of the team. She also contributes regularly to Court TV's Crime Library and has written nearly three hundred articles about serial killers, forensic psychology, and forensic science.  Her latest book is The Human Predator: A Historical Chronicle of Serial Murder and Forensic Investigation. ~Link to bio

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