Psychic Vampire

Hungry ghost

psychic vampire is a mythological creature said to feed off the ‘life force’ of other living creatures. Psychic vampires are represented in the occult beliefs of various cultures and in fiction.

Terms used to describe the substance or essence that psychic vampires take or receive from others include: energy, qi (or ch’i), life force, prana, and vitality. There is no scientific or medical evidence supporting the existence of the bodily or psychic energy they allegedly drain.

American author Albert Bernstein uses the phrase ’emotional vampire’ for people with various personality disorders who are often considered to drain emotional energy from others. The term ‘energy vampire’ is also used metaphorically to refer to people whose influence leaves a person feeling exhausted, unfocused, and depressed, without ascribing the phenomenon to psychic interference.

British occultist Dion Fortune wrote of psychic parasitism in relation to vampirism as early as 1930 in her book, ‘Psychic Self-Defense.’ Fortune considered psychic vampirism a combination of psychic and psychological pathology, and distinguished between what she considered to be true psychic vampirism and mental conditions that produce similar symptoms. For the latter, she named folie à deux (French for ‘madness of two’ or shared psychosis) and similar phenomena.

The term ‘psychic vampire’ was popularized in the 1960s by Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan. LaVey wrote on the topic in his book, ‘The Satanic Bible,’ and claimed to have coined the term. LaVey used psychic vampire to mean a spiritually or emotionally weak person who drains vital energy from other people. Adam Parfrey (founder of Feral House books, a fringe non-fiction book publisher) likewise attributed the term to LaVey in an introduction to ‘The Devil’s Notebook.’ The terms ‘energy vampire’ and ‘psychic vampire’ have been used as synonyms in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union as part of an occult revival.

Sociologists such as Mark Benecke and A. Asbjorn Jon have identified a subculture of people who present themselves as vampires. Jon has noted that enthusiasts of the vampire subculture emulate traditional psychic vampires in that they describe ‘prey[ing] upon life-force or ‘pranic’ energy.’ A related mythological creature is a sexual vampire, which is supposed to feed off sexual energy, such as succubi or incubi.

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