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Sunday, 8 September, 2002, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Unearthing London's dark side
Vampire fangs
Most 'vampires' are just horror fans who dress up
Digging around London's darker side reveals there is a thriving "vampire scene" in the capital.

They have the clothes, the hair, the fangs and some even have the thirst for blood.

The London Inside Out team investigates whether they are harmless eccentrics or something a lot more sinister.

In the Ben Crouch Tavern, just off Oxford Street, central London, a collection of vamps and goths meet as part of the London Vampire Group.

They are drawn to the mystique and glamour of the cult.

One member, Cliff, says "vampires are sexy, suave, sophisticated and good dressers".

He told Inside Out: "They have an allure.

Heidi Taylor has real fangs
Heidi Taylor was born with natural fangs

"If you look at the classic monsters like Frankenstein or a werewolf, no-one says they want to be them. But vampires?

"They look human, but they have that hypnotic power over their victims whether it be male or female."

Among the group is Heidi Taylor who says she was born with "natural fangs."

She said:"I was always strange as a kid, I didn't fit in and I don't seem to like bright lights."

Sanguine eater

Most of the group members are just horror fans who like to dress up as vampires.

But Inside Out wanted to meet a real sanguine (blood) eater, like 19-year-old Nathan.

He said:"When I was younger I always felt there was something missing.

"I cut myself and put my mouth to it to stop it bleeding and thought 'this feels great, this is what's missing'."

Nathan said that when he drank blood, which he describes as tasting metallic, it felt like everything got "brighter" and he felt more relaxed.

"I can see everything better and clearer. It's just an amazing feeling."

Nathan
Nathan would not consider drawing blood by biting

His main source for blood is his girlfriend, Gemma, who lets him feed from her because it "makes him happy".

"I know that it's something he enjoys, but I suppose in some senses it can be considered romantic to be able to do that for him. I trust him, I know that he's not gonna cause me any harm."

Nathan cleans the area before he uses a syringe to make a hole from which to extract the blood for about five minutes.

Afterwards he tells the Inside Out reporter that he feels "sort of shaky".

But he would not consider drawing blood by biting someone as it can be very painful for the person and it is not a clean method.

"I'm not harming anyone by doing it", Nathan said. "I mean there are worse things I could be doing - taking drugs, getting into fights, going out and murdering people.

"This is something I do with someone who feels safe and secure about the whole thing."

Inside Out is on BBC One at 1930 BST on Monday.

Medical warning: The drinking of blood can cause the spread of infection and disease.


Click here to go to BBC London Online
See also:

28 Aug 02 | Wales
24 Sep 98 | Europe
12 May 99 | Health
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