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[identity profile] merticus.livejournal.com
Diagnosed Physical & Mental Conditions Of Self-Identified Real Vampires
Presented by Merticus of Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC & Vampire Community News (VCN) - November 12, 2014

[identity profile] jarandhel.livejournal.com

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've recently become aware of a spate of academic articles about otherkin.  I managed to get my hands on the first of them, "Othering among Otherkin: The discursive negotiation of the face-threat of exclusionary othering in a demarginalizing internet community" by Melanie Getzler.  I've skimmed it and it looks really great, but unfotunately I haven't had time yet to sit down and read it in depth.  It's much longer than other articles on the subject, as it is a Master's thesis - 82 pages.  One thing I will note is that it does not suffer from the same weakness that so many academic articles on otherkin and therians have in the past - that of being based on self-selected survey responses or interviews with a fairly small sampling of the community.  Ms. Getzler employed a different methodology to try to get a truly representative sampling and while I'd still like to see a broader study done I must say hers is the best attempt to date of which I am currently aware.

For those interested, I've saved a copy of the thesis here.

Apparently Ms. Getzler also wrote an undergraduate thesis on our community entitled "Here There Be Dragons: The Effect of Online Communities of 'Otherkin' on Philosophical Construction of Self-Identity".  I'm still looking for a copy of that, it is not available from ProQuest.

Another recent academic work is "Some People Aren’t People on the Inside: Online Connectivity and Otherkin Subjectivities" by Margaret Shane.  I don't have a copy of that one yet either, but I do know where it can be purchased.  I'm just leery of spending $30 on a 15 page paper.

Last but not least there's another article by Venetia Robertson focusing on the therian community: "The Beast Within: Anthrozoomorphic Identity and Alternative Spirituality in the Online Therianthropy Movement".  This paper may be downloaded for free from academia.edu, and I have backed it up here.

[identity profile] jarandhel.livejournal.com

In 2012, Venetia Laura Delano Robertson of the University of Sydney, Department of Studies in Religion wrote a paper for Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies entitled "The Law of the Jungle: Self and Community in the Online Therianthropy Movement".  I've seen brief mentions of this article in a few places, but I've only recently gotten hold of a copy myself.  For those interested, a copy is now available here.  The work explores the idea that there are implicit initiations and rites of passage, and a hierarchy inherent to the therian community.  And it does make a good case for that.  Much of its content could also be extrapolated to the otherkin and vampire communities, in my opinion.

This is one of several recent academic works on the subject of otherkin which I have learned of, which brings me to one final thing: does anyone have access to ProQuest articles through their university library or another organization of which they are part?  There's one academic work in particular I'm looking to get, but as I'm not a member of any subscribing organization it would run me $38 for the pdf and I'd rather avoid that if possible.

frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: None.

June 2013: There's a call for otherkin, therianthropes, and vampires to participate in a study conducted by a researcher in the UK, named Ish’had Duncan,1 (MA Student at University of East London). The project is titled "Exploring The Experiences Of Otherkin, Vampires and Weres and Their Perceptions Of Therapy." Apparently, within a week, Duncan has already collected all six of the participants needed.2 Anyone who is interested in the project can e-mail Duncan.

- O. Scribner


1. "Identity Group Experiences & Perceptions Of Therapy: Vampires, Otherkin and Others." 2013-06-11. TheoFantastique. http://www.theofantastique.com/2013/06/11/identity-group-experiences-perceptions-of-therapy-vampires-otherkin-and-others/

2. Merticus. "Researching Identity Group Experiences & Perceptions Of Therapy." 2013-06-11. Vampire News. http://merticus.com/vampirenews/2013/06/11/researching-identity-group-experiences-perceptions-of-therapy/
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: Medical practices, physical health problems, mental health problems, paralysis, stroke, amputation, brains, and weird health treatments. In the comments on this post, there's some discussion about gender dysphoria (transgender issues) and private body parts.

Summary: If a person's idea of their body doesn't match how their body is shaped, putting water in their ear can temporarily change that.

A person’s inner ear (and other parts of the vestibular system) gives them their sense of balance and sense of their body’s position and movement. It also has something to do with a person’s sense of the shape of their body (body schema). If you put water in a person’s ear, it can temporarily change their senses of balance, position, and body schema. (Different things happen if the water is warm or cold, or which ear it's put into.) This practice is called vestibular caloric stimulation. It’s useful because it sometimes helps treat people who have problems with those senses. It can also show things about the relationship between the inner ear and the body schema in the brain.

For some people, their body schema doesn’t match their physical body. Either the person has a body part and feels like it isn’t theirs (somatoparaphrenia), or they’re missing a body part and feel like it’s still there (a phantom limb). People have to learn more about the body schema in order to treat these. Likewise, studying these will help people learn about the body schema. Treatment of these can involve trying to repair the person’s body schema. One of the ways to do that is by showing the person a type of optical illusion, called “mirror box therapy,” but that’s another story. You can also temporarily treat both of these conditions by means of vestibular caloric stimulation. That is to say, these are problems that can be helped by putting water in a person’s ear.

Sometimes people who have had a stroke or become paralyzed on one side end up feeling like one of their body parts isn’t theirs. The sufferer develops far-fetched beliefs about how the body part got there. (It’s called a somatoparaphrenic delusion.) Since there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the body part itself, doctors try to repair the person’s body schema. A 1991 study showed that putting water in the sufferer’s ear can temporarily change their body schema, so that they feel like the body part is theirs again.

People who have lost a body part (amputees) sometimes feel like the missing body part is still there. Even if the person knows nothing is there, the “phantom limb” can feel very real. Phantom limbs happen because the person’s brain still has that body part in its body schema. The brain gets confused about why it isn’t getting sensory messages from the limb anymore, so it makes things up to fill in the blank. Sometimes a phantom limb even feels like it hurts. You can’t just use pain killer on a body part that isn’t there.

A study published in 2001 found that vestibular caloric stimulation can do things to phantom limbs. When the researchers put water in the ears of amputees who never felt phantom limbs, it made the amputees temporarily feel phantom limbs. When the researchers put water in the ears of amputees who had suffered phantom limb pain, the phantom limbs stayed there, but they stopped hurting.

I heard about these discoveries in recent post in a non-academic blog (io9), but when I read the sources, it turns out that these aren’t very recent discoveries. Please note, I’m not a neurologist or any kind of doctor. I’m an interested layperson. I can’t guarantee that I got the facts right. If you're curious about this stuff, you should talk to a professional who has studied it in particular. I’m including this article in Otherkin News because therianthropes and otherkin often report that they have, so to speak, a body schema that doesn’t match their physical body. Any information and discoveries about the formation of the body schema in the brain could lead toward helping them understand why theirs might be that way.

- O. Scribner


Esther Inglis-Arkell, “The weird way to eliminate—or evoke—phantom limbs.” 2013-01-20. io9. http://io9.com/5976618/the-weird-way-to-eliminateor-evokephantom-limbs

Edoardo Bisiach, Maria Luisa Rusconi, and Giuseppe Vallar, “Remission of somatoparaphrenic delusion through vestibular stimulation.” Neuropsychologia 29: 10 (1991), pp. 1029–1031. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/002839329190066H

J. M. André, et al., “Temporary Phantom Limbs Evoked by Vestibular Caloric Stimulation in Amputees.” Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, & Behavioral Neurology 14:3 (2001), pp. 190-196. http://journals.lww.com/cogbehavneurol/Abstract/2001/07000/Temporary_Phantom_Limbs_Evoked_by_Vestibular.8.aspx
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings for this article: none that I can think of. Work-safe.

The Sydney Morning Herald (est. 1831) recently ran an article1 about the vampire subculture’s presence on the Internet, mentioning otherkin as well. “Researcher Danielle Kirby used the ‘Otherkin’, who meet in an online forum and believe they are partially or entirely non-human, to examine the phenomenon. In her paper, she found about 800 members of the Otherkin network, including those who identified as dragons, elves, vampires, fairies and angels. The internet had helped concentrate their underlying broadly neo-pagan beliefs, she said.” This probably refers to Kirby’s essay “Alternative Worlds: Metaphysical Questing and Community amongst the Otherkin” in the anthology Through A Glass Darkly: Reflections on the Sacred.2

- O. Scribner

Sources )

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