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The Obfuscation of Father Sebastiaan Inc. An Illuminating Investigation for the Vampi(y)re Community – by Octarine Valur By Octarine Valur

Speak-upThe South African Vampyre Community is steadily evolving and coming into our own. With each passing month we grow larger and stronger – not only in numbers, but also in stature among our international Vampi(y)re Community brothers and sisters. We have developed our own unique culture and community character, complete with educational materials, guidelines, literature, and have even held some small but successful events. We have overcome numerous obstacles to our continued existence and we have even had to face the potential threats posed by hostile groups in our own country. We walk with our heads held high among the diverse groups of the international Vampi(y)re Community. Despite all of our advances in the past couple of years, imagine for a moment that there was another threat… one that came not from outside our culture, but from within. Imagine if a Vampyre with a lust for power and fame arrived in our midst. One who had a talent for manipulating people to their will and convincing them to purchase their services and products in order to “become a Vampyre”. A commercial empire crafted of a different mindset than the Vampyre Community many of us have come to know and the broadly accepted description of our vampyric nature. A spiritual or religious cult-like organization specifically designed to place this lone Vampyre at the top of a pyramid. A model concerned only with generating as much revenue as possible from devotees and public customers (sometimes referred to as ‘gaja’ by this Vampyre) through the means of vampire themed parties, prosthetic fangs and book sales. Imagine this entrepreneurial Vampyre decided to come here, to South Africa, and wanted to throw a vampire party; complete with lots of advertising and funds invested into the decor, a dance floor, entertainment and merchandizing booths. Imagine all your friends in the local Vampyre community are excited about attending the “party of the century”. Imagine that when local community leaders or respected members from South Africa arrive at the door, this Vampyre’s staff tells them that they aren’t welcome at the party. Further, that your House or group will be usurped by a new Court system which other well-placed and eager friends of this cult-like organization will be establishing in your area. This Vampyre is willing to pour time and money into its development, which will in all likelihood, wipe out the existing framework you and others have spent years building and replace it with their own. Does this sound like a pipe dream? Too crazy to be true? Far fetched?

A little while back, some in the Vampyre community were warning about this very thing happening in their area. They were labeled “hysterics” and dismissed as paranoid or as conspiracy theorists. As it turns out these early warnings should have been heeded. All the stuff people thought was just conspiratorial actually wasn’t – what they cautioned everyone about has already happened and is now continuing to unfold. If left unchecked it may threaten to befall vampire communities in other cities and undermine the very individuality and autonomous spirit so dear to our community. While it is not really of importance to the issue at hand, I should just point out at the start that, as most of you know by now, Americans generally use the “i” spelling for vampire, while we in South Africa use the “y” spelling for Vampyre, and a capital “V”. Overall the intent is to differentiate the real self identifying V/vamp(i)yre and the fictional type of screen vampire and also lifestylers and role playing gamers or “LARPers” (Live Action Role Player). The group referred to in this article tends to use the “y” spelling (with a small “v”) to refer to people who choose a lifestyle, religious construct or affiliation to their business enterprise, and as you will see later, effectively shuns real self-identifying V/vampi(y)res. For the remainder of the article, since most of the references are set in the USA, I will use the terms appropriate to the American context – “vampire” for “Vampyre” etc. I am sure you will get the idea regardless of cultural differences involving spelling. On October 26, 2012, Belfazaar Ashantison of the New Orleans Vampire Association (NOVA) was, without any apparent justifiable reason, banned from Endless Night functions in New Orleans, Louisiana by Father Sebastiaan (fangsmith and founder of the Ordo Strigoi Vii and the Sanguinarium). Those of you who have heard of Belfazaar will know him as the originator of the “Donor Bill of Rights” and the founding member of NOVA. A resident member of the New Orleans vampire community for most of his life, Belfazaar (Zaar) has played a leading role in the city’s vampire and voodoo community since the devastating floods caused by hurricane Katrina in 2005. He has also accomplished a great deal for the cause of the ethical treatment of vampire donors around the world and also for external acceptance and understanding of vampires – especially sanguinarian vampires. He has appeared in several television documentaries and interviews and is probably best known for living openly as a sanguinarian vampire in his local community and for charity events hosted by NOVA.

Belfazaar posted the following statement on his Facebook wall on October 26, 2012; ”Understand, folks, that even though I hold a philosophical difference that is almost diametrically opposed to Toddles own views, I have tried to maintain a decorum and be… politically neutral… when it comes to Endless Nights being here because I *BELIEVED* it to be a good time for all bullshit to be put aside and we could enjoy each other’s company WITHOUT the advent of personal beliefs coming in to play… I have attended EACH Endless Nights since 2000 because I believed that we COULD come together one night of the year, without all of the neo-political BULLSHIT that runs rampant throughout the vampire community. I believed that we could set aside differences and make friendly… Naive? Nope. It was a true hope… Toddles and I came to an agreement but due to bullshit that took place, now I see that he is NOT a man of honor capable of keeping his word. That, more than anything, saddens me for someone who declares himself a “leader” and “father of the modern vampire community”… It shows him for what he truly is… A sad, pathetic excuse for a human being… I have my reasons for being diametrically opposed to his philosophical diatribe… I don’t do pseudo-religious bullshit wrapped around energy work and passed off as the Gospel of So-N-So… Especially when there isn’t ANY proof, one way or the other, that vampires are “real” (Yes… I KNOW that I am a vampire, however FACE FACTS… There is no definitive proof)… All this has done is insure to me that NOVA IS on the right path. We ARE moving the way that we need to. As long as I have breath in my body and a heartbeat to match, I will endeavor to aid NOVA in its forward movement…” So who is behind the Endless Night, Ordo Strigoi Vii, Vampire Almanac, and the Sanguinarium organizations?

Father Sebastiaan; aka Father Todd aka Sebastiaan Todd aka Sebastiaan Van Houten aka Aaron Todd Hoyt, a fangsmith and fixture in the New York vampire community (Gotham) during the mid 1990’s through the early 2000’s. He now resides in Paris, France and hosts a number of vampire balls around the world while making fangs and building a network of followers. Before I continue, let me make it perfectly clear that I’m not interested in unfounded allegations or ridiculous assertions leveled against Father Sebastiaan out of spite. I’ve made a good faith effort to collaborate everything I’ve been told with multiple sources and documentation when available. I don’t wish Father Sebastiaan or his business enterprises any misfortune and believe elements within the vampire community are just as much to blame in many of these instances. As the founder of South Africa Vampyre News (SAVN) and a leader within my own community here in South Africa, I have a responsibility to my readers and those who have placed trust in me to objectively examine controversies surrounding a public figure such as Sebastiaan whose actions have long-term implications for the entire global vampire community. Ask anyone who’s been around more than a few years in the American vampire community about Father Sebastiaan, under any of the names he has used, and you’ll receive either a very positive or an extremely negative reaction. Virtually all of those who give supportive responses will usually admit that “sure, some people got burned by him” but “he’s a great guy anyway”. Nearly all those who have something disparaging to say will mention incidents they are afraid of discussing because they fear being threatened with a lawsuit or “excommunication” from the vampire community. Almost everyone I encountered was scared of the fallout from speaking any negative opinion about Sebastiaan.

It’s not that they are afraid of him in a physical altercation capacity but that they are concerned they’ll be excluded from parties, lose friends, or be drummed out of the “cool vampires” club. Thus they keep quiet and turn a blind eye to how the vampire community is enabling Sebastiaan, empowering him to keep on doing what he’s done for nearly twenty years. This willful “cover-up” may be directly affecting others in the community but few want to objectively evaluate the veracity of claims or bring either credible allegations or factual evidence out into the open. Father Sebastiaan is a charismatic leader who believes that the key to power within the vampire community is achieved by transforming others into a vampire by the act of making them fangs and encouraging them to explore Ordo Strigoi Vii mysteries. This reality flies in the face of what the majority of the real vampire community believes. Most importantly, it severely impedes the progress we’ve made toward educating the world and mainstream media about our culture. It also allows Sebastiaan to expand his base to include not only real vampires seeking a little entertainment or even validation – but any Joe or Jane Public entranced by the vampi(y)re mystique and willing to invest in his ventures with hopes that it will somehow make them into “Living Vampi(y)res”. Opening the floodgates to the vampire community to anyone who wants to “be a vampire” without safeguards is like throwing gasoline onto a fire and may one day result in dire consequences should mentally ill or criminal elements find themselves among us. This cradle to the grave indoctrination goes unchallenged because his organization hosts many of the parties and gatherings that cater to the vampire subculture. It’s clearly not satisfying enough for Sebastiaan that he provides a fun, desirable, and profitable service for the community in the form of these events. He evidently believes that those like Belfazaar who don’t support his vampiric beliefs or only occasionally patronize his business should be marginalized in the eyes of his followers. As such, much of his time is spent cultivating and preserving his image at the expense of anyone who stands in his way. The vampire community seems to have forgotten that Father Sebastiaan removed sanguinarian vampires from the last version of the Black Veil used within the Ordo Strigoi Vii even though Sebastiaan was once an admitted blood drinker himself. The Black Veil’s association with Sebastiaan is a major contributing factor why many high profile vampires have completely abandoned this document or offered substitutes such as The Vampiric Ethos and The Totum Lex Vampyrica (TLV). Sebastiaan has made repeated statements that sanguinarian and psychic vampires aren’t real vampires and that his version of “Living Vampyres” are the ideal non-diseased and non-parasitic alternative. Sebastiaan has attempted to paint this supremacist version of vampirism to outsiders seeking to learn and write about the community which has resulted in the wrong impression being conveyed. In television documentaries, Coast to Coast AM radio appearances, high profile interviews with news organizations such as CNBC, and self-promoting entries on Wikipedia, Sebastiaan has presented his form of vampire-reality as superior to all others. In so doing, he has besmirched the image of our kind and our community in the world’s press and affected the way in which non-vampires view us. Temple of the Vampire (TOV) and the Aset Ka may hold similar views on spiritual or religious vampirism but for the most part they keep these views internal, acknowledge that other groups at least exist (notwithstanding their open criticism of them), and don’t seek to selectively revise their history. Father Sebastiaan has reportedly run afoul many of the old and powerful occult families in Europe and America – often unknowingly.

He’s burned bridges in virtually every part of the world he’s lived by repeating the pattern of violating trust and abusing friendships. Adept students of the occult claim his books on vampire magick, glamour, and rituals are all concepts borrowed from other traditions. Many have asserted that without his carefully guarded contacts and ability to host the Endless Night balls he would have outlived his welcome in the vampire community a decade ago. No one is asking Sebastiaan to stop hosting events, writing books, or running his group the way he’s sees fit. Recognizing the responsibility that comes with being one of the most visible vampires in the community today, many are simply seeking a “to each their own” policy on his part towards others who participate in the vampire community and enjoy attending the Endless Night balls. As far as the media is concerned many also seek a more accepting attitude to outsiders regarding the concept of vampirism – this is my way of “living vampyres” and this is their way of “sanguinarian or psychic vampires” without the inclusion of disparaging remarks about either group (parasites, emotional drainers, dangerous blood drinkers, etc.). Sadly, no one I spoke with sees Sebastiaan ever being willing to honestly adopt this position and stop engaging in backdoor politics. They generally agree that he’s been given ample opportunities to express contrition for his actions and make amends with those he’s allegedly hurt. Many impetuous vampires seeking his approval promote links to his websites, grant him interviews, and patronize his parties without realizing the implications and the possible negative influence Sebastiaan poses to the community. The need to shine a bright light on Father Sebastiaan’s questionable agenda and substantiated indiscretions is long overdue.

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