The Tale of the Vampire High Priest
In the modern world, everyone is supposed to have access to the legal system. However, does this also include vampires? While this may not have been a question you posed to yourself when you woke up this morning, it’s nevertheless a very real question that was asked in Texas in 2012. It turns out that an inmate in the Texas prison system identifies as being a vampire. He’s not just any vampire, though, he’s a Vampire High Priest.
The man, Courtney Royal (an extremely vampire-sounding name) is known as Vampsh Black Sheep League of Doom Gardamun Family Circle Master Vampire High Priest in the court documents he filed. While this might sound like something out of a South Park episode, it really happened.
In 2010, Royal sued several Texas prison administrators and officials at the Hughes Unit in Gatesville, where he is located. He said that he was being barred from his right to practice his beliefs. The prisoner filed court documents for an appeal on his original case, stating that he wanted to be able to practice his religious beliefs related to vampires while he was in prison. He is currently serving a life sentence for multiple counts of aggravated assault and aggravated robbery.
He says that the beliefs have their origin in West African spiritualism and 18th century Catholicism. He said that it was no different from unproven Christian beliefs. He appealed his original case on issues involving summary judgment. These included religious items, dietary items, a spirit advisor, a Black Bible, beads, and more.
Religious freedom is important in the United States. People should be free to practice their religion. However, it seems that the line is drawn with vampirism, as the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed his lawsuit called it frivolous.
To prove that the world is even stranger than you might’ve already thought, one of the wardens that were named in the case was Dawn Grounds. Now, any vampire hunter worth their salt and pointy stake knows that dawn is what kills vampires because with it comes the sun. And the ground, well, vampires often rise from coffins that were in… the ground. Weird coincidence, or maybe that’s just what they want you to think.
As silly as a vampire high priest might sound in the real flesh and blood world, this case is interesting because of the religious significance. Even though the religion might be considered strange and farcical by most, who is to say what is and isn’t someone’s religion. If a person who was a Scientologist is imprisoned will they still be allowed to follow their religious beliefs? When delving into the realm of Scientology, it’s easy to see that there are beliefs that are just as out there and strange. Where does the line get drawn and what religions will count? To discover this, there will likely be many future legal battles waged.
Vampires Are No Strangers to Legal Cases
Vampires and their ilk have been involved in plenty of other types of legal cases over the years. However, it often takes a much darker turn than just wanting to practice a religion. Richard Chase, for example, was a serial killer, rapist, necrophile, and cannibal in California. He killed six people in 1977 and was dubbed the Vampire of Sacramento because he would drink the blood of his victims and eat their remains.
In 1998, Joshua Rudiger claimed to be a 2,000 year-old-vampire who went on a murderous spree. He slashed the throats of three homeless women and killed a woman who was sleeping in a doorway. He was nicknamed The Vampire Slasher and said that he drank blood for vitality. He was sentenced to just 23 years in prison.
As we’ve said, the world’s a weird place.