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The following comes to us from the Daily Telegraph in England. This sort of thing is getting to be a frequent occurrence on the other side of the pond.

Blood Drinker Defends Lifestyle

A man claiming to be a reincarnated vampire took to the witness box at his trial yesterday to deny the religious harassment of a vicar and explain why he drinks blood.

Ben Lewis, 25, who took the affirmation rather than swear on the Bible at the start of his evidence, admitted that he had become interested in vampires at the age of 12.

He denied he was a Satanist and said he "identified with the Lord Jesus Christ" because, like Him, he was an outcast.

Alexia Durran, his counsel, asked: "The court has heard that you are a reincarnated vampire. Is that true?" Lewis, a hotel porter, said: "Yes."

Asked to explain what that meant in practice, he said: "I don't mean all that silly film stuff about crosses and garlic." He was more of a "psychic vampire" who "absorbed energy from other people."

With his friends, all of whom dressed as Goths, in black or crimson clothing, he had experimented in bloodletting and blood drinking. He wanted to see if it gave him strength, he said.

His attempts at explaining his "faith" often left his counsel confused as she probed what he called his "vampirism." She asked: "So that the jury may understand, what are your religious beliefs?"

Lewis said he had become interested in spiritualism. He told the jury at Southampton Crown Court, Hants, that he listened to loud, sinister and aggressive music from bands such as Slipknot and Cradle of Filth.

Judge John Boggis, QC, who had leaned forward to follow the evidence, said: "I had better write that down," prompting Ms Durran to say: "Your honour may find himself in the papers tomorrow."

There was more laughter when Lewis was asked if he slept in churchyards and rose from graves at night, as he had indicated in writings found at his home. "No, I sleep in a bed," he replied.

He was asked to explain diaries and papers seized by police at his home at Totton, near Southampton. In one he had written that he felt an outcast because he was different from other people and described himself as "cursed" and "a freak all because I believe myself to be a reincarnated vampire." He had also written: "I answer to no mortal and I spit on Christian beliefs."

He said the writings were a mixture of his own thoughts and copying from books and magazines on the subject of vampires, some of which he did not understand. He had written much of it as a young boy when he had been given a book of horror stories by his grandparents.

Lewis, his life-long friend Scott Bower, 26, unemployed, and his girlfriend Natalie Gibson, 19, a student, are accused of waging a campaign of harassment against their local vicar, the Rev Chris Rowberry, 45, his wife and two children.

It is alleged that they howled outside his church, St Mary the Virgin, Eling, near Totton, posted obscene material on the church notice board, made nuisance phone calls late at night and let off fireworks outside his home.

They did so, says the prosecution, because he represented the Christian faith. The alleged incidents resulted in them being jointly accused of the seldom-used offence of religiously aggravated harassment, which all three deny.

Lewis admitted that he did howl once, but had done so because it was expected of him.

The trial continues.

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