Editor's Note: the Almanac includes the following not as established historical fact, but, rather, as with other stories in Mysterious L.A., as a part of the cultural fabric of Los Angeles County.
In 1994, the Los Angeles Times interviewed Stephen Kaplan, then head of the Vampire Research Center in Elmhurst, New York. Kaplan was a parapsychology lecturer, paranormal investigator, and frequent television guest who founded the center in 1972, a year after founding the Parapsychology Institute of America. He achieved some fame in the late 1970s for being invited to investigate the reported haunted house in Amityville, New York, but questioning the validity of its owner's paranormal claims. Kaplan saw the study of vampires as related to parapsychology. After establishing the Vampire Research Center, he began receiving calls from people either claiming themselves be vampires or knowing people who were. He interviewed some of these and also developed a network with others connected to the subject. As a result, Kaplan developed profiles of vampirism that rejected the concept of vampires as supernatural “undead.” but, rather as otherwise normal people who felt compelled to consume blood. This they did mostly in the belief that it prolonged youthfulness and lifespan. There were also “vampire-like” individuals who slept in coffins, wore black clothing, worked and lived at night and, even drank blood in the belief it would make them vampires. There were also those who simply found blood to be sexually arousing. After years of research, questionnaires, and interviews, Kaplan estimated there were 850 persons in the world that fit these profiles. Los Angeles was home to 36 of them - the largest concentration in the world.
Kaplan assured L.A. Time’s Steve Harvey, that Angelenos did not have to be concerned about vampire neighbors. “Most vampires are very pleasant individuals,” he explained. “And they require only a few ounces of blood, two or three times a week.”
He further explained why vampires are drawn to Los Angeles. “Vampires are sexually charismatic, high-energy people--and that’s L.A. people,” he said. “Besides in California, if you’re unusual, no one will notice you.”
Kaplan died in 1995. The Vampire Research Center continued under the direction of his wife, Roxanne Salch Kaplan. The Almanac was not able to determine the current status of the center.
See: "Interview with the vampire-counter: Stephen Kaplan says..." by Steve Harvey, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 12, 1994.
and The Vampire Database at Vampire Rave, Sep. 22, 2010.