Dion Fortune wrote of psychic parasitism in relation to vampirism as early as 1930 (considering it a combination of psychic and psychological pathology) in "Psychic Self-Defense". The term "psychic vampire" first gained attention in the 1960s with the publication of Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible. LaVey, who claimed to have coined the term,
used it to mean a spiritually or emotionally weak person who drains vital energy from other people. Adam Parfrey likewise attributed the term to LaVey in an introduction to The Devil's Notebook.
The term is also used by Luis Marques in his work on vampirism and spirituality, entitled the Asetian Bible, where the definition of a psychic vampire goes beyond his ability to drain energy, but is portrayed as a definitive condition of the individual's soul and a secret mark of a connection to a shared past. This polemic view of the energy predator is based on an esoteric tradition known as Asetianism, which relies on predatory spirituality and the extensive use of Ancient Egyptian symbolism, whose teachings are strictly and thoroughly maintained by the occultist Order of Aset Ka.
The theme of the psychic vampire has been a focus within modern Vampire subculture. The way that the subculture has manipulated the image of the psychic vampire has been investigated by researchers such as Mark Benecke and A. Asbjorn Jon. Jon has noted that, like the traditional psychic vampires, those of Vampyre subculture 'prey[s] upon life-force or 'pranic' energy'. Jon also noted that the group has been loosely linked to the Goth subculture. Unfortunately, psychic vampires are forced to feel the emotions of those who they steal energy from, sometimes without consciously doing it. This condition is also called empathy.
For an example in video games, see the Metroids from the video game Metroid.
In the anime and manga series Sailor Moon, the Dark Kingdom/Negaverse collects the life energy of humans in order to make Queen Metallia (The Negaforce) grow stronger. Also in the Sailor Moon metaseries, characters like Queen Badiane also collect the energy of humans.
In the ZBS serialized audio drama "The Fourth Tower of Inverness" the Madonna Vampira is an energy vampire.
Several of Stephen King's villains are energy or empathetic vampires: Pennywise from It, Dandelo from The Dark Tower series, Tak from The Regulators and Desperation, and Ardelia Lortz from the short story 'The Library Policeman' from Four Past Midnight. The concept also appears in Sleepwalkers, a 1992 film based on an unpublished novel by King.
L. J. Smith has a young adult fiction trilogy called Dark Visions which deals with energy vampires (called psychic vampires in the work). In this story, special crystals can store psychic energy. Contact with an impure one will increase psychic powers but will have the side effect of increasing one's life energy metabolism, causing the person to become an energy vampire. In the story, the energy vampires may acquire their needed energy from either a person, or one of the special crystals.
In an episode of Mortal Kombat: Conquest, the Master Cho character takes a small amount of life force from people so he can have energy.
In an episode of Ben 10: Alien Force, a villain named Mike Morningstar drains unsuspecting girls of their energy, turning them into zombie slaves that follow his orders, collecting more energy to give to the villain. Gwen, who nearly becomes a zombie slave herself, comes to her senses and gets her energy back, prompting the other zombie girls to do the same, reducing Mike into an aged, withered man in the process. The Ben 10 villain Zombozo the Clown is also an energy vampire, creating a machine called the Psyclown to drain the "positive energy" from his audiences order to have energy for himself.
In an episode of Teen Titans, a villain named Mother Mae-Eye drains her victims (mostly referred to by her as her "children", "sweeties" and "little ones") of their love, which (like the energy of the Sailor Moon anime and manga series) appears as a mist. Starfire later figures out her plan; Mother feeds on the "sweet, nourishing affection" of her children in order to have strength.
In the 1993 film entitled Hocus Pocus, the Sanderson Sisters used a magic witch's potion to suck the life force from little children.
The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly has a sinister villain known as the Crooked Man, whose strange powers and unnatural body are kept alive in his parallel world by convincing children in our world to betray another child, who he takes to his world and feeds on their energy for however long they would have lived.
In the manga/anime series Descendants of Darkness, the antagonist, Muraki, is said to be an energy-vampire.