There are many different ways in which humans interact with the supernatural in the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter universe, including the animators of "Animators, Inc.", who use their power to raise the dead for profit, and the police of RPIT, the law enforcement division assigned to deal with supernatural crimes.
Supernaturals Legal Status Edit
A few years before the beginning of the series, vampires had been granted limited human rights in the United States. This is apparently quite novel, and has resulted in a significant number of vampires traveling to the US. It has also caused many vampires to explore the possibility of living legally and openly.
Because of the difficulty in holding vampires, lycanthropes, or witches in prison pending trial, they are entitled to very little legal process. Once a judge is convinced that a supernatural being has used magic to kill, he or she may issue a warrant of execution without trial. (This represents an improvement for vampires and lycanthropes, however — during Anita's early career, she was entitled to execute vampires without a warrant).
A number of supernatural actions are illegal or even capital crimes, including:
- Vampires using their feeding off a human against their will (with or without hypnosis).
- Vampires turning a human into a vampire against their will.
- Vampires turning a minor into a vampire.
- Lycanthropes intentionally infecting another person, this is always illegal without consent, with consent it varies on a state to state basis.
Discrimination against lycanthopes is technically illegal in most states but common in practice. In some Western states, bounties are paid for dead lycanthropes (if proved by a postmortem blood test). Many lycanthropes hide their status for these reasons. The status of non-lycanthrope shapeshifters, who are far more rare, has not yet been revealed.
Intermarriage and Reproduction Edit
In countries that recognize vampires as citizens, vampires may legally marry each other or humans. A few newly dead female vampires have given birth, but it is very rare, and the child is always severely deformed. A male vampire can father a child using "leftover sperm" from before his death. This is most common in the recently dead; in The Killing Dance, Anita is surprised that Monica was able to conceive with her century-dead husband Robert. This can result in the birth defect Vlad Syndrome, the fastest rising birth defect in the country. Danse Macabre notes that Vlad Syndrome is always fatal to the fetus, and usually to the mother; pre-natal testing is strongly encouraged, and abortion is "automatic".
Most female lycanthropes cannot carry a pregnancy to term; Cherry states in Narcissus in Chains that the physical changes are too violent. There are some exceptions, some forms of lycanthropy are not tied to the moon, and thus are able to avoid changing to animal form during pregnancy; also, some snake lycanthropes can lay eggs. The weretiger clans are able to bring children to term by pushing there beasts into other weretigers so that they do not have to go through the change during pregnancy.
Male lycanthropes can father children; it is not uncommon for lycanthropes, especially those not high in their group, to have a wife and children who are not lycanthropes. In Danse Macabre, Anita is warned that if her child is conceived while the father is in animal form there is a risk of Mowgli Syndrome. This syndrome is very rare. The defects are not specified, but are described as "severe". In addition, the fetus can develop at the speed for the animal, instead of a human, and can speed up rapidly at any time.
To avoid reproductive issues, some lycanthropes choose to be sterilized, but their increased healing abilities can reverse the sterilization. Doctors have begun using silver clips to prevent reversal, this also has problems, as the silver clips can cause silver poisoning.
Regional Preternatural Investigation Taskforce Edit
Supernatural crimes in the St. Louis region fall under the jurisdiction of the Regional Preternatural Investigation Taskforce, also known as the "spook squad" or "RPIT" (pronounced "rip-it"). RPIT is dangerous and low status work, and the division is therefore staffed largely with police officers who have offended their superiors.
Bounty Hunters Edit
In many states, it is legal to hunt lycanthropes for bounty. In some states, only a postmortem blood test to prove lycanthropy is needed to make it legitimate. One of Edward's cover identities is that of "Ted Forrester", a bounty hunter.
Anti-vampire Groups Edit
Several anti-vampire groups have appeared in the novels, particularly the League of Human Voters and Humans Against Vampires, each of which seeks to restrict vampire rights by legal means, and Humans First, a group that originated from Humans Against Vampires, but uses violent action against vampires and other supernatural beings, rather than the legal methods preferred by the first two groups.