Maila Nurmi (a.k.a. Vampira)



Maila Nurmi is probably not a name most people recognize, but her character Vampira is world-renowned among aficionados of B movies and gothic culture. Vampira was “born” in the mid-50s with The Vampira Show, where she opened each segment with a scream before presenting the night’s featured horror movie. The Vampira persona did something no one had ever done before: making death and horror sexy. But Maila was a lot more than just Vampira: she was a model, artist and a fine actress, but was typecast and treated with contempt by both the movie and TV industry, when the popularity of B movies and monsters started waning. Maila was famously cast in 1959 in Ed Wood’s “Plan Nine from Outer Space” – a role she grudgingly played – after which she struggled to find suitable roles and work, as Hollywood blacklisted her because of her – according to her own words – “rebellion.” Maila’s way of approaching her self image, which was also part of her artistic expression and art, was incredibly ahead of her time: at one point, she even had a shaved head – allegedly because of an “accident” in a beauty parlour – and wore it proudly. Photos of her during this time could easily be mistaken for portraits of a young punk woman in 1977. Maila purposely defied society to re-think how a woman should appear or dress – this was a conscious artistic move on her part. She defied sexual norms in 1955, and Hollywood was just not ready for her. When Mimi prepared for the interview, she also noticed something odd: spirits started gathering for the interview, just to watch or listen in. She felt the presence of a few renowned punks and “ghouls” like Stiv Bators and Lux Interior, as well as Peter Steele and Divine. A few minutes before the interview began, Mimi had asked Maila to go sit next to Will and meld with his energy so that he could “guess” who she was going to ask him to interview. Will got “Morticia” which was not too far off! Maila’s sexually charged energy is still going strong even in spirit: she was all over William and being her regular intimidating self. 🙂  Enjoy!


William: Let’s start with whomever you sent my way.

Mimi: Ok. It’s Maila Nurmi.

William: I have no idea who that is. [Laughs] Was she on TV? Cause I got that.

Mimi: Yes!

William: Ok.

Mimi: And I’ve got a lot of punks here, lots of spirits. Stiv Bators’ here – I don’t know if you know who that is – she was just…anyway a lot of people who were into more cultish, underground culture were into her, and a lot of them are here to watch! My living room is filled with ghouls!

William: I was getting a very gothic vibe.

Mimi: That’s right!

William: Ok. Cause Morticia came up earlier [in his 3rd eye], like a…

Mimi: That’s right! Oh let me just tell you: it’s Vampira!

William [excited]: Aaaaaaah!! Ok! Cause I had an image of Morticia, with the long black dress, and it was gothic, and I kept thinking “Adam’s Family?” but it didn’t seem right. So I was in the ballpark, ok.

Mimi: I asked her to be very close to you energetically, and I saw her sit next to you on your sofa, and I asked her to touch you so that you would feel her energy and see her. So she did, good. We already know she’s a good communicator, then. So yeah, she’s a lot more than that character, obviously. She was a truly fascinating human being, and I just love her so much. Ok – so you got her?

William: I think I have her yeah. What’s her name again?

Mimi: Maila Nurmi. She says she’s there.

William: Oh I know she’s there, I just wanted to know her name so as not to confuse it. Yeah, I got her.

Mimi: Ok good! So hi Maila, thank you for being here! Please describe yourself in one word.

William: [laughs] They always use two! Whatever word equals cultish but sexy at the same time.

Mimi: Oh hell yes!

William: Whatever that is. Gothic sexy! There’s gotta be a word for that.

Mimi: I based my look on her when I was younger – and still kinda do – I wanted to be her! I thought she was the most – and I still do – beautiful woman ever. In my screwed up mind of what I consider to be beautiful.

William: She likes wearing black, but she’s wearing a little red dress now. She’s sitting right here and I don’t want to look at her, but she’s like very relaxed, very laid back and she’s got a short red dress on and she’s kind of hanging out. I know she’s there [turns quickly], I see her but I don’t see her, it’s kind of weird.

Mimi: She’s telling me she’s intimidating you.

William: Well I mean…now that I know who she is, yes.

Mimi: Cause she’s intense.

William: Yeah! Yeah, she’s got a big energy. [Laughs] I don’t even wanna look over there! [Laughs]

Mimi: She’s saying that was always an issue for her.

William: You’re right. Yeah, she’s got a big energy.

Mimi: Yes…I just saw Divine, Divine’s here to watch too. Ok so what was your greatest challenge?

William: Right when you asked that I got the phrase “raining it in.” As in “bringing it in” or just “keeping it in.” I’m trying to find out what the “it” is. She’s got something that’s similar to what Peter [Steele] was saying in his interview.

Maila Nurmi: The separation of me on television and me in real life.

Mimi: Yeah, that’s a huge persona.

William: It was a real challenge to separate the two concepts of her TV life and her normal life.

Maila Nurmi: I didn’t really have much of a normal life because I was stereotyped. The biggest challenge was to not be that stereotype.

William: That was the biggest hurdle that she ran into, that separation and learning how to do that.

Mimi: Ok, was that one of her life lessons as well? What was she here to learn, then?

Maila Nurmi: I was there to be a role model.

Mimi: Oh yeah.

William: Kind of an empowering role model for women.

Mimi: Oh I’m so glad she’s going there!

William: Yeah she was really there to be an alternative role model for women…

Mimi: Yes!

William: …to be sexy without being like L’Oreal sexy.

Mimi: L’Oreal sexy?

William: Yeah, like the typical blond beach girl sexy.

Maila Nurmi: I was the opposite of that. And I still pulled it off.

Mimi: Yeah and that went beyond just Vampira. She challenged people’s perceptions of what women should look like, and I feel she was and still is incredibly under-estimated.

William: Yeah, she says she was a pioneer.

Mimi: Understatement! But she’s not well known for her pioneering looks and creativity, she’s just well known still today for Vampira, which is unfortunate.

William: Yeah, she says it’s a lesson in alternative beauty. And it’s not egotistical either, she just wanted people to look at her in a different way. But she was definitely way ahead of her time, is what she’s saying.

Mimi: Yes.

Maila Nurmi: I led the gothic beauty look.

Mimi: Yes, and also punk. There are photos of her out there with her shaved head and you have to pinch yourself when you realize it’s 1955. She looks like a 1977 punk girl.

William: Yeah, she was way ahead…she channeled that, is what I’m hearing. She channeled that look, almost like she knew it was coming. She was here to be that.

Mimi: So she must’ve freaked a lot of people out, I’m guessing. Where did she get the courage and strength to physically look like that?

William: Um…man she’s got me itchy everywhere! [scratching himself] I’m ok with it, but…

Mimi: Yeah she’s touching you.

William: Yeah she’s all over me! [Laughs] She uses the word “darling” a lot, it’s kinda throwing me off. She’s saying “yes darling.” She says it was already inside her, as far as where she got the strength. She knew when she was a little kid that she would walk this path. Maybe not consciously, but it’s all her own inner strength, you can’t rely on anyone else. And at the time, there was no one else to look up to: she was the only one who had that look.

Mimi: Yep. Wow. What is she most proud of?

William: Feels like she had some weird pets.

Mimi: [laughs] I’m sure she did.

William: She’s going along with the stereotype, I suppose. I got bats and spiders and just really weird things.

Mimi: She was into spiders, yes! Oh that’s right!

William: Yeah, that was pretty strong, the spiders. She had so many tarantulas, is what I’m getting.

Mimi: There are photos of her with tarantulas, yes.

William: She’s talking about them as her kids. “My kids.”

Mimi: [laughs] She’s so sweet!

William: Exotic pets. Cool.

Mimi: Cool, yes! Is there something she’s least proud of?

William: Something to do with television. She had issues with people in control of what she did. She didn’t like that she had too little to say, not as much as she wanted to. She would’ve liked more control over that aspect of her life because it was her image on the screen. It’s one of the roles where she would have liked to have more creative input, and women at the time didn’t have a lot of say or input on these things, and she really wanted creative control. A lot of men saw her as a sexy ass, and not as an actor, so she would’ve liked to have more.

Maila Nurmi: I don’t need the credit, but it would have been nice to have been acknowledged as an artist.

Mimi: Yeah, she was incredibly creative and unique, but there was a lot of contempt for her [in the industry] at the time.

William: Yes.

Maila Nurmi: Imagine painting, and being told you can only use two colors of the palette. Everyone just wanted me in the black.

Mimi: Right. What was her life purpose?

Maila Nurmi: Oh, I did my life purpose! It was to be sexy and lead that revolution.

Mimi: [laughs] But in an alternative way.

Maila Nurmi: I came equipped with the right tools for the job, and I did that job very well.

Mimi: She did. I’m guessing that must have been difficult though. She’s coming off as really strong, but there must have been moments where she must have questioned things or wanted to give up.

William: Yeah. It was always a struggle.

Maila Nurmi: Try being a woman in the 1950s. It’s a struggle. Then try being a female actor in the 1950s. It all adds to the weight.

Mimi: Yes, the struggles were already there to begin with…I’m just fascinated with her being in that time period, in the 1950s, cause she truly is like an alien! [Laughs] She’s just so beyond that time, I’m just wondering how she coped with that struggle.  It’s just fascinating to me.

William: At the time it was difficult, but it wasn’t “insurmountable” is the word she uses.

Maila Nurmi: It really helped to understand that whenever I wanted to have my way, I could flash a leg or two, cause that’s how the men worked then. So once you understood the system it became less complicated.

Mimi: What was her opinion about God and spiritual matters?

William: She didn’t have much use for it. She acknowledged it, she believed in God, but at the same time she knew she didn’t need to bow down…

Mimi: Yeah, she didn’t bow down to anyone.

William: Yeah, she didn’t need to do that stuff. She knew there was something else bigger than her, she kinda knew it in the back of her head and knew that she didn’t have to worry about anything. So kind of agnostic about it.

Mimi: Ok, and what is her opinion now? She seems to be very enlightened.

William: Yeah, she’s like “yes, you open up and you realize everything. You’re on top of the world.” So it’s not like there’s nothing to grasp – everything changes.

Maila Nurmi: It’s like a giant book, and every page you flip through is exactly what you need to see at any point. As a spirit, you see a problem through every angle.

William: That’s kind of how she sees enlightenment.

Maila Nurmi: Enlightenment is more than just knowing one plus one equals two. It’s understanding that everyone has a different point of view.

Mimi: I understand what she means.

William: It’s more than “knowing” – you understand every possible angle. It’s quite the thing to try to explain and put into words.

Mimi: Sure, I get it.  Ok, did she have a life review when she passed? How did that go down?

William: That’s funny, I got a yes, but I got an image that there weren’t so many people around. Like there’s a lot of animals at the review.

Mimi: Aaah!

William: I want to understand how that would be, I want to ask her why.

Mimi: That was her reality, she resonated more with animals than with humans.

William: That’s really weird. She says “yes, you got it” but…

Mimi: If I may – I’m getting her answer on that – she didn’t necessarily have a strong belief in God, and her focus in life was more on animals, so that’s basically what she created for herself when she passed – the love of animals was still there around her.

William: That sounds pretty true, pretty close. I mean there were guides there, but most of her guides, looks like, were animals.

Mimi: A big giant tarantula waiting for you at the gates. Great.

William: [Laughs] Yeah! She’s like in this cave, and they’re just hanging around. This is really gothically creepy, it’s pretty cool.

Mimi: I love that!

William: Yeah! She’s in a cave, and there’s just animals: spiders, bats, all kinds of animals.

Maila Nurmi: All the creatures of the night.

Mimi: I love how she just offered us another perspective. You create your own reality all the time, even when you pass. And that was heaven for her.

William: She says “familiar.” It was all familiar.

Mimi: Just like with you and Peter Steele, this is making me love her even more.

William: She’s awesome, I like her.

Mimi: What was her greatest quality?

William: Her physical attributes were really noticeable, but she really had a keen mind, she says, and she needed that to make her way in a man’s world.

Maila Nurmi: It didn’t hurt that I had a nice leg, but my keen intellect was my strongest quality.

Mimi: She would have to, yes. You had to be brilliant in order to do the things she did. Is there a past life that influenced your life as Maila Nurmi?

William: She says that life was fairly unique; there wasn’t a life in particular, it’s more a sum of lives.

Maila Nurmi: There wasn’t one life in particular that made me want to lead this life.

William: But she’s been around for a while, I’m getting Jurassic images, like really old dinosaur stuff. Which is interesting.

Mimi: Yeah, again with the animals.

William: Yeah, she’s really into animals.

Mimi: Is she here now? In our linear terms?

William: I’m getting a really quick “no”, not yet. Let me ask her if she’s coming in anytime soon or what she’s doing. She really wants to do an alien life next but it’s not time for that yet.

Mimi: Oh, she is such an open-minded, curious spirit, I love her!

William: Yeah, she’s really interested in this alien world that’s a little easier than earth in terms of energy and meshing with people. Whole planets based on energy. It’s not a lot of struggle but it’s a lot of closeness because everyone’s connected, but that’s later in life. But she wants to explore that life, of being close-knit and centered. Like a family centre. Neat!

Mimi: Yeah, and I get that she’s so curious that she sometimes chooses to not always come here in human form. I have a strong feeling she’s come back here a few times as an animal. So maybe she was a dinosaur, I don’t know.

William: Probably, from what I’m seeing.

Mimi: And her incarnations are always to help humanity, she’s saying, in some way. It’s not just to be weird.

William: Nope, not just to be weird, it has its mission.

Mimi: But she likes to add a unique touch, yeah. She’s so interesting. Ok, share a favorite memory with us, please!

William: The one she’s bringing up, it really made her laugh and made an impression. Once on the set [of her TV show] she brought all her spiders and was scaring the men.

Mimi: Haha!

Maila Nurmi: Look at all these tough guys. I bring a few cute spiders and they all run away screaming!

Mimi: I love her so much, you don’t understand! [Laughs] I just want to have her babies!

William: [Laughs] She does say, “that can be arranged.”

Mimi: Yes, let’s spawn a new race of mini-Vampiras! [Laughs] What does she do now up there? Does she have a mission?

William: She works with animals, almost exclusively.

Mimi: Oh you know something, that’s why Peter Steele is here! He wanted to listen in on the interview. I just got the connection he has with her.

William: She’s saying they vibe a lot, they’re on the same wavelength. “Animals” is a very strong theme. Aw man, she hit me in the spine so hard right now, that was awesome. Yeah, that’s a big theme – I wouldn’t even question that. It’s all about animals for her.

Mimi: And what does she do?

William: I’m hearing that she helps train them. She works energetically, training service animals. She’s showing me pictures of horses. I see police animals – animals that are of service.

Mimi: She trains them before they come here?

William: More while they’re here. She counsels them before they incarnate on some of the things that she’ll work with them, cause animals are enlightened up there too, she says. An animal spirit and a human spirit are pretty much the same thing as far as I can tell, but they incarnate with their own goals, and once they’re here they can’t always process what they came here to process, so she helps with that.

Mimi: Yeah, Peter Steele tells me he looks up to her. I felt before I called her in, that this was a special soul. I got some of the punks and goth spirits, and Divine, who were here to watch her because she’s Vampira, but I felt a lot of love for her from Spirit, and it felt special somehow that she was called to be interviewed. I couldn’t figure out what it was but now I feel it. A lot of spirits showed up for her.

William: I kinda get it. They’re calling her the Mother Theresa of animals. She’s a role model for sure, on both sides, yeah. I get that.

Mimi: She’s very touched that we’re saying these things about her, that we felt it, she says “thank you.” Is there anything she wants to say about gender equality or the LGBT movement?

William: I’m hearing the word “cycles”.

Maila Nurmi: The world goes through cycles where things become socially accepted, then not accepted, then accepted again, and it will soon reach a point where people will stop caring about their own need to interfere with how people should live their lives.

William: So there’s gonna come a point where we’ll all understand that it’s all about love, and the hardware makes no difference. It’s gonna take some time, but she wants to point out that there are cycles where it’s completely accepted to be gay, to be anything, and there are cycles when it’s not. And that’s the whole struggle, is that wave waiting to break out, and she’s gonna be around when it happens, she might even come back and work with that as a new life mission.

Mimi: Oh! Well I’ll be looking forward to THAT! [Laughs] Cause she won’t make it boring, that’s for sure.

William: No, it’ll be a challenge, and that’s the kind of thing she’s up for, she says.

Mimi: What about gender equality?

William: It’s a struggle. Eventually it’s gonna work out, and it won’t be as hard as the other one, but we’re still in a place where not everybody’s on the same page and it’s gonna take some time.

Mimi: And again, what I appreciate about her is that how she presented herself was absolutely not how women were supposed to look like in the 50s, so she worked a lot on perceptions of what your idea of what a woman is. Does she have any messages for us, for humanity at large?

William: She likes Peta, she wants you to support Peta.

Maila Nurmi: I don’t expect it to happen overnight, but it would be nice if people could open their hearts and realize that animals are individuals.

William: I’m seeing the images of bulls getting stabbed in the ring, and it’s really barbaric. She really doesn’t like the mistreatment of animals.

Maila Nurmi: They are here for lessons as well, not for our sport. It has to start in everyone’s heart. Everything here is alive and the whole world is held together by love. So if you don’t love animals, you are not loving a part of yourself.

Mimi: Beautiful!

William: I got goose bumps all over my arms, that was cool!

Mimi: She has a very high frequency.

William: Yeah, she’s big energy for sure! She’s very open. She has to be, is what she says.

Mimi: Yes and again, to play the part of not only Vampira but Maila Nurmi, you’d have to be a very open-minded soul, I would imagine. Divine is very emotional now, she’s very touched, cause she only knew the Vampira character.

William: Yeah, that’s all I knew myself!

Divine: If you could just see the glowing, beautiful soul that she is.

Mimi: Whoa, chills!

William: Yeah! [Laughs]

Mimi: Thank you Maila! I’ve been wanting to interview her for a while. And while some spirits are insistent, as you know – some of them show up and say “I want to be interviewed!” and will be in my space until I finally do it – but she was never insistent and always patient, like “Whenever you’re ready.”

William: Yeah, she was very calm the whole time – she just sat there, one leg over the other, very movie-starish.

Mimi: Yes, I saw that too. On your couch.

William: It wasn’t a “I’m better than you” kind of feel, it was more “I’m just here relaxing,” which was nice. Yeah she was nice, I liked her!

Mimi: Thank you Maila!

Maila Nurmi: You’re welcome, darling.

You can learn more about Maila Nurmi’s life here:

Vampira and Me documentary (trailer): ​
Biography: Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror 

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