An article was recently posted on Ranker discussing the horrors that come with drinking blood. You can find it here. It demonstrates how many external ‘real vampire’ authors push for sensationalism and a juicy editorial piece for their readership. Unfortunately, this often comes at the cost of accurate data, proper research, and a thorough understanding of the subject matter. A more realistic article for me would have been ‘the horrifying consequences of NOT drinking blood. It’s not a choice. It’s a need, and something we have to live with. Our bodies fail us if we don’t.
Let me address the plethora of inaccuracies and logical holes in the article.
For context, the author is April A. Taylor. She is a horror writer and photographer. I’m not sure how this qualifies her to talk about scientific research, psychology and blood science, but alas. Let’s move on.
She starts with a blanket statement that ‘vampires do exist in real life’, while linking to another Ranker article that talks about people like Vlad Tepes, or vampire bats, lampreys, and so on. A brief reference is made to vampire subculture. First mistake; ‘vampire’ is never clarified. It is thrown out there as an all-encompassing statement with no regard to the nuances within it. Is she referring to people who drink blood? Vampire bats? Immortals who sparkle in the sun?
“Many of these modern vampires have adopted a bloodsucking lifestyle by choice and are able to minimize most blood-drinking effects by limiting their consumption.”
Completely incorrect. Let’s address the topic of modern vampire. In this context, I will assume she is talking about sanguinarians/sanguivores. Both of these are defined by a ‘need to drink blood’. Keyword here being need. Drinking blood provides physiological benefits and prevents health degradation. It optimizes them physically and mentally. Problems reported without blood include immune system dysfunction, gastrointestinal irritability and dysfunction, among many other things. If someone chooses to adopt the vampire lifestyle, that is a wholly separate issue and pertains to how they choose to frame their need, as opposed to the need being created by adoption of a lifestyle. That’s not to say some huge vampire fans may not persuade themselves they are a real vampire and consume blood to cement their relationship to the archetype; but again, this is a separate thing and not the reality of the vast majority of blood-drinkers. Sanguivores do not cut themselves and sit masturbating in a pool of their blood.
Further, I can safely say I have never met a blood-drinker who intentionally limits their blood intake to minimize ‘side effects’. In fact, side effects often come from not drinking it in enough quantity to provide relief.
“However, individuals who have clinical vampirism feel compelled to keep going even after they learn what happens when vampires drink blood. This can lead to disastrous consequences, and it’s also virtually guaranteed to have an enormous impact on their entire lives.”
Here, she refers to ‘clinical vampirism’, or ‘Renfield’s Syndrome’. This is, to be blunt, a crock of sh*t. Renfield’s Syndrome and clinical vampirism do not exist. It has been briefly mentioned in some medical journals, yet it has never made it into any iterations of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (current version being DSM-5). Psychiatry has never recognized this as a real mental disorder. Instances of violent human hematophagy often fall under other mental health issues, such as schizophrenia.
The name ‘Renfield’s Syndrome’ was coined as a joke in 1992. If you didn’t know, Renfield is a character from Dracula. Go figure.
“The major difference between clinical vampirism and choosing a vampire lifestyle – which these real photos of vampires document – is that people with clinical vampirism typically have little to no control over their desire to consume blood. Medical case reviews indicate that this condition is rare, but it absolutely does exist. These cases have helped answer a common question: what happens if you drink blood? They’ve also pointed out the many similarities in the childhood experiences of clinical vampires, which include cutting themselves at a young age. As the condition progresses, these sanguinarians become increasingly fixated on getting blood from other people.”
Here, she links to pictures of ‘vampires’. Who are these vampires? People photoshopped with no reflection. Mike Pence’s daughter? She must be having a laugh. A skeleton with a stake through it is pictured. A stake through a corpse does not mean it was legitimately a folkloric ‘vampire’. One contributor to the vampire myth itself was a lack of understanding about the human decomposition process. I would not count on people from centuries ago to be able to accurately point out a vampire. Salem witch trials, anyone? If she thinks vampires are people with no reflection, well.. nothing further to say there.
Appearance in a medical journal does not mean a condition ‘absolutely exists’. Here is where it becomes clear she is a misinformed journalist, not a medical scholar.
Then she mixes up the word ‘sanguinarian’ with ‘clinical vampires’ and blood fetishism. They are not the same. Many sangs had no particular event from childhood that they can recall. Sanguinarians are not ‘Renfields’, and do not sit obsessing about other people’s blood for sexual gratification. Blood is taken for the purposes of health and optimization, and without it, health will suffer. I have never, ever, sat drinking my own blood.
“There is no known cure or successful treatment method for clinical vampirism. Interestingly though, it’s possible that people with a serious iron deficiency may be able to give into the same vital craving without suffering from as many side effects. Therefore, how your body reacts to drinking blood may vary slightly from the typical, medically observed complications. There are a number of common consequences from drinking blood, however.”
Clinical vampirism doesn’t exist. Blood fetishism and other mental illnesses do. No known cure is available for sanguivory, no.
She then makes a logical leap in stating that anaemic people can drink blood without suffering side effects. Why yes, they can. So can non-anaemic people. I will cover more on the hemachromatosis fallacy later.
What medically observed complications? Which studies does she refer to? I’d be glad to be pointed to them. Another blanket statement with no basis. There is little in the way of clinical studies to observe the way that the human body processes blood. Very little empirical data is available, and certainly not on a mass scale. The fact of the matter is, many people drink blood in significant quantity and their iron levels are perfectly normal; some possibly even on the lower side. She then makes another broad statement: there ARE a number of COMMON consequences. These are again untrue and she has absolutely no information on which to base her claims. So let’s look at these, uh, ‘consequences’…
It Might Make You An Accidental Murderer
Actually, a number of blood drinkers could polish off 4 pints in one day. Just saying..
I think it’s quite obvious to anyone that cutting someone’s artery will kill a person. Huge focus is placed on safety when someone donates blood. It is the responsibility of the people performing the blood-drawing to research how deep to make the cut, where to make the cut (away from any arteries such as back of the shoulder or thigh). Could it happen in theory? Yes. Will it? Extremely unlikely unless someone is a sadistic asshole anyway who sets out to hurt. That could be the same of anyone, blood drinker or not. Besides, venipuncture is the most common form of blood extraction with those who have a high need, and veins aren’t torn open so 4 pints of blood are lost. There are always risks with any venipuncture, but provided someone performs due diligence and does their research, it is very safe.
It Could Kill You
Ohhhh boy… Here we go. The biggest myth about drinking blood. Hemachromatosis. She states in this paragraph that the body is incapable of properly metabolizing the iron in blood. How does she know? What research is she referring to? Where are her sources?
Journalists often pull this card to try and shock readers with how ‘dangerous’ it is to drink blood. Yes, drinking blood does carry inherent risks, but not because of hemachromatosis. Many people drink blood in significant quantity, and their iron levels are perfectly fine. She conveniently leaves off any sources here. The amount of blood someone would have to drink to develop problems would be gargantuan. Quarts and quarts regularly. Some people rely on blood as a main source of nutrition and they have no issues. There is very little empirical data or study on how the human stomach metabolizes blood. Blood is a common ingredient in many Eastern dishes. In fact, some dishes are literally a bowl of raw pig’s blood for a soup. Do they die of hemachromatosis? It is a myth. Nothing more.
The Vampire Network have an analysis of this myth with more scientific data and figures in their article here; skip to ‘The myth of iron toxicity”. It provides more detail than I can in this brief analysis.
Everyone who makes this carte blanche statement is never a scientific researcher. It’s more a case of reading about vampire bats, then saying ‘humans r no vampire bat, u get hemachromatosis’ with no idea of how the human body processes this stuff.
It Could Give You a Blood-Borne Pathogen
This is about the only thing in this article that is a very real possibility as a result of drinking blood. Blood transmission from one person to another is always inherently risky. That is why education and safety are key. Due diligence is of paramount importance, and it is down to all of us to get our donors tested and to always have current paperwork before taking blood from them. Any time someone is exposed to another such as via. sexual contact, they carry the risk of catching a blood-borne disease. This cannot be stressed enough. The negative consequences of NOT drinking blood can sometimes make one desperate, but if you act rashly and drink from an untested donor who has had recent risk exposure, it may stay with you for the rest of your life.
Get those tests done. Regularly.
It Can Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease.. and Liver Disease
Again with the hemachromatosis. Zzzzzz.
It Might Brand You As A Psychopath
There is a lot of stigma out there about blood drinking. In the West, there is a taboo surrounding blood ingestion, or indeed, any ‘weird’ foods really. This isn’t so in other parts of the world where none of the animal is wasted. This stigma has a big impact on some lives. Being ‘out’ as a blood drinker could very well cause personal and professional issues. This is a legitimate concern, though I would like to think that propert education can help here. Garbage articles like the one we are discussing here doesn’t help though. It perpetuates a stigma that we are all ‘doing dangerous things’ because we are ‘clinical vampires’, and clinical vampirism includes ‘performing self-vampirism while pleasuring yourself’. There will always be people willing to put out a crock of shite to get some shares and clicks, even if it’s completely inaccurate, insulting and perpetuates the very stigma it discusses.
Then more about the hemachromatosis…. zzz..z.z……
Please stay tuned for Part 2.