Vampire stories have been around for centuries, though the term “vampire” did not become common until the early 1800s. The legends grew in Western Europe and became more well-known following the publication of “The Vampyre” by John Polidori in 1819. The modern idea of the vampires originated with Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” which was published in 1897. Stories of the undead continue to be popular in fiction and movies to this day.
Despite the popularity of vampire stories, everyone knows it is just fiction. Real life vampires don’t actually exist–or do they?
The answer is a little more complicated than just a yes or no. Vampires that are undead as popularized in books and movies do not exist (or at least there is no evidence to prove it). There are, however, people who crave human blood.
Recent research on this thirst for blood suggests the urge usually develops during puberty. Those who are afflicted with this strange thirst usually report experiencing an energy deficiency that is cured only by drinking blood. After drinking blood, they feel better. People who have this need to drink blood often refer to themselves as vampires as an easy way to explain their situation.
People who drink blood don’t go around biting other people in the neck though. They usually arrange something a little more sustainable, like finding a donor who will provide safe blood.
Doctors have yet to identify any specific medical problem underlying this thirst for blood, but these modern vampires insist that their need for blood is real.
Drinking blood is not without medical risks (not to mention social risks). Blood-borne disease is one obvious concern with drinking another person’s blood. Another concern is that blood is high in iron which can be toxic to humans in large quantities.
A similar compulsion to drink blood known as Renfield’s Syndrome is considered to be a psychiatric illness. People who suffer from Renfield’s Syndrome associate blood with excitement. This compulsion also usually develops during childhood or adolescence.