Real Talk - Mixed: Vampirism

Image result for ancient vampire
Illustration via Rutecki

Starting a new series of posts titled "Real Talk."  Not sure how often I'll do these, but it'll include speculation regarding the paranormal, supernatural, esoteric, and the like (or just going off on random tangents).  Today I'll cover the topic of Vampires.  For the sake of making this as short, but as detailed as possible I will mainly be mentioning the Western Vampires.

The possibility of Vampires being real isn't really far fetched to me, and here's my personal theory on how "Vampires" came to be:
Let's start of with a quick history lesson.  So while there are many stories spread throughout many cultures of vampiric beings, mention of any actual "Vampires" did not pop-up in local legends until the early 18th century in Western Europe.  Vampires are especially popular in pop culture with little fucking dumbasses who like shit like Twilight, and arg-tards, but as a general consensus are believed to be purely fictitious characters brewed up by the over imaginative minds of our primitive ancestors.  I would have to agree that they were ignorant, but merely because they weren't in the world we live in today - where we see something abnormal with someone we know and say "Are you feeling alright?  Because you don't look so well, we should probably get you to the hospital." instead of "WHAT THE FUCK, YOU'RE A (insert some type of monster or other ridiculous theory here)!?!?! I'M TELLING EVERYONE!!!" which was usually followed by a casual stoning or burning at the stake, pick your poison!  Now let's look at the myths regarding how they came to be:  Vampires were thought to be "created" though various methods (just will be going over the ones that speak to this idea I have) such as the Vampire biting a victim ad not draining all of said victim's blood, having a victim drink their(the Vampire's) blood, and being born one(totally retarded seeing as how they're widely believed to be the "dead," but whatever).  Now, for the common symptoms and other vampiric abilities; Pale skin, allergy to sun, thirst for blood/flesh, fangs, and "modern" vampire physique which took trend in the 18th century which was usually a seductive and handsome man or woman contrary to earlier beliefs (they would usually just be evil ghouls or demon who would posses the bodies of the dead to eat people or whatevs).
[  I skimmed over a lot of the myth because a lot of the information is readily available online, and I want to filter through everything that may not be relevant. ]

My theory is that vampirism may have been an actual autoimmune disease.
Main Entry: dis·easePronunciation: diz-primarystressemacronzFunction: noun: an impairment of the normal state of the living animal or plant body or one of its parts that interrupts or modifies the performance of the vital functions, is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms, and is a response to environmental factors (as malnutrition, industrial hazards, or climate), to specific infective agents (as worms, bacteria, or viruses), to inherent defects of the organism (as genetic anomalies), or to combinations of these factors SICKNESS ILLNESS -- called alsomorbus -- compare HEALTH dis·eased /-primarystressemacronzdadjective
I believe that vampirism may have been a very rare type of recessive genetic autoimmune disease that was linked to anemia, which may have brought about sun allergies, and pica.  As we all know personal hygiene wasn't even a thing before for most of the early settlers of America, probably had something to do with the religious parties and the start of all that witch drama.  They'd be like "Wash?  You jest, I bathed but 4 lunar cycles ago, you wouldn't want a witch to catch a whiff of me would you???!!" in which case I would respond with "Dudeth, I could be 10 knots East, and smell your frumunda cheese."  It's weird because prior to that Europeans, especially the wealthy, and people of many other cultures took part of group outdoor bathing, bath house, etc.  Getting off topic now.  Anyways, practice of personal hygiene can help to deter the spread of germs, as well as diseases.  Infectious diseases are those that are spread by direct/indirect contact.  An example of direct contact is person-to-person contact in relation to this case transmission occurs when an infected person touches or exchanges bodily fluids with someone else.  Just as when Vampires have victims drink their blood, or in other accounts "seduce" victims, you know they meant sex.  Some diseases are also transferable to unborn children through the placenta, like gonorrhea, instead you get an "undead" newborn, morbid stillbirth pun intended.  An example of indirect contact is transmission of an infectious agent is when a blood sucking insect like a mosquito, flea or tick that's carrying WNV, Lyme, or Malaria bites a human, bird, or animal - the disease is spread when the insect bites a new host.  However, there are also genetic diseases, which are abnormalities in one's genome
More specifically I would link it to an auto immune disease that may have been prevalent before modern medicine because of the fact that although there are quite a few theories and facts behind the triggers of autoimmune disease, but there is no known cause.

Placid skin, a lack of pulse, sometimes thin(compared to others at the time) looking creatures.  I believe what you're describing to me are symptoms of anemia.  Anemia is a condition that develops when you lack enough hemoglobin or healthy red blood cells.  If you have too few or abnormal red blood cells, or your hemoglobin level is abnormal/low, the cells in your body will not receive enough oxygen(Hemoglobin is a part of red blood cells that binds oxygen).  People with chronic diseases are at a greater risk for developing this condition.  Just as I explained earlier, regarding diseases, certain forms of anemia are in fact hereditary.  Anemia of chronic diseases include symptoms such as paleness(usually due to poor circulation), shortness of breath(may explain the lack of a heartbeat, it was merely too faint to hear properly), as well as recurring headaches(which may explain the irrational behavior at times).  While there are many types of anemia, the most common is due to an iron deficiency, and is treatable with supplements, as well as a change of diet.  However, some types present lifelong health complications.  Now, there are 3 main causes of anemia; blood loss, decreased or faulty red blood cell production, and a destruction of red blood cells.  I believe whatever vampirism really was may have been a very rare disease that destroyed the red blood cells causing the hosts to develop a type of anemia that was also hereditary.

Usually, as portrayed in movies or in old European folklore you'd be safe from the creepy blood sucking creatures as long as the sun were up, it was believed that they would usually take rest back in a grave, mausoleum, coffin, or ritzy castle because if not they'd sizzle in the sun like the most albino of albino's or explode, something like that, granted some folklore doesn't mention this and merely states that they were nocturnal beings.  Most of these "Vampires" probably just had sun allergies.  Yes, there's such a thing.  The most common sun allergy(polymorphic light eruption) is also hereditary, so if your parents both have it then chances are you'll have it too.  This specific type is most common in people of Caucasian descent which is most likely the reason for the myth of them burning up on sight was probably added to the tale by believers of European descent, which is also probably why it's not mentioned in old Asian, Mediterranean, African, and Eurasian versions of the Vampire.  Symptoms of sun allergies are usually just a red rash when the skin is exposed to sunlight, sometimes in worse cases blisters are formed - symptoms would develop as quickly as in a few minutes or sometimes would take a few hours; this may be why many people assumed they were literally just burning to death before their eyes.   It's not very clear as to why some develop sun allergies and others don't, but it's more or less believed to be due in part to genetic traits.  Also,  I wanted to add; an interesting and generalized recommendation for those with autoimmune diseases to alleviate symptoms is to limit sun exposure.

Next, we have the horrible rumors of the flesh eating and blood drinking.  I don't deny that this may have actually happened.  In fact if it did happen I believe it was because the infected may have been experiencing a condition similar to Pica.  Pica is the persistent and compulsive eating of non-food items with usually no nutritional value.  Now, I didn't know this previously, but this is very interesting:  When diagnosing Pica doctors usually perform a medical examination to determine whether or not the patient has anemia/iron-deficiency, interesting in regards to what I'm discussing, but odd because usually the consumed items have no iron in them.  Pica can also be attributed to a nutritional deficit or poor diet, just as anemia.  If you continue reading I mention the psychological trauma of incest, this is also a factor of what I believe causes Pica, mental disorders in "Vampire."  More or less, the concoction of consanguine, an autoimmune disease that would attack the red blood cells of it's host, the genetic abonormalities cause by being a child of incest, and something we now like to call "Affluenza" but is more along the lines of a typical psychopath, would create a group of people who are more or less effected by vampirism.  As to why they got the cravings exactly, I'm not sure.  I suspect it could be a primal instinct that kicked in, like craving a steak, but due to their sheer lack of empathy and sense of privy they'd just walk up into people's houses at night and be like, "Trick-or-treat.  Smell my feet.  Give me something good to eat." as they rip out some poor person's throat.  And they more than likely were not handsome, as portrayed in some more modern tales, it's probably just their expensive clothing or divine wigs that gave the illusion of a handsome young man.

How does this all tie in together?  Well as you may have noticed I've used the word "hereditary" quite a lot.  That's because I want to say that all of these symptoms or supposed traits of the mythical Vampire are in fact symptoms of an infectious disease that was passed on through generations.  With human evolution there are many recessive genes or traits that are eventually snuffed out, by the 18th century, when the more romanticized versions of Vampires started taking form through literature it may have been due to the fact that there wasn't anyone left with the disease or it was incredibly rare to see them.
In many cultures royal blood was to be "kept royal" by more or less doing the highly unclassy deed of marrying and then banging your siblings or cousins, also referred to consanguine.  The overlapping of genetic material resulted in many health problems in families due to recessive genetic disorders some of which happen to be autoimmune diseases.  According to the Human Genetics Commission:
The absolute risk to first cousins having a child with a recessive genetic condition is about three in every 100 births, unless they have a family history of an autosomal recessive disorder, in which case the risk may be higher.  When we also include the background risk of having a child with any type of congenital or genetic disorder, which applies in every pregnancy, the overall risk to first cousins rises to about six in every 100 births, i.e. double the risk in the general population.  The great majority of pregnancies do not result in abnormalities.In order to further contextualize this risk, the Genetic Interest Group (GIG) have made a useful comparison with another risk factor during pregnancy: increased maternal age.  According to GIG, the effect of increased maternal age on the rate of Down syndrome, a specific type of chromosomal abnormality, can be compared with the increased risk posed by consanguinity.  At 35 years of age, the risk of Down syndrome is four times that at age 25 and increases 15 times by the age of 40.  The absolute risk at 40 years is one in every 100 births. 
This is why I have also referred to vampirism as being more rare or completely non-existent today.  I believe it may have been more prevalent before the middle ages, resulting in all the myths and what not, because consanguinity was more widely accepted(all over the world in practically every culture), as mentioned above.  After this time period Europeans still upheld the traditions of consanguinity, but instead of sisters and brothers, they would usually marry cousins or distant relatives.  This may have been a point where the disease really started to dwindle down.  Less incest with infected family members=less chance of it spreading.
There's also the typical rumor of some hermit living alone in some castle who is thought to drink the blood of many, etc.  This antisocial behavior could be the aftermath of being a victim of incestuous child sexual abuse.  According to Christine A. Courtois, in her book "Healing the Incest Wound":
Adults who as children were incestuously victimized by adults often suffer from low self-esteem, difficulties in interpersonal relationships, and sexual dysfunction, and are at an extremely high risk of many mental disorders, including depressionanxietyphobic avoidance reactionssomatoform disordersubstance abuseborderline personality disorder, and complex post-traumatic stress disorder.
This also ties in with Pica as I had mentioned earlier.  In the higher eschalon of noble or wealthy European families the killings of innocent human beings may have very well been a right of passage, you know, orders, phraternities, all that mumbo jumbo.

It probably faded away behind the curtains of myth and folklore because of the fact that usually people would kill those who exhibited symptoms of vampirism or the fact that it was more prevalent with wealthier families because of their incestuous breeding habits who had the means to protect themselves and obtain anonymity.

Holes in this speculative theory:
  • Not all cultures believed in the same type of "Vampire."
  • No evidence besides graves with stakes in the bodies
  • ^No genetic testing done on all of these

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