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Vampirism and Vampyrism

About Vampyres: Conditions confused with
vampyrism. Concerns about drinking blood.

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Conditions and groups that are sometimes incorrectly confused with vampyrism:

bulletHematolagnia: A small minority of people are sexually aroused by drinking human blood. They have a condition called hematolagnia -- popularly called a blood fetish. This is normally considered a paraphilia, and is one of many dozens of unusual sexual interests that is often their sole means of sexual gratification. Because of the public's frequent desire to be absolutely normal in their sexual practices, people with hematolognia -- or any other paraphilia -- are often despised and even feared.

Vampyres believe that they need to ingest blood in order to maintain their strength. They are not driven by sexual gratification. There is no real connection between vampyrism and hematolagnia.

bulletPorphyria: This is a group of at least eight rare disorders. They cause substances which are normally found at low levels to gradually build up in the human body . In most types of porphyria, the individual will have a strong reaction to sunlight. Areas of the skin which are exposed to the sun may burn, blister or scar. 1 Some of the myths about vampirism might have been originally based on individuals with a porphyria who would avoid sunlight and only come out at night.

Very few sang and psi vampyres suffer from porphyria. However, some people may confuse the two. Those who are familiar with the fictional stories about vampires might incorrectly assume that anyone who has an aversion to sunlight is automatically a vampire or vampyre. 1
bulletRenfield's Syndrome: This is a disorder named after the fictional character in Dracula who ate flies, spiders, etc. Richard Noll first developed the syndrome. He believes that it is triggered by an experience after a childhood injury when the young person finds bleeding or tasting blood to be exciting, Noll wrote that the syndrome progresses to include intentional scrapes or skin cuts to allow the collection of blood for drinking. This leads to eating or drinking the blood of insects, small animals, birds, etc. Finally, the person will exhibit sanguinarian vampyrism by obtaining and consuming blood from other humans. 2

This syndrome is a neat theory, but is not widely accepted by mental health professionals. It does not appear in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). That manual contains descriptions of generally accepted mental illnesses.
bulletSatanic Ritual Abuse: During the 1980s, a widespread belief surfaced that evil Satanists were abusing children and sometimes drinking their blood, eating their flesh, etc. This was called Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA).

During  they heyday of the SRA panic, Satanism, Wicca, Thelema, vampyrism, various other occult activities, the Masonic movement, etc. became merged in the minds of many believers as a type of axis of evil. One source states that: " 'The Vampire cult' according to [counter-cult author William] Schnoebelen, is 'the last and most damnable step in [the] exploration of Satanism'." 3

The SRA panic had largely dissipated by the mid 1990s for two main reasons:
bullet Police forces had never been able to find hard evidence that SRA ever existed, at least at a detectible level.

bulletEssentially all memories of SRA were traced back to the use of self-hypnosis, or to therapists and counselors who used recovered memory therapy (RMT). RMT has since been shown to generate few, if any, real memories, and many false memories of events that never happened.

As of the late 1990s, Schnoebelen was "...still very much in demand as a speaker in the Evangelical-Fundamentalist counter-cult circuit, and his book offers to counter-Satanists the possibility of integrating Vampires into their view of a Satanist conspiracy." 3 The linkage between SRA and vampyrism is probably still active among many conservative Protestants. However, it is a belief not widely shared by other faith groups or by secularists.

bulletLifestyle vampires: Those who regard themselves as actual vampyres are often in a state of tension with others whom they describe as "lifestyle vampires." "Lifestylers" are viewed as individuals and groups who merely pretend to be vampyres and who have none of the spiritual, psychical, and physical experiences of real vampyres. "Lifestylers" are seen as attracting too much public attention to vampyrism. They also consume some of the supply of human blood which is always scarce.

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Concerns about donating and drinking blood:

Because of the medical dangers to both donor and vampyre, this website strongly recommends against the practices of either drawing or consuming blood. Sharing of blood can pose a serious health hazard to both the Vampyre and the donor:

bulletThere are many blood-borne diseases that can be transmitted from donor to Vampyre. One example is the HIV virus -- the virus that causes AIDS. Even a miniscule, unnoticed injury to the Vampyre's gums can allow the donor blood to enter the blood stream and infect the Vampyre.

bulletBlood cannot be safely drawn from a donor without trained medical assistance.

bulletExcessively enthusiastic donors may damage their health by donating too much blood at one time, or by drawing blood too frequently.
bulletExcessively enthusiastic vampyres might consume too much blood at one sitting. This could lead to an overdose of iron or other blood component.

If a person wishes to engage in blood donation in spite of the dangers, we strongly recommend that any they discuss the matter with their health care provider in advance. A course in First Aid may be very useful.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies suggests as a general guide:

bullet The donor should be in good health.

bulletThey should weigh more than 45 or 50 kg (about 100 or 110 pounds).

bulletThey should be aged between 18 and 65.

bulletThey should meet the guidelines necessary to protect the health of both donor and receiver.

bulletDonate about 450 to 470 ml maximum. 4,5 suggests additional requirements:

bulletThe donor should be feeling well.

bulletTheir pulse should be 80 to 100 beats per minute, and regular.

bulletBody temperature should not exceed 99.5 F or 37.5 C.

bulletBlood pressure between 160/90 and 110/60.

bulletThe donor site should be free of any lesion or scar. 6 has a list of nine factors that exclude a person from donating blood. They note that: "Blood donor requirements change very frequently. For up-to-date 1-800-448-3543." 6

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "American Porphyria Foundation," at:
  2. DarkStorm, "Renfield's Syndrome," at:
  3. Massimo Introvigne, "Satanism Scares and Vampirism from the 18th Century to the Contemporary Anti-Cult Movement," Center for Studies on New Religions, 1997, at:
  4. "Health and Community Care," International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, at:
  5. "Blood: How much is too much," Dark Dreams, at:
  6. "Blood donor requirements,", at:

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Home > World religions, ethical systems, etc. > Vampirism > here

Home > Religious info. > Basic data > World religions, etc > Vampirism > here

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Copyright © 2005 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2005-SEP-25
Latest update: 2011-JAN-08
Author: B.A. Robinson

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