With each month we try to bring into the limelight someone from the Vampire Community that represents a unique perspective and this month it is about being a Sanguivore
Someone in the Community that is trying to make a difference for the betterment of the Community. With each new interview, I’m always inspired by the generosity, compassion, and open-mindedness of the people that I’m privileged to meet.
This month the person interviewed has asked that I not use their name, so we are only going to identify them as “X.” Moreover, we’re getting a unique view on the medical side of vampirism and what it means to be a Sanguivore.
Artemis Dai (A.D.): According to the Websters Dictionary, a Sanguivore is any creature that consumes the blood of another living or once living creature.
The Latin for a vampire is Sanguivorus Satanicus, yet some differentiate between Sanguivore and vampires. Why do you believe that is?
X: I think it is essential to differentiate between the individual perspectives of ‘vampirism.’ The identity of the vampire is a nebulous concept, with each identity having their own ‘island’ of sorts.
The experiences can be worlds apart, yet if both identify as a vampire, public perceptions of their experiences would likely be the same. I view Sanguivores as those who need to drink blood to maintain health and with like-biology or as close as we can currently understand.
A lot of the same symptoms coincide with Sanguivores. There are a lot of unanswered questions. Distinguishing the terms also allows for an identity for people with certain experiences to group together and refine their perspectives further.
Some Sanguivores are uncomfortable with the ‘vampire drag’ prevalent with a lot of self-identified vampires as well.
A.D.: Several medical conditions make people act like vampires Porphyria (a rare hereditary blood disease) being one of them. As someone who identifies as a Sanguivore, do you believe that you suffer from this disease or one similar to it?
X: I do not suffer from Poryphia, but I know a couple of people who do. I do not think it’s related, except for the fact that those with Poryphia have been discriminated against for a long time because of the appearance of ‘vampirism.’
My personal opinion is that this is a biological condition that has yet to be discovered and its mechanisms understood. I want to know how it operates. That said, I try not to have confirmation bias, either.
A.D.: What is your opinion of Renfield’s Syndrome?
X: Renfield’s Syndrome doesn’t exist. It is a made-up syndrome invented by Richard Noll. I have included some links including “Richard Noll’s paper “Renfield’s Syndrome – The Monster I Unintentionally Created.”
A Psychology Today article expanding upon the history of this fake syndrome. I quote.
“Neither of us took this seriously. Several documentary makers contacted me about it, and I told them it’s just a joke.”
As for clinical vampirism, I believe that deluded individuals exist who think they need to drink blood to survive. It’s often laced in with eroticism and sexual excitement; the transfer of bodily fluids being taken into the mouth and so forth.
Some can be unhinged, unstable and dangerous. For me, blood isn’t inherently erotic. I drink it from cold bags or tubes, extracted by needles, as a way of sustenance and self-medicating.
Until objective studies are proving the biological mechanisms of this, who can determine it isn’t psychosomatic for us, too? I honestly wish I didn’t have to do it. It’s an inconvenience. All I know is that I get physically sick without it, and I have a duty of care toward myself and my loved ones.
With the medical implications of such diseases as hydrophobia rabies — I know it sounds ridiculous, Eisoptrophobia and Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, which is an abnormally large fang-like teeth, are it possible to “turn” someone else? Alternatively, pass the vampire Sanguivore gene onto another generation?
Without knowing the specifics of how whatever this operates — being whatever causes the need for blood feeding in Sanguivore, just for reader clarity, it’s impossible to say one way or the other.
We’d have to know specifics and specific functions in order to assess what its properties are accurate. There are and have been reports of these things happening in the underground Sanguinarian community for decades.
I don’t think it should be taken for granted or disregarded all-together because TV vampires do it or not. It’s not a risk I’m willing to take, personally. We don’t know, and it’s unfair to the other person even to chance it.
A.D.: How do you feel about “fang fans” those that run around claiming to be stricken with this disorder because they’re fans of a show or movie, such as True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Twilight, among others.
X: I think someone is valid as a vampire if he or she chooses to adopt the vampire lifestyle. They’re more like the typical TV vampire than I am. In the past, there has been a “vampire arms race” to see who is the “true vampire.”
You don’t have to drink blood to be a legitimate vampire. Some people feel like they do, and thus, they then appropriate our experiences and talk about ‘survival’ despite only licking a few drops from a lancet prick.
In my view, blood-drinking should be a last resort and all other options should be explored and pursued with a medical professional first. If you must drink blood, you must be safe about doing it. Get blood tests and learn how to draw blood safely.
There is no wrong way to be a vampire beyond appropriating another’s terms and experiences. Some say they utilize blood as a vessel for life energy and that’s why they need a few drops, and that’s fine too.
It’s just that the reality of this lifestyle versus that of a Sanguivore is quite different, and it can misrepresent us. Despite the unpopularity of Father Sebastiaan’s group with some self-identified vampires, I think they are a good example. They see the fangs as tools of transformation and empowerment, but they are sporadically introspective enough to say it is a lifestyle and own it.
I think it’d do everyone good if people were honest about their reasons for adopting the vampire aesthetic – whether that is because it is a lifestyle, or because it is empowering to something you perceive as an inherent condition with which you deal.
The problem is again that you can’t prove someone isn’t dealing with something. Someone says they are a vampire and poof – a vampire. On a personal level, I find wearing vampire drag incredibly uncomfortable, and it feels like I’m making a joke of something that is quite serious, and that it harms my credibility.
A.D.: An entirely off topic and unrelated question. Do you have a favorite vampire series or movie?
X: Um, I don’t watch a lot of vampire fiction. I find most of it corny, to be honest. When I do watch them, I prefer things with a slightly more realistic angle, no fangs or glowing eyes stuff like that.
If I had to choose, I would say The Hunger. I think Catherine Deneuve was brilliant as Miriam Blaylock. In my opinion, she was what a vampire should be. Seductive, human-looking — non-threatening, elegant, artistic.
She was a hunter who used her advantages to draw people to her effortlessly. When I do watch vampire fiction, I tend to be highly critical pointing out how they could be better vampires; whether drawing blood, storing blood, or whatever.
Ms. Blaylock, despite her long years, was still a victim of the most human of emotions – love, and loneliness.
A.D.: According to some sources, drinking the blood of humans can make a person feel stronger, more aware of their surroundings, or even look younger. It’s almost like Botox and energy drink mixed together. As a Sanguivore, have you experienced any of these positive side effects?
X: I don’t get any high from drinking blood, and I drink quite a bit. There’s no buzz like with caffeine. It’s merely like medication that I must take. Sometimes, it can be quite sulphuric and unpleasant. Venous blood carries in it much metabolic waste.
It can be challenging correlating anything directly to drinking blood because there are no objective studies. By making associations, we risk twisting science to conform to our anecdotal experiences.
Objectivity requires eschewing confirmation bias. I can say I’ve known Sanguivores who look a lot younger than they are. Drinking blood has seemed, in my experience, to correlate with me having strong immune function and fighting off disease quickly.
If these mechanisms were to be tested in Sanguivores, would our physiology be different? Again, there are no peer-reviewed scientific studies on this, so I’m hesitant to speculate – but it is interesting.
A.D.: With my last question, I want to give you the chance to voice your opinions regarding any topic we haven’t covered. That’s naturally very near and dear to you. So, is there anything that you’d like to put out there for our readers?
X: Keep an open mind, but not so much that your brain falls out. Treat your donors well. Ask questions. We aren’t killers, and we don’t bite. We are people who want to know what is going on with us so we can live fulfilling lives.
Until Next Time
Like many interviews, I’ve had to privilege of working this was an absolute pleasure to do, despite some “hiccups.” I am sure that with the work “X” is doing and continues to do, that people will continue to learn the differences between these severe medical conditions and vampirism.
Please remember, always keep an open mind, never judge a book by its cover and still respect the opinions of others even if you don’t agree with them yourself.
Communication is the key to knowledge and keeps reading, researching and looking for answers.
Until our next interview