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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:04 am 
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Your blood might be someone else's medication... Vampires are REAL and living in New Orleans
by: L.J. Devon
real vampires, blood as medicine, New Orleans

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Like anyone else, Louisiana State University doctoral candidate John Edgar Browning had heard the stories about vampires and he had his suspicions. He wanted to know more. He wasn't looking for the stereotypical dark, evil creatures that possess supernatural powers. He was looking for an honest-to-goodness human who craved blood as some kind of medicine. He shared his experiences hunting down what many people believe is science fiction.

His first encounter with a "real vampire" occurred in Wicked Orleans, a Gothic-style clothing and leather shop in New Orleans. Talking with the store's owner, he was able to meet up with a local female vampire. He mentioned his study and the woman began to open up about her compelling urge to drink other people's blood for sustenance. When she smiled, Browning could see that two of her teeth had been filed to a point. It was beginning to sink in. Vampires were real and they were living in New Orleans. The two hit it off and Browning quickly found himself consumed in the underground vampire world. At a vampire nightclub, Browning ultimately met an "elder vampire" who invited him to attend meetings at the New Orleans Vampire Association (NOVA), where he'd ultimately become a "donor."

"Until 2009, the only area of vampire studies that I hadn't approached was real vampires," said Browning. "I think I subconsciously saved it for last because I just thought what a lot of people think: that they must be crazy and have read too much fictional work about vampires."

As the fiction came to life, Browning embarked on five years of research and field study to understand the vampires living in New Orleans. He estimated that New Orleans is home to at least 50 vampires, and several of them had a true desire for blood. He continued to ask why they had this drive.

Browning says that vampires start to realize their thirst for blood around puberty. They refer to this moment of awakening as "coming out of the coffin." Many report feeling physically "drained" until they are able to ingest blood. They are called sanguinarians.

Most vampires realize their need for blood when they accidentally taste it (like when they bite their lip) and feel a rush of energy come over them. However, drinking blood to survive isn't the only way to be classified as a vampire. Some seek intimate human touch from others to gain strength. They are energized by consuming the "psychic energy" of others.

An "elder vampire" helps the newly awakened cope with their condition, which can be overwhelming. Many can't even control their urges; they claim a sort of dependence on blood as if it is medicine. Many admit to feeding two to three times a week.

The age range of the vampire community is roughly between 18 and 50. Many have normal families, friends, and jobs. Some hide their practice from their children. Browning concluded that the vampire community isn't some dark, obsessed, or mentally-deranged group.

"After a while, I felt more comfortable being at a NOVA meeting than I would be sitting in a coffee shop," said Browning "That's just how non-abnormal they came across. Being marginalized, they're more in tune with their self-identity and much more aware of the world around them."

Browning even became a donor at one point, allowing one vampire to feed from him. The vampire used a disposable scalpel to gently draw blood from Browning's back. The vampire then squeezed the area, allowing the blood to trickle out. He put his lips up to the wound and sucked out his "medicine." The process was repeated a few times until the vampire felt re-energized.

"Many of us would rather not go through the cyclic symptoms and just be happy to live life like a normal person," said Kinesia, a self identified vampire. At one point, Kinesia went without a feeding for four months. She went to the emergency room with a low heart rate and loss of consciousness. When her husband arrived to give her a feeding, she suddenly recovered.

The medical system might never truly understand vampires' desire for blood, and popular culture will continue to mis-characterize them, but it's true: vampires are real and an estimated 5,000 of them live in the U.S.

Blood as medicine

Using one person's blood to medicate another is not a shadowy topic. One Australian man donates his blood to help pregnant women with Rhesus disease. This condition occurs when there is an incompatibility between the blood types of the mother and the baby. The 74-year-old James Harrison has donated his blood nearly a thousand times since he was 18 because it contains a special antibody that prevents the severe form of anemia called Rhesus disease.

Likewise, in 1952, IgG (gamma globulin) from a healthy pool of donors was used to prevent debilitating cases of polio virus, even before the Salk vaccine. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that the donated gamma globulin mix prevented polio, but it was not economically viable on a large scale.

Sources for this article include:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/10/26/inside-the-human-blood-drinking-real-vampire-community-of-new-orleans/
http://www.emaxhealth.com/1506/87/36190/australian-man-donates-rare-blood-save-2-million-babies.html
http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/timelines/all

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 1:16 am 
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