In most major cities round the world, communities of standard individuals – nurses, bar staff, secretaries – area unit drinking human blood on a daily basis. The question is, why?

In the French quarter of recent Orleans, John King of England Browning is on the brink of participate in a very “feeding”. It begins as clinically as a process. His acquaintance 1st swabs little patch on Browning’s higher back with alcohol. He then punctures it with a disposable hobby surgical knife, and squeezes till the blood starts flowing. Lowering his lips to the wound, Browning’s associate currently starts imbrication up the wine-dark liquid. “He drank it some times, then clean and bound Maine,” Browning says these days.

To Browning’s mystification, he wasn’t quite to his host’s style. “He aforementioned my blood wasn’t as odoriferous because it ought to are – thus he was a trifle frustrated,” he remembers; apparently, diet, association and people will all build a delicate distinction to the flavor. when that they had clean up, the combine visited a charity dinner in aid of the homeless.

A acknowledged “needle-phone”, Browning had not been wanting forward to the feeding. “I’m really pretty afraid of something sharp approaching my skin,” he says. however as a investigator at Pelican State State University, he was willing to travel through with it for his latest project: Associate in Nursing ethnographically study of the New Orleans “real vampire” community.

Was the blood-feeding a spiritual ritual, a delusion, or a fetish? Before he had met any vampires, Browning suspected that they had simply blurred the road between reality and fiction. “I’d assumed that these individuals were bats and had simply browse too several Anne Rice novels.”

By the time he had offered himself as a donor, however, his opinions had taken a reverse. several real-life vampires haven’t any belief within the paranormal and have very little quite a passing data of True Blood or Dracula; nor do they seem to possess any medical specialty problems. Instead, they claim to suffer from an odd medical condition – fatigue, headaches, and painful abdomen pain – that, they believe, will solely be treated by feeding on another human’s blood.

“There area unit thousands of individuals doing this in barely the U.S. alone, and that i don’t suppose it’s a coincidence, and that i don’t suppose it’s a rage,” says Browning. Their symptoms and behavior area unit a real mystery.

For many, real-life vampire may be a taboo; over the previous couple of decades, it’s return to be related to grotesque murders like the disreputable case of Rod Ferrell within the U.S., a deluded killer apparently galvanized by a fantasy role-playing game. “When individuals refer self-identified vampires, lots of times these atrocious pictures return to mind,” says DJ Williams, a social scientist at Idaho State University. “So the community has been closed and suspicious of outsiders.” As a results of the stigma, the vampires I’ve contacted on-line have asked Maine to use aliases at intervals this text.

It was not continuously this way; across history, we are able to notice cases wherever human blood was thought-about a bone-fife medical cure. At the tip of the fifteenth Century, as an example, Pope Innocent Viii doc allegedly bled 3 young men to death and fed their blood (still warm) to his dying master, with the hope that it would depart this world their young vitality.

Later on, it absolutely was wont to treat epilepsy; the afflicted were inspired to collect round the instrument of execution and collect the nice and cozy blood dripping from recently dead criminals. “Blood was a medium between the physical and religious,” explains Richard Sung at the University of Durham, WHO recently wrote a book on “corpse medicine” and WHO is presently writing a volume on vampire. By drinking the blood of a healthy young man, he says, you were intake his spirit and set no matter afflicted your soul. These treatments solely fell out of favor following the Enlightenment, and therefore the onset of a additional general sense of prudishness that took hold within the eighteenth and nineteenth Centuries.

And yet, the follow looks to possess lived on among a little cluster of individuals. Before the Age of the web, they were for the most part isolated, however through dedicated webpages they need currently cast thriving underground networks. “From what we are able to tell, most major cities across the planet appear to possess a lamia community,” says Williams.

Thanks to their concern of exposure, these communities became adept at concealment, a barrier Browning sweet-faced once he started his study. “This isn’t a population WHO area unit asking to be found,” he says. He was living in state capital, Louisiana, at the time, simply Associate in Nursing hour’s drive from New Orleans, a town illustrious for its spirited subcultures. He realized that if he was ever getting to get the prospect to fulfill a true lamia, it was now.

Walking the streets at day and night, he began to place on the places (typically goth clubs) wherever vampires would possibly hang around. Even at the start, he wasn’t too afraid concerning the characters he would meet. “It helps being a bloke WHO is 6ft 4in, and 220lbs,” he says. In fact, his biggest concern wasn’t his own safety, however the vampires. “You might ‘out’ them,” he says – doubtless golf shot their personal and skilled lives in peril.

Eventually, he found himself talking concerning his project to the owner of a goth garments search, WHO subtly acknowledged a girl standing together with her 2 kids in one among the aisles. thus Browning sidled up to her, and told her concerning his study of vampires. “Finally she smiled, and aforementioned ‘I suppose i would grasp a few’,” he recalls. “And once she smiled, I saw 2 fangs projecting over her lips.” They were, he says, “atrociously sharp”. though he later on lost contact with “Jennifer”, the encounter inspired him to proceed, and he eventually fashioned sensible relationships with an over-sized cluster of vampires, whom he interviewed frequently.

In fact, the deeper he delved, the broader and additional vibrant the spectrum of personalities he uncovered. though some do wear fangs and sleep in coffins, most take little or no interest within the books and films. “This was the late 2000s and that they weren’t even observation True Blood!” he says with disbelief. “These individuals knew concerning the maximum amount because the average person concerning lamia literature and cinema.”

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