Dracula: everyone’s favourite goofy lothario. Enjoyed by millions across the world as a blood thirsty, pervy murderer. Kudos to you Bram Stoker and all of your Transylvannian tales. It’s just a story of course, but a neurologist with the wonderful name of Dr Gomez-Alonso has a theory explaining why the legend of vampires has stayed with humans, quite possibly since prehistory. The good doctor had been watching a vampire film when he suddenly realised the similarities between Vampires and the symptoms of rabies. Yes rabies.
Apparently, 25% of rabid men have a tendency to bite each other, they are also hypersensitive to light and smell (e.g. garlic), Gomez says: “Men with rabies … react to stimuli such as water, light, odours or mirrors with spasms of the facial and vocal muscles that can cause hoarse sounds, bared teeth and frothing at the mouth of bloody fluid”. The rabies victims don’t sleep well due to the disease frigging with the bits of the brain in charge of sleep/wake cycles, hence associations with night stalking; and a rabid bite from a human, like a vampire’s, can pass the affliction on, making some sense of that part of the vampire story.
We will never know whether we can blame rabies for vampires, but it’s a nice, neat case. Gomez did his homework and found from history books a correlation between early tales of vampirism and outbreaks of rabies in the Balkans. For instance in 1721-1728, a bitch load of rabies exploded out in Hungary- at around the same kind of time vampire tales started to rear their minging heads. The association of vampires with wolves and bats can also be explained by the fact that these creatures are incredibly susceptible to this particular disease and can receive/ spread it about.
The good Doctor also chirped the following: “Hypersexuality may be a striking manifestation of rabies. Literature reports cases of rabid patients who practised intercourse up to 30 times in a day”.
Maybe it’s not all bad then?…..