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Originally posted by ID
Here are a few diseases that are thought to have brought about the myth of the Vampire that exists to this day. After reading over these myself I can honestly see why this myth arose, people are often scared of the unknown and these symptoms are almost mirror images of the overall vampire myth.
Tuberculosis, which was formerly referred to as Consumption was a common false indicator of vampirism as it would usually effect an entire family and the person who died first of it would be though to be responsible and thus a vampire (strange I know).
Xeroderma pigmentosum causes the skin to become sensitive UV radiation especially sunlight and can result in blistering or freckling even from minimal exposure.
Catalepsy may be at part responsible for the myth of vampires as it slowly shuts down the nervous system slowing the individual’s heart rate until it becomes virtually non-existent. A person suffering from this condition may fall into a state where they are able to see and hear but cannot move. To the untrained eye it would look as though the person had passed on. Embalming dead bodies is a recent idea and so people may have buried someone suffering from Catalepsy only to find out later that they had awoken from this state and dug their way out.
Porphyria causes individuals gums to tighten severally around teeth which would make the canine teeth appear to be much more prominent. It also causes the body to be unable to produce heme (a component of red blood). This lack of heme is today treated with regular injections however long ago victims may have attempted to treat it by consuming blood, this however does not aid the victim as the heme is unable to survive digestion. Garlic worsens the symptoms of Porphyria making the effects much more painful thus someone suffering from this disease would attempt to avoid it.
Anemia is a blood disease which causes the number of red blood cells to drop drastically. Symptoms include a pale complexion and inability to consume food. Both of these symptoms were also thought to be signs that a person had been bitten by a vampire and thus was beginning their own transformation.