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Faculty Mentor

Dr. Gregory Brown

Subject Area

Biological Sciences, Media Arts, Psychology

Abstract

Vampires have been discussed for millennia, appearing in folklore throughout various cultures. From the Egyptians and the Chinese to the Slavs, there have been numerous iterations of these bloodsucking fiends, but do their characteristics have any basis in fact, perhaps predicated upon misunderstandings of certain diseases?

Using medical journals to discern plausible diseases for obscure and typical vampire traits, this paper functions on two levels. On one hand, it offers a repository of medical information for researchers who may want to delve further into the interdisciplinary field of pathology and folklore, especially where vampires of Western culture are concerned. On the other hand, it offers visual popular culture sources to serve as examples for each trait/disease, seeing as pop culture is where many people, myself included, get their ideas and renderings of vampires. Technology and medicine have advanced considerably since bloody, bloated corpses were mistaken as vampires, but some traits—eye color, charisma, allure, and fangs, among others—of certain, often diseased individuals could still be traced back to a vampiric condition.

Keywords

vampirism, pathology, folklore, pop culture, interdisciplinary research

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