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Vampire Biology Explained

The Science of Vampirism

By Ash MartinPublished 8 months ago 4 min read

Mythical creatures have haunted us for eons. Stories of ogres, werewolves, dragons, yetis, giants, and other terrifying creatures lurk in every culture and across all recorded time. And though societies rise and fall, it seems the tales of otherworldly creatures are harder to kill. One such creature is said to stalk the night, seeking any unfortunate souls upon which to feed—each victim providing the creature's immortal body with a dark sacrifice of blood. I am speaking, of course, of the vampire—a kind of undead leech, a species nearly indistinguishable from humans, saved for its cold pale skin and enlarged canines. For hundreds of years, and perhaps even longer, people have lived in fear of these mythical, shape-shifting monsters, or alternatively have been fascinated by them. However incredible it may sound, I posit, dear listener, that vampires are not only based on truth but walk among us even today. Indeed, they are real. And now I present the culmination of years of research into vampire lore, biology, anatomy, physiology, and behavior. For this brief time together, I ask you to lend me your ear as we dive deep into the disturbing biological reality of the vampire.

There is likely no discernible patient zero when it comes to the disease of vampirism. When asked, historians and theologians may point to Lilith or Lilitu—a figure in both Hebrew and Babylonian mythology. In both stories, nocturnal sanguivory, or blood eating, is a common thread. As previously mentioned, the concept of the vampire is present in cultures around the world. The strigoi in Russia, the mananangal of the Philippines, the jiangxi of China, the Caribbean sokoyant—these monsters differ in many ways, but they share one common trait: a thirst for human blood. But it was the legends of 12th-century Europe that truly cemented our modern conception of the vampire. It was this era that gave us many of the superstitions and traits we associate with vampires even today. Though of course, Stoker's Dracula and Renau's Nosferatu have been arguably even more influential in the modern era.

Like many of you, for years I considered these myths of nocturnal blood-sucking creatures to be nothing more than primitive fantasy relics of bygone religions and the products of overactive imaginations. Then many years ago, I was confronted with something I couldn't explain. A dear friend and colleague were attacked under the cover of night, her blood drained from two small pricks in her neck as she slept in her bed. Since that time, I sought her killer and stumbled upon a truth purposefully hidden for millennia. And though I haven't yet filled in all the gaps, I now believe that I have enough evidence to draw a conclusion: vampires are not supernatural beings as the stories tell. They are as real as you or I but the result of a mutagenic virus. They possess abilities that I am only beginning to comprehend. I hope that you'll withhold your judgment as to my level of sanity for just a few moments longer. I will present to you now the findings it's taken me decades to compile. Thanks to some new colleagues, much of these findings are taken from first-hand observation and dissection.

But before we can discuss the details of these creatures' design, we must first understand how their condition spreads. Contrary to popular thought, it is not a supernatural imbuing of life force or selling of one's soul to the devil that causes the dark transformation into a vampire. It is, in fact, a lowly virus transmitted through bodily fluids—a mononegavirus with properties similar to rabies, mumps, and measles. Unlike most others, this insidious virus infects its host cells via endocytosis or full absorption, rather than a more aggressive injection into the cell or outright cell destruction via lysis. Not content to target a single tissue type as other viruses do, the human vampiric virus, as I've come to call it, infects every living cell within the human body, with the exception of red blood cells. This alone is frightening, but it doesn't stop there. HVV appears to alter its host cells in a uniquely insidious manner, allowing them to continue normal processes such as regenerating their membranes while also hijacking them to produce its own virus clones.

In short, while cells are infected and altered, they are not destroyed—a trait that makes the virus immensely successful. Adding to this success is a staggeringly rapid replication cycle. Infection of the thyroid gland initially increases the speed of metabolic processes throughout the body, and the virus's incubation period is a nearly unprecedentedly brief 6 to 12 hours. Once incubation is complete, victims of HVV begin to manifest an array of symptoms not unlike the common flu: headache, fever, chills, as well as the effects of the aforementioned metabolic increase—rapid heart rate, severe thirst, excessive sweating, and frequent urination have all been observed. These symptoms generally last another 6 to 12 hours. But while these particular effects are disturbing, they are by no means unique to HVV.

12 to 24 hours after these symptoms first appear, however, the victim will slip into what I term the "vampiric coma." And it is this state of active unconsciousness that begins the true transformation. If the victim lives through this extraordinarily taxing process, they will awaken an entirely different creature.

FableShort StorySci FiMysteryHorrorFantasy

About the Creator

Ash Martin

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