Vampire Pathology


A vampire starts life as a human being; any age, size, race; there is no known immunity1.

Infection, Vampirification, Anatomy, Physiology, Strength, Vulnerabilities



A vampire bite can cause death by anaphylactic reaction; repeated bites can cause death from haemorrhagic shock, occasionally from subacute anaemia. A small minority of bites can lead to a metamorphosis from 'normal human being' to vampire; vampirification. One study suggests fewer than 1% of attacks lead to vampirification.2

There is no record - or rumour - of vampire reproduction in any other way, supporting theories of a parasitic factor; vampirification as a means of increasing the vampire population.

The favoured age of victims is early twenties; almost equal numbers of male and female victims, with a marked predominace of healthy, educated and intelligent people.2 Indeed, one mark of a threatened and declining vampire group may be a deviation from this careful preselection of victims.



The process of vampirification may follow a deliberate act on the part of a vampire; occasionally it may be a chance infection. Bleaumeux3 argues that any partaking of blood by a vampire might result in vampirification, but there are problems with this thesis.

Vampires have been shown to take blood from cattle, horse and sheep (among others), with no record of these creatures being affected, beyond blood loss. This may be a species immunity result, or may be evidence that accidental vampirification simply does not occur.

The process of vampirification is still poorly understood; it may be a natural result of a viral infection, a sophisticated drug-induced process - or, most likely, a parasitic infection. The problem has always been a lack of hard pathological evidence; no vampire has yet co-operated with researchers, and no viable specimens have been obtained from captured vampires, as they always chose self-destruction before co-operation.

The consensus in the scientific community is that the process bears comparison with the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into an adult butterfly.5 The process of metamorphosis involves three distinct developmental stages: human, pupa and vampire. In temperate zones, the pupal stage is thought to take 3 to 4 days, much longer in colder climates.4 Views differ on the effects of higher temperatures; vampires are rare in hot climates, and this may be because the process cannot occur above a certain temperature.



Though vampires on Buffy The Vampire Slayerchange from a human visage to a demonic appearance as they attack, few 'real life' accounts support this contention. There is no obvious change in appearance after vampirification, except for a marked pallor, and an almost universal appearance of significantly below average weight.6

Such minor changes, however, conceal significant changes under the skin.

A wealth of circumstantial evidence suggests that the pupal stage involves major changes to heart, circulation and renal systems, with consequent alterations to other systems to accomodate a very altered lifestyle.

Human haemoglobin uses iron as its core; the vampire equivalent uses magnesium. This allows the vampire to dispense with an artificially maintained body temperature; it creates a highly efficient cardiac muscle allied to more flexible blodd vessels and it virtually eliminates the risk of thrombosis/embolism.

Deficiency of magnesium is known to lead to anxiety, irritability, anger, insomnia and mood swings; all features reported in vampires, especially when deprived of sustenance.

Changes to muscle and bone following vampirification may account for the 'superhuman' abilities attributed to vampires, such as speed and strength.



Respiration in the vampire does not involve the lungs at all. Pending full dissection and analysis, it is impossible to conjecture in detail on the chemical processes involved. Oxygen-based respiration would present a serious risk of spontaneous combustion, and this may explain the vampire's need for fresh blood; the oxygen held in oxyhaemoglobin can be stored by the vampire, enabling controlled and safe combination with magnesium to produce copious energy. The freedom from requiring 10+ respirations per minute would significantly facilitate inactivity and hibernation. Spared the need for maintaining mammalian temperatures, energy requirements can be reduced to near zero for extended periods.6

Nutrition, for all living organisms, is about meeting the needs of growth and repair, plus energy for activities of life. For the vampire, a magnesium-based physiology allows the body to function like a fuel cell; power is available for concerted activity, while prolonged rest following binge consumption allows for regeneration and repair processes. Unlike in human anatomy, the vampire kidney appears adapted to preserving magnesium with great efficiency; extraction from the liquid diet might be sufficient for the vampire lifestyle.

Reproduction does not exist within vampire communities; human anatomy maintained at low temperatures, without carbon/oxygen metabolism could not function; procreation could not occur. While this means the inconvenience of 'recruiting' new blood, it also means that the energy of child rearing is not expended

Growth and Aging: Vampires are normally recruited as adults; no significant growth appears to be required, and longevity is a well documented feature; with periods of inactivity and virtual hibernation, individual vampires are known to have lived for centuries.

Repair processes appear to very efficient, with activity hardly affected by multiple gunshot or stab wounds, and complete recovery from severe injuries within a few days.



While the use of magnesium has granted vampires great advantages, it also brings vulnerabilities.

In certain circumstances, magnesium can be an explosive element; this means that no vampire will risk direct sunlight for fear of spontaneous combustion.

Wooden stakes have long been a weapon of choice for the vampire hunter, but it is no accident that hand-wielded, fresh cut unvarnished pine is much more likely to prove fatal than hardwood or crossbow-fired polished wooden darts. This is because it is not the wood itself that causes the reaction, but the enzymes that are found in the resin of many varieties of wood. Indeed, a fragrant pine forest can lead to an asthma-like condition that may be fatal to the vampire, and Australia, home of the Eucalypt, is a no-go area to vampires.7

Efficient vasoconstriction, coupled with powerful regenerative powers have given the vampire the reputation of being unstoppable by blade or bullet - most experienced hunters will not relax until the vampire has been burned or beheaded; injuries that would lead to almost instant death in a human being are a minor inconvenience to a healthy vampire.

[section on weapons to come]



  1. Neemuth T., (1976) Vampirism, Immunity and Race. Cryptozoology Research 12; 7, 19-23
  2. Anthauser P.J., (1952) Vampire Attacks in Carpathia, A study of 238 cases from 1900-1913. Annals of Haematological Diseases 167; 8, 223-226
  3. Bleaumeux C.M., (1992) Vampirification: Random Occurrence or Conspiracy to Transform? Vampyr Notes. 76; 4, 33-36
  4. Maudala P., (1987) Vampirification, Temperature and Climate: Cooling the Process. Cryptozoology Research 23; 9, 52-61
  5. Azimuth B., (1999) Vampires: Butterflies, Moths or Alien Entities? Vampyr Notes. 83; 7, 29-32
  6. Poot G., Poot H., Poot J.K., (Deceased) (1995) Vampire Anatomy: Deductions From Incomplete Records. Cryptozoology Research 31; 1, 34-39
  7. Poot G., Poot H., (1996) Vampire Distribution: Mapping the Pandemic. Cryptozoology Research 32; 11, 27-29