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Graduation of the Girl Who Fears the Sun

We’ve all heard of xeroderma pigmentosum, aka XP, thanks to that marvelous Nicole Kidman movie THE OTHERS, but I betcha couldn’t have said exactly what it is called. I know I couldn’t. If a person has xeroderma pigmentosum, sunlight can literally kill her. At best she’d suffer severe burns almost instantaneously. Eighteen-year-old Riley McCoy didn’t let having XP stop her from walking across the stage to receive her high school diploma, though. She had to wear a specialized suit to protect her skin, but she was there. She got a standing ovation. Good for her. She wants to go into Theatre, so she’s a kindred spirit to me. Also, I admire her gutsy determination.

Last week I posted on the connection between aversion to sunlight and vampires. The trope appears to have largely originated with the 1922 silent classic NOSFERATU. But look at how pale Ms. McCoy is. Could xeroderma pigmentosum, which wouldn’t have been understood in years past, have played a part in the development of the tradition? Porphyria often gets the credit or the blame for fueling the vampire myth. It too can cause sensitivity to sunlight, but nothing as severe as what people who suffer from XP experience.

TheCheezman • June 17, 2018

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  1. Terry Washington June 17, 2018 - 11:19 pm Reply

    I suppose so- some biographies of Bram Stoker(who is thought to have died of syphilis, then an incurable condition in Victorian England) note that Dracula’s appearance and behaviour mirror this disease!

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