I suppose I must consider that there are readers, even of this site, chance visitors, perhaps, who have never heard the term “sanguinarian” before, and offer a concise definition for their benefit. A sanguinarian is a human being who feels the need to consume blood, usually but not necessarily human in origin. This is a more correct title than “vampire,” as the latter is a supernatural creature; most sanguinarians will readily admit to being as human as the rest of us. (There are a few who profess supernatural abilities of their own, but these claims must be taken with a grain of garlic salt.) A sanguinarian’s cravings for blood may be purely psychological. With some it is almost certainly an elaborate form of playacting or fetishism. However, there may be genuine, and thus far undiagnosed, physiological reasons for their, for lack of a better word, “bloodthirst.”
Researcher Erin Chapman suspects some digestive issue, that your typical sanguinarian has a problem absorbing certain nutrients or other things their bodies need the standard way, by eating them, thus they must take them in through ingesting blood. Sure sounds plausible to me, but when Ms. Chapman contacted a physician concerning the possibility, he responded thus, noting in one case study “a number of symptoms that do not neatly fit a medical category . . . The symptoms get better after drinking human blood . . . What she is describing is real but not understandable as a simple nutritional deficiency or another well-defined medical illness. People with these or similar symptoms have not been systematically studied but I would . . . expect both physical components and psychological ones.” In other words, no definitive answer. Stay tuned, though, as a more in-depth discussion follows.