Tuberculosis Responsible for Vampirism?

Hundreds of years ago, before there were scientific explanations for every day occurrences (like diseases) people would explain them with superstitions and magic. If you sneezed, it was because you were possessed, if you were too hairy it was because you were a werewolf, if your young children were naughty it was because of the fairies …etc. Nowadays, we have completely logical explanations for these things. Keeping this in mind, you can understand why countless historians and doctors have tried to explain the birth of the vampire myth.

It is said that the vampire myth originated because people back then didn’t have the knowledge to explain things like rabies or porphyria. Those two are often attributed to vampirism, but we have yet another disease to add to the mix – tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis, a common and usually deadly infectious disease, is yet another sickness that may have something to do with vampirism. You see, when one family member died from it, the other members of the household that were infected would slowly lose their health as well. People believed that this was caused by the first victim draining the life from their remaining family members.

Additionally, people who had tuberculosis often exhibited symptoms similar to what people considered to be vampire-like traits. Some tuberculosis symptoms included red, swollen eyes (which made them sensitive to bright light), pale skin, very low body heat, a weak heartbeat, and coughing up blood. As you can see, that would give any uneducated person in the Middle Ages reason to believe the victim was really a vampire. If you add in the fact that some may have believed that drinking blood was the only way to replenish the blood they coughed up, well, then you definitely have all the components for a good vampire legend.

Personally, I believe it was tuberculosis and other diseases that were responsible for the vampire myth growing so large back then. But what do you guys think?

– Moonlight

By Moonlight

Moonlight (aka Amanda) loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to vampires. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of vampire folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and she may bite you (and not in the fun way).


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  2. A very interesting point, well considered and well written. I believe you have solved the origins of the vampire myth. Well done :-)

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  5. I’ve heard this theory before and I think that it has a lot of merit. Now that we know about all of these medical conditions it seems that the reports of vampire attacks have significantly slowed (lol). But you also have to take into consideration the people that just want the attention they get from drinking blood or the ones that do it for “religious reasons” psh.

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  8. I had a vivid dream one evening his name is Vincent and said he had been slain as a vampire yet had tuberculosis..He must have been somehow linked to me..He said whatever bio-fuels they decide to use for your futures make sure there is no myocbacterium..I looked it up in the causes tuberculosis…Does this make me weird? That maybe sometimes our dreams are guides through all types we must still choose our own paths..Thanks Vincent..I’m Sorry how you were treated.. May GOD BLESS You…We live and learn through trials and errors as humans.. I sent my cacti family theory with your message no myobacterium to scientists as a cooling fuel that could hopefully strengthen our ozone from fuels and deforestation that burn her without putting out the SUN…MB

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