Renfield Syndrome - Clinical Vampirism
The sharp fangs linger achingly close to that slim neck as the pale and ghostly form of the vampire zooms in on his helpless, usually asleep, prey...
A common enough scene in any Vampire movie that you may have seen. Often repeated and immensely popular.
Somehow human beings always get entertained by the morbid and what could be more morbid than a creature that survives on human blood.
Surviving the supernatural with the help of unusual tools like garlic, a holy cross and even killing it with a pointed wooden stake. It all sounds wonderfully adventurous.
This generation in particular has been quite obsessed with Vampires given the success of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, its spin off Angel, Vampire Diaries, and of course the most current Twilight Saga.
So are there real Vampires?
No, but there are people who are sick enough to think that they are vampires! And that's what this hub is all about. The Renfield Syndrome is what is termed medically as Clinical Vampirism.
As per the Urban Dictionary a person like this is called an auto vampire. Here's the definitional.
" Someone who enjoys drinking his or her own blood, often by deliberately wounding him/herself at the base of the tongue in order to suck at these wounds and swallow the blood. This practice is known as auto vampirism"
Sounds creepy and sick and that is exactly what it is, a sickness.
Renfield Syndrome is a mental condition where the person is obsessed with drinking blood. He is aroused and attracted to the sight of blood. He actually finds blood aesthetically appealing.
There can be sexual fantasies involving blood,akin to vampire fetish in this psychiatric disorder. The patient may feel that he is a vampire and believe it to be true.
He may cut himself and drink his own blood. Or he may prey on smaller animals by killing them and drinking their blood.It may not be limited to animals and he may even injure or kill human beings to drink their blood.
The patient is deluded into thinking that he must drink blood in order to survive. He may even believe that by drinking the blood he is granted special powers that are prescribed to vampires such as great speed and strength.
The Renfield Syndrome is named for the character called Renfield in the book Dracula which Bram Stoker's wrote in 1887.
The character swallows flies hoping to gain their life force. He eventually eats spiders, and birds.
The patients suffering from Renfield Syndrome are predominantly male. They delude themselves into believing that by drinking blood they will gain something from the victim.
The disease typically moves through three stages
Autohemophagia- this is essentially auto vampirism. Here the patient will cut himself and drink his own blood.
Zoophagia - here the patient progresses to drink the blood of live animals. He may even obtain blood from a butcher's house.
True vampirism - here his attention is drawn to other human beings as a source of the blood he desires to drink. He may steal blood from hospitals or blood banks. Even more dangerous he may hunt live human beings to drink blood from.