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A doctoral candidate at Louisiana State University at the time, Browning had already been on the hunt for several months. The store owner stopped mid-sentence. This woman, he motioned, was one of the people Browning was looking for. Did she know anyone who fit that description? The woman smiled, and Browning had his answer — her open lips revealed teeth that had been filed to a point, like fangs. Though the woman never did give him a call as promised, Browning soon found himself in the company of vampires again at a night club.
Browning, who has spent his entire academic life studying the depiction of vampires in film and literature, originally thought that there must be something deranged about real people who identify with the characters that seem more suited to horror movies than a historic district in Louisiana.
Pervasive vampire lore, from the ancient tale of Count Dracula to the modern romance of Twilighthas assured that any mention of the mythical beings conjures images of blood-thirsty villains deeply rooted in the supernatural.
His skepticism waned soon after he embarked on a class project that would turn into five years of field study among the real vampires of the French Quarter. Surveys conducted by the Atlanta Vampire Alliance have found that there are at least five thousand people in the U. Browning said there are about 50 living in New Orleans alone — a figure that he guessed is common for most major cities and corroborated by sociologist DJ Williams to the BBC. These communities have largely kept to themselves, knowing enough about public perception to not want to attract prying eyes.
Browning, aware of the visceral disgust that his research is likely to provoke, seldom brings it up in everyday conversation. But his own initial belief that there was something wrong with these people faded after he started getting to know them. They usually discover accidentally that blood offers a remedy: they might bite their Looking for a real vamp, for instance, and realize that swallowing the metallic liquid between their teeth gives them an instant burst of energy. This can be accomplished through intimate human touch, like giving someone a massage.
The community has adopted terms to describe their unorthodox habits. One year into his study, Browning decided to try being a donor himself. If ample blood is on offer, they might refrigerate it and later combine it with other ingredients, like tea. A real vampire in the U.
Most vampires have kept their condition from their doctors because they are wary of stigma. Yet, those vampires who have tried to stop drinking blood have met scary consequences. When Kinesia went four months without feeding, she found herself in the emergency room with a low heart rate that would shoot up to when she stood up or walked around. This would be followed by a massive migraine, and sometimes a loss of consciousness. Browning said he knows of a woman who found herself unable to go to work or even walk after a period of not ingesting blood.
When her husband came to see her in the hospital, she fed from him in her room and immediately felt better. Though the habits of modern vampires may seem frightening to most, Browning insisted that the ones he met in New Orleans were incredibly friendly.
He found the vampire community in the French Quarter to be predominantly Caucasian and to a lesser extent Latino. They ranged in age from 18 to 50, identified with a range of sexualities and religions and were split almost evenly between men and women. In his studies, Williams has found no evidence of psychiatric issues in self-identified vampires. They had spouses, friends and jobs; many of them had children from whom they hid their practice.
While some have taken to wearing Gothic attire and prosthetic fangs, others have no physical markers to indicate their vampirism. Rather, they were normal people with routines no different from everyone else. These four fashionable pieces will add a dose of cool to your summer wardrobe.
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Real-Life Vampires Exist, and Researchers Are Studying Them