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Pop Culture, Real Life
In books, movies and television shows, vampires have sunk their fangs into pop culture's collective consciousness.
While true, undead vampires do not exist, some diseases and disorders show themselves in ways that are similar to vampiric characteristics. From sunlight intolerance to an aversion to garlic and mirrors, here are six illnesses that, to some extent, cause people to act like vampires.
Aversion to garlicSlide 2 of 15
Aversion to garlic
The fear of garlic, or alliumphobia, is a neurosis that causes people to become freaked out by the mere thought of the stinky plant. In clove form or sprinkled over a pizza, garlic will send alliumphobiacs running in the other direction. Just being in proximity of garlic is enough to trigger a severe panic attack or anxiety for a person suffering from this rare phobia.
The legend that vampires are repelled by garlic stems from its use as a way to ward off evil spirits in southern Slavic countries and Romania. It was believed that those who refused to eat garlic were vampires, and cloves of garlic were placed in the mouths of the deceased prior to burial to prevent them from turning into vampires, according to "In search of Dracula: the History of Dracula and Vampires," (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994).Slide 3 of 15
Biting madSlide 4 of 15
Rabies, or hydrophobia, is a disease that causes people to display several vampire-like symptoms, including the desire to bite others. The rabies virus attacks the nervous system and can also cause oversensitivity to sunlight and to other visual stimuli, such as mirrors. The word rabies means "rage" or "madness" in Latin, and was so named because people who contract it often become delirious, aggressive and suffer from hallucinations.
The disease can also affect portions of the brain that control sleep patterns, leading to insomnia, nocturnal sleeplessness and hypersexuality, behavior that shadows the image of a sinister Nosferatu creeping into a dreaming damsel's bed chamber in the middle of the night.
Bites from bats, which vampires are often depicted as turning into, are the most common source of a rabies infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. In fact, two strains of the rabies virus in several European countries can only be transmitted to humans by bats and are therefore known as bat rabies.Slide 5 of 15
Hatred of mirrorsSlide 6 of 15
Hatred of mirrors
Although vampires are depicted as being invisible in mirrors, a real disases, Eisoptrophobia, also known as catoptrophobia, causes people to fear them. This can be brought on by a traumatic event, or formed as a result of deep-seated fears, such as seeing as seeing a horror movie involving mirrors as a child. For people with this disorder, the mere sight of a mirror can bring on an anxiety attack.
Some sufferers of eisoptrophobia believe that looking into a mirror will summon the supernatural, and some think they are being watched through the mirror. Others with the disorder can only stand to look at a mirror for a few seconds, and say that if they look at it for too long, they get the feeling that the person looking back at them is not really them at all, according to "An Excess of Phobias and Manias," (Senior Scribe Publications, 2003).
Vampires' legendary distaste for mirrors traces back to European myths that they don't have a reflection because they have no soul. Because being unable to stand the sight of a mirror is also one the symptoms of rabies, some believe that this vampire myth originated during a rabies epidemic that took place in Europe in the 1700s.Slide 7 of 15
A thirst for blood?Slide 8 of 15