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What If Vampires Were Real?

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: George Pacheco
Written by George Pacheco They're an 'out at night' menace across all of pop culture, from "Dracula" to "True Blood" to the "Twilight" series, but what if vampires were a real-life thing? What would happens if vamps existed alongside regular humans? How would society be different? And would you need to watch your back - or neck?? What do you think?

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What If Vampires Were Real?

We know what you’re probably thinking. Vampires? Real?? Are Unveiled feeling OK? Well, we’re feeling fine, and bear with us here… Because vampires already are real.

Well… Sort of.

First off, here’s the history lesson. The real-life origin stories behind some of today's most popular beliefs about vampires are often just as interesting as the books, films and TV shows which feature the infamous bloodsuckers. We all know about Bram Stoker's "Dracula," Murnau's "Nosferatu" and Charlaine Harris’ more contemporary, hyper-sexual, libertine vamps, but the real ground zero of vampire lore lies with topics infinitely more frightening than any fantasy tale. Death, disease and deficient sanitary conditions.

These were all huge problems for anyone living prior to the development of modern medicine, particularly for poorer people. As a result, vampire myths and superstitions were created in an attempt to process and deal with shortened life expectancies and unexpected death. Among the diseases initially linked to vampirism was porphyria, a light sensitivity condition which causes the sufferer severe rashes and pain when exposed to the sun. Meanwhile, tuberculosis was a highly infectious killer which often wasted away entire families, leading many villages to wonder if they’d been cursed by some kind of diseased corpse from beyond the grave.

Today, modern medicine and science ensures us that the stories of old are merely entertaining folk tales. But, let's imagine that they weren’t. What would the world be like if vampires were real? Fangs out, crucifixes ready!

For starters, exactly what kind of vampires are we talking about? Let’s skip the Hollywood horror brand of mindless, bestial bloodsuckers that seemingly exist only to feed on (and frighten) helpless victims. The vampires populating today’s thought experiment are relatively human-like, can easily communicate and they generally make their intentions and existence known to us, for better or worse.

The first thing that changes (and it’s a big one!) are the laws of life and death. If being "undead" is actually a thing, then what constitutes being actually dead? If a human is turned, should we mourn? It’s all rooted in another big question: Can humans and vampires co-exist, as in the HBO series "True Blood"? Since blood is the vampire's vital food source, humanity's place on the food chain would be instantly threatened. So, some crucial conversations would need to happen to decide whether or not vampires can legally feed on humans, or whether they should find some other blood source to satiate their intrinsic need. Otherwise, it becomes an "us vs. them" situation, which could quite easily transform into a drawn out, blood lust apocalypse – with cross-species prejudice, fighting and slaying at every corner.

But even if humans and vamps have formed some kind of truce or understanding, we’d still need laws to impose rules and guidelines for undead conduct among the living. In the event that vampires curb their feeding habits enough to live alongside us, could they then campaign for wider-reaching social inclusion? Should they abide to human laws? Or should humans adapt to vampire rules? And would they take offense to how they've been portrayed in the past, as murdering monsters?

One especially important legal aspect would be vampire consent laws. There’d likely emerge a section of human society who wouldn’t mind either being fully turned, or letting a vampire feed on them, permanently or on a case-by-case basis; a ‘one-night vampire stand’, if you will. We’d then need laws to protect the unwilling and the underage against any of the undead who might seek to cross or blur boundaries within our human/vampire world. And what about vamps who were turned as children? They might forever look child-like, despite actually being eighty-seven – but are they adults? Regardless, from the moment of human/vampire coexistence, we’d likely need laws to prevent the biting anyone under the age of 18. In a stricter world, it’d probably be illegal for vampires to even associate with children – or even the general public. But could that be construed as discriminatory? And would legislation vary state to state, country to country?

On the other side, vampire safety would also be top of the agenda. Sure, the idea of being immortal seems great on the surface… But if every vampire's healing abilities differ even slightly, we’d have to overhaul the entire healthcare system in order to treat vampires who had sustained severe or deadly wounds...but are unable to actually die. There’d also be an eternal need for vampire psychologists, specializing in Undead Mental Health and emotional wellbeing. The police force would need to be specifically trained too, in how to interact with and treat vampire victims and/or criminals. And if there are unruly vampire types, then ‘Vampire Hunter’ could finally be a viable job title for some boys and girls in blue. Then there’s the question of who fills these jobs – vampires, humans or both? Being immortal, vampires could feasibly build much more impressive careers than a human could ever muster. Although the whole ‘only out at night’ and ‘addicted to blood’ credentials could somewhat ruin a résumé.

Another major health issue in a vampire-positive society would be the red stuff... blood. And specifically keeping enough on hand to feed the vampire populace, so that hunting and violence against humans would be unnecessary. If vampires are at risk from the same sort of blood-borne pathogens and diseases that humans are, the unprecedented increase in blood distribution could actually accelerate research and technology to fight illness. At the very least, a vampire presence would require significant global increases in the amount of blood banks. Although exactly how that blood is used – for humans or vampires – could become a major point of conflict.

Finally, and despite all efforts toward peaceful cohabitation, we humans would surely need a back-up plan. Because, what if living side by side with fanged creatures of the night just doesn't work out? We’d have to face the very real possibility that evolution had dealt us its reckoning, via a slow invasion of vampires into our everyday lives. Our species could quite easily be quashed by a vampire-kind who refuse to be contained by any laws or guidelines for their behavior – especially as the vampire-to-human ratio would continually increase. If vampires refused to play ball, what could we ever really do about it? Given their capacity for killing, maiming, immortality and ruthless recruitment, they’d inevitably overrun us.

Yet, vampires do already walk among us all the time. As we assured you at the start, vampires are real! And no, we're not simply referring to infamous serial killers like Richard Chase, ‘The Vampire of Sacramento’, who cannibalized and drank the blood of his victims. There are actually thousands of people across the United States and other countries who choose to live a vampyric lifestyle, and claim to have experienced an ‘awakening’ which drives them to feed.

Anton LaVey, founder of The Church of Satan, wrote in his "Satanic Bible" about ‘psychic vampires’ – or those who feed upon the energy or life force of others. For LaVey, psy vamps sought to hinder the enthusiasm or motivation of a practicing Satanist. But there are people today who claim to feed upon a similar psychic energy, despite there being zero inkling of scientific evidence that it works.

Meanwhile, Sanguinary or ‘Sang’ vampires are modern bloodsuckers who do just that: feed on real-life, fresh-from-the-vein blood. Naturally, it’s a much more complex and potentially dangerous process, involving the very real threat of acquiring disease. Not to mention the constant need to somehow get your hands on someone else’s blood. As such, the donor/vampire relationship is based on trust, whether between two consenting adults or a couple in a long term, monogamous relationship. Some Sang vampires even claim that a long stretch between feedings can result in unwanted physical responses, including headaches and sickness.

So, there you have it: certain vampires do already walk among us. They may not shape-shift, sleep in a coffin, or look like Sir Christopher Lee, but their secretive existence does offer a shadowy reflection of humanity's darker side. As for the all-encompassing, ultra-glamourous, Edward Cullen vampire types… If they lived alongside us, we’d have a hellish human rights conundrum to try to solve, and a never-ending need for happy, healthy blood donors. Either that, or everyone would wind up learning the subtle science of growing garlic, pronto!

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