There’s a tiny sub-plot about the chemical composition of blood in my upcoming debut novel (June 20, 2020…mark it on your calendars!) that got me thinking about drinking blood in books. We know about Bram Stoker’s Dracula and its 21st century update, Twilight, but what’s the big-picture story with drinking blood in fiction…and how does it mirror all the blood drinking going on in real life?

My google search got me started but only led to more questions. I learned there are a lot of things that feed on blood and a few reported cases of clinical vampirism. Every now and then, probably on a slower news day, some news outlet will run a story about people who drink blood for fun. Or a blogger will put it all together for a nice short piece on blood drinkers and how they aren’t real vampires. Sometimes the people who do drink or otherwise use blood for fun, or to prolong their lives (wealthy elites, I’m looking at you), or to kick heroin (Keith Richards, now I’m looking at you), get scared about it and they want to know if it’s safe.

Because people who drink blood for fun are not crazy risk takers.

Why would you think that they are?

And that’s what’s in your basic google search about drinking blood. If you want to learn about the history of drinking blood in books, turns out you have to delve a little.

Eating blood was prohibited in the old days, the really old days.

“You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying.”

Leviticus 19:26

I guess blood was good for telling the future back then? And that was a crime?

But then Jesus came along and reversed all the trends, which was probably kinda confusing for everybody.

“For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.”

John 6:55

Tough to say exactly how many people had access to Jesus blood at the time, what the effects were, or what he meant exactly. At any rate, people carried on with drinking blood off and on with varying ideas about the benefits.

But it looks like there’s a big gap in blood drinking in literature between the Roman zeal for it and the 18th century Serb vampire craze. How did drinking blood suddenly get uncool between year zero-ish and the 1700s?

Or were people just not writing it down? Maybe they wrote it down in blood. And then ate it.

Anyway, I wanted to pursue it further, with the help of real researchers and librarians, but I felt tired, as if I was low on iron. That’s just what happens when you don’t drink blood.

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