There are an estimated 5,000 vampires in the U.S., and they live pretty much like normal people — except they drink blood. No, they don’t have real fangs but often wear them for fun. And no, they don’t hurt their blood donors. But they do believe that fresh blood, whether it be human blood or animal blood, gives them energy.
Without blood, vampires are often are not themselves and feel depleted. According to the Atlanta Vampire Alliance, many of these self-proclaimed vampires believe they cannot live without consuming blood. Rule number one for vampires, however, is they cannot drink their own blood.
Each vampire has his or her way of “feeding” on blood, according to vampire expert John Edgar Browning. Their friends and family usually allow the vampire to collect their blood and drink it for free. Other times, vampires pay their donors or reward them with sexual favors. Some resort to bleeding animals.
According to Browning vampires get a certain kind of energy from drinking blood: They can go from feeling drained to rejuvenated with just a small sample of the red stuff. On average, vampires feed two or three times a week, he said. Most never tell their doctors about their unusual diet.
Even though it’s never been studied, many vampires swear they wouldn’t be alive if they didn’t consume blood:
“One scary moment was when I was admitted to ER for having a low heart rate that would jump up to 160 when I stood up, or walked around, followed by a massive migraine, and often losing consciousness,” a vampire named Kinesia told the BBC. “Basically, my heart was working extra hard to keep everything functioning — a reaction, I believe, to about four months without feeding.”
Another vampire, named Galatea, told Vice:
“I have read all the medical hoo-ha about no human having any medical or psychological need for blood. I personally, do not care what modern medicine or the psychiatric communities have to say about it. I know what I need to be healthy. I’ve tested the theory over and over for in excess of 20 years.”
Not all vampires drink blood. About 10,000 feed on energy and 5,000 are bloodsuckers. While those who drink blood seem to need very little to feel healthy, there are those on the other extreme, like Michelle, in the video below: