blood disorder

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Author Bram Stoker did not invent the vampire 120 years ago when he published the novel Dracula, originally titled The Un-Dead, in 1897. And while the word “vampyre” first appeared in the English language in the 18th century, more than a hundred years before Stoker touched a typewriter, the vampire myth originates much further back in history, and might be rooted in biology.

Manifestations of the vampire appear as far back as Mesopotamian folklore and in Ancient Greece. Elsewhere, they are the vetalas in the sanskrit Baital Pachisi, the peuchen in Chile, the West African asanbosam, the jiangshi in China, the Filipino aswang, and the Baobhan Sith in Scotland — as just a few examples. While each iteration has its differences, they remain bloodthirsty creatures (literally or metaphorically speaking) that shun sunlight. Now a newly discovered genetic mutation that triggers a blood disorder could explain this vampire-defining characteristic.

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