Have you ever seen a pool of blood and found yourself getting thirsty? Have you ever said “I could eat a horse” and meant it? If so, you may be suffering from Renfield syndrome, a type of clinical vampirism that causes people to think that they’re real vampires, or that they’re running out of their own blood and need to replace it in order to survive.
Renfield (or Renfield's) syndrome comes from the name of Count Dracula's BFF, a raving lunatic who ate insects in the hopes of becoming a member of the undead, but the term is now used to discuss people who think they’re vampires, or who feel a pathological need to drink blood without qualifying themselves as a Universal monster.
This vampire disease afflicts such a small percentage of the population that you probaby don’t have to worry about, but if you enjoy the taste of blood, or you look to real vampires as role models, then you should check out all the symptoms of Renfield disease just to make sure that you don’t need to check yourself into a clinic immediately.
It’s safe to say that every modern vampire who actually drinks blood has some form of Renfield disease. They may not have the full-fledged schizophrenia that some sufferers have, but there is some bugaboo in their brains telling them to suck blood, nonetheless. Keep reading to discover how to spot the signs of Renfield’s disease in you and your friends.
You Suffered A Bloody Childhood EventPhoto: Universal Pictures
Renfield Syndrome begins at a young age, and if you had an accident as a child where you were cut deeply or were made to swallow a lot of blood for some reason, then you're more than likely to have a pathological interest in the sweet nectar of life. It isn't out of the ordinary for a childhood trauma to cause a psychological issue, but it's kind of weird that drinking blood could cause you to want to drink more blood.
You Feel Sexual Arousal At The Sight Of BloodPhoto: Fénix Films Filmar
According to psychologist Richard Noll, who cheekily came up with the whole Renfield thing, one of the three stages of Renfield syndrome becoming a full-fledged mental illness is sexual arousal at the sight of blood. This tends to occur when someone enters puberty, and if you or someone you know is around blood then, you should probably get them to the nearest 19th-century sanitarium post haste.
You Drink Your Own BloodPhoto: Columbia Pictures
After someone with Renfield has passed "being aroused by blood," the next step on their blood-soaked journey is to drink some blood, of course. As the person's autovampirism progresses, they begin to self-inflict wounds in order to drink their own blood. According to Richard Noll, the blood letting has "compulsive components." Do you think it's better to drink your own blood or someone else's?
You're Probably A GuyPhoto: Columbia Pictures
So here's the thing with Renfield syndrome: not only is it incredibly rare in the general population, but it's also pretty much never occurs in women (except for in one very notable account). There's no known reason for why men gravitate towards this proclivity, only that it "has a mystical quality, as if it can enhance their lives." Many of the people who have claimed to have a version of Renfield Syndrome seem to believe that the blood cures them of something, or that it replenishes them in some way, although that's likely a sign of another mental illness.