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I tried to stick with vampire folklore and the various movies/shows about vampires when I thought of how vampires would be like if they really existed, but I also wanted to keep it as realistic as possible so here's what I came up with:

  • Immortal but can die of being decapitated, stabbed through the heart, or burned.
  • Need human blood to survive.
  • Vampire blood has the ability to heal if ingested by a human, and it can turn a human if they are killed after ingesting it (I read somewhere that human blood sustains life but vampire blood is life itself)
  • Heightened senses, fangs, red glowing eyes, but no claws.
  • No mind control, no need of being invited in order to enter a house, no turning into bats or mist, and no burning in the sun. I still haven't decided if they need to sleep, but I'm leaning on no for that too.
  • Vampires can reproduce but it's rare and takes a lot of blood (?), and bitten vampires can't reproduce (idk where I was going with this tbh)
  • They breathe and their heart does beat (because if it didn't, it's impossible for blood to reach all parts of the body) but when they're low on blood you can barely hear it. When it stops beating they enter a coma-like state that they can't get out of without someone feeding them blood (or smth)

I would think a blood test would reveal them, but I'm wondering how. So with this information, can you guys help me?

(I've hit a wall with this because my character is undergoing a blood test and I'm not sure how to continue writing without someone's help or going to med school T_T)

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    $\begingroup$ Folklore based vampire are unscientific and unrealistic by definition. I don't know what are you expecting from a science based answer here. It's your story, it's up to you. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Nov 22 '20 at 5:19
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    $\begingroup$ I guess I'm just wondering if it's possible that a blood test wouldn't reveal a person to be a vampire. For example, if the properties in a vampire's blood isn't something current scientific equipment can detect or if it would just seem like a super healthy human being.(I'm not very familiar with biology tbh so I don't really know if there can be a scientific answer to this) $\endgroup$ – Lyra Nov 22 '20 at 5:29
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    $\begingroup$ Let me rephrase it: you say nothing about the physiology of the vampires, so we cannot tell how that would be noticeable in a test. It's like I tell you "Today is Sunday and I am wearing a jacket. How many donuts has Jason eaten?". $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Nov 22 '20 at 5:49
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    $\begingroup$ If it's a vampire pumpkin then a blood test should easily distinguish a vampire from a human. Folklore is many and varied. $\endgroup$ – Arcanist Lupus Nov 22 '20 at 6:08
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    $\begingroup$ Just the fact that vampiric blood can heal should make it possible distinguish from human blood. $\endgroup$ – NomadMaker Nov 22 '20 at 16:05
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The blood of a vampire is a culmunation of the blood of all its victims, with some of that blood being used up to keep the vampire alive giving you the reason to drink blood in the first place.

The problem is that the vampire is mixing blood types. Blood type A+, A-, B+, B-, O+, O-, AB+ and AB- will all have a chance to be present. Mixing blood types is dangerous for humans as these blood types will clump together and block blood vessels.

In order to have useful blood the vampires have something in their blood, either mystical or physiological, that prevents this cluttering. Someone taking a blood test could notice this. You have some options:

  1. the blood loses its mystical protection and immediately clumps together, revealing something's up. Blood typing is done by mixing an A or B type blood and seeing when it starts clumping, so an immediate clumping before you add something is rather surprising.
  2. the blood keeps its mystical protection and never clumps, protecting the identity of the vampire
  3. the physiological protection keeps the blood from clumping. This is likely not discovered through any regular blood tests as no clumping means an AB blood type. Some tests can be done that forces AB blood to clump, if that doesn't happen it will reveal the oddity of the vampire blood.
  4. the physiological protection fails and blood starts to clump.
  5. the physiological protection is a rather obvious part of the blood, perhaps changing its color when outside the body or a similar trait, revealing the vampire.

Choice is yours.

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    $\begingroup$ It is customary to wait 24 hours before accepting an answer. This gives people all over the world time to respond to the post. If you accept one early it discourages people from formulating their answer. $\endgroup$ – Demigan Nov 22 '20 at 15:32
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    $\begingroup$ why shoud blood types mix? they aren't injecting the blood, they drink it. $\endgroup$ – ths Nov 22 '20 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ @ths "normal" vampires (that I hear about lore-wise) contain the blood of their victims in their bloodstream after drinking it. You could ofcourse assume that this doesnt happen because the OP hasnt put solid definitions to the vampire physiology. But at that point you can assume any idea is flawed, like Henry tailors second vascular idea. That would make most questions unanswerable or make the questions answer themselves. $\endgroup$ – Demigan Nov 22 '20 at 19:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Demigan But there are some tests that can be performed with AB human blood outside of the body that will result in clumping. $\endgroup$ – Joseph Sible-Reinstate Monica Nov 22 '20 at 23:06
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    $\begingroup$ Where does it ever say the blood of a vampire is based on the blood he or she drank? Isn't it just a rich protein shake that, and the vampire digestive system is based on drinking blood as food source? $\endgroup$ – paul23 Nov 24 '20 at 1:50
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Let's not overcomplicate things. First, vampires drink blood not to replace/replenish their own blood directly but they merely digest it. Thus the clumping test would fail. (Just think about you eating a blood sausage - it wouldn't affect your blood except for the inherent nutrients.)

Now, their blood's ability to heal if ingested by a human is something that is new to me and seems to be something that has popped up only in in recent years. Ingesting is troublesome here (for the same reasons as the blood sausage), an injection seems more promising. (The last work of fiction that I consumed that did this was Star Trek - Into Darkness where a tribble and Kirk both get resurrected via "super-blood". A horrible deus ex machina and very bad writing).

My suggestion would be to combine two classic traits. Aversion to garlic and rapid wound healing. Part of the wound healing process if fibrin which glues together an open wound. Having a very high amount of that in your blood so that is seems that wounds heal instantly would be a good trait for a vampire to have. That, together with garlic acting as an anticoagulant(!) would explain why they heal fast, don't like garlic and is readily checkable in a lab.

If all else fails, the lab personnel can randomly pass by a mirror and see an empty tube. :P (Yes, just because vampires don't have a mirror image must not mean their blood won't either but it would be a "natural" trope.)

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This is my personal take on the mechanics vampirism.

A vampire has a symbiont/parasite living in its heart. This is why a stake to the heart is fatal, but many otherwise mortal injuries are recoverable. (Decapitation and fire kills most things, it's not a special vampire weakness)

This symbiont acts like a super liver/spleen/stem cell source (circulating symbiont stem cells in the vampires blood). Which provides super healing/long life abilities.

To turn a human to a vampire you need to drain almost all of the humans blood as the white blood cells defend against the invading symbiote [stem cells] in the vampire blood (which the vampire gives to their new 'child' to drink).

The symbiote provides many benefits, but has the drawback that silver and garlic are toxic to it. Also part of the essential nutrients it needs are found in blood. Which is why vampires have their peculiar diet. The stomach acid/enzymes are able to kill off any white blood cells they ingest. (So in theory you could kill a vampire by giving it a blood transfusion!) So they can and do still eat normal food, but it is not really a balance diet for them. So they need to supplement it with blood.

So to answer your question, vampire blood would not have any human white blood cells, but would have a an excess of super powered symbiote blood/stem cells.

Just so you know most blood work is done automatically/electronically these days. A drop of blood is viewed by a camera and uses image recognition to count the red blood cells and the different types of white blood cells. Humans have 5 different types of white blood cell. Some attack bacteria others attack parasites or cancer etc. A Dr. will look at the various white blood cell counts to help diagnose the the cause of an illness. So vampiric symbiosis could prevent one of these types (replacing it with its own) while ignoring the others. This might mean a Dr would misdiagnose a vampire as having Eosinophilia or Neutrophilia or something (those are just guesses you may want to ask a more specific question here or maybe on medical SE for plausible mis-diagnoses of vampirism when viewing a full blood count)


As to sun light I have two thoughts on how that would work:

  1. The circulating symbiote in the blood is sensitive to UV light which causes the release of toxins/intracelular enzymes, as they are damaged; and the loss of the vampires replacement immune system. Which leads to bad rapid sun burn, sloughing the of skin and in severe cases, necrotizing fasciitis.
  2. UV light doesn't directly harm vampires. They are pale and get sun burnt easily and have photophobia (bright light hurts their eyes), but those are just inconveniences; which modern sunscreen and fashionable glasses can deal with. However it does inactivate their vampiric abilities. So they lose their rapid healing and anti-ageing. This would mean going in the sun makes you get older, lose your youth and get one step further to dying of 'old age'. The more 'immortality' you have, the more you fear it being taken away from you.

Other vampire effects:

  1. The symbiote almost always causes infertility (the circulating symbiont can cross [testes|placenta]/blood barrier and fights off other 'invading parasites') So vampires can only reproduce symbiotically
  2. Hypnosis is not a thing, but they can produce pheromones which induce fear, relaxation, lust etc, in those near to them. (This is totally plausible, I know of people who get turned on, (and unconsciously sometimes start following the trail), if someone walking past them are wearing Fahrenheit by Christian Dior)
  3. A vampires bite, like wise, is venomous, injecting anti coagulants, pheromones, and healing accelerant factors. (From an evolutionary biology point of view, this means they can get close to their prey, get what they need, and get away without people (with pitch forks) noticing. This could even be beneficial to the victims; they have anemia and feel a bit woosie for a couple of days but get a temporary shot of healing and anti-aging serum! Sounds a good trade!
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Perhaps your vampires have a duplicate vascular system. A full set of circulatory vessels which run close to the bone to carry the vampire blood and a second set, closer to the skin which mimics the human vascular system. This second set of veins would be where they keep the blood from their most recent kill; sort of like an extra stomach for an all liquid diet.

In that case, as long as the blood sample came from this second, easier to access, circulatory system, it would be absolutely normal human blood, perhaps with a little vampire saliva in it but even with that anomaly, totally indistinguishable from any person who has recently been bitten.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's an interesting way to look at it. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Lyra Nov 22 '20 at 7:25
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You might not be able to use microscope to study it, because vampires can't show up in mirrors, so any microscope that uses mirrors would be useless. And forget taking photos of the blood.

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    $\begingroup$ This only goes for mirrors that are made of silver, which is a pure metal. Link $\endgroup$ – SirDuckduck Nov 23 '20 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ Actually most cameras don't use mirrors, at least not to take the photo itself - sometimes the viewfinder uses a mirror, but the light striking the film generally goes straight through the lens to the film. (And yes, that was what I thought too until I looked it up, and yes, that was why I looked it up. :-) ) $\endgroup$ – A. B. Feb 9 at 6:40
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I was planning to answer:

A very high vitamin D deficiency. Vampires in most lore can not withstand sunlight which is the main source of vitamin D for most life forms.

I like this idea story wise as it's not too obvious, but does invite the protagonist (or whoever) to investigate it more.

But this only works if vampires have a reason to stay out of the sun, which your version does not.

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The actual vampire disease is like lichen. Lichen are composed of fungi and algae or bacteria cells (the non-fungi partner is a photosynthesizer), but in the case of vampirism, it's just a bacteria and fungus combo (the energy comes from parasitic fungus in this case). When one drinks vampire blood with a healthy immune system, the body takes up the bacteria which have healing properties, but the immune system destroys the fungal cells. If someone is on the verge of death or the immune system is otherwise compromised, they are fully colonized by the hybrid organism, fungus and bacteria alike.

When one fully becomes a vampire, the fungus makes them avoid sunlight, silver and garlic, to which the disease has a negative reaction. It controls people like cordyceps or any of the other zombie diseases commonly known about these days. The blood drinking behavior is both to feed the fungus-bacteria hybrid in the host and to create a new host.

If you do a blood test on a vampire, you will clearly see a bacterial and fungal infection and further testing will show a mass of fungus near the heart.

https://youtu.be/Fkw_VF5zDT0 https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trouble_with_Lichen

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Vampires are dead people pretty much by definition and tend to spend their days like other corpses, in a coffin. If it's not dead (or undead) it's not a vampire.

You may be trying to create a living thing with some vampiric properties, but that's tricky science-wise.

If you can get blood from a vampire, it would be blood from a dead person which would certainly be noticeable.

Other vampire characteristics - reaction to crosses, garlic, mustard seeds etc, even a need for blood, really don't fit in with science so the whole thing is up to you.

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It would be obious because when they do the blood test it would reveal that the vampire has a mix of different types of blood.

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  • $\begingroup$ This would only mean that the blood looks like AB+ blood. Which is not unusual. $\endgroup$ – DarcyThomas Dec 4 '20 at 4:47

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