Monday, June 21, 2010


We all have it.  We don't want to drink it.  But have you ever wondered about the pretty red stuff running through your veins?  Vampires have.
Below are a few facts on blood taken from an excellent book, FIVE QUARTS: A PERSONAL AND NATURAL HISTORY OF BLOOD by Bill Hayes.  If you're interested in how blood works in your body, or even how you can relate it to a vampire tale you may be writing, I highly recommend finding this book filled with facts, history, and personal stories.

— There are 5 quarts of blood in the average human body.  It gushes through approximately 60,000 miles of arteries, veins and capillaries.  It is roughly 7.5 percent of our body weight.  Every 30 pounds of us has about a quart of blood.

— Blood tastes metallic due to being iron-rich.  2/3 of the body's stores of iron can be found in the blood.

— Blood varies in flavor from person to person.  It is tainted by what we eat, and the chemicals and medications we put in our body.  So when fictional vampires wax over a particular 'vintage' or 'flavor' that is very accurate.

venesection, the practice of opening a vein, was practiced throughout history to let out the bad blood and allow the body to produce new, fresh blood in ill patients.  Beware the vampire intent on venesection.

— the carotid artery provides a palpable, audible, and sometimes visual sign of life.  There are 7 pairs of pulse points on the body: neck, inner elbows, wrist, both sides of the groin, pit of the knees, behind the ankles, and on top of the feet.  Keep the vamps away from your knees.  (Don't say I didn't warn you.)

—Stoker wrote Dracula between two major advances in the understanding of blood: the identification in the 1880s of platelets, the circulating blood cells that aid in clotting, and the discovery of human blood groups in 1901.

—in the 16th century women would rub their faces with the blood of doves to prevent wrinkles.

—removed from the flow of the circulatory system, blood naturally separates.  If put in a test tube it settles to amber (plasma), white (white cells and platelets), and red (red cells).

— In a body at rest, a single blood cell completes a full circuit of the circulatory system in about thirty seconds.

— After the blood is drawn from the body and stored for blood donations, the platelets remain functional for only five days.  So if the blood is the life, vampires had better drink their fridge blood fast.  I'm just sayin'.  (Thanks to Tynga's correction, vamps could probably keep it in the fridge about a month.  But still, I'm thinking the fresher the better.) :-)

For more fascinating facts, read the book!


Tynga said...

So far so good, but the last fact isn't accurate.
I work in hematology and blood bank, and blood stored for donation is mixed with a safe preservative (mostly sugar and nutriements for blood cells) and are viable for an average of 30days. some cells are still viable after that delay, but we don't transfuse them, because it's not worth it.
Platelets are stored for 5 days max, but frozen plasma can be tranfuse a maximum of 1 year after it's extraction.

Lorelei said...

Good job, Michele, and great facts from Tynga. Good to have this book around, sounds like, for those of us who write about vampires.

Now, what I wand to know, does it work? I mean the using dove blood to prevent wrinkles? Not that I'd do this, but you never know when one might slit its throat in front of me one day. . .lol

steph said...

Dove's Blood, the miracle ingredient in an amazing new face cream. That is a pretty gross thing to do.
Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust

Michele Hauf said...

Tynga, thanks for that correction! I'm changing it in the post. The book was right; i just didn't put it out there right.

Tynga said...

No Problem =)
If you have any weird questions about that subject let me know =D

Witchy Woman said...

O.k....metallic got it! Varies from person to person, side note: mine is metallic coffee bean. Both sides of groin area palpates, evil grin.