The Moment Blood Harvest Was Born

September 4, 2013 at 8:57 pm

I remember it was a hot summer day during my fifth trimester of Chiropractic college when the concept of writing my novel, “Blood Harvest” first took root in my head. Truth be told I had always been writing… something, mostly ideas for novels or scenes that played like clips from big budget Hollywood films in my mind as I daydreamed through some of the more mundane moments throughout my scholastic history.

The class in question was Pathology and the conditions being lectured on were the extremely rare genetic diseases that we would very likely never see in the course of our time as Chiropractic Physicians. Normally, I found this class incredibly interesting, but the central air conditioning was out on this unusually hot day in southern California and it was all I could do to fight off the urge to put my head on my desk and sleep through the presentation. That was until I was shaken back to consciousness by the interesting name of the latest condition to be discussed.

The condition was called Xeroderma Pigmentosa, or XP for short, and my attention was held when I heard that the sufferers of the condition were known to be called “Children of the Night.” In basic explanation, the sufferers of the condition spend most of their waking hours at night as a result of the body’s inability to repair damage caused by ultraviolet light. Any exposure to ultraviolet light can lead to severe (third degree) sunburns in a matter of minutes and I suddenly wondered how someone with this condition might be perceived back in the Middle Ages. Certainly any priest who heard that exposure to sunlight made a person’s skin blacken and burn within moments would likely think the sufferer possessed, if not an outright demon/vampire. The daydream ensued and then led me to wonder if this was how the legend of vampires started in the first place.

Did our less scientifically enlightened forebears come across people with such genetic conditions and, instead of realizing they were suffering the ravages of a disease or condition, immediately categorize them as vampires? I wrote down my thoughts, believing that I had discovered, at least partially, the origin of the vampire legend.

Nearly a decade later I learned of a condition we hadn’t covered in school called Porphyria. In this case the body is unable to properly form the “heme” part of Hemoglobin in red blood cells and needs to be supplemented in order for the person to survive. This piece of the puzzle came to light within a rerun episode of CSI involving a killer who used a massive dog to slaughter her victims in order to remove their livers, kidneys and blood before disappearing. Upon her capture it was revealed that the killer was suffering from Porphyria and was consuming the stolen viscera to supplement her own deficient blood supply. Although the term “vampire” was never applied to the killer, I now had a scientific explanation of why one human being might consume the blood of another… like a vampire.

This brought back all the old memories from my moment in Pathology class and, more as a way to record my thoughts, I began writing the outline for “Blood Harvest.”