View Full Version : Blood sources

08-29-2010, 09:07 PM
I'm doing some brainstorming on a sequel to a vampire story i've written and i have a character who is trying to give up killing people. Animal blood isn't doing the trick so i need to find another source of human blood for her to survive on. I've seen a lot of stories that use blood banks or hospitals so i would kind of like to come up with something a bit more creative. I've seen a lot of stories with donors as well so i'd prefer to stay away from them. Anyone got any ideas? I've thought about having her take it from corpses somehow but i have no idea how long blood lasts in a dead body, so if there are any experts on dead bodies i could use your help as well. I feel a bit weird even asking that but i guess thats what i get for writing a vamp story. :) Thanks for your help.

08-29-2010, 09:26 PM
I would say he good draw blood from a corpse for about 24-36 hours (the earlier the better tough). After that timespan the blood would be too thick to be drawn from the veins.
As far as I know.

08-29-2010, 09:49 PM
I'm a veterinarian, and I'm not that familiar with human blood. However, there are artificial blood substitutes out there for use in both people and animals. It might provide an interesting twist if your vamp is able to get by on one of the substitutes, even as a short term to bridge his way to his next human blood meal.

08-29-2010, 09:57 PM
Thanks both of you! Very helpful. :) lbender, do you happen to know what the blood substitutes are called? I may have her try a few things out and see how they work. A little blood experimenting might make an interesting subplot in the story. She may start out with the substitue, then move to corpses or something else. I tend to not know how things turn out till i start writing. My characters tend to have minds of their own.

08-29-2010, 11:33 PM
Just be careful if you decide to have her use corpses. The concept that "dead blood" (ie, non-circulating blood from corpses) is poisonous to vampires is kind of part of the common mythos thanks to Anne Rice. That doesn't mean you can't change the rules, of course, just give some explanation of how things work in your world (like Rice did in Interview With the Vampire when Daniel was asking Louis about certain long-standing vampire myths). If I didn't know the rules were different, and your character suddenly ripped into a corpse, I'd be thinking "Oooh, it's dead blood. She's gonna get sick!" and then promptly feel ripped off if she was fine. If I knew the rules though, then I'd accept it without a second thought.

08-29-2010, 11:46 PM
Blood in a dead body will clot reasonably fast, but some of it just pools (part of how lividity works). If your vamp is hungry, clotted blood would have a strange texture but would do just fine nutrition wise. The best places to get clotted blood out of a corpse is the heart and major vessels near it.

If you google blood products you'll find actual and artificial ones. One of them, oxyhemoglobin I think, has not been produced for over 5 years but is usually talked about like it's readily available.

08-30-2010, 04:03 AM
Blood in a dead body will clot reasonably fast, but some of it just pools (part of how lividity works). If your vamp is hungry, clotted blood would have a strange texture but would do just fine nutrition wise. The best places to get clotted blood out of a corpse is the heart and major vessels near it.
Hm, she could cut out the tissue where the blood clotted (should be on the back) and eat the tissue with the blood clots in it...excuse me now, I'm going to throw up.

Smiling Ted
08-30-2010, 04:11 AM
One thing to remember is that "blood" isn't just a single substance.

There are two main blood cells (red and white) the fluid they swim around in (plasma), plus dozens of other substances, factors, etc. If you're really looking to come up with something new, a little research among some primary sources might help you a lot.

Of course, if you just look at blood as a metaphor for life force - which is why the original mythic vampires fed on it, and is an idea that you can find in the Old Testament - then all this is by the wayside.

08-30-2010, 04:43 AM
I like the idea of having your character feed off dead bodies. Using blood substitutes is the basis of the Sookie Stackhouse novels and the True Blood TV series based on those novels.

08-30-2010, 04:48 AM
in microbiology, it is common to use blood agar plates to culture bacteria. Everyone from hospitals, to most doctor's offices have them or can easily order them. The source of the blood varies by cost and other logistics. Some agar plates are made from expired human blood products. Some are from slaughter house blood of a variety of sources.

Some vampires might call them cookies.

08-30-2010, 07:00 AM
There is a blood substitute for humans called hemopure (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemopure). It is currently only approved for sale and use on human subjects in South Africa. However, studies continue within the United States regarding how to improve it for human use without the (slight but real) danger of things like kidney damage.

One can imagine some kind of private project involving hemopure that might involve producing extra quantities of the stuff. Incidentally it has an impressive shelf life.

08-30-2010, 07:24 AM
Wow, there are some great response here! I never thought I would learn so much about blood. It's gross and strangely fascinating at the same time. All this extra info on blood gives me a lot to work with.:) I hadn't even thought about where the blood would pool, very helpful to know.
I'll try and explain my mythology if I decide to go the 'dead blood' route, I don't want anyone to feel cheated if they happen to read the story. The Sookie Stackhouse series is one of the few major vamp series I haven't read. It's on my to-read list but I may have to bump it up in the name of research.
I like the 'cookie thing as well, I hope i can figure out someway to use it. Thanks for the info on hemopure, very helpful. I did some googling on blood substitutes and found some info on a powdered blood sub. that the military is developing as well. Thanks everyone, great suggestions.

08-30-2010, 05:08 PM
Hm, she could cut out the tissue where the blood clotted (should be on the back) and eat the tissue with the blood clots in it...excuse me now, I'm going to throw up.

Well, don't read on then :)

Blood in a dead body either clots, or stays liquid. It's the liquid stuff that shifts through the tissues. So when you flip over a dead body and see the dark stained tissue, they don't have micro clots in them. There's no 'pressure' to activate the clotting cascade at this point.

There's also something called a chicken fat clot...

Spleen and even liver and pancreas are great sources of blood in a corpse. Said blood will ooze with every bite... Mmmmm.

Blood plates are also a neat idea. It's like vampire 'bread' or really, Jello.

08-30-2010, 09:31 PM
Blood in a dead body either clots, or stays liquid..

Actually it does both. When someone dies, the blood will begin a clotting cascade. At some point, typically hours after death, all the blood has clotted. A few hours, maybe a day or so later, those clots will start to lyse since the machinery to make clotting factors is gone. That is when the blood spots or pooling start to show up. There are a lot of variables involved based on size, ambient temperature etc. and you'd probably want to talk to a forensic investigator to get actual guidelines. It's also why some butchers will hang their meat. A few days after butchering, the meat will start to drain...

08-30-2010, 09:55 PM
My knowledge on this is largely limited to playing Vampire: The Masquerade, a pencil-and-paper vampire RPG. If your character can have even a tiny snack on a living person without killing them or changing them into a vampire, there are some pretty easy and perfectly ethical options available.

My favorite was a character of mine who got very close with a group of goth teenagers. They were *thrilled* to get bitten, so long as there were no negative side effects, and some of them repeatedly asked to be "turned" (my character refused). There were various benefits to this arrangement; it allowed the character to "hide" right out in the open, gave her a stable source of blood that was large and varied enough that she didn't have to pull too much from any one person, and it gave her a small group of mortals willing to work on her behalf.

08-31-2010, 01:05 AM
There's also the comatose ward in the hospital--or the intensive parts of some mental wards, where you might be able to feed on some people without them noticing (or being believed, anyway).

During Mardi Gras in New Orleans, you could openly feed on someone in the street in front of the police. No one would notice. I've heard something similar about Carnivale in Venice, Italy.

08-31-2010, 07:02 PM
Thanks for the great suggestions :)

08-31-2010, 07:22 PM
as a phlebotomist at a blood bank and simply draw an extra tube from everyone who donates. The red cap tubes (varies by manufacturers) are simply plain evacuated tubes, no additives. Your vamp probably wouldn't want to work in a hospital since there there will be mostly sick patients, whereas donors will by and large be healthy.

Tsu Dho Nimh
09-01-2010, 01:25 AM
Is she rich enough to fund some stem cell research? Making real human blood from certain stem cells is now possible. Maybe she could work night shift in the lab for them?

She could also get the blood that is removed for treating hemochromatosis - blood banks won't take it for transfusions.

09-01-2010, 04:20 AM
Thanks for the great suggestions :) The phlebotomist thing is interesting. My MC isn't very wealthy. Most of her money came from her victims in the past but since she is no longer killing its going to be harder to get. She does have some wealthy friends she can borrow from if needed though. She is going to be moving around quite a bit but i do need to find a way to get some extra cash in places so i may do something with the phlebotomist or stem cell thing. She has very little formal education though so it may be tricky to get her a very science heavy job and make it believable.

09-01-2010, 05:07 PM
She has very little formal education though so it may be tricky to get her a very science heavy job and make it believable.

If it helps, phlebotomy is typically an "on the job" training sort of occupation. Hospitals and such prefer them to "certified" because they can pay them less. The only requirement was passing the interview when I got the job several decades ago. However they might have asked to see a transcript that showed that I was taking a college course in some sort of science. That part is a bit vague in my memory. I can't quite remember.

09-01-2010, 05:20 PM
Phlebotomy isn't that easy to get into anymore, George. I work in an outpatient clinic and most of our medical assistants are not phlebotomists. It's a post-graduate class for them that lasts about 6 weeks, IIRC. I could go ask our MAs if the interest in there, but it's not part of the standard training. It's something that most nurses aren't trained to do anymore either, FWIW.

But it is a good idea. Phlemotomists (called vampires by hospital workers, so that could be fun too if she's not used to being addressed openly as such) prepare their own baskets for tubes that they're expecting to fill at that point and no one really questions how many vials you take. There are several clinics (ours included) that add compounds to the red-topped (empty) tubes, but since she'd have control of the basket, she'd know what was what.

It's a thought.

09-01-2010, 05:31 PM
It's a post-graduate class for them that lasts about 6 weeks, IIRC..

Just a guess, (things certainly may have changed since then) but I think that you are talking about what we called "certified" phlebotomists, and by post-grad you mean after high school since there'd be no logical reason to require a bachelor's degree to be a leech, mosquito, vampire, blood sucker, I'm sure I heard them all?

09-01-2010, 05:33 PM
Post-grad, meaning after they completed their MA courses. ;)

09-01-2010, 05:36 PM
Post-grad, meaning after they completed their MA courses. ;)

I'm sure that Master of Arts is not what you are referring to.

Medical...help me out here

09-01-2010, 05:39 PM
Medical Assistant ;)

09-01-2010, 05:43 PM
Medical Assistant ;)

Ah! I was thinking Medical Allied Health Profession...no too many letters. I'm convinced that they keep changing the acronyms just to confuse me.

Iwill lose terribly if I ever get into Cash Cab

09-01-2010, 05:57 PM
Sit with me then. We'll rock that cabbie. ;)

09-01-2010, 07:47 PM
Thank you for all the suggestions and ideas :) Very helpful.

09-10-2010, 05:47 AM
My first thought for a low skilled vampire, who needs relatively short term work and a steady supply of "victimless" blood is a hospice or possibly a retirement home. She could be a night worker, even a janitor.
I've heard many deaths happen at 4am in the morning... not much problem with congealing blood if she manages to get there right away (she could be like Oscar the cat) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_%28therapy_cat%29) or if she doen't fancy dead blood at all, she could feed on people who are in comas and days/hours from death. Even if they wake up, who would believe them? And, for the most part, no one will do an autopsy if she happens to go too far. She could even argue to herself that she was saving them from a long, drawn out death.

Only problem with that would be the grieving family members everywhere, but (unfortunately) lots of people don't have as many as you'd expect.
In New Zealand at least, many workers at these places tend to be unskilled and low paid (which I think is a real shame, considering what valuable and difficult work they do).
I'm actually not usually this cynical :) Good luck with your story!

09-10-2010, 06:27 PM
Don't forget, if she's feeding from corpses, she's going to have a lot of sucking to do. Or she could hang them up to drain, I guess.

09-10-2010, 09:58 PM
Thanks guys for the great suggestions. I hadn't given much thought to actually getting the blood out of the bodies. Time to do some more planning... :)

09-11-2010, 12:43 AM
JimmyB27s comment got me wondering~ would leeches be a plausible way of getting blood? If she is able to attatch them to unknowing victims, she could remove them and eat them to get a small amount of blood (good thing my MC isn't sqeamish.) I've heard about doctors using them occasionally. Is it something that would sound beleivable?