Unreal Medical Conditions

By | November 28, 2018

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Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula in the 1931 adaptation / Wikimedia Commons

The medical profession has more mysteries than Sherlock Holmes could even imagine. Entire T.V. series have been made based solely on solving those mysteries. Some are based on very real conditions while others are far too outlandish to be real. And then there are the medical conditions that seem to come straight out of legends and fairy tales.

There are several medical conditions associated with vampirism, most of them exhibiting the symptom of photosensitivity. Xeroderma Pigmentosum, an incurable genetic disorder which generally manifests before age ten, is among these conditions. The disorder was first mentioned in a dermatology textbook in Vienna, Austria in 1870. Sufferers of this rare condition are extremely sensitive to ultraviolet radiation, including the sun as well as certain types of light bulbs. They can experience severe sunburn within minutes of exposure and are at a much higher risk for skin and ocular cancer. The primary treatment is prevention, i.e. the complete avoidance of sunlight.

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Lon Chaney Jr, The Wolf Man (1941)

Sometimes referred to as Werewolf Syndrome, Hypertrichosis is a genetic skin disorder that causes excessive hair growth over most of the body. While it is primarily a cosmetic disorder, it can also be a symptom of or accompanied by, a more life-threatening condition. There are several forms of hypertrichosis, but the one most often linked with lycanthropy is congenital terminal hypertrichosis due to the color and texture of the hair. This condition has been around since at least the Middle Ages as there are documented cases dating back to 1556. The first recorded case was that of Petrus Gonzales whose strange appearance led him to become an entertainer in King Henry II’s court. Other sufferers of the condition have made their living as sideshow performers.