More on the retrovirus theory

In my research I came across this article “Alternate Thinking ~ The Vampire Retrovirus.” Part article and part interview it once again posits that real vampires exist and they are created by inheriting a DNA mutating retrovirus from at least one parent. They suggest that, in an individual with this mutation, when exposed to a certain hormone (they don’t identify what hormone) or a high level of a certain hormone during puberty they “awaken” or become fully a vampire.

The authors (Tim, Izidari and Danica. No last names given.) revisit Steve Leighton’s notion that vampirism is a HERV or Human Endogenous Retrovirus. They provide a more cogent presentation of this theory and present the argument that because the human genome has not been completely mapped it is impossible to rule out their theory.

The most compelling part of their argument is the fact that The Human Genome Project has not mapped at least eight percent of the 23,000 human genes. One of the specific areas that have yet to be fully investigated are the DNA heterochromatic regions.

Heterochromatin has been associated with several functions, from gene regulation to the protection of the integrity of chromosomes according to Grewal and Jia in “Heterochromatin revisited”. in Nature Reviews Genetics. That article goes on to state “If evolution makes sense only in the context of the regulatory control of genes, we propose that heterochromatin, which is the main form of chromatin in higher eukaryotes, is positioned to be a deeply effective target for evolutionary change. Future investigations into assembly, maintenance and the many other functions of heterochromatin will shed light on the processes of gene and chromosome regulation.”

This is where they authors believe that the proof of vampirism will eventually be found. A genetic mutation caused by an inherited,  retrovirus induced, defect causing an alternate evolutionary path for humans who have this anomaly.

This is an excellent theory but remains at this time, like all other serious theories of vampirism, impossible to prove or disprove. In my search for answers I am still basically at square one.

(p.s. – Jen has forgiven me. I am free to blog but she has negotiated the right to pre-approval if she is mentioned in my posts.)

Danger, Will Robinson, Danger

Apparently I am an idiot.

I hadn’t mentioned writing this blog to Jen yet. I was still torn between thinking the blog was a good idea and thinking the blog was a lame idea. I was going to give it a few weeks and then decide whether to kill it or keep going.  But (yes, this is the idiot part) I left my laptop open and on the coffee table when I took Dave out for a walk. Jen’s office had an IT malfunction with their network and vpn and sent everyone home early.

Yep. She read my blog and was:

1. Happy I’m obsessed with vampires now.

but

2. Super pissed I didn’t tell her I was blogging about it.

and

3. Even more pissed that she thinks I made her sound like “a fourteen year old Twi-hard.”

So, for the record, Jen is a grown woman who happens to find the vampire genre intriguing and thought provoking. Nothing more, nothing less.

I have nothing more. Good night.

P. S. – If Jen forgives me I’ll be back. If not, well… I’m not going to f*ck up my relationship over a blog about vampires. Seriously. Not gonna happen.

The Second Guy Who Got Me Thinking

So now you know the whole thing about my girlfriend Jen and vampires. In the last post I wrote about the book that got her started and how I read it to be a “good” boyfriend who shows an interest in her interests. The book was good and now I am interested.

My mom was right. Jen was pretty much blown away that I read any vampire book let alone her favorite one. …and I did enjoy it. But it really got me thinking about this vampire thing. It is a crazy hot topic these days. Jen isn’t the only one who thinks vampires are real. I did a Google search for “real vampires” and the result was a ridiculous amount of websites. The perpetual grad student in me duly noted and bookmarked each for more in-depth review later.

I ignored this stuff for a while but it just kept randomly coming back at me. You know how you never really notice love songs until you’ve just gone through a breakup and then all of a sudden the entire world soundtrack is nothing but love songs? That’s how the vampire thing was. Weird news stories in my feed, vampire memes on Facebook and songs that I’d heard a million times before that started to take on a new meaning when I heard them through my new vamp filter.

Push came to shove when I started dreaming about vampires – and I don’t mean occasionally. Like every f*cking night for two weeks. I tried to just focus on my happy place (just me on a massage table in some tropical oasis with the best not-chatty-type massage therapist and the sound of waves gently breaking) before I went to sleep. No. Didn’t work.

I was too embarrassed to tell my friends. I told my mom I was having trouble sleeping and she offer me Ambien. Um, no.

I’ve seen a truckload of people I know on Ambien. They’re batsh*t crazy in the ten minutes before they fall asleep. AND, this is a big “and”, they get up and do weird sh*t. Eat a half a bag of dog food, pee in the hall closet or decide to drive to Costco and stock up on a forty year supply of cheesy poof balls in the gallon size plastic jar. No thanks.

I finally told Scott what was really going on. Now, I’ve known Scott since we were six and his family bought the house across the street from us. Scott stalked my backyard for three months trying to get an invite to play war with my crew. He was an outsider dork for that first three months but earned his place and we’ve had a pretty serious bromance ever since. (Yes, I said bromance. I’m not ashamed. Scott’s my brother from another mother.)

Scott’s solution was Benadryl. Yes, the allergy stuff. His exact word were “this sh*t’ll lay you out dude. Swear to freakin’ Christ you won’t dream about sh*t.”

On Scott’s advice and against my better judgement I took four Benadryl. Did I mention that Scott’s a pharmacy tech? He was a jet engine flight line mechanic until the demon weed took over and he flunked his piss test. Apparently no one syncs up those kind of records because he is a full fledged pharmacy dude now. To his credit he hasn’t smoked out in over four years now so you’re probably safe.

Anyway Scott assured me that a guy my size would be given 100 mg of Benadryl in the emergency room for any kind of allergic reaction with no problem.

Scott was right I did not dream about vampires. I did not dream. I also did not wake up the next morning. I slept through my alarm. I slept through the back up alarm on my cell. I slept through everything. I woke up at 5:17 pm the next day because Dave, our yellow lab, jumped on me and me and pawed me awake. He had to pee. Bad.

To Dave’s credit he didn’t pee or sh*t in the house. He’s reliable like that. I’ll tell you more about Dave another time – he probably deserves his own blog.

Now I don’t know if I’m just a mama’s boy who doesn’t know it or what – but again it was my mom who had the right advice. I finally just told her the whole story about why I was have sleep problems and she said “Well, Michael sometimes you just need to follow the lead the universe keeps pitching at you.”

What?

My mom is, very seriously, a super anti-weirdness practicing Catholic. WTF?

She sounded so… I don’t know. New agey? I don’t have a word for it. But she went on to say that maybe if I just immersed myself in this for a while I’d get it out of my system and I might be able to sleep. Ok. That sounded more mom-like. Get it out of my system. I can do that.

Which brings me to… the second guy that got me thinking.

I took mom’s advice. I started out on Google with the search phrase “real vampires.”  The search results were impressive in numbers alone. Real or not, there are a lot of people who think they are and are willing to pay for a website to proclaim it.  The first one that really caught my eye was Vampires.net.

The guy behind this site, Steve Leighton, is very serious about this stuff. From his comments page it looks like he is willing to debate anybody on the virtue of his theory of vampires. He presents his theory on the homepage of the site right up front. What is also interesting is the right sidebar discussion on psychotic depression, chronic fatigue syndrome and catalepsy. Not sure I get the connection.

Steve’s theory is that vampires are real and that they are suffering from infection with an endogenous retrovirus which he calls vHERV. He presents his case in a semi-haphazard manner with sketchy “sources” but he does make a point. Vampires could be real. They could be people with a weird, little known gene defect that makes them susceptible to a virus that causes a vampire mutation syndrome.

He has a ton of other stuff on his site – the new vampire code, how to find a real vampire and a list of links but it was his theory that I keep thinking about because if vampires are real then how? What science can explain the leap from fiction to fact?

The more I read about virology the more I like the theory. Steve doesn’t do a very good job of making his case but his core belief in the virus idea is plausible. Check out his site at Vampires.net and see what you think.

This guy got me thinking.

So I am a guy who didn’t give a rip about this whole vampire thing until a few months ago. But my girlfriend did – and still does.

Jen (my gf) has been obsessed with vampires since she read The World on Blood as a teenager. I love her but I’ve spent a good part of the last few years gaming while she watches Twilight part seventy four or the twentieth season of True Blood. Kind of frustrating.

I was semi-bitching about it a few months ago and my mom (bless her heart) says “Well, Michael a good boyfriend would take an interest in his girlfriend’s hobbies.” I conceded the possibility that mom was right. I decided that at the very least I would make an effort to the read the book that got Jen so vamp crazy.

It was good. I killed it in three days. I expected crap of the chick-lit variety. Not so much.

I can’t believe that this guy (Jonathan Nasaw) doesn’t have his own blockbuster franchise of vampire books and movies. Probably because there is a gay element. The main character is a gay vampire who is trying to get off blood – well at least the kind that comes from unwilling donors. He goes to 12 step meetings (loaded with crazy characters) held at a church run by a non-vampire lesbian pastor.

This book has it all: flashbacks to the wild drugged out seventies, straight/gay/orgy sex, a vampire mythology I’ve never heard or read before and it is written really well. If you are at all interested in the whole vampire craze thing you should read The World on Blood.  You can thank me later.

Jen insists that there are real vampires. I think not but I have an open mind. I been doing a little research and I’ve found some things that make me wonder so stay tuned.

Click here to get or read about The World on Blood by Jonathan Nasaw