All Souls Day

On All Souls’ Night we are bidden to remember the departed, but at modern Halloween we are more likely to remember that Count Dracula had a strong preference for blood freshly drawn from the neck vessels of young ladies. I suppose on bad nights he had to make do with bags of stored blood filched from the Transylvanian blood transfusion service (note to donors: avoid eating garlic for three days before attendance). For purposes other than rejuvenation, a randomised trial shows that there was no significant difference in the rate of death among those who underwent transfusion with the freshest available blood and those who underwent transfusion according to the standard practice of transfusing the oldest available blood. But this study was conducted in hospitals in Australia, Canada, Israel, and the United States, places where vampirism is little attested: other criteria may apply in the remote castles of Hungary and the ruins of Whitby Abbey.


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