Throughout the ages ever since primitive man an attraction has existed toward human blood. It is thought this attraction originated in early man, when he observed a man losing blood he also saw the man eventually would weaken and die if the bleeding did not stop. Naturally it was concluded that the blood contained the man's life.
Gradually over time a magical connection to blood evolved too. Not only did the man's blood contain his life, but it also contained his experiences, characteristics and qualities. Soon it came to be thought these characteristics and qualities could be passed onto others if they consumed or were touched by the blood. The relationship here lies in the magical Law of Contagion..)
In ancient Roman it was thought epilepsy could be cured by drinking a slain gladiator's blood. It was believed that the gladiator's strength and healthy vitality would be transferred to the epileptic. It was thought the blood must be consumed immediately before these qualities dissipated. Pliny in his "Natural History" wrote that some epileptics found it more effective to reach the gladiator before he died and vigorously gulp his blood as it spurted from his wounds.
The Hungarian Countess, and sadist, Elizabeth Bathory bathed in human blood to preserve her looks. The blood supply came from peasant girls who she kept chained and locked in her castle cellar. Their youthful blood was supposed to keep the Countess' skin looking young. When arrested in 1610 the bodies of some fifty girls were found in the cellar.
The Countess once wrote her husband of a torture trick she had recently learned. It was to catch a black hen and beat it to death with a white cane. The blood was to be kept. Then it was to be smeared on an enemy's body. If one could not get close enough, then try to get a piece of the enemy's clothing and put the blood on it.
The magical theory was that the enemy would undergo the same agonizing death as the hen. Beating a black hen to death with a white cane is an intriguing example of reconciliating opposites, or the magical Law of Synthesis.
The blood of an executed criminal also contains a strong attraction for some people. Supposedly it is a strong protection against disease and misfortune. The reason is the blood is said to carry the person's vigorous energy, since he died perfectly healthy, and his resentment because of his execution. Spectators at the executions of Charles I of England and Louis XVI of France struggled to dip pieces of cloth and handkerchiefs in their blood to preserve it.
When in 1934 F.B.I. agents shot down John Dillinger, the notorious killer and bank robber, on a Chicago street people around quickly dipped handkerchiefs and pieces of paper in his pool of blood. Women even got it on the hems of their skirts and dresses. The source of blood was soon gone but enterprising merchants soon fabricated more and sold it in large quantities.
To some this may seem absurd, but the act continues daily in the consecration of the Catholic Mass. In an act that extends from the Last Supper recorded in the New Testament of the Bible (Mt. 26:26), the priest mystical changes bread and wine to the body and blood of Christ and consumes it in a ritual sacrifice. Then the communicants consume it too for the purpose of receiving Christ and His blessings into themselves. Protestants also remember this act in their communion services. A.G.H.