Blood, that warm liquid that pulses just below the skin warming it to the touch. The thick pumping of the heart thundering the life inside of it can be clearly heard if you are close enough. Life spreads through the blood like the warmth of a fire trickling over your skin on a cool November night. An elixir that keeps the body alive as well as becoming a vessel to feed the undying hunger from the immortals. Since the beginning of time, power has run through the veins of the living.
Now that I have your attention, (er, Gaga has,) it is time to get on with the topic of conversation from this season’s American Horror Story: blood and what it does to a person. There is a slight chance you are already infected with a real live virus that affects the way you think.
Peaked your interest? Read on to discover what “real live” virus you might be carrying; but first—let’s take a look at the blood virus in AHS Hotel.
The blood does more than smooth your wrinkles.
The Countess has been infected by an ancient virus that grants eternal life, but not immortality, since the vessel that carries this virus can still be destroyed. Once introduced into a host’s blood stream, this virus takes over the body in order to protect itself.
We have seen the cuts on the body, healed along with Donovan’s cut on his face that healed after he was turned. There is more going on than just the virus repairing the outside of it’s new house, it is also making some changes to the interior. From what we have seen, empathy appears to be one of the first things to go when the mind is being rewritten: Killing is no longer a moral dilemma thanks to the virus. Removing empathy from the brain is key for the virus to keep it’s host alive and to keep the fresh supply of blood coming.
Vampirism should come with a handbook.
When the Countess turned Alex, it was so she would become the children’s governess. Unfortunately, she did not receive even the basic instruction on her new condition. Even telling Alex not to share her blood with anyone might have stopped the bloodbath at the school. Of course, rational Alex would have known not to give her infected blood to Max, especially when she is suffering through the change going on in her body.
As a doctor she took the oath to do no harm, but yet she does without a second thought of the outcome. It is almost like the virus wants to be spread. All power comes with rules, or at the very least, safety protocols. Vampires are the creatures that live in the shadows. It prevents attention from pointing them out, enabling the natives to grab the pitchforks and torches before they storm the castle.
Want to be a vampire? Easy peasy.
We learn that the virus is spread easily. There is no need to slice the body open and drink from it, as just a drop of blood was all it took for Alex to infect his girlfriend—much like how the Rage virus was passed in 28 Days Later.
There’s also an interesting observation with the infection of the children in the school: It would seem that the younger, the host the faster the transformation. Within minutes Max’s girlfriend is transformed; then, within the time span of the class, the rest of the students are infected and killing the staff with no regard for what they are doing. There is even a plan in place for the arrival of the police. No second thoughts on the mass murder just committed by any of the children.
It’s not vampirism, but just as scary: Real-life examples of viruses that affect your brain
If you thought that viruses that affected your brain could only happen on film, then it is time to interject with the things that nightmares are made of. Of course, these viruses don’t offer immortality, but they do severely mess with your brain.
This virus is associated with altered cognitive functioning. How common is it? Out of 92 people in a test group, 40 of them had it so there is a chance that you might have it as well.
This pleasant little virus not only causes abnormal behavior and fatalities in warm-blooded animals, it also infects humans to a lessor degree. Studies have presented evidence for an association between Borna and human psychiatric disorders.
Hiding out in a cat’s litter box is the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, which is dangerous for pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems. For the rest of us, though, once infected it can subtly change our brains. A few observational studies on human subjects have also found the risk of traffic accidents to be significantly greater in infected persons than non-infected controls.
A human infected with the rabies virus can display wild aggression including biting behavior, which just helps spread the virus along. Advanced cases of rabies are fatal, but they also come with hallucinations and delusions along with profuse sweating and salivating.
If all of that wasn’t horrible enough, I will leave you with this: a live tapeworm that was removed from a man’s brain. Sorry if you have a hard time sleeping tonight.
Have thoughts on the blood virus you would like to share? Would love to hear about them in the comments section.