By C. Michael Forsyth
Nearly 7 out of 10 vampires suffer from a crippling and irrational fear of crosses. But a combination of anxiety meds and talk therapy can lick the phobia, psychiatrists now say.
Dubbed staurophobia by the medical community, the heart-breaking condition can interfere with daily life.
“In its milder form, sufferers cringe at the sight of a crucifix,” reveals Dr. Claire Houldmier of New Orleans. “In more severe cases, the vampire flees in terror from any cross-shaped object, even a pair of candlesticks held to form a cross, or — as unfortunate as this sounds — a peasant merely crossing his fingers.
“I’ve had patients who can’t bring themselves to enter a window — even when invited in — if the window pane has wooden cross bars, or who panic when a child asks for help with math homework, out of fear that they might encounter a plus sign.”
In the past, docs treated the phobia with drugs alone, with limited success. But in recent years, psychiatrists have discovered that talking through the fears can work wonders.
“We often find that the root of the problem goes back to early childhood, when the patient learned his or her religious beliefs,” says Dr. Houldmier. “After transitioning, they reject Jesus and His promise of an afterlife in Heaven — on paper. But subconsciously they have a lingering guilt about this, and being confronted with the crucifix brings that suppressed angst to the surface. In therapy, over a course of several months, we help the vampires to accept that they have simply gained immortality in a different way and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Dr. Houldmier says the therapy, in conjunction with mild sedatives, has an 89% success rate. In a small number of cases that are intractable to treatment, she and her colleagues sometimes resort to hypnotherapy.
“While the patient is under hypnosis, the psychiatrist plants a suggestion, ‘Crucifixes are harmless,'” the expert explains. “Often by that very evening, the vampire is able to seek sources of blood, freed from the fear that burdened them for years, decades or even centuries.”
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth
If you found this story by fiction writer C. Michael Forsyth entertaining, you might enjoy his novels…
Read Hour of the Beast.
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