Warning: This story contains graphic images of blood
Florist Blut Katzchen spends her free time in a rather unusual way.
The 28-year-old is a 'black swan', someone who allows self proclaimed vampires to drink blood directly from their body.
Her latest admirer is 43-year-old Michael Vachmiel from Houston, Texas, who claims her blood gives him the energy he needs to survive. The two get together a few times a year to perform the ritual.
Katzchen, from Shreveport, Louisiana said: "I have always been entranced with the whole vampire culture since I was very young.
"I found a book on vampires in my sister’s collection and became completely entranced with it. It takes a very specific type of mindset to enjoy being a swan - you have to be more submissive and enjoy giving."
The pair met two years ago at a Vampire Ball in Houston, Texas.
Katzchen said: "You have to have a very strong connection to the person who is feeding off you. Michael and I have a very intimate relationship and I trust him completely."
Unlike the vampires in movies, Katzchen insists that the process is very clean, safe, and consensual.
She said: "I have specific tools that draw the blood and Michael will drink it from my body. The cuts are about an inch long - it doesn’t take a very deep cut to draw the blood."
She uses a razor blade to make a cut and then uses a set of suction cups to draw the blood out.
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She said: "We’ll sterilise the area with alcohol and he uses mouth wash before drinking, so it’s very clean. There are some risks involved, but we do everything we can to keep it as clean as possible.
"I’ve been doing this for almost thirteen years and I have never had an STD or blood borne illness scare.
"It’s a release like any other release people seek - if you’re getting something out of it and the drinker is too - then I don’t see a problem with it.
"It’s a spiritual thing for me - to be able to give energy to someone even if it’s a small bit is an extremely liberation feeling."
After making a cut, Katzchen lays on her stomach and has the blood drawn from her shoulders or back for a few minutes.
She said: "If you drink too much you do get sick - it doesn’t take much blood for Michael to get his energy."
Blogging on LiveScience, Benjamin Radford claims that blood is toxic when consumed orally.
"When confined to places where blood is supposed to be - such as the heart, vessels, and so on - it is essential for life. But when ingested it's a very different story," he says.
"Of course all toxins have doses, and just as a tiny bit of poison won't necessarily harm you, the more you eat or drink, the greater the danger.
"Because blood is so rich in iron — and because the body has difficulty excreting excess iron — any animal that consumes blood regularly runs a risk of iron overdose."
Michael Vachmiel, 43, started drinking blood at the young age of 13, and does this type of feeding a few times a year.
He said: "I started drinking blood by accident - it was during an intense sexual act where blood was drawn and touched my lips. At that point it was an awakening.
"Just like a person has a favorite culinary dish, vampires have a favorite spiritual culinary dish. There are many ways to get energy, this is a more intimate way and it’s a ritual for vampires.
"In doing such, we get the energy we need and the donor has their need to submit, so it’s completely consensual."
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