Discussing The X-Files’ Take on the Science of Blood Magic

An aging screen queen uses bodily fluids to keep her young on The X-Files. How regenerative is blood?

The X-Files season 11, episode 9 is called “Nothing Last Forever.” Agents Dana Scully and Fox “Spooky” Mulder are investigating what looks to be a human organ hijacking ring, but come upon a “mysterious cult consumed with macabre rituals,” according to the official synopsis. The episode was written by Karen Nielsen and directed by Jim Wong. Fiona Vroom plays what should be a fading movie star named Barbara Beaumont. Her IMDb page has her making movies almost since movies have been made. She also starred on sitcoms, had her own variety special back in the 60s, and her appearance on the Sonny and Cher show was the highest rated in the series’ history. Barbara looks good for her age. That’s because she has a very special beauty regimen. No, she didn’t alter her carbon, she took a page from the book of Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed of Hungary, who bathed in the blood of young virgins to keep her youthful complexion. Barbara blends up a bloody brew.

The synopsis is a tad misleading, Barbara Beaumont’s cult is a narcissistic devotional group who offer pujas of death. They would happily give their lives for their magnetic leader. But the blood exchange is rooted in surgery, the rituals peremptory, even though we get a few good throat slicings to offset the surgical precision. It appears Dracula, Carmilla and the gang were right. The brain, and other organs, feeds off nutrients and chemicals in the blood. Two new scientific reports suggest a correlation between blood and neurogenesis, the natural effects of aging.

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The abstract for the scientific report “The ageing systemic milieu negatively regulates neurogenesis and cognitive function,” found “blood-borne factors present in the systemic milieu can inhibit or promote adult neurogenesis in an age-dependent fashion in mice.” They exposed a young mouse to “plasma from old mice” and it lost some of its memory, depth perception, retention, and experienced “impaired contextual fear conditioning.” In the study “Growth differentiation factor 11 is a circulating factor that reverses age-related cardiac hypertrophy” they found young blood rejuvenates the old. Scientists exposed old mice “to the circulation of young mice” and their cardiac hypertrophy “dramatically regressed.” The “reversal of age-related hypertrophy was not attributable to hemodynamic or behavioral effects of parabiosis,” so it had to be something in the blood.

In the olde days, barbers were the first doctors, according to Steve Martin’s Theodoric of York on Saturday Night Live. Magicians were the first scientists, alchemically conjuring gold, love, beauty and youth. “Despite the prosecution of such societies and individuals, the magickal formulas of such priests and witches were passed down, generation to generation and have arrived at our present day,” says ordained high priestess Madame X, a Chaos magic practitioner and scholar who is Matriarch of the magical House of Dreaming.

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“We have come a long way from the blood cults of the 80s and early 90s where demon-worshiping gangs would lurk around the corners waiting to kidnap young women to satiate their Hammer film inspired blood rituals. Ritualized or not, science is bringing us full circle to what the witches and priests of old have attributed as the power of blood.”

 

A wide spectrum of African-American hoodoo traditions, Sicilian folk-magic practitioners and even the initiatory rites of the Hell’s Angels recommend menstrual blood for spells and rituals. “Blood, be it menstrual or otherwise, is known to add power and connection to spells and rites in traditional Hoodoo and conjure magick,” says Voodoo Priestess Lilith Dorsey, author of such books as Love Magic: Over 250 Spells and Potions for Getting it, Keeping it, and Making it Last, Voodoo and Afro-Caribbean Paganism, which she co-wrote with Isaac Bonewits, Women of Babalon: A Howling of Women’s Voices, and The African-American Ritual Cookbook. “While most people look down on or away from these practices, they are still in use today. There is however “more than one way to skin a cat” as they say, and most people these days rely on less invasive techniques to get the job done.”

While most vital bodily fluids can pull the pranic trick, blood has brand recognition.

“It is well known among most in magickal communities that the magickal output multiplies when blood is used as a vehicle for magick,” Madame X says. “Blood is the deepest communicator of energy. It is the supreme magickal pact.”

Vampires from Dracula to the bayou bloodsuckers of True Blood have been recommending a daily regimen of the red stuff since forever. They have reason to be patient. There are Blood Rituals for longevity.

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“In quest of eternal beauty, some have gone through extremes to regularly bathe in virgin blood, which no doubt inspired the modern-day novelty of the blood facial,” says Madame X, who is producing an excerpt from a blood ritual at an event at the end of the month. “Some witches delight in the fact that they appear to be twice their age often to compensate for their lack of experience, others would rather seem 20 years younger on any given day and use magic to obscure their physical age.”

Madame X straddles the occult worlds and communities. There is a spiritual component to the vampire subculture that has been hip to hemoglobin for decades.

“Many in the vampire culture attest that, despite the fact that blood is a natural ipecac, ingesting it enhances their youthfulness, boosts their vitality, and contributes to their overall physical and emotional wellbeing,” says Madame X. “Some would argue that a life-saving blood-transfusion is in fact the same as consuming blood.”

Rich venture capitalists, the true vampires in society, can afford parabiosis, transfusions of blood from a younger person, to reverse aging. Western knowledge and medicine might have to adjust their thinking to expand their minds.

“What separates the East and West is fear,” occult researcher Marie Bargas says. “The Western world interprets the exchange of blood as a transaction between predator and prey. This is a bargain made among animals.” Bargas is Hindu, where blood offerings are made to the goddess Kali, one of the ten Mahavidyas. The Black Mother predates all other vampire-like deities, but whose worship leads to ultimate reality. “She takes the essence of you. I see it as Her rewriting the code of your DNA, twirling her tongue around each double helix and transforming it and you. That is not a predator eating, it is an alchemical transformation performed by a Goddess.”

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In most cultures blood exchange is taboo, which also adds to flavor to the intent set by magical workings. This too is rooted in deep alchemy. “Blood contains the DNA, the codes, the secret name of each individual,” says Bargas. “Blood is a calling card read by taste.”

“I am reminded of Hal’s last transmission in 2010: Odyssey Two – ‘All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landing there,’” says Bargas, who is best known as the Hollywood Witch, and quotes film as readily as she does ancient magical texts.

All paths lead to the same physical end. “Eternal Youth is a desire sought by those who fear death and decay,” says Bargas. “The Aghori Yogis eat rotten flesh and drink blood from skulls. They fear nothing. In the West, the vain Countess Báthory bathes in the blood of virgins because she is terrified.”

The Hindu faith is about as ancient as any surviving belief, but it is guided by a living principle that embraces destruction, creation and liberation as a unified cycle. In western superstition we get chills when someone walks on our grave. Closer to the Ganges River, also known as Hindi Ganga, there is a comfort to be found in the inevitable destination.

“Shiva and Kali are worshipped in cremation grounds not for effect, not in order to inspire fear, but symbolically as dissolution of ego, because ego is attached to the flesh,” says Bargas. She believes the Western vampire trend “exploits fear, while the yogic tradition demands that you transcend it, not by masturbating your ego, but by trusting that you can survive without it. It is not courage as much as it is surrender, which is impossible when you are burdened with ego.”

Whether they chase sanguine rejuvenation for vanity or spiritual transcendence, practitioners of all traditions have to humble themselves before the entities they are petitioning. “Before conducting blood work with any spirits, deities, or demons, it is strongly advised that that the officiant know the entity well and that the rite is conducted with the utmost respect,” says Madame X.

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“Offering your own blood to Kali is desecration,” warns Bargas. “In this age there are certain Vedas that say it is no longer appropriate. Kali drinks the blood of demons as mentioned in the scriptures.”

While blood magic can be used to “heal, prevent disease, and dissuade deterioration, it is important to clarify that no magickal working, not even blood magick, can substitute medical intervention,” advises Madame X.

And for you kids who want to try this at home, remember it’s all fun and games until you rip someone’s heart out. As for “Sitcom Barbara” Beaumont on The X-Files, she does it “just for kicks.”

Madame X’s Iron Garden March Gathering will include a blood ritual excerpt that merges Eastern and Western tradition from the stage play Let Us Prey on Friday, March 30, at 9, at QXT’s in Newark, N.J. The X-Files airs on Fox.