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Watch: How Corn Might Be the Reason for the Vampire Myth

Before Twilight, there was pellagra

On today's episode of Forklore — the new video series from Eater that explores food legends from around the world — we consider the surprising correlation between corn and vampires. Watch the video above to learn more.

While corn was a dietary staple in the Americas, in Europe it was a crop with connotations of poverty and negative consequences if eaten in excess. Because Europeans did not treat their corn before eating it (as opposed to in the Americas, where nixtamalization, or soaking a grain in an alkaline solution, was common practice), people who consumed a lot of it developed a vitamin deficiency called pellagra. Side effects of pellagra include hair loss, extra sensitivity to light, and insomnia — which eerily mirror the descriptions of vampires that were spreading in the same places at around the same time. Could corn be the reason for the vampire myth?

Watch part one of the corn episode of Forklore — which tracks the crop's role in (decidedly vampire-free) myth in the Americas, below:

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