"Blood is a very special juice!" - with these words of Mephistopheles from the tragedy of I.V. Goethe's "Faust" is difficult to disagree, and the attitude to blood has always been special. It so happens that the bravest people experience horror and even faint at the sight of blood.
The subject of a phobia - irrational fear, can be anything. Psychotherapists and psychiatrists have encountered cases when patients (especially children) were afraid of the most harmless things, but the fear that blood inspires occupies a special place against this background.
A phobia usually has a "starting point" in the form of a situation when a person experienced a strong fear, and this mental shock was associated with the object of the phobia, and this is not necessary for the fear of blood. Fear inspired by the sight of blood differs from other phobias in its prevalence. According to these signs, the fear of blood is comparable only to the fear of the dark, through which almost all children pass, but the fear of blood often persists in adults. The origins of both fears lie in the ancient past of mankind.
Attitude to blood in antiquity
Even in ancient times, people noticed that a wounded person or beast, along with the blood, loses its life. In those days, people still did not know anything about the primary role of blood in supplying body cells with oxygen and nutrients, so a simpler and more understandable explanation was invented: the soul is in the blood.
Blood is a sacred spiritualized liquid that played an important role in religious and magical rites. Drinking the blood of another person or mixing your own and his blood meant entering into a twinning, even if the action was not intentional. The ancient people offered the same twinning to the gods, "treating" them with the blood of their relatives during sacrifices. And even if it was not a person but an animal that was sacrificed, blood was most often offered to the deity.
The custom of dyeing eggs also goes back to bloody sacrifices, which in the Christian era was combined with the holiday of Easter. Later they began to be painted in different colors, but initially the shell was smeared with the blood of a sacrificial animal.
Blood and the underworld
The reverence that surrounded the blood was always mingled with fear. After all, bleeding often preceded death and therefore was perceived as its threshold - a sign that the border between the world of the living and the world of the dead is opening. Unlike modern occultists, ancient man did not at all strive for contact with otherworldly forces and tried to protect himself from their influence. The phenomena contributing to the "opening of the border" were terrifying.
Men who returned from hunting or war were subjected to cleansing rites. They tried to isolate women during menstruation or childbirth, or at least transfer them to non-residential premises - in later times, such "precautions" were reborn into a ban on participation in Christian sacraments for women on critical days and after childbirth.
Modern man no longer remembers why blood “must be feared”, but in the sphere of the unconscious, the ancient fear survived. It is aggravated by the fact that a modern city dweller rarely sees blood - after all, he does not have to slaughter a cow or slaughter a chicken with his own hands. This also explains the fact that women are much less afraid of blood than men - after all, they see it every month.