In 1994, a group of Norwegian researchers embarked upon a groundbreaking study as to whether garlic was an effective deterrent against blood-sucking Nosferatus. Did this timeworn wisdom withstand the rigors of the laboratory?
Faced with a notable dearth of vampires willing to volunteer for this experiment, the scientists were instead compelled to fall back on Dracula's possible evolutionary antecedent, the noble leech. Using the squirming annelid as a stand-in for Tom Cruise in a fancy wig, the scientists revealed that all you amateur Van Helsings have lost another weapon in your arsenal of the night. From the journal Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen:
Vampires are feared everywhere, but the Balkan region has been especially haunted. Garlic has been regarded as an effective prophylactic against vampires. We wanted to explore this alleged effect experimentally. Owing to the lack of vampires, we used leeches instead. In strictly standardized research surroundings, the leeches were to attach themselves to either a hand smeared with garlic or to a clean hand. The garlic-smeared hand was preferred in two out of three cases (95% confidence interval 50.4% to 80.4%). When they preferred the garlic the leeches used only 14.9 seconds to attach themselves, compared with 44.9 seconds when going to the non-garlic hand (p < 0.05). The traditional belief that garlic has prophylactic properties is probably wrong. The reverse may in fact be true. This study indicates that garlic possibly attracts vampires. Therefore to avoid a Balkan-like development in Norway, restrictions on the use of garlic should be considered.
Of course, this study tables the mathematical problems with infinite vampire reproduction and the fact that humans make downright crappy vampires, due to their inability to recognize human hemoglobin when it's not squirting from the vein. As a silver lining, the study did not prove or disprove whether or not leeches suffer from arithmomania.