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Apparently, what we had thought were fictional vampires are actually out going to and fro in the world, causing real danger to living people.

OK … Not really.

But according to some reports, a vampire movie is causing moviegoers around the country to have seizures.

A number of people have said they experienced seizures during an extremely intense birthing scene in the "Twilight" film “Breaking Dawn: Part One.” The scene includes bright red, black and white flashing lights, which are believed to have triggered the episodes.


Kristen Sewart and Robert Pattinson in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part One"

This particular effect is known as photosensitive epilepsy. “There are many, many things that can induce seizures,” said one physician, Dr. Dan Lowenstein, director of the University of California, San Francisco Epilepsy Center. “Certainly flashing lights are one trigger.”

“It’s like a light switch going off, because it hits your brain all at once,” said another expert, Dr. Michael G. Chez, medical director of pediatric neurology and epilepsy for Sutter Sacramento told CBS 13 in Sacramento, adding that “the trouble with theaters, it’s dark, the lights flashing in there is more like a strobe light.”

In one instance in Utah, a couple told ABC-4 in Salt Lake City that bright, graphic scene caused the husband, who did not want his name revealed for fear he could get fired from his job, to pass out and left his body shaking all over.

“I didn’t really remember what happened after that I think I blacked out. According to (my wife), I was shaking and mumbling different noises,” he said.

The same report said that in another case, a couple named Brandon Gephart and Kelly Bauman had gone to see the movie when Gephart began “convulsing, snorting, [and] trying to breathe,” Bauman said. He can’t remember the event, he says, but soon woke up on the floor of the theater and was taken out by EMTs. The rest of the movie showing was cancelled.

The most well-know instance of flashing light causing seizures took place in Tokyo, Japan, in 1997 during an episode of a Pokemon cartoon. In that incident, hundreds of children were taken to hospitals.

I have not heard of any reports of making changes to the scene in question, and I doubt such changes would even be possible at this point anyway. Nor have I read of any calls to pull the movie from theaters. And the film is still pulling in millions at the box office.

But at the least, fans intent on taking in this intense film can take precautions. The Epilepsy Foundation issued a warning about the film. Their Web page with this warning also offers information about photosensitivity and seizures, and also a link to learn more about seizure triggers to help people avoid seizures.

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