Tennessee Man 'Cries' Tears of Blood, Seeks Answers

ABC News
Tennessee Man 'Cries' Tears of Blood, Seeks Answers

View photo

Tennessee Man 'Cries' Tears of Blood, Seeks Answers (ABC News)

Michael Spann didn't realize he was bleeding until a police officer drew her gun on him and shouted a profanity.

"She shined a light in his eyes and started backing up and she drew her gun," his mother, Peggy Spann, told ABCNews.com.

Another time, it happened at a dollar store, prompting the cashier to back up until she hit the counter behind her.

Michael Spann, 29, was bleeding from his eyes.

"He said, 'I'm not going to hurt you,'" said Peggy Spann, a retired nurse. "Once it starts, it's like the floodgates. Three hours."

Spann of Antioch, Tenn., has bled from his eyes for no apparent reason for more than seven years, his mother told ABCNews.com. Although it started as a daily occurrence accompanied by headaches when Spann was 22, he now only bleeds about once or twice a week.

He also bleeds from his nose, mouth and ears during these episodes. There is no cure or relief for his unexplained condition.

The bleeding comes with excruciating headaches, Peggy Spann said. Her son was not feeling well enough to be interviewed by ABCNews.com.

"I felt like I got hit in the head with a sledgehammer," Michael Spann told the Tennessean. of the first time he experienced the bleeding. "I never felt anything like it."

Peggy Spann said she sometimes finds him sitting in her living room, rocking with his head in his hands while he cries because the pain is so bad. He lives with his parents because the bleeding has rendered him unable to keep a job.

Although a friend got Spann a job refurbishing old houses, the clients inevitably catch him bleeding and don't want him in their homes, she said.

Before the bloody tears started, Spann was the family caretaker, delaying college to help his mom after she shattered her leg about a decade ago. Then, he delayed it again after she was in a particularly bad car accident.

The bleeding started just as he was finally ready to leave the house.

"I feel guilty because he hasn't had a life," his mother said. "He feels bad that he's still living here but where else could he go?"

Doctors can't seem to figure out what causes Spann to bleed, and they've been unable to stop it, Peggy Spann said. They paid out-of-pocket to take Spann to the Cleveland Clinic twice, but there was nothing anyone could do.

Calvino Inman, 19, also bleeds from his eyes, which prompted his friends to call him "possessed" in 2009, when he spoke to ABC News affiliate WATE-TV in East Tennessee.

ABC News has been unable to reach Inman.

Dr. James "Chris" Fleming, an ophthalmologist at the University of Tennessee's Hamilton Eye Institute in Memphis, told ABCNews.com that he sees about three cases of bloody tears per year, but they're almost always explained by medical conditions ranging from lesions to cancer to drug use.

Fleming is not treating Spann.

Fleming and four other doctors authored a study in 2004 in which they described four patients whose bloody tears could not be explained in an 11-year period. The patients were between 6 and 14 years old, and their bloody tears have since gone away naturally, he said.

He said bloody tears are usually not painful.

View Comments (9)

Recommended for You

  • Royal Caribbean Passenger Recounts Terrifying 12 Hours on Cruise Ship

    One passenger on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was rocked by hurricane-force winds said she was afraid for her life as the boat tipped side to side and she lay in bed shaking.Guests on the Anthem of the Seas ship were asked to stay in their rooms Sunday as wind gusts topped 76 miles per hour…

    Good Morning America18 mins ago
  • Massive Pig Corralled at New Hampshire Polling Station

    One New Hampshire voter this morning wanted to see how the sausage gets made.A massive pig weighing over 600 pounds was corralled today from outside a voting station here in Pelham, New Hampshire, according to the Pelham Police Department.The pig lingered among Granite State voters, who were just…

    Good Morning America20 mins ago
  • Ciara Sues Former Fiance for Slander, Defamation and Libel

    Ciara has filed a lawsuit against her former fiancé, Future. Ciara cited numerous occasions in which she claims Future made malicious comments about her, their 1-year-old son, and her new boyfriend, NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, on social media and in the press. A few months later, they…

    Good Morning America20 mins ago
  • Zika Virus May Be Linked to Infant Eye Abnormalities, Study Says

    The Zika virus may be associated with another birth defect in infants, according to a new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology. Researchers from Brazil found that some infants exposed to the virus had ocular defects including atrophied retinas,…

    Good Morning America
  • Florida Man Attacks Victims With Metal Rod and Samurai Sword in Bizarre Crime Spree, Police Say

    A 22-year-old man clad in a bright red bucket hat went on a bizarre and violent crime spree in Lauderhill, Florida, on Sunday morning, injuring two, police said. Jovaughn Walker stole a vehicle, attacked an elderly man with a metal rod at a gas station, then drove to a market and attacked a clerk…

    Good Morning America
  • 18-Year-Old Kidney Transplant Survivor Gets Renovated Truck Thanks to Make-A-Wish

    Strangers from around the country came together to make over a pickup truck for an 18-year-old kidney transplant survivor. Nick Cesarini, of Greenwich, Connecticut, was surprised with the truck Saturday in a reveal so dramatic his twin sister flew home from college to attend it. “I was blown…

    Good Morning America
  • Maryland Man Is Swamped With Texts Demanding Free Chipotle Burritos

    After mandatory employee meetings temporarily closed more than 2,000 Chipotle restaurants for a few hours on Monday, Chipotle ran a promotion to make it up to their customers. In Maryland, customers who mistakenly added an extra “2” to that number had their messages redirected to Hank Levine.

    Good Morning America
  • Zika Virus Outbreak Updates: Florida Expands State of Emergency to 7th County

    As the Zika virus outbreak continues, including in wide swaths of Central and South America, concerns are growing, especially for pregnant women, because the mosquito-borne virus has been linked with a serious birth defect called microcephaly, characterized by an abnormally small head and brain. …

    Good Morning America
  • Dad Writes School Note Excusing Daughters' Tardiness Because of a Bruce Springsteen Concert

    In a major Dad-move win, Patrick Pipino of Saratoga Springs, New York, penned an honest note excusing his daughters' school tardiness because the family attended a Bruce Springsteen concert on Monday night. Pipino told ABC News that his two daughters, Isabelle, 12, and Sarah, 7, are both huge…

    Good Morning America
  • Cam Newton Defends His Decision to Walk Out of the Post-Super Bowl Press Conference

    Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton defended his decision to walk out of the Super Bowl's post-game press conference after his team's loss to the Denver Broncos. "I've got no more tears to cry," Newton said according to ESPN. A Broncos player could be heard boasting about his team's win as…

    Good Morning America
  • Sikh Actor and Model Waris Ahluwalia Barred From Aeromexico Flight Over Turban

    Sikh actor and designer Waris Ahluwalia remains in Mexico City, a day after he says he was barred from boarding an Aeromexico flight to New York for refusing to remove his turban in public during a security screening. "This morning in Mexico City I was told I could not board my @aeromexico flight…

    Good Morning America
  • Samuel L. Jackson Recounts Racist Moment as a Young Actor

    Samuel L. Jackson said he'll always remember this one incident that happened when he was starting his career in Hollywood. He continued "There we were, lying facedown in the middle of Santa Monica Boulevard. "I was thinking to myself, I’m in Hollywood now, on the verge of breaking through, and…

    Good Morning America
  • Rapper DMX Rushed to Hospital After Asthma Attack, Says Lawyer

    DMX was rushed to a Yonkers, New York, hospital last night after an apparent asthma attack, his lawyer Murray Richman told ABC News. The rapper, born Earl Simmons, was at a local Ramada at the time of the incident, according to both his lawyer and the manager of the hotel, Hari Shukla. Richman…

    Good Morning America
  • Incredible Footage Shows Pedestrian Tripping Suspect as He's Running From Police

    Officers were on patrol in Kingston, United Kingdom, on Saturday when they were made aware of a report of two males dealing drugs, police said in a statement. The officers chased one of the suspects through the town center "when they received some unexpected assistance from a member of the…

    Good Morning America
  • Hong Kong 'Fish Ball Revolution' Erupts in Violent Crackdown

    Violent clashes erupted overnight in Hong Kong after protesters defended unlicensed food vendors, set up for Chinese New Year celebrations, from being shut down by police. The group said on its official Facebook page that its candidate for local council, Edward Leung Tin-kei, had been arrested.

    Good Morning America
  • Brie Larson Hasn't Seen or Spoken to Her Dad in 10 Years

    Brie Larson is up for an Oscar for her emotionally-wrenching performance of a woman held captive in a garden shed for seven years in the film "Room."Some of the inspiration for her performance, the 26-year-old actress told Elle in a new interview, comes from her own life and difficult childhood.…

    Good Morning America
  • Sylvester Stallone Says He Considered Boycotting the Oscars

    The topic of diversity in Hollywood and within the Academy was addressed by several stars Monday at the Oscar nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills. Sylvester Stallone, a best supporting actor contender for "Creed," made headlines by saying he was open to the idea of boycotting the upcoming Oscars…

    Good Morning America