Under the churchillian title “Blood, Sweat, and Fear” a sanguine little article by J. E. Holoubek made a big splash in the arid annals of The Journal of Medicine (02/1996). It presents seventy-six patients who claimed to have, at least once, sweated blood. The descriptions of these putative stigmatics were channeled into broad categories (disease, exertion, psychogenesis) and filtered further into likely causes. The causes most likely to, um, precipitate the symptoms were acute fear and intense mental contemplation.
This exceedingly rare condition, called hematidrosis, is when blood pressure becomes so high that the subject’s subcutaneous capillaries rupture and leak out the pores and tear ducts.
It sounds like something a Bond villain would have on his résumé, but occurrences have been documented in reputable sources including Leonardo Da Vinci who mentions a knee-knocking soldier who became so fearful before he entered battle that his sweat became mingled with blood. Another case manifested in a man facing imminent execution.
Because of the causes of the condition— intense fear in the face of impending death—there are very few stories involving hematidrosis that have a happy ending.
But I found one.