Vampires History and Legends Part 2 Bram Stoker, Dracula and Vlad the Impaler

About the history surrounding the vampire myth, the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker based on Vlad the Impaler


Also worth mentioning is the common everyday occurrence we have all experienced: being around someone who seems to sap our energy and leaves us feeling tired. This might be explained as a mild case of what could be called vampirism.

The story that a vampire can assume the form of a bat is due to the existence of the "vampire bat," an actual species of bat which is found in Mexico. This bat thrives on blood, which it obtains by piercing its victim's flesh with its 2 sharp front teeth. This bat primarily attacks cattle.

Count Dracula, the most famous vampire in history, was created by novelist Bram Stoker, in 1897. This vile creature was named after a historical figure, who, though not an actual vampire, was surely as bloodthirsty as his fictional counterpart. Dracula's prototype was Prince Vlad Tepes, known to the peasants of Wallachia and Transylvania (located in 15th-century Hungary, which is now part of Romania), as Vlad "The Impaler," owing to his favorite practice of impaling his live victims upon stakes. At a time when the Turks and Romanians were engaged in vigorous battle, Vlad Tepes's victims included not merely his enemies, but countless numbers of his own countrymen and countrywomen, and even members of his own court, who had made the grave mistake of offending him in some way. A most gruesome account describes how "certain envoys of the sultan had come to greet the prince officially, and they refused to take off their turbans. Vlad Tepes, who was hypersensitive about any slight to his vanity, speedily ordered the turbans of the Turkish envoys to be nailed to their heads. The Turks agonized within a pool of blood at the very foot of the throne."

Impalement, even though Vlad's favorite form of torture, was not his only amusement. Boiling alive, decapitation, scalping, skinning, and general maiming were commonly included among his pastimes.

The nickname "Dracula," meaning "son of devil" or "son of Dragon," was given the prince because his father, also named Vlad, was called Dracul, or "devil." The words "devil" and "vampire" are interchangeable in many languages. Thus the association of Dracula with vampirism.

When Bram Stoker decided to write a novel about a vampire, a subject which had always fascinated him, he chose the faraway region of Transylvania as the site for his novel. Stoker carefully researched the exploits of Vlad Tepes and learned that the ruins of the real-life "Castle Dracula" were located in the same area. In addition, Stoker familiarized himself thoroughly with the peasants' vampire tales in that part of Europe, although he did not actually visit Transylvania.

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