Was Vlad the Impaler the “real” Count Dracula?
By Mary Ann Bernal
The answer is obvious, isn’t it? The formidable Vlad the Impaler is the person Bram Stoker thought of when creating his Dracula persona, meant to scare young and old alike.
Dracula by Bram Stoker book cover — Wikipedia.
When Mr. Stoker was considering writing his story, was the information about Vlad factual or mythical? Or was the evidence circumstantial, based upon hearsay from the poor souls having survived Vlad’s bloody reign of terror?
Vlad III — Wikipedia.
Briefly, Vlad III was a nobleman from the House of Draculesti (Volvode (Baron) Dracula) whose father ruled Wallachia (Romania) until his murder during a Hungarian invasion. As a young man, Vlad witnessed the atrocities of warfare, which awakened his psychopathic tendencies. His bloodlust was left unchecked and impaling his prisoners was his favorite method of execution.
Transylvania map — Wikipedia.
Vlad did invade Transylvania (Central Romania) with its own Dacian mythology. There is a wealth of inspiration stemming from this wide range of myths and legends. Focusing on immortality; gods and animals were worshipped but it was the wolf cult that created the werewolf. The vampire belief originates from Sumerian, Assyrian and Jewish mythologies.
And here we have it, all in one place, enough folklore to fill a library with scary novels.
Let’s go back a bit further to ancient Mesopotamia where there is mention of Lilith, a possible vampire, who hunted newborn children at night. The ancient Greeks believed in monsters who ate children and drank their blood. Ancient China’s vampire monsters were called the kiang shi. There are vampire stories from ancient India and Nepal. Ancient Nepalese cave paintings show a man holding a blood-filled human skull goblet while standing in a pool of blood. Malayan monsters lived by drinking the blood of infants. Mexico feared vampires into the sixteenth century when the Spanish Conquistadors conquered the country. Ancient Peru also believed in devil worshipers who sucked the blood of infants, and even in Africa, there was the belief that the dead returned and lived again off the blood of the living.
Vampire Monsters — Wikipedia.
Truth be told, people from days of old received information via word of mouth, keeping the tales alive, and in all likelihood, the narratives were embellished over time, but they did believe the stories and sought remedies to protect themselves from the devil! Who else could control the paranormal creatures roaming the earth in search of human prey? In all of Christendom, it was the devil that was feared the most because he coveted human souls.
Killing Vampires kit — Wikipedia.
We all know how to keep vampires at bay, never invite them into one’s house. Of course, that means never leaving home and that is just not practical. What about using garlic? The theory being vampires are allergic to the chemical composition of the vegetable. What about crosses? Christianity was widespread with Christ’s cross being a symbol to ward off evil, and vampires were pure evil. And let’s not forget sunlight – remember, vampires are cursed and their skin will burn. Another choice is the wooden stake through the vampire’s heart, which would be done during the day when the vampire is sleeping. Ridiculous, you say? There are no such things. Right? Not so fast. In Bulgaria, a few years ago, archeologists unearthed a gravesite where people were buried with metal stakes through their hearts, which would have kept them from joining the ranks of the undead.
|Erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) — Wikipedia.
There is a blood disorder, Erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP), that can cause painful blisters in children suffering from the disorder when exposed to sunlight. Also, the child generally appears tired and pale. Could this condition be the reason for the sunlight “cure” to kill a vampire?
Unfortunately, superstitions continue to flourish in the modern era. A few years ago, in Malawi (Africa), an angry mob killed eight accused “vampires”. The police arrested the perpetrators, charging them with murder.
Bram Stoker would have had ample examples to choose from while creating his Dracula character, but did he bother to extensively research the topic before writing his story? Irving Stoker has stated his father’s Dracula was a figment of his father’s imagination and nothing more. Since we cannot ask the author himself, the answer is pure conjecture. Was it because Vlad the Impaler has been compared to Caligula and Nero as being one of the worst sadistic psychopathic rulers of the day that has fostered the myth? You decide.
Scribbler Tales (Volume Four)
Newlywed Charlotte von Lichtner is obsessed with Transylvanian folklore when she encounters her husband’s mysterious kinsman.
“Try not to get into any trouble while I’m gone,” Frederick replied with a devilish grin as he left the room.
Walking towards the window, Charlotte pulled back the drapes and admired the breathtaking view, which overlooked the quaint village nestled in the valley. A howling sound made the hairs on the nape of her neck stand up because it appeared to be inhuman, reminding her of The Hound of the Baskervilles.
There’s nothing supernatural here. You really need to control your imagination, Charlotte thought. It was the wind.
Pick up your copy of
Scribbler Tales (Volume Four)
Mary Ann Bernal
Mary Ann Bernal attended Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she received a degree in Business Administration. Her literary aspirations were ultimately realized when the first book of The Briton and the Dane novels was published in 2009. In addition to writing historical fiction, Mary Ann has also authored a collection of contemporary short stories in the Scribbler Tales series. Her latest endeavor is a science fiction/fantasy novel entitled Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire. Originally hailing from New York, Mary Ann now resides in Elkhorn, Nebraska.