The Origins of Dracula
We all know about Dracula. However..to which are we referring, Vlad Dracula or the man Bram Stoker created? Yes Bram Stoker took the concept of Dracula from Vlad the Impaler but how much of that is real and how much is false? He took a real man and made him into a vampire. A blood thirsty evil madman who sucks the blood of his victims and is captivating and alluring among other things. How many of these things did Vlad himself actually do? None. Vlad the Impaler was a man who was a general who ruled for his country of Wallachia. He impaled his victims with huge stakes. Thousands upon thousands at a time upon a site in battle or in town. This is the only actual gruesome thing that we know of about Vlad Tepes. There are rumors that he drank the blood of victims, did odd things at night but again these are simply rumors.
While we are no stranger to deciphering fact from fiction sometimes it's hard to tell what is real and what is not. Dracula needed to have come from somewhere, need a basis and so Vlad was that very basis. Dracula is also based on sixteenth century countess Elizabeth Bathory who bathed in the blood of her virgin servants to remain young and youthful. She too used torture tactics to achieve her own person bloody nirvana. It was said that she too drank blood, this is where I believe Stoker got the whole idea of drinking blood. I believe he took it from Bathory not Vlad since there are more valid evidence that claims Bathory drank blood rather than Vlad. So basically Stoker took certain elements and actual sick rituals and techniques from both people and put them into and created Dracula.
When someone asks is Dracula real? Ehh..he was yes in a sense based off the name and certain ways but in the sense of the very Vampire that we read about not so much. I could see here and bring the whole concept of Vampirism into this but I have't quite done that much research and that may bring this into a whole other discussion. Dracula's origins are that he is from Transylvania. However Vlad Tepes was from Romania which at the time was Transylvania. Note this thought though, Stoker seemed to take the blood shedding and out for blood part from Vlad yet used his very technique against him. Vlad was known as the Impaler because he impaled his victims on long wooden stakes. Yet it's these very wooden stakes to which is the reason of how to kill the fictional Dracula and all vampires. Also the holy cross. We all know that crosses are said to scare off and burn Dracula and vampires if they come too close. Again though Vlad himself was very religious. So much so that he was denounced from the Catholic church and fought for his religious rights. So it's kind of ironic that a cross is one of the weaknesses that Dracula and vampires are prone to. Stoker clearly did his research on the Prince however decided to do a switch and put his own twist on certain ideas.
Having read two books on Dracula and not counting the original by Stoker I noticed interesting things in both. In Vlad: The Last Confession the book focuses on the actual man who became the legendary fictional character. Any references to the words "Dracula", "Dracul" are because of his name which means Son of the Dragon or Devil. Seems only fitting that Stoker took quite the perfect name for his myth. In the book Dracula's Apprentice, Vlad Dracula is mentioned but you don't know whether it's the real Vlad the Impaler or the fictional character. I took it as in the middle being a bit of both which means Dracula has that realistic part to him but also the fictional part to him.
In very simple terms, Dracula was a real man. The story Bram Stoker created has made that very man be seen in a whole new life. Vlad Tepes was a secret agent in a way. In real life he was a ruthless general and in fiction he was a Prince of Darkness, blood drinking vampire. However a person wants to see it without Vlad and without Bram Stoker we would not have vampires. Perhaps vampires were thought of before he I believe there is (again I don't want to get into another side story) but even if there was vampires it wasn't until his tale that we really took a notice to them. His simple horror book of a blood craving pale creature turned the world of writing and horror upside down(no pun intended). It's quite a thought at least to me that one man managed to change the shape of horror as we know it. It makes me wonder if another person today could creature and write about their own creature that takes off a spins a whole new horrific species and starts a phenomenon.