Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Transylvanian Society of Dracula

Red Tower.

Monument which defines the old border between Transylvania and Walachia.

The Transylvanian Society of Dracula (TSD), a cultural historical organization, was founded in the early 1990s by a group of leading Romanian historians, ethnographers, folklorists, tourist experts, writers, and artists, as well as non-Romanian experts in the field. Its goal has been the interpretation of Romanian history and folklore, especially as it relates to the fifteenth-century ruler Vlad the Impaler (the historical Dracula) and Romanian folklore concerning vampires. The group also attempts to identify dracularian traces of the myth in the folklore of other countries around the world. The founding president of the society was Nicolae Paduraru (1932–2009), who for many years had been an official with the Romanian Ministry of Tourism. He also was the general administrator of Count Dracula Treasures, Ltd.

The society organizes tours of various sites in southern Romania associated with Vlad the Impaler and those in Transylvania (in the northern area of Romania) associated with the novel Dracula (1897). Some 300 people attended the World Dracula Congress sponsored by the Society in Romania in 1995, an event that marked its worldwide expansion. The American and Canadian chapters were founded during that week, headed by Drs. J. Gordon Melton and Elizabeth Miller respectively. Dr. Massimo Introvigne, who attended the Congress subsequently formed an Italian chapter. There is also a chapter in Japan and several chapters in other European countries.

In 1997, the American and Canadian chapters, along with the Count Dracula Fan Club, sponsored Dracula ’97: A Centennial Celebration the international Dracula commemorative event, August 14–17, 1997, in Los Angeles. Some 20 countries, including a delegation from Romania, attended and more than 90 scholarly papers were presented on Dracula and vampire studies. The various chapters sponsor different events, among which, the several Romanian chapters organize a symposium international Society sponsored the second Dracula World Congress, Dracula 2000, held at Poiana Brasov, Transylvania, the site of Vlad the Impaler’s attack upon the German Transylvanian community during his reign of Wallachia in the fifteenth century. The theme of the Congress was “Redefining the Diabolic from the Perspective of Contemporary Society.” The Society has continued to sponsor conferences in Romania at least annually in the years of the new century, as well as promoting tours of Dracula sites each October around Halloween through the Company of Mysterious Journeys, http://www.mysteriousjourneys.com/. It offers a variety of Dracula-related products through Count Dracula Treasures, http://www.draculatreasures.com/.

Outside of Romania, the most active chapter has been the Canadian chapter headed by Dr. Elizabeth Miller. It issues the Journal of Dracula Studies, and may be contacted through its webpage at http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~emiller/trans_soc_dracula.html or its mailing address, 2309-397 Front St W., Toronto ON, Canada M5V 3S1. The Italian chapter can be contacted by writing to Dr. Massimo Introvigne at cesnur_to@virgilio. it. It posts the electronic news bulletins of the TSD on its website at http://www.cesnur.org/Dracula.htm#Anchor-49575.

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