Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Dracula's original castle lies in ruins. The person who Count Draculs was based on was a Prince named Vlad III.Vlad III was born in Sighisoara in 1431.In the 15th century, Romania was made up of a number of small states, each with an independent ruler.

Vlad III earned the surname "Tepes" (The Impaler) because he impaled his enemies.

Vlad Tepes was a ruler for a state called Wallachia not Transylvania.Wallachia is located just south of Transylvania.

The name "Dracula" was first held by his father Vlad II.The name means "Son of a Dragon".Vlad senior received the name because he was part of the Order of the Dragon, an order created by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund.

The Order of the Dragon was designed as an alliance to fight the Turks.Vlad Tepes assumed the name from his father. In current day Romanian, the word "Dracu" is synonymous with the word "Devil".

"Dracula" is therefore referred to as one who is Devil-like.

As a ruler, Dracula probably had some "Devilish" habits such as drinking human blood.This was likely done to promote fear .It was not unusual in those times for the victor of a war to "drink the blood of his enemy".Whether Dracula took it a few steps further it is not known for certain.But it was enough to allow for countless Dracula stories to be told in the future.

Dracula was a very strict ruler.He raised the level of punishment that was administered even for petty crimes.People were hung very easily in those days with little mercy.Not only were they hung but some were executed/tortured by having a 15 foot sharp-end pole striken or impaled into their body starting from in-between their legs and up into the chest area.

Dracula would then have these poles stood up by the side of the road.By-passers would see the type of punishment Dracula administered to his enemies or to those who did wrong.This act of impaling people earned him the name Vlad Tepes (Vlad The Impaler).

Verdeanu, states the following:The people became so honest because of fear of Count Dracula's punishment, that no one dared steal a cup made of gold left by a waterwell at a road crossing.One day a woman went to drink some water and the cup was gone.She screamed and started crying as she saw the sign that Vlad Tepes (Dracula) was dead, the sign being that the gold cup was stolen. She knew that dishonesty would prevail in the country again.

Vlad tepes was at one point sent as a hostage to Turkey along with his younger brother. After his father and older brother were assassinated, Vlad III returned to become Prince but he was driven off.He later returned and killed his rival and became Prince for 6 years.

One fine Easter morning, he invited nobles suspected of doing in his old dad to a feast. After a few opening jokes, Vlad Tepes got straight to the point or rather he gave them the point from the end of a sharpened stake. Those spared this fate were taken on a lovely 50K death hike at the end of which the survivors were forced to labor on the real Castle Dracula.

With the German settlers in Translyvania, called Saxons, Vlad Tepes was particularly bloodthristy. Unlike his literary counterpart, Vlad Tepes didn't spend much time in Translyvania. He only dropped by occasionally to impale a few thousand people then leave. The Saxon merchants tended to overcook the books and cheat people blind. Vlad, known for his fierce belief in honesty (though not mercy), didn't take too kindly to this anymore then he did to the Saxon cities' habit of supporting rival claimants to the Wallachian throne. Saxon travelers back in the Fatherland relayed stories of Vlad Tepes which later wound up on the newly-invented printing press as the part of the first tabloid news.
Eventually, Vlad bit off more than he could 'suck' when the Turks invaded in a great numbers. He was forced to retreat and follow a scorched earth policy. The Turks suffering from lack of food and water later withdrew but Vlad carefully arranged them a farewell gift of 20,000 impaled Turkish prisoners.

Shortly after this, nobles, concerned over Vlad's impalement policies, spread nasty rumors about him which got Vlad arrested by his quasi-boss, the Hungarian King. He spent several years in Visigrad Castle north of Budapest admiring the view of the beautiful Danube and (supposedly) impaling mice.
Vlad was released and sent back to Wallahia to give the Turks trouble. The Turks showed up with more trouble and in the ensuing mess Vlad was killed either by treachery or accident but most assuredly not by vampires.He was buried in Snagov, north of Bucharest.A monastery resides on his tomb which has been excavated but no body was found in it.

The Western world soon forgot about Vlad Tepes as they had other problems on their hands, like Protestants and more Turks.The tabloid pamphlets about his notorious deeds ran for a few decades after his death before interest faded.

Flash forward 400 years or so to Jolly Ole Repressed England. Writer Bram Stoker looking to cash in on vampire merchandising writes about a vampiric Transylvanian nobleman named Dracula. Stoker researched much of the geography, culture, and ethnic history of northern Transylvania.

Many people believe that the character Dracula is inspired on Vlad Tepes, in fact that they are the same person/vampire. Several literary scholars, historians, and movie-makers support this notion; most recently is Francis Ford Coppla's misleading and overacted "Bram Stoker's Dracula".

The novel Dracula wasn't a huge success until the 1931 Dracula movie starring the Hungarian Bela Lugosi (the guy in the Ed Wood movie). Dracula became firmly entrenched in the West and other places around the world.

Later interest was sparked in discovering the real Dracula and later books and documentaries have given more information on Vlad Tepes than Bram Stoker knew of him. Vlad Tepes has almost become as famous as vampire alter-ego.

In Romania this success has been met in various ways: from a quick way to make a buck to paranoid nationalist accusations that Dracula is a Hungarian plot to debase a Romanian hero. Dracula was considered by some as a product of a diseased mind.

It’s easy to understand their position if you can imagine an Asian writer making George Washington or Elizabeth I into brain-eating zombies. They, however, didn't go around impaling thousands of people so they're being vilified would be more of a stretch. In 15th Century Romania, judging Vlad Tepes as hero, villain, or sadistic psychopath depended on which side of the stake you stood. Today some Romanian scholars have glossed over some of the more bloodier accounts of his reign.
Unbeknownst to Bram Stoker, Romanian independence was growing in the 19th century and many Romanian nationalists looked to Vlad Tepes as one of the first true Romanian heroes. A century later, Nicholas Ceausescu pushed Vlad's image as a national hero.

The heart of the matter really is Translyvania itself. Despite being filled to the brim with vampires and werewolves, Translyvania is lovely bit of real estate highly sought after. When Dracula was written, Translyvania belonged to Hungary. In 1920 it became part of Romanian. Hungarians claim the Romanians stole it.

Romanians claim to be descended from the Daco-Romano who lived there long before the Magyars arrived. The Romanians have made life difficult for the Hungarian-descended Translyvanians and Saxons. Most Saxons have gone back to Germany and many Hungarians have gone to Hungary.

Bitter resentment between Hungary and Romania lingers over the haunted land of Transylvania and Count Dracula in an indirect way serves as a bloody reminder of this hostility.

In Romania, Count Dracula is seen in two ways. One is as generator of tourist dollars. The other view is of a national hero who fought to preserve Romanian identity and independence.


Vampires:A Chronology

The 1000's
* 1047 First appearance of the word "upir" (an early form of the word later to become "vampire") in a document referring to a Russian prince as "Upir Lichy", or wicked vampire.

The 1100's

* 1190 Walter Map's "De Nagis Curialium" includes accounts of vampire like beings in England.
* 1196 William of Newburgh's "Chronicles" records several stories of vampire like revenants in England.

The 1400's

* 1428/29 Vlad Tepes, the son of Vlad Dracul, is born.
* 1463 Vlad Tepes becomes Prince of Wallachia and moves to Tirgoviste.
* 1442 Vlad Tepes is imprisoned with his father by the Turks.
* 1443 Vlad Tepes becomes a hostage by the Turks.
* 1447 Vlad Dracul is beheaded.
* 1448 Vlad briefly attains the Wallachian throne. Dethroned, he goes to Moldavia and befriends Prince Stefan.
* 1451 Vlad and Stephan flee to Transylvania.
* 1455 Constantinople falls.
* 1456 John Hunyadi assists Vlad Tepes to attain Wallachian throne. Vladislav Dan is executed.
* 1458 Matthias Corvinu succeeds John Hunyadi as King of Hungary.
* 1459 Easter massacre of boyers and rebuilding of Dracula's castle. Bucharest is established as the second governmental center.
* 1460 Attack upon Brasov, Romania
* 1461 Successful campaign against Turkish settlements along the Danube, Summer retreat to Tirgoviste.
* 1462 Following the battle at Dracula's castle, Vlad flees to Transylvania. Vlad begins 13 years of imprisonment.
* 1475 Summer wars in Serbia against Turks take place. November: Vlad resumes throne of
* 1476/77 Vlad is assassinated.

The 1500's

* 1560 Elizabeth Bathory is born.
The 1600's
* 1610 Bathory is arrested for killing several hundred people and bathing in their blood. Tried and convicted, she is sentenced to life imprisonment, being bricked into a room in her castle.
* 1614 Elizabeth Bathory dies.

* 1610 Leo Allatius finishes writing the first modern treatment of vampires, "De Graecorum hodie quirundam opinationabus".
* 1657 Fr. Francoise Richard's "Relation de ce qui s'est passé a Sant-Erini Isle de l'Archipel" links vampirism and witchcraft.

* 1672 Wave of vampire hysteria sweeps through Istra.
* 1679 A German vampire text, "De Masticatione Mortuorum", by Phillip Rohr is written.

The 1700's

* 1710 Vampire hysteria sweeps through East Prussia.
* 1725 Vampire hysteria returns to East Prussia.
* 1725-30 Vampire hysteria lingers in Hungary.
* 1725-32 The wave of vampire hysteria in Austrian Serbia produces the famous cases of Peter Plogojowitz and Arnold Paul (Paole).
* 1734 The word "vampyre" enters the English language in translations of German accounts of European waves of vampire hysteria.
* 1744 Cardinal Giuseppe Davanzati publishes his treatise, "Dissertazione sopre I Vampiri."
* 1746 Dom Augustin Calmet publishes his treatise on vampires, "Dissertations sur les Apparitions des Anges des Demons et des Espits, et sur les revenants, et Vampires de Hundrie, de boheme, de Moravic, et de Silesie."
* 1748 The first modern vampire poem, "Der Vampir," is published by Heinrich August Ossenfelder.
* 1750 Another wave of vampire hysteria occurs in East Prussia.
* 1756 Vampire hysteria peaks in Wallachia.
* 1772 Vampire hysteria occurs in Russia.
* 1797 Goethe's "Bride of Corinth" (a poem concerning a vampire) is published.
* 1798-1800 Samuel Taylor Coleridge writes "Christabel," now conceded to be the first vampire poem in English.

The 1800's

* 1800 "I Vampiri," an opera by Silvestro de Palma, opens in Milan, Italy.
* 1801 "Thalaba" by Robert Southey is the first poem to mention the vampire in English.
* 1810 Reports of sheep being killed by having their jugular veins cut and their blood drained circulated through northern England. "The Vampyre," an early vampire poem, by John Stagg is published.
* 1813 Lord Byron's poem "The Giaour" includes the hero's encounter with a vampire.
* 1819 John Polidori's "The Vampyre," the first vampire story in English, is published in the April issue of "New Monthly Magazine." John Keats composes "The Lamia," a poem built on ancient Greek legends.
* 1820 "Lord Ruthwen ou Les Vampires" by Cyprien Berard is published anonymously in Paris. June 13: "Le Vampire," the play by Charles Nodier, opens at the Theatre de la Porte Saint-Martin in Paris. August: "The Vampire; or, The Bride of the Isles," a translation of Nodier's play by James R. Planche, opens in London.
* 1829 March: Heinrich Marschner's opera, "Der Vampyr," based on Nodier's story, opens in Liepzig.
* 1841 Alexey Tolstoy publishes his short story, "Upyr," while living in Paris. It is the first modern vampire story by a Russian.
* 1847 Bram Stoker is born. "Varney the Vampire" begins lengthy serialization.
* 1851 Alexandre Dumas' last dramatic work, "Le Vampire," opens in Paris.
* 1854 The case of vampirism in the Ray family of Jewell, Connecticut, is published in local newspapers.
* 1872 "Carmilla" is written by Sheridan Le Fanu. In Italy, Vincenzo Verzeni is convicted of murdering two people and drinking their blood.
* 1874 Reports from Ceven, Ireland, tell of sheep having their throats cut and their blood drained.
* 1888 Emily Gerard's "Land Beyond the Forest" is published. It will become a major source of information about Transylvania for Bram Stoker's "Dracula."
* 1894 H.G. Wells' short story, "The Flowering of the Strange Orchid," is a precursor to science fiction vampire stories.
* 1897 "Dracula" by Bram Stoker is published in England. "The Vampire" by Rudyard Kipling becomes the inspiration for the creation of the vamp as a stereotypical character on stage and screen.

The 1900's

* 1912 "The Secrets of House No. 5," possibly the first vampire movie, is produced in Great Britain.
* 1913 "Dracula's Guest" by Bram Stoker is published.
* 1920 "Dracula," the first film based on the novel, is made in Russia. No copy has survived.
* 1921 Hungarian filmmakers produce a version of "Dracula."
* 1922 "Nosferatu," a German-made silent film produced by Prana Films, is the third attempt to film "Dracula."
* 1924 Hamilton Dean's stage version of "Dracula" opens in Derby. Fritz Harmann of Hanover, Germany, is arrested, tried and convicted of killing more than 20 people in a vampiric crime spree. Sherlock Holmes has his only encounter with a vampire in "The Case of the Sussex Vampire."
* 1927 February 14: Stage version of "Dracula" debuts at the Little Theatre in London. October: American version of "Dracula" starring Bela Lugosi, opens at Fulton Theatre in New York City. Tod Browning directs Lon Chaney in "London After Midnight," the first full-length feature film.
* 1928 The first edition of Montague Summers's influential work "The Vampire: His Kith and Kin" appears in England.
* 1929 Montague Summers's second vampire book, "The Vampire in Europe," is published.
* 1931 January: Spanish film version of "Dracula" is previewed. February: American film version of "Dracula" with Bela Lugosi premiers at the Roxy Theatre in New York City. Peter Kurten of Dusseldorf, Germany, is executed after being found guilty of murdering a number of people in a vampiric killing spree.
* 1932 The highly acclaimed movie "Vampyr," directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, is released.
* 1936 "Dracula's Daughter" is released by Universal Pictures.
* 1942 A. E. Van Vought's "Asylum" is the first story about an alien vampire.
* 1943 "Son of Dracula (Universal Pictures) stars Lon Chaney, Jr., as Dracula.
* 1944 John Carradine plays Dracula for the first time in "Horror of Dracula."
* 1953 "Drakula Istanbula," a Turkish film adaptation of "Dracula," is released. "Eerie" No. 8 includes the first comic book adaptation of "Dracula."
* 1954 The Comics Code banishes vampires from comic books. "I am Legend" by Richard Matheson presents vampirism as a disease that alters the body.
* 1956 John Carradine plays Dracula in the first television adaptation of the play for "Matinee Theatre." "Kyuketsuki Ga," the first Japanese vampire film, is released.
* 1957 The first Italian vampire movie, "I Vampiri," is released. American producer Roger Corman makes the first science fiction vampire movie, "Not of This Earth." "El Vampiro" with German Robles is the first of a new wave of Mexican vampire films.
* 1958 Hammer Films in Great Britain initiates a new wave of interest in vampires with the first of it's "Dracula" films, released in the United States as the "Horror of Dracula." First issue of "Famous Monsters of Filmland" signals a new interest in horror films in the Untied States.* *
* 1959 "Plan 9 From Outer Space is Bela Lugosi's last film.
* 1961 "The Bad Flower" is the first Korean film adaptation of "Dracula."
* 1962 The Count Dracula Society is founded in the United States by Donald Reed.
* 1964 "Parque de Juelos (Park of Games)" is the first Spanish made vampire movie.
* 1964 "The Munsters" and "The Addams Family"; two horror comedies with vampire characters, open in the fall television season.
* 1965 Jeanne Youngson founds The Count Dracula Fan Club. "The Munsters," based on the television show of the same name, is the first comic book series featuring a vampire character.
* 1966 "Dark Shadows" debuts on television.
* 1967 April: In episode 210 of "Dark Shadows", vampire Barnabas Collins makes his first appearance.
* 1969 First issue of "Vampirella," the longest running vampire comic book to date, is released. Denholm Elliot plays the title role in a BBC television production of "Dracula, Does Dracula Really Suck? (aka Dracula and the Boys)" is released as the first gay vampire movie.
* 1970 Christopher Lee stars in "El Conde Dracula," the Spanish film adaptation of "Dracula." Sean Manchester founds The Vampire Research Society.
* 1971 Marvel Comics releases the first copy of a post-Comics Code vampire comic book, "The Tomb of Dracula." Morbius, the Living Vampire, is the first new vampire character introduced after the revision of the Comics code allowed vampires to reappear in comic books.
* 1972 "The Night Stalker" with Darrin McGavin becomes the most watched television movie to that point in time. "Vampire Kung-Fu" is released in Hong Kong as the first of a string of vampire martial arts films. "In Search of Dracula" by Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu introduces Vlad the Impaler, the historical Dracula, to the world of contemporary vampire fans. "A Dream of Dracula" by Leonard Wolf complements McNally's and Florescu's effort in calling attention to vampire lore. "True Vampires of History" by Donald Glut is the first attempt to assemble the stories of all the historical vampire figures. Stephan Kaplan founds The Vampire Research Centre.
* 1973 Dan Curtis Productions' version of "Dracula" (1973) stars Jack Palance in a made-for-television movie. Nancy Garden's "Vampires" launches a wave of juvenile literature for children and youth.
* 1975 Fred Saberhagen proposes viewing Dracula as a hero rather than a village in "The Dracula Tape." "The World of Dark Shadows" is founded as the first "Dark Shadows" fanzine.
* 1976 "Interview with the Vampire" by Anne Rice is published. Stephen King is nominated for the World Fantasy Award for his vampire novel, "'Salem's Lot." Shadowcon, the first national "Dark Shadows convention, is organized by Dark Shadows fans."
* 1977 A new dramatic version of "Dracula" opens on Broadway starring Frank Langella. Louis Jordan stars in the title role in "Count Dracula," a three-hour version of Bram Stoker's book on BBC television. Martin V. Riccardo founds the Vampire Studies Society.
* 1978 Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's book "hotel Transylvania" joins the volumes of Fred Saberhagen and Anne Rice as the third major effort to begin a reappraisal of the vampire myth during the decade. Eric Held and Dorothy Nixon found the Vampire Information Exchange.
* 1979 Based on the success of the new Broadway production, Universal Pictures remakes "Dracula" (1979), starring Frank Langella. The band Bauhaus's recording of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" becomes the first hit of the new gothic rock music movement. "Shadowgram" is founded as a "Dark Shadows" fanzine.
* 1980 The Bram Stoker Society is founded in Dublin, Ireland. Richard Chase, the so-called Dracula Killer of Sacramento, California, commits suicide in prison. The World Federation of Dark Shadows Clubs (now Dark Shadows Official Fan Club) is founded.*
* 1983 In the December issue of "Dr. Strange," Marvel Comics' ace occultist kills all of the vampires in the world, thus banishing them from Marvel Comics for the next six years. Dark Shadows Festival is founded to host an annual "Dark Shadows" convention.
* 1985 "The Vampire Lestat" by Anne Rice is published and reaches the best seller list.
* 1989 Overthrow of Romanian dictator Nikolai Ceaucescu opens Transylvania to Dracula enthusiasts. Nancy Collins wins a Bram Stoker Award for her vampire novel "Sunglasses After Dark."
* 1991 Vampire: The Masquerade," the most successful of the vampire role-playing games, is released by White Wolf.
* 1992 "Bram Stoker's Dracula" directed by Francis Ford Coppola opens. Andrei Chikatilo of Rostov, Russia, is sentenced to death after killing and vampirizing some 55 people.

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