Happy Dracula Day & Birthday to Bela Lugosi!
I’ve made a separate page on
Bela Lugosi and Dracula day
Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula was based on the 15th century Romanian Prince Vlad Tepes also known as Vlad the Impaler and Dracula as Son of the Dragon. Among the Romani people Vlad was and still is revered for defending his country against the Turks. Vlad’s manner of impaling his victims was to make an example of them (which I think and wish to be used in our times, being as punishment by jail does not seem to work) and be a warning to others. Sadly Vlad even used his method for those who’s ‘crime’ was as minor as lying. Vlad’s reputation, if not historical accounts inspired Stoker to write Dracula, written centuries later. Vlad thought to have been born in what then was a town called Sighisora which was at the time part of Transylvania (now part of Romania) , the younger son of Wallachian Prince Vlad Dracul, who was a warlord and inducted into the Royal Society ‘Order of the Dragon’ which was one reason he was called Dracula as in medieval times the dragon was synonymous with the devil. In Romanian language the word Dracula means ‘son of the dragon’ and in turn son of the devil, so he lived up to his name.
The elder Vlad was forced to give up 2 sons, Vlad and his older brother Mircea II were hostages of the Ottoman sultan. Radu was put to death by being blinded with iron stakes and buried alive. Vlad needless to say grew up with an intense hatred o the Turks as well as any who were disloyal and competitive against his family these were high-ranking Russian, Moldovian, and Wallachian aristocrats).
1447 The elder Vlad Tepes was assassinated and was now time for young Vlad to rule. With the herculean task of restoring order to Wallachia. his land now a poverty-stricken country whose economy completely collapsed and crime endemic. Vlad wiped out threats to his power, to curb the boyars he knighting lowly individuals as well as appointing some to important government positions. He cut off trade between the boyars and the Saxons that settled in Transylvania; and when the boyars resisted, he had Saxon Officials impaled as a warning not to flout his authority. having made an alliance with the Hungarians in 1461, he marched into Ottoman territory and laid waste to the population south of the Danube. Vlad was said to having boasted or killing 20,000 Turks and Bulgarians chopping off their heads and burning them in their homes. The Sultan responded by sending an army of 90,000 men, who upon arrival were greeted by the forest of thousands of dead and dying impaled upon stakes.
Vlad’s army was no match for the Turks’ when they attacked the castle. During the siege, Vlad’s wife threw herself from the tower rather than be captured by the Turks. With the castle taken, the sultan threw Vlad in prison and put half brother Radu on the Wallachian throne. Vlad was killed in 1476 fighting near Bucharest, the Turkish soldiers cut off his head and sent it to the Sultan who prominently displayed it in Istanbul fittingly on a stake.
During he campaigns he was said to have killed 40,000 to 100,00 people, but in his Romania where he was heralded as a freedom fighter and hero the figures are said to be exaggerated. In Germany Vlad was alleged of being a sadist, in which his crimes included Burning, skinning, roasting, He was said to have forced his victims families to eat their flesh ,boiling and drowning victims, nailing hats to their heads, and cutting off of limbs. . There are at least 2 ‘stories’ I heard of of the later 2. (Now I’m not sure if this was just in a movie about Vlad or a documentary about him) But I remember watching something (NOT Dracula Untold) that Turks came into the throne room, without having taken their helmets or turbans off. Vlad requested they do, but they refused and so he had them nailed to their heads. The cutting off of limbs, from what I know is let the crime fit the punishment; if you stole you had a finger or hand cut off. There is more on these punishments but I don’t want to scare any of those with a weak stomach or heart! Historians however think believe these accounts are exaggerated. He perfected the slow death of impalement to create maximum pain before death. It was important to sharpen the sake but not too much so the victim would not die of shock. The stake was then oiled and forced into the body; normally the stake was inserted through the anus and forced right through until it came out of their mouth, however for some crimes they were impaled upside down, or it would be inserted in other orifices or pushed through the chest or stomach. The victim was then left outside in front of passers-by to die a humiliating slow & agonizing death. The size of the stake indicated the person’s rank. They were also arranged in patterns around a village, city, or town the soldiers were targeting, and once a victim died, they were left to rot away. Vlad Tepes may have gone down in history for his blood thirsty ways of punishment there is nothing to suggest that he (in fact) drank blood or was a vampire. want to learn more about Vlad Tepes?
In the novel Dracula lives in Transylvania which is supposed to be a ‘cursed land’ ,originally the novel was supposed to be set in a region of Austria called Styria, having been inspired by reading a book of a remote castle, however when he read another book said to be Transylvania Superstitions by Emily Gerard and was an account of the folklore of the regional forests, werewolves and ruined castles. One of these superstitions was that of the locals belief in in Nosferatu, and how they tried to ward off evil by hanging garlic over their doors. Stoker thought this to be a fertile ground for a horror story. There was one other book that that was an important influence ‘An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia by William Wilkinson which was published in 1820 In this book he came across the accounts of Prince Vlad III as well as possibly by his Hungarian friend and professor Armin Vambery.
Read the follow up, Did you know that Stoker’s novel was originally supposed to be titled un-dead? Continue the Dracula tale with his Great nephew, in Dracula: Undead. (I enjoyed it and loved the twist)
No one knows if Vlad Dracul ever visited Bran Castle but it is known as ‘Dracula’s Castle’ and is one of Romania’s top tourist attractions. The castle made headlines after being returned to it’s original owners the Van Hapsburg family (in which someone from my county of Westchester in NY was one of them) 60 years after it was seized by the communists.
Check out The Ghost Adventures 2013 Halloween special in Dracula’s castle , Targoviste Castle Hunedoara Castle
Oh I just came across some new news!!! for a documentary
Find out how many brothers Vlad Tepes had?
After seeing Dracula Untold (see my review here ) I came across this, which by the title of the article alone made me feel all Fangy and giddy!
theatrical-review-dracula-untold from iHorror/
want Vampires in general? They’re day errr Night is coming up
The ultimate Dracula anthology was released for the 60th anniversary of the Original Motion picture.