Books, Clips

25 Blood-Curdling Facts About Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”

Thought Catalog, October 14, 2016.

1. Dracula is the antagonist of the Victorian gothic horror classic, “Dracula,” by Bram Stoker, published in 1897.

2. The famously infamous count is Hungarian, a Székely warrior, who, in the 15th century, had led his troops against the Turks, across the River Danube.

3. He doesn’t have any bride, let alone, three. There are three women in his residence, referred to as the “sisters.” But who they are is unclear.

4. Nor does he have a first name. The name “Dracula” is popularly believed to have been inspired by the patronymic of Vlad III, a ruthless 15th century Wallachian prince. Stoker’s description of his villain as a tall, thin man, with a “heavy moustache” somewhat matches the portrait of Vlad III. But what’s the connection between the two? In 1890, Stoker borrowed from the Whitby Public Library, the book, “An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia,” by William Wilkinson. A footnote in the book stated: “Dracula, in the Wallachian language, means devil.” The Wallachians, at the time, bestowed this last name to any person who distinguished himself by courage, cruelty, or cunning.

5. Dracula’s castle stands on the edge of a sharp precipice with a 1,000 feet vertical face. It overlooks the Carpathians.

6. None of the rooms in his home, though tastefully and richly decorated, have mirrors.

7. Abraham van Helsing, the Dutch doctor who tracks down Dracula, says that the count trained at Scholomance, a storied academy of black magic and dark arts, located south of Hermannstadt, (now, the Romanian city of Sibiu), run by Satan himself. It’s an evil counterpart to Hogwarts from “Harry Potter.” Like the school for wizards and witches, near it too, is a deep, black tarn. It enrolls ten pupils at a time, of whom nine are allowed to go home. The tenth is retained as the devil’s due.

8. Dracula has superhero strength.

9. He can climb up and down walls, just like Spider-Man.

10. He’s a necromancer—that is, he can divine by talking to the dead.

11. He doesn’t eat.

12. To his guest, however, he laid out a sumptuous table, laid with roast chicken, cheese, salad, and a bottle of Tokay, a Hungarian wine.

13. He doesn’t have a pulse.

14. He can direct the elements: the storm, the fog, the thunder.

15. He can command the rat, the owl, the bat, the moth, the fox, and the wolf.

16. He can alter his size at will, growing tall at times; shorter, at others, even altogether, vanish.

17. He can only metamorphose at sunrise, sunset, or noon.

18. He can only pass running water only “at the slack or the flood of the tide.”

19. As he, and others like him, are immortal, they go on living, age after age, swelling the ranks of their own kind, for all those who die from being preyed on by the undead, themselves, become undead.

20. After death, their souls get possessed by the devil. It’s only when they’re killed after their demise (by driving a stake through their heart) that their soul is liberated, and they rest in peace forever.

21. Vampires can only sleep in sacred grounds.

22. The “holiest of love” is the “recruiting sergeant” for swelling the ghastly ranks of the undead. Johnathan Harker, Mina’s husband, says:

If we find out that Mina must be a vampire in the end, then she shall not go into that unknown and terrible land alone. I suppose it is thus that in old times one vampire meant many.

23. When Dracula travelled to London, he didn’t travel light. He brought with him a cargo of 50 wooden boxes, all filled with moldy earth, all replicas of his grave in his castle, in Transylvania.

24. Dracula is quite the real estate developer. He buys many properties in every corner of London. In each, he plans to install each of these chests.

25. The backbone of Stoker’s Transylvanian folklore was a book by the 19th century writer Emily Gerard, titled, “Transylvanian Superstitions,” first published in 1885.


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