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Dracula fright

October 3, 2012

With Halloween comes scary creatures. Perhaps there is not one that is more scary than or more popular as a Halloween costume than Count Dracula.

Count Dracula is the central character in Irish novelist Bram Stoker’s horror story, “Dracula,” published in 1897.

The story is told like a gathering of documentations, such as letters, diaries, ship log entries, and even newspaper clippings, to name a few things. Jonathan Harker, a real estate worker, travels from England to Count Dracula’s castle situated in the Carpathian Mountains. Harker soon finds himself trapped in the castle and barely escapes.

Soon afterwards, Dracula begins to chase both Harker’s fiancee, Mina, and her friend, Lucy. Lucy begins to waste away suspiciously, and professor Abraham Van Helsing is brought in to help. Van Helsing soon determines Lucy’s fate, she has been turned into a vampire. Lucy then encounters a wolf, and both are assumed to have died from fright.

However, soon after Lucy is buried, locals begin to report being stalked by a lady. Van Helsing puts together a team that tracks “Lucy” down and stakes her heart, beheads her, and fills her mouth with garlic.

The group then turns their attention towards Dracula. Dracula learns of their plans and takes revenge by feeding on Mina. This creates some kind of a bond with her due to the blood of the blood of the vampire flowing in her veins.

Dracula was now able to control Mina through a hypnotic state. Van Helsing’s crew finally track Dracula down and stab him through the heart with a knife. In the end, Dracula crumbles to dust and Mina is freed from the curse.

While clearly a fictional work, most agree that Stoker’s story was based on the actual life of Transylvania-born Vlad III, better known as Vlad the Impaler. Vlad was ruler of Wallachia for a short time (1456-1462), and was especially known for his grotesque method of disposing of political rivals, criminals and others he considered useless to his empire. He also took a dislike to women who had lost their virginity prior to marriage. He killed around 100,000  people in his short rule by slowly impaling them with sharp stakes, hence his nickname.

Most experts agree that Stoker got the idea to base his character on Vlad III from a Hungarian professor he had studied under.

The story and ideas of vampires does not stop at the fictional novel however. Vampiremania has provided a endless amount of subcultures. With technology, the following has went to online chat rooms, websites and clubs for people claiming to be vampires or for others wanting to research vampires.

According to Hebrew legend, vampires existed from the beginning of time.

According to the Midrash, which is a collection of Hebrew legends, Adam had a wife prior to Eve named Lillith. The legend says both were created from the dust. When Adam approached Lillith for the purpose of having a physical relationship, Lillith refused to be subservient.

When Adam attempted to force her, she left Eden to the banks of the Red Sea. There, she mated with demons until God sent three Angels to return her to Adam, according to the legend. Many vampire enthusiasts believe Lillith to be the first vampire.

Legends tell of other vampires throughout history.

In 1727, a young soldier by the name of Arnold Paul was said to have wandered Belgrade after he was buried. Within days after he had died, it was said that Paul was seen by several villagers, who soon died after coming in contact with him. According to historical records, Paul’s body was exhumed. It was staked and burned to ash.

In Hungary, Peter Plogojowitz was reportedly seen as many as 10 years after his death. Reportedly he entered several people’s homes and choked them to death. According to reports, a police officer and a minister headed up and exhumation and his body was found still intact. His body was staked and burned, and all strange deaths reportedly ceased in the village from that point.

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