Stories of vampires have been told for centuries, especially about the famous vampire, Dracula. Although there have been many stories about vampires including in books and movies, there are many people who don’t know where the story of Dracula came from. The actual story of the real-life “Dracula” is very interesting but grotesque.
Vampire stories that we know today include the beautiful creatures who appear to be human. They have beautiful features, pale skin, red eyes, and they drink the blood of humans. While this is entertaining in movies and books, there is a real story behind them. The real-life Dracula was originally named Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad the third, Vlad the Impaler, or Dracula. He was a Romanian prince that was born in 15th century Transylvania.”...he took the name Dracula, meaning “son of Dracul,” when he was initiated into a secret order of Christian knights known as the Order of the Dragon. Notably, in Romanian Dracul means ‘dragon,’ (History.com - History). When he became the ruler of Walachia, Romania, he made lots of enemies. When defeating his enemies he would use mass murder, torture, etc. Some of the torture methods he would use include, disembowelment, (cutting them open and removing their organs), skinning his victims alive, decapitation, etc. He did use all of those methods a lot but his favorite method was impaling his victims and then he would leave them to die of exposure. “...as he retreated from a battle in 1462, he left a field filled with thousands of impaled victims as a deterrent to pursuing Ottoman forces,” (Britannica.com - Britannica). This is where his nickname, Vlad the Impaler, came from. He would use a wooden stake to impale his victims, and you may recognize that in many vampire movies, the vampires can only be killed by a wooden stake. Vlad III uses the wooden stake to kill his victims is where this came from. It is said that Dracula had about 80,000 victims, and 20,000 of those were said to be impaled on stakes in the Danube and left to die on display. It is said that Vlad had reportedly eaten parts of his victims and one account said he had dipped his bread in their blood. While we don’t know for sure if those accounts are completely true, he did some very horrible and gruesome things to thousands of people. Vlad the third ended up getting captured by Hungarian forces where he was then imprisoned. He regained his throne in 1476 and then he was killed in a battle during that same year. The Ottoman Empire was the one who killed him and it is said that they sent his head to Sultan Mehmet the second and he kept it as a trophy.
Stories of vampires have been around for hundreds of years. Although there are hundreds of stories and movies about vampires, especially “Count Dracula”, there are a lot of disconnects when it comes to the story of the real-life Dracula. The things that he did were disgusting and gruesome, but versions of his story have been passed down through generations.
Mo McClure is a senior at Poudre High School and she runs the Watashiato Press where she shows peoples life experiences and social issues. Click here to check it out!
History.com Staff. “Was Dracula a Real Person?” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 22 May 2013, https://www.history.com/news/was-dracula-a-real-person.
Pallardy , Richard. “Vlad the Impaler.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/biography/Vlad-the-Impaler.
Lallanilla, Marc. “Vlad the Impaler: The Real Dracula Was Absolutely Vicious.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 31 Oct. 2013, https://www.nbcnews.com/sciencemain/vlad-impaler-real-dracula-was-absolutely-vicious-8c11505315.
“Death of Vlad the Impaler - News.” Philippa Gregory, 10 Jan. 2018, https://www.philippagregory.com/news/death-of-vlad-the-impaler#:~:text=On%20this%20day%20in%201477,in%20Constantinople%20as%20a%20trophy.