On a recent trip to Brasov (2019) to visit Bran Castle in Transylvania, Romania, I learned more about Count Dracula. You decide if it is myth or legend. I vote for legend, after visiting his castle and hearing the stories firsthand.
“Most historians agree that the vampire as we know it today got its start in Europe sometime during the 17th and 18th centuries. According to scholars, the legendary “Dracula” novel by Bram Stoker was crafted after the real Romanian Prince Vlad Tepes, who lived during the 15th century in Transylvania.
While Romania generally looks fondly on his legacy, he was known to be very cruel to those he conquered, even earning himself the nickname “Vlad the Impaler”. Some stories go so far as to say that he even dined with his dying victims, dipping his bread in their blood.
One of the best-known works about vampires is the book “Dracula” that was published in 1897. Stoker’s version of a blood-sucking ghoul who preys on innocent people to prolong his life was burned into the collective psyche and kept with the then-popular belief that vampires were dangerous and scary, although there’s a case to be made that the Victorian-era novel is full of innuendo and is, in fact, a heavily sexual piece.
But through this novel, we get several characters who continually pop up in future works by other authors and even television and movie directors. You might be familiar with names like Van Helsing, the vampire slayer who is the central character portrayed by Hugh Jackman in a 2004 action movie, or Mina Murray, a love interest who features prominently in Dracula romance novel spin-offs.
But today, it is quite the tourist site, particularly in summer, when tens of thousands visit. I got there just before the big summer crowds, and got an up close and personal look from a local guide (friend of Dirty Pat). And he believes in Dracula too! So, thanks to my pal, Dirty Pat, for taking me up to Brasov, and the legend of Dracula coming to life!!! Happy Halloween to all of you!
PS: I did not get to meet the modern day Count Dracula, aka Ion Tiriac, the former doubles partner of tennis legend, Ilie Nastase. He owns most of Romania, with insurance companies, auto dealerships, resorts, and various “other” businesses, not doubt granted to him during the Ceaucescu era.