Most people don’t realize that Dracula takes place in May. First in “Dracula’s Guest” we have Jonathan Harker arriving in Transylvania during Walpurgisnacht. He ends up needing to be rescued from other vampires in a Village of Vampires. Because the idiot didn’t heed his guide’s warnings. His guide specifically told him that the village was damned.
And abandoned for that very reason. But he thinks it’s a lovely day. And after his driver refuses to drive through that village, he decided he will walk all the way to his destination. Through said village. Not only is Harker one of the dumbest literary characters in history.
He’s also the luckiest. How he survived to the end of the book and beyond, is beyond me. So I am going to share some Dracula links with all of you. Both the literary Dracula as well as his more historical version. I thought both these articles were amazing start.
First one is this one. The epidemic in Ireland which inspired Stoker’s concept of Vampirism by contagion. Even though Vampirism by contagion is something far more ancient. Going back to several ancient civilizations.
Forget Vlad the Impaler. A 19th-century cholera outbreak in Sligo may have been Bram Stoker’s chief inspiration.
BY RONAN O’CONNELL JUNE 3, 2020
AN AFTERNOON WIND FUNNELS DOWN deserted Old Market Street, past shuttered shops and darkened restaurants. The rowdy Irish student town of Sligo has been frozen. It is two months into a strict nationwide lockdown enforced by the Irish government to combat the novel coronavirus, which has killed more people per capita in Ireland than in the U.S.
The last time Sligo was this empty—this lifeless, this restricted—was 188 years ago. Cholera was the culprit. That epidemic spawned not just death, poverty, famine, chaos, and desertion but also a legendary vampire. Yet only in late 2018 did Irish researchers make this startling discovery: Dracula was born in Sligo.
In 1832, on Old Market Street, a 14-year-old Irish girl hid in her home during the cholera outbreak, which killed more than 10 percent of the town’s population. The ghastly scenes around her—mass graves, corpses in the street, victims buried alive—she later recounted to her son. His name was Bram Stoker, and those bleak stories were a key source of inspiration for writing Dracula—one of the most influential novels in history. First published in 1897, this vampire tale has spawned dozens of movies, plays, TV shows, and books.
(Amazing eh? Now we have the real life Castle Dracula. Which was a military fortress that Vlad Dracula used as a base of operations).
EVEN WITHOUT ITS BLOODY HISTORIC ties, Poenari Castle, also known as Poenari Fortress, would be a majestic, exciting place to explore on its own merit. Architecture buffs would marvel at the 13th century mortar work, lovers of fantastic scenery would find the cliffside view mind-blowing. Poenari Castle doesn’t need a sordid story to be spectacular, but it happens to have that as well.
The story is a legendary one and to many, a confusing mixture of truth, history, legend, and fiction due to the convolution between the novel “Dracula” and the factual history of Vlad III Dracula “The Impaler”, whose name inspired the book. Bram Stoker modeled some of his main character on the more basic facts about Dracula’s actual life, but his knowledge of Romanian history and the true story of Vlad the Impaler remains suspect.
Then we have the amazing Dracula’s Guest
I tried to put the embedded video but it wouldn’t do it here. So I had to put the link instead. That’s one of my two favorite versions. Here are some images from that story.
Yes people, when caught in a snowstorm, this idiot thinks the safest place in a haunted village is……the CEMETERY
And there he sees the uncorrupted body of the Countess. Who committed suicide in life. And was cursed to become a Vampire in death. And yes, this is one of the ways in which a person can become a vampire.
The Countess shape-shifted as a Wolf, keeps Harker warm and drives off the other Vampires. She wants him for herself.
Other fun facts
The beginning of Dracula is set a few days after Walpurgisnacht. On St. George’s Eve. In fact, Jonathan Harker is even warned about it. By one of the people he’s traveling with on the stage coach.
“Just before I was leaving, the old lady came up to my room and said in a very hysterical way:
‘Must you go? Oh! young Herr, must you go?’
She was in such an excited state that she seemed to have lost her grip of what German she knew, and mixed it all up with some other language which I did not know at all. I was just able to follow her by asking many questions. When I told her that I must go at once, and that I was engaged on important business, she asked again:
‘Do you know what day it is?’ I answered that it was the fourth of May. She shook her head as she said again:
‘Oh, yes! I know that! I know that, but do you know what day it is?’ On my saying that I did not understand, she went on:
‘It is the eve of St. George’s Day. Do you not know that to-night, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway? Do you know where you are going, and what you are going to?’
She was in such evident distress that I tried to comfort her, but without effect. Finally she went down on her knees and implored me not to go; at least to wait a day or two before starting. It was all very ridiculous but I did not feel comfortable. However, there was business to be done, and I could allow nothing to interfere with it. I therefore tried to raise her up, and said, as gravely as I could, that I thanked her, but my duty was imperative, and that I must go.
She then rose and dried her eyes, and taking a crucifix from her neck offered it to me. I did not know what to do, for, as an English Churchman, I have been taught to regard such things as in some measure idolatrous, and yet it seemed so ungracious to refuse an old lady meaning so well and in such a state of mind. She saw, I suppose, the doubt in my face, for she put the rosary round my neck, and said,
‘For your mother’s sake,’
And went out of the room. I am writing up this part of the diary whilst I am waiting for the coach, which is, of course, late; and the crucifix is still round my neck. Whether it is the old lady’s fear, or the many ghostly traditions of this place, or the crucifix itself, I do not know, but I am not feeling nearly as easy in my mind as usual,”
– Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Abraham “Bram” Stoker’s Dracula
I actually wrote a whole article on why St. George’s Eve is considered a night of evil spirits. And of black magic etc…for anyone who is interested. So enjoy your evening of Drakula.