Dracula Fun Facts and Fancy (Courtesy, Ultimately, of The Bram Stoker Estate via Facebook)

There is something about biting and blood that we never get over.   Luis Suarez and his bite debated round the world in the World Cup.   Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the Victorian tale of castles and darkness that we still feel at our throats.  That story has had amazing staying power.  “I want to suck your blood!” and all the rest.   Built off the story of Transylvania’s real Vlad the Impaler.   Back to Europe’s long struggle with the Turkish caliphate.   The story never dies.   This hour On Point:  the history and myth of literature’s great vampire – Dracula.  – Tom Ashbrook


This is from the web page for National Public Radio’s ON POINT, with Tom Ashbrook, dated June 26th and quite serendipitously brought to my attention via a post on The Bram Stoker Estate’s Facebook page.  Can it be that Facebook is not the complete waste of time it keeps trying so hard to convince us it is?  To see the ON POINT page for yourself, press here — then you be the judge!

But for a taste first, below is a brief potpourri of items and comments that you, too, may see, some wise, some foolish — again you may be the judge — but most quite interesting.  Or at least I thought so.


CNN: Underground Budapest: Caverns, churches, and Cold Was bunkers — “The Hapsburg Palaces, romantic banks of the Danube and historic spas draw the crowds to Budapest, but there’s a whole world underground within the city limits. Literally underground.  While one half of the city, Pest, is flat, Buda’s curvy hills are rich with secret labyrinths, hidden bunkers and caving adventures. T here are up to 200 caves in total.”

HLN: Haunted (open) house? Dracula’s castle is for sale — “Bran Castle was completed in 1388 and in the centuries since, has served primarily as a royal residence, fortress and customs point. However, its most famous role, as the isolated hilltop home from which Count Dracula morphed into a bat and sucked the blood of his victims, is largely fictional — and not just because, you know, Dracula never existed.”

Daily Mail: Is this Dracula’s final resting place? 16th century headstone unearthed in Naples could belong to Vlad the Impaler — “He has cast a shadow over the craggy Transylvanian Alps for centuries.   But the remains of the real-life Dracula are today to beBihoTakashi-BatBeforeTheMoon1910ish found not in the Romanian Alps but in Italy, according to new research.   Count Vlad Tepes, the so-called Dracula, was thought to have died in battle.   But scholars from the University of Tallinn say they have discovered documentary evidence that he was in fact taken prisoner, ransomed to his daughter – by then safe in Italy – and buried in a church in Naples.”

New York Times: Young Blood May Hold Key to Reversing Aging — “It later became clear that stem cells are essential for keeping tissues vital.  When tissues are damaged, stem cells move in and produce new cells to replace the dying ones.  As people get older, their stem cells gradually falter.  In the early 2000s, scientists realized that stem cells were not dying off in aging tissues.”

Pearse McCaughney – 4 days ago

Great item on Dracula and Dubliner Bram Stoker. The name Dracula actually comes from the Irish ‘Droch-Fhoula’ (pronounced ‘Druck Ulla’). It means ‘Bad Blood’.

Douglas Fudge – 5 days ago

What about the hypothesis that the vampire legend is based on rabid humans, who were a lot more common before the development of the rabies vaccine. Like rabid dogs and other animals, rabid humans would have acted strangely and had a propensity to bite others.  If myths and legends are ways of trying to explain things that don’t make sense, perhaps the vampire myth arose as a way of explaining the strange and scary behaviour of rabid people.

dirq Douglas Fudge – 4 days ago

I believe this is the simplest explanation, and you can add werewolves to it.
A vampire bites you, what happens? You turn into a vampire.  Bats are a primary transmitter of rabies, can you become a bat if you’re a vampire? 
You turn into a werewolf, after a 1 month viral incubation period, if you get bit by a werewolf.
And both diseases are pretty darn spooky- I’d be scared by a disease whose mortality rate is 100 percent.

gerald fnord – 5 days ago

Just in case noöne else points this out early on: all evidence points to Bram Stoker’s having fully fleshed-out his ‘Count Wampyr’ before he ever heard of Vlad the Impaler, though he did then incorporate some of that figure’s “Game of Thrones”-ish history into the character.  Add a late-Communist Roumanian government eager for tourist cash, and you get an heap in whose dungeons Vlad II spent some months as `Dracula’s Castle’ and a guide who opines ‘He was great man, he only kill some Turks who want to make “Turkish love” to some boys!’.

gerald fnord – 5 days ago

Margo Adler recently has had out a book on the fascination with vampires; a pity she’s not on.  Perhaps it’s largely because they (in most instances) look like people, but are predators stronger than us (since Stoker, at least) and free of conscience (in most versions), and (since Regency and Victorian times) sexually powerful, making them neat packages of our dreams and nightmares.  Beside that, and as all the presence of all those parentheticals would indicate, their characterisation is so flexible that you can write almost whatever vampire you wish.

Their apparent humanity also makes their being killed more wrenching and/or satisfying: mowing-down tens of rotting zombies can’t compare with taking on one human-seeming being who cares about existing or not and is strong enough to make the outcome in doubt…all the more fraught if she’s just acted more lubriciously than she ever did when you were engaged to her.

As for “Dracula” itself, the English horror maven Kim Newman years back pointed out that when it was published, the ‘invasion novel’ was very popular, Great Power anxiety meeting technological advancement that might make the Channel less of a barrier than it used to be, and Stoker is describing both an invasion and the prospect of subversion from within.  (Of the genre, only “The War of the Worlds” has also survived in popularity;  Tom Cruise is unlikely to star in “The Battle of Dorking”, a real title referring to an English town.)  Guillermo del Toro also rightly points-out that the book was a techno-thriller for its time: short-hand, gramophones, injections, lock-picking, transfusions, reliable mail and railway and shipping time-tables….

And, of course, there was the concern in those publicly sexually-repressed (and so, actually highly sexually charged) times among respectable men who had ‘sown their wild oats’ (or were still sowing on the sly) that they might have infected their respectably virtuous wives with V.D. back when that regularly killed and blinded and drove insane with no cure at all—a good (if flawed) man could lie abed for hours worrying, until that and the lobster he’d et conspired to place a pair of glowing, red, eyes at the foot of the bed, perhaps he yelped loudly enough to wake Florence, and then….

*No, worrying about getting a computer virus from a porn site doesn’t reasonably compare.


Again, to see (or listen!) for yourself, just press here, and enjoy, enjoy.


  1. VERY interesting! Love this kind of stuff. Thanks, Jim!

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