The 14th of February marks the US release of Tod Browning’s 1931 film Dracula. In celebration of eighty-six years of Dracula, Bloomeration has put together a list of 6 creepy facts about Vlad the Impaler, the man who inspired the Dracula mythology.
Vlad the impaler was born in Transylvania and was the second of four brothers born into the family of Vlad Dracul. When Vlad’s father and brother were assassinated he was determined to take his father’s seat. He was victorious in 1488 only to be disposed of after only two months. Eight years later Vlad once again claimed the voievodate where he concocted a massive reign of torture, mutilation, and death.
Warning: avoid this list if you have a light stomach.
1He used blood as a bread dip
While the Dracula we know from film and literature might seem scary, the guy he is based off is much worse. Vlad, who was born in 1431, got his nickname from his habit of impaling his enemies through the torso with large stakes and hanging them vertically, in what has been dubbed ‘the forest of the impaled’. His subjects were often impaled by the thousands and many lived for days in a horrifying state of agony. But, the gruesome behavior didn’t stop there. Vlad is also said to have taken pleasure in torturing victims by boiling them or cutting off their ears, nose, limbs or scalp. Many people believe that Vlad ate his meals in front of his victims and dunked his bread in their blood.
2He sought Revenge
Many believe that Vlad’s vicious killing spree was partly due to a desire for revenge after his father and brother were murdered by the Walachian boyars. In 1447 Dracula’s father was assassinated. His brother Mircea was also killed but not before being brutally tortured. Mircea was blinded with scolding hot iron and buried alive.
Vlad wanted to prove that he had power. So much so that he conducted a social experiment to do it. To prove how much his citizens feared him Vad placed a golden cup in the middle of the town square in Targoviste. He allowed people to drink from the cup but asked no one to take it. Despite the fact that around sixty thousand citizens lived in the town, most of whom were in extreme poverty, the cup was never touched.
4The Name Dacula
Vlad’s father was called ‘Dracul’, Romanian for ‘Dragon’ because of his involvement in the secret society The Order of The Dragon. Vlad became associated with the order in his childhood years and changed his name to ‘Dracula’ meaning ‘Son of the Dragon’. The Order of the Dragon was devoted to defeating the Turkish, or Ottoman Empire
Vlad was said to have brutally murdered up to 100,000 people in total. It is believed that 20,000 Turkish bodies were found dangling from stakes in The Forest of the Impaled.
6A disappearing body
Justice was finally served when Vlad met a terrifying end in a battle against an invasion of Turks. It is believed that Vlad’s head was removed from his body, where it was hoisted on top of a stake and displayed to the whole of Constantinople. The rest of his body was said to have been buried in the cemetery at Stangov Monastery. However, when his grave was dug there was no body found inside.