Bram Stoker’s Secret: The Strange Lost Chapter of “Dracula”

Arguably among the most famous tales of darkness and the macabre ever written, Bram Stoker’s seminal 1897 Gothic horror novel, Dracula, continues to set a precedent in the horror genre more than a century after its publication. Derivative works that range from short stories and novels, to the myriad films portraying the famous Transylvanian count, often depict Dracula as a kind of “king among vampires”, if not very literally so. Among Stoker’s early sources of inspiration for the story had been visits to locations like the crypts at Saint Michan’s Church in Dublin, Ireland, as well as a castle known as Slains, near Aberdeenshire. However, there were perhaps no elements at play which directly inspired Stoker more than the publication of Sheridan Le Fanu’s seminal novella Carmilla, appearing in print 26 years before Dracula arrived on the scene.  Considered one of the most sensual and risqué works of fiction for its time, Le Fanu’s novella featured […] Read More

The vampire slayings of 19th century New England

The Vampire by Sir Philip Burne-Jones, ca. 1897. Image credit: Wikipedia The vampire myth originates in ancient beliefs in demons or evil spirits who feed on the blood and flesh of the living. Cultures all over the world have a version of a blood-sucking creature that returns from the grave to torment and feed on people. The creatures in these ancient myths eventually gave way to bloated folkloric vampires that spread disease and the charismatic fictional vampires that consume the living and give eternal life. In New England in the 19th century so many people believed that their dead family members were climbing out of their graves to kill relatives that the issue was addressed by incredulous academics and reporters in journals and newspaper articles. According to Paul Barber, author of Vampires, Burial & Death, there are two types of vampires: folkloric and fictional. Fictional vampires are supernatural creatures […] Read More