Vampirism and the true origins dates back generations from all over the world and despite the true origins being somewhat unknown, there are many who believed Bram Stoker is responsible for bringing vampirism to the general public.
One of the main origin stories of vampires stems from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a novel the late writer released in 1897. Although much credit can be attributed to Stoker’s imagination, there is some confusion around the inspiration.
Vlad the Impaler
Many believed that Stoker’s fictitious character was inspired by the 15th century Romanian ruler, Vlad the Impaler. His real name was Vlad III Drăculea (Vlad III Dracula – English translation). Vlad was responsible for killing hundreds of people by impalement, which earned him his more common name.
Though he and Stoker’s character share the same name and geographical location of Transylvania in Romania, that’s all they seemed to have in common apart from their taste for blood.
In Stoker’s novel, he describes Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, Romania, and though many believe he was describing Bran Castle in Transylvania, there is no evidence to suggest that Stoker visited, knew of its existence, or took any inspiration from the real-life castle at the time of his writings.
Another common misconception is that Bran Castle was the residence of Vlad III, but we have dug into the archives of Vlad III and his ancestry, as well as spoken to experienced historians who are all adamant that there is no proof he lived there.
There is also no evidence pointing towards Vlad even visiting Bran Castle, but with Vlad and Stoker’s Dracula both being from Transylvania and both having a similar name, it seems logical to think Bram was in fact describing Dracula’s castle as Bran Castle.
The current owner of Bran Castle in Transylvania actually dislikes when people refer to it as Dracula’s castle and prefers that there is no mention of it in the same conversation as vampires.
Though the nature of vampires over the years has seen many different adaptions with some being affected by garlic, some having glistening skin (in Twilight), most not having a reflecting (in movies like Fright Night), almost all having ferocious speed (in shows like The Vampire Diaries) and their blood being able to heal non-vampire humans (in books like The New England Vampire), Stoker should be considered one of the main inspirations for all of these.
Bram Stoker was definitely responsible for laying many of the rules for vampirism in his 1897 novel, but relating Vlad the Impaler or Bran Castle to vampires is incorrect and neither had any link to vampires whatsoever.