Celebrating 121 years of Dracula with 60.5 pieces of vampire trivia

May 23, 2018

On May 26, 2018, Bram Stoker's Dracula turns 121 years old. To celebrate, we rounded up 60.5 (yes, that's 121 divided by two) fascinating, terrifying, and totally spooky facts about the mythical vampire:

1. Bram Stoker was inspired to create the fictional, undead character Dracula by the story of Vlad the Impaler, the 13th-century Romanian prince, who was reputed to have consumed the blood of those he killed.

2. Prior to his death, Bram Stoker was better known as the personal assistant to actor Henry Irving than as an author.

3. Hall Caine, the author to whom Dracula is dedicated, wrote the book The Manxman, which was used as the source material for Alfred Hitchcock's last silent film.

4. Stoker never actually visited Eastern Europe, despite situating the plot of Dracula there.

5. Florence Balcombe, Stoker's wife, chose the Dracula author over another suitor: Oscar Wilde.

6. There is speculation that Stoker was a repressed homosexual; he began writing Dracula just weeks after Wilde's conviction for gross indecency, and there are theories that he was inspired by the monstrous image of Wilde that was painted by the press.

7. Stoker died in 1912, aged 64. His ashes remain at Golder's Green Crematorium in London.

8. Stoker's great-grandnephew, Dacre Stoker, wrote a sequel to Dracula in 2009, titled Dracula: The Un-Dead, meant to reestablish the Stoker family's right to the copyright of Bram Stoker's original novel. The book was poorly received.

9. A short story collection, Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories, was published two years after Stoker's death.

10. "The Burial of the Rats", one of the short stories from Dracula's Guest, was adapted into a film in 1995 by cult director and producer Roger Corman.

11. The father of Vlad the Impaler — who, as you'll recall, provided inspiration for the character Dracula — was named Vlad Dracul, or Vlad the Dragon. He was given the moniker upon his induction into The Order of the Dragon, a militant organization dedicated to halting the advancement of the Ottomans into Europe.

12. The invention of the printing press resulted in stories about Vlad the Impaler's notorious cruelty becoming some of Europe's first "bestsellers."

13. The first film adaptation of Dracula was Nosferatu, released in 1922; Florence Balcombe sued the film's producers, claiming that she — as her late husband's executor — had not been asked permission to use his book as source material.

14. More than 200 films have been made that feature some depiction of Dracula.

15. In Stoker's book, Count Dracula can turn himself into a wolf, as well as a bat.

16. Universal Studios produced seven films featuring Dracula between 1931 and 1979.

17. The 1958 film version of Dracula, starring Christopher Lee, was in 2004 named the 30th best British film of all time.

18. Drakula İstanbul'da, released in 1953, was the first film with sound to depict Dracula with fangs.

19. In 1964, artist Andy Warhol made a film called Batman Dracula, without the permission of DC comics.

20. Frances Ford Coppola's 1992 film Bram Stoker's Dracula depicted the fictional count as actually being Vlad the Impaler, and imagined how the conquerer may have transformed into the immortal monster.

21. The same was done in 2016, with the film Dracula Untold.

22. In Stoker's original book, the character Van Helsing is an aged Dutch doctor; in many ensuing interpretations, he is depicted as a mercenary and vampire hunter.

23. It's Van Helsing who introduces the tried-and-true methods and tools for repelling and killing vampires: garlic, silver crosses, holy water, and wooden stakes.

24. The idea of a vampire — an undead being that feeds on the blood or vital forces of living creatures — predates Stoker's novel — the first known usage of the word "vampire" was in 1734 (then spelled "vampyre"), but the notion has existed for thousands of years.

25. Depending on the origin of the vampire myth, vampires are created in a variety of ways. Some cultures believe they are created when an animal jumps over the grave of a dead human; others believe a body with a wound that is not treated with boiling water before burial can develop vampirism.

26. To prevent vampires, some cultures place rice or flax beside a grave; apparently, if a vampire rises from the grave, he or she will be occupied by counting the grains and will not disturb the living. (This is the reason why Count von Count from Sesame Street is a vampire!)

27. In folklore, vampires were usually bloated (rather than gaunt) and dark purple in pallor (this was attributed to the consumption of blood, but both the darkening of skin and bloating are symptoms of decomposition).

28. Sharp objects were often buried with bodies to prevent vampires; the idea was that the corpse, on reviving, would be instantly impaled.

29. Metal objects were often inserted into the body or mouth prior to burial.

30. The first appearance of the vampire was in the 1748 poem The Vampire, by Heinrich August Ossenfelder.

31. The charismatic vampire associated with Dracula first appeared in the 1819 short story The Vampyre by John Polidori.

32. The chupacabra is believed to be a vampiric beast that consumes the flesh of living animals.

33. The collective noun for a group of vampires is a "coven" or a "house".

34. In 1994, a group of scientists checked to see if leeches were repulsed by garlic, to check to see if vampires would be as well. The conclusion: leeches actually preferred garlic over no garlic.

35. While stories of vampires or vampiric beings exist globally, Persians are believed to be the first civilization to have stories about blood-drinking demons — depictions of such creatures appears on ancient pottery shards.

36. Strigoi, beings with the ability to drain life from a victim via blood loss, are mythical, vampiric creatures whose story originated in Romania — the home of Bram Stoker's Dracula.

37 The word strigoi is related to the Romanian verb a striga, which means "to scream."

38. Nicolae Ceaușescu, a Romanian politician, did not receive a proper burial; to guard against his ghost, his former apartment was carpeted with garlic.

39. The writing of vampire fiction is rooted in the so-called "vampire craze" of the 1720s and 1730s.

40. During the "vampire craze," two Serbian peasants and suspected vampires were exhumed — and staked by hysterical villagers.

41. Because vampires were often depicted as coming in through windows at night, Heathcliffe — from Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights — is suspected of being a vampire by a housekeeper.

42. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling borrowed the name of the group of three female vampires who live at Dracula's castle, "The Weird Sisters," for her book series, in which she uses it as the name of a popular band.

43. The popular Twilight novel series has sold more than 120 million copies worldwide, and spend more than a collective 235 weeks on the New York Times children's Bestsellers list.

44. The Twilight film adaptations, meanwhile, have earned more than US$3-million at the box office globally.

45. Bram Stoker is celebrated annually in his native Dublin with a three-day festival.

46. The 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer was written by Joss Stone, who intended it to have a much darker look and feel. Five years later, his popular TV series of the same name, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, made its debut.

47. By the year 2005, Dracula had become the subject of more films than any other fictional character.

48. Hungarian noblewoman Elizabeth Báthory, who is thought to be the most prolific female murderer in history, is also believed to have partly inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula: according to legend, she bathed in the blood of her victims to retain her youthful appearance.

49. Stoker barely described Dracula's appearance — let alone his attire — in his novel. The Dracula "costume" as we know it originated in 1924, with a stage production of Dracula in London, England.

50. Anne Rice, who wrote the hugely popular Interview with the Vampire and several other works of vampire fiction, has sold more than 100 million books to date.

51. A vampire can't enter your house unless he or she is invited to cross the "threshold" — or, in other words, pass through your front door.

52. Although Bram Stoker was inspired by Vlad the Impaler, and set Dracula in Romania, the English town of Whitby inspired the novel's atmosphere.

53. In some folkloric descriptions, vampires first rise from the grave as boneless bags of blood, later transforming into human-like beings.

54. Skulls and skeletons are often found with rocks wedged in their jaws or stakes thrust into their chests, which is a vampire-preventing method often practised in previous centuries.

55. One theory as to why vampires are afraid of garlic: it cures infections. Garlic contains natural antibiotics, which were potentially used to cure ailments before modern medicine.

56. The largest-ever gathering of people dressed like vampires took place in 2011 in Virginia, U.S., when 1,039 people assembled dressed as the mythical blood-sucker.

57. True to its name, the vampire bat feeds on the blood of other animals.

58. Feeding on blood is called "hematophagy." In addition to vampire bats, mosquitos, hood mockingbirds, and many other species are hematophagic.

59. You can have implants attached to your incisors to give the appearance of "vampire fangs."

60. In 2006, a Floridian physics professor authored a paper that argued that it is mathematically impossible for vampires to exist.

60.5 G Adventures can't get you up close and personal with a real vampire (sorry, they don't exist!), but we have the next best thing: A Halloween party in Dracula's backyard. Learn more about our Dracula's Halloween Party tour here.

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