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Bram Stoker’s Influences May Have Stemmed from Family History

Everyone knows the name Dracula because of this one author’s eponymous novel about a vampire. In fact, Stoker’s horror story has gone on to form the famous archetype for almost all of the vampires we know and love; from Edward to  Count Von Count on Sesame Street. But what exactly inspired Stoker to craft such a timeless character?

 

 

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When it comes to Bram Stoker and his magnum opus in Dracula, people have studied and posited various theories on what the story is really about and what it reflects about the author. There are simple ideas that Stoker borrowed from various mythologies, and even more articulate ones that declare the author and his work as a piece to be studied like Freudian theory. But perhaps even more believable and understood is the fact that Bram Stoker may have been inspired by the tales of his own lineage.

 

As a child, Bram Stoker was struck with illness, being bedridden until the age of seven. It was during this time, that the author’s mother would tell him chilling and enthralling stories, most of which about her life and the family’s very colorful history. Many of these stories however were quite dark, ending in death either gloriously or grizzly.

 

 

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Image via Alex Ross

 

 

Although many believed that Mrs. Stoker simply delivered folk tales of Ireland and other countries and cultures, there are a handful of stories that stick out as much different. For instance, one story in particular was engraved in the young Stoker’s life ever since he heard it; the story of how his mother witnessed someone get buried alive for being thought to have the cholera sickness that, at the time, had been spreading like a plague or terrible pox upon the people. 

 

Other tales included stories such as how an ancestor chose to take his own life instead of surrender, or how his grandfather from fifteen generations before united the Geraldine League. It’s no wonder that the young Bram would be inspired by such stories as many of them are reflected by various themes in his story Dracula.

 

 

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Image via IrishCentral.com

 

 

Besides the incredible amount of family history passed down to him, Stoker had other notable inspirations. Of the many pieces and works that must have touched him in some way, an essay called Transylvanian Superstitions by Emily Gerard and Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould’s Book of Werewolves stand out as two major sources. But the author’s knowledge of his lineage is indeed an interesting fact when looking at his possible inspirations. However, whatever his sources may be, the author has no doubt crafted a timeless work with an immortal character that has helped inspire entire generations of fiction and horror

 

Don’t forget, Dracula is getting a new adaptation, spearheaded by the creators of Sherlock. Let us know your opinions on this very vicious vampire and his legacy, as well as what you expect out of the new series! 

 

 

 

 

Featured Image via The Independent