WWW.SHROUDEATER.COM - The Vampire of Snagov - ROMANIA
Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu: "In Search of Dracula"
New York, 1972
Jean Paul Bourre: "Les Vampires"
Peter Haining: "The Dracula Centenary Book"
I don't think it serves any purpose to go through the trouble of introducing Vlad Dracul, better known as Vlad Tepes, who - according to some - is the historical character on which Bram Stoker's "Dracula" is based. So I will not waste any time and see what McNally and Florescu have to tell us.
They report that in 1931 there has been archeological research in and around the little church where Vlad Tepes is supposed to have been buried. Among other things the archeologists did find the remains of a dead nobleman. His skeleton, clothes and jewellery were then moved to the Historical Museum of Bucharest, from where - at a later date - they are supposed to have got lost, possibly stolen. Let us say that they have disappeared. That, in a nutshell, is the story that we get to hear.
We can only guess whatever made Jean Paul Bourre include "Vlad Drakul - maître des Vampires et Chevalier de l'Ordre du Dragon" in his chronological list of authentic vampires. It is not an awful lot that he has to report:
"Buried on the island of Snagov in Romania. According to recent archaeological research his grave is empty !"
Uh... yeah, in view of what we have just heard from McNally and Florescu I suppose that it would be empty, wouldn't it ?
Peter Haining - another creative writer and editor - takes the story a little bit further. He informs us - tongue in cheek, I may hope - that Dracula's skeleton has been bought by a "museum" in California. A professor of anatomy and a coroner, no less, are said to have examined the skeleton and they are both convinced that these are the genuine remains of a Wallachian prince.
Heads off, no I mean: hats off for those eminent scientists and their brilliant research !
"There are those who think that the depression in the rib cage where a stake might once have been, and the long canine teeth of the skeleton, are just a little too good to be true!"
Indeed they are. Let us not forget the fact (or is it ?) that Vlad was decapitated and his head was sent to the Sultan as proof of his death. It was put on a spike so that everyone could see that he was dead. According to the tales, the monks of Snagov found Vlad's headless body and secretly buried it on the island. A headless body ! Long canine teeth indeed...
Unfortunately Peter Haining does not reveal his sources for this particular story. My guess is that he must have found it in one of those quality publications that tell us that Elvis is still alive and that a London bus has been found on the moon.
There are those (mainly fiction writers, thank God) who tell us that "Dracula has risen from the Grave". If that is so, the year of 1476 may be important, being the year of Vlad's death. In case you are of the opinion that Vlad's resurrection took place in the Bucharest Museum, then I suppose that the year of 1931 and the period after may not be without interest.
This (see my picture above) is - according to some - the grave of Vlad Tepes. You can find it in a small church that is on a very small island which is situated in a lake in Romania. For many years it was as good as impossible to visit the island because the Ceausescu family had a large villa on the side of the lake. Consequently there was maximum security and access to the area was extremely restricted. The large white gravestone at the bottom of my photo, with the chains around it and the flowers on top, appears to have been especially created for the single purpose of satisfying the tourists. Vlad's real grave - supposing that it ever was his - is reported to have been somewhere at the entrance of the church.
Are you kidding me ? What follow-up would that be ? Sure, you can go visit Snagov and the Historical Museum of Bucharest. I did so myself and I genuinely enjoyed the experience. If you live close enough to California, perhaps you could go check out the museum that Peter Haining mentions. If you do, be sure to let me know all about it. There is always something we can do. Having said that, no matter what we do, it is never going to turn old Vlad into a vampire. Not on the Shroudeater site, it isn't !
© 2009 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed 19 November 2009
Photo "Alleged Grave of Vlad Tepes in Snagov" - © 1981 by Rob Brautigam