Vampires Essay, Research Paper
Where did the history of the vampire start? No one really knows where or when the legend of the vampire came about. Although, these legends are very common in many cultures, throughout the decades, people have recorded instances of vampirism. Among these were the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romanians (Baumann 5, Mcnally 144). Superstition and Religion have helped to keep this legend alive. According to many documentation s, a vampire is defined by many of the folklore; as a person who has died and been cursed or is unable to put their soul to rest. The undead shall spend the days entombed and the nights to wander in search for blood (Mcnally 146).
One of the most infamous vampires in history during her living years. Was a Countess Elizabeth Bathory born in Transylvania. (1560) A young bride at the age of fifteen her husband Count Ferencz Nadasdy spent most of his time away from the home. (He was a high-ranking officer and was at war most of the time.) Elizabeth was restless and bored during his absence. Keeping herself beautiful and inflicting pain upon her servants became Elizabeth s main passions. She ran the castle with an iron hand (Baumann 20) punishing anyone for the slightest mistake. Elizabeth enjoyed torturing her servants and for many years did all the torturing herself. She loved to beat girls with whips and heavy sticks while screaming abuses at them. There had been many times, when the countess would suddenly attack a girl and bite a piece of flesh out of her checks, arms, or shoulders (Baumann 21). However, the Count was not upset by his wife s barbaric habits. For she was of Noble birth (baumann 21). To him the peasant girls meant nothing and the instances of tortures were not important. She grew more beautiful over the years but after the death of her husband in 1604 (Baumann24), it had a devastating effect on Elizabeth. By the Count dying, it gave her a constant reminder that she was getting older and her looks were beginning to fade. That terrified Elizabeth, she was determined to stay beautiful and by any means possible. One day a young chambermaid was doing her hair and the countess decided that she had done a awful job, out of rage, hit the girl in the face causing blood to splash onto Elizabeth s hand. Elizabeth noticed that when the blood was wiped clean that the places where the blood had splattered made her skin appear more white and healthy. Shortly after, she sought the advice of the sorceress Anna Darvulia. The old witch assured the countess that nothing was better for the skin than the blood of a pretty young girl who was a virgin, and that if she bathed in virgins blood at exactly four o clock every the morning. She would never grow old and would always be beautiful (Baumann 24). The countess followed the witches advice. Although Elizabeth did not carry out the final act, her servant Dorka did (Baumann 23). She would slash a vein or two in the girls arm and catch the blood in a basin. There were nights when the countess would bend over and suck the blood flowing from the severed vein (Baumann 23). Her victims were always young pretty girls no older than eighteen. Nevertheless, the supplies of young pretty girls were beginning to fade. The tales of the bloodbaths in the castle spread from village to village making it more difficult to find girls willing to work as servants. Consequently, Elizabeth had to resort to going to even further villages to retrieve her needs of a young virgins. (Although the stories of Baumann seem drastic, these are true and documented.) Because Elizabeth was a superstitious woman, she took into account the advisement s of the witch. Soon after Anna Darvulia died, she obtained a new sorceress Erza Morova to take her place. Erza told the countess that what she had been doing was not correct and that bathing in the blood of peasant girls was not sufficient. That if she really wanted to keep her beauty, the only thing she could do was bathe in the blood of a noble woman. Elizabeth wanted badly to obtain her beauty; she came up with a plan. Elizabeth invited the daughters of noblemen to her castle to teach them the social graces The trick worked (Baumann 26) twenty-five young beautiful girls were killed not one was left alive. By this time the reverend of the castle was becoming very concerned with Elizabeth s practices. He found a report of the many girls that had been buried. The result of death drained of blood (Baumann 26) The reverend question the countess about the girls and soon a new minister arrived. (Who was much more atiment than the previous reverend.) He refused to bury any of the girls and confronted the congregation with the happenings in the castle. Therefore, Elizabeth had to resort, to dumping the dead bodies around nearby fields and various parts of the castle grounds. When the bodies were discovered the gruesome details were reported to King Matthias. Although the king had heard of the stories, he thought it would be a good idea to investigate. If Elizabeth was a murdering vampire she would have to be punished (Baumann 27). Her cousin Gyorgy Thurzo was sent to investigate to see if these accusations were true and valid. When he confronted her. Elizabeth said, even if these reports were true there was nothing he could do about them (Bauman 28). Shortly after confronting the countess, a commission of inquiry; ordered her servants to take them to the dungeons where they found seven naked girls alive in a small cell, kept in darkness, from noble families, with only grilled flesh of previous tortured girls to eat . Elizabeth was no where to be found in the castle but when the inquiry did find her to their surprise, Elizabeth was discover covered drenched in blood from head to toe. Completely dumbfounded by what they had witnessed Elizabeth was quickly arrested. Her punishment, she would be locked her bedroom sealed up with only a small slit to remain open for food to pass. Elizabeth lived only three and a half years after her sentence. The vampire Elizabeth was dead.
From the numerous legends and folklore spawned the arrival of literary accounts such as Bram Stokers Dracula (1897). Dracula is a fictional character whose only reality is the based on a Blood Thirsty Monster (Mcnally 151) Vlad Tepes. The Prince of Walachia. (He was not the prince of Transylvania) The real life Dracula was more horrible than any vampire that is seen in the movies of modern times. Although he never drank any blood, he was a real life fearsome prince. The stories of the cruel and horrific acts made by Vlad Tepes constituted him as a legend in his own time (Mcnally 58). Tepes reputation had spread far beyond Wallachia. Many stories of the unimaginable things he had done were known all to well by the Wallachianians. The tortures he had placed upon not only the Turks (for which he was at war with) but also his own soldiers. It had been documented that Vlad Tepes had impaled thousands of people, lined the corpses throughout the land, to rot and be eaten by the black birds for all to see. In addition to impaling people, Vlad gathered some of the strongest men in his army fried them in oil and ordered their companions to eat them. For if anyone were to be disloyal towards him, this practice would continue and the remaining soldiers are to eat one another until one man was left (Baumann 18). The mass murders finally ended, when Vlade was killed in battle. (It is not known by whom) However, the story of the price is known by all. The vampire was not a vampire at all he was just one of the most horrid historical prince s that has lived to kill and torture the bodies of the innocent.
Why would Bram Stoker base his story on a man called Dracula? Who was mostly known for tremendous amounts of blood he indiscriminately spilled. Bram Stoker found a story of a vampire who s legend never died. Stoker combined the elements of folklore and history to fascinate people and almost romanticized the horrific folklore of the past. Such as a vampire changing into a, bat or killing him by driving a steak through the heart. The new element that Stoker did add that is different from the traditional folklore was the beguiling appearance he gave to Dracula. A slender man who was physically attractive and witty. Adding this elements to his fictional character gave people such a fright that if Bram Stoker would have never written about this Dracula (which was his real name meaning the son of the devil) the story of this legendary price might have vanished over the century.