First, the myth of vampires attacking and slaying the innocent is a metaphor for the victimizing of the poor by the rich. The real vampires are those who systematically prey on the indigent. This means that the real vampires are individuals and corporations who drain the social, economic, and spiritual life out of grassroots people, living them in the condition of the walking dead, in place of living, vibrant human beings who live fruitful and well realized lives in a world of shared prosperity.
But even moreso, Dracula was a real person; a historical figure from European history. Decades ago I was walking through the Port Authority Bus Station here in New York City (known in the past and present as a lair for vampires and their victims) . I was passing through the station clutching my Qur'an, when I decided to go into a bookstore. I found there a book entitled In Search of Dracula by Raymond T. McNally & Radu Florescu. Out of curiosity I purchased a copy:
Reading the book, I learned that the real Count Dracula's name was Vlad, known by the sobriquet (or kunya in Arabic), of Vlad the Impaler. He was the product of a rich European family. The home of Dracula as depicted in movies and writings is identified as Transylvania, which is a real place. Transylvania is a province of western Romania, a country very much in the news recently because of the threat of Soviet expansion.
The myth of Dracula finds its origins in the novel by Bram Stoker,
The Dracul family built churches in Europe, and in the year 1431 Vlad Dracul the father was, according to McNally and Florescu, honored by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund, who "…invested Vlad the father with the Order of the Dragon, a semi monastic, semi-military organization dedicated to fighting the Turkish infidels".
Eventually the son grew up to be known as the Prince of Wallachia (a region of Romania), as had his father and grandfather. He looked like this:
Dracula the son was called the Impaler because he had a section of the grounds of his family land filled with sharpened wooden stakes, upon which he would have his enemies thrown from out of the castle window. Reportedly he was so ruthless, bloodthirsty and sadistic, the he would sit eating, watching while these men died a gruesome death. That savage practice is depicted in this ancient drawing:
One day Muslims traveling through the area sent an envoy to request egress across the vast territorial lands owned by the wealthy family, as a courtesy. Dracula had the Muslim killed. Through time and mutual hostilities between the Muslims and Christians in Europe, Dracula was captured and imprisoned by the Muslims. Upon release he went back to battling his former captors. According to McNally and Floresco, during The Impaler's final battle, a moment of poetic justice occurred.
"Dracula's army began killing Turks without mercy. Out of sheer joy, Dracula ascended a hill in order to see better his men massacring the Turks. This, detached from his army and his men, some took him for a Turk, and one of them struck him with a lance. But Dracula, seeing that he was being attacked by his own men, immediately killed five of his would-be assassins with his own sword; however, he ws pierced by many lances, thus he died.
"…According to both Bonifinius and a Turkish chronicler, Dracula was then beheaded. His head was sent to Constantinople (Turkey, known now as Istanbul - Imam Talib) , where it remained exposed as proof that the dreaded Impaler was really dead".
The authors claim that out of 200 men fighting the Muslim Turks that day, 190 were killed. They are also uncertain for some reason as to whether the death blow was struck by one of Dracula's own men, or one of the Muslim Turks.
A century after the death of Dracula, one of his descendants, named Mihnea II ( accepted Islam. He took the name Mikail, and was ostracized by his family, who called him "the apostate"; meaning he apostated from Imperial Christianity. He is known in history as Mihnea II, "the Islamized". I guess this descendant of a family radicalized by Imperial Christianity decided to moderate the influence of his past by becoming a Muslim.
In modern times, the 500th year of Dracula's death was commemorated in the year 1976 by the issuance of postage stamps in both Europe:
Hey, like I said, you couldn't make this stuff up. As the old saying goes, "Truth is stranger than fiction".
Still think I'm kidding?