Europe in the 18th Century was in the grip of sheer terror as the belief in Vampires reached epidemic proportions. People were living in fear of these creatures of the night supposedly rising from their graves to feast upon the blood of the living. Pictured here is an actual Vampire hunters kit containing everything you need to quickly dispatch the undead. From holy water, crucifixes, stakes and mallet, a guillotine blade and sometimes a crescent shaped ax were all the would be vampire killer needed. When the sun went down and darkness fell, people would lock their doors and windows and hang bushels of garlic around each door way. When darkness fell not a soul would be seen venturing out for fear of being attacked by a Vampire. Things got so crazy that the Vampire hunters were opening graves and driving a stake through the corpses heart, in some cases decapitating the vampire, and some times they removed the hands and feet. Romanians took it to another level. When a loved one died, after being attacked by a vampire and succumbing to the sickness that often involved fever and hallucinations before death finally occurred, the would bury them in a vertical position head first into the ground but not before taking a heavy mallet and smashing the arms and legs. Some cases involved a heavy rock to be placed on the victims head to stop them from rising, which is where we got the modern day headstone from. If a family member was attacked by another family member and the attacker died, then their heart would be cut out, burned to ash and fed to other that was suffering in an attempt to break the vampires curse. This usually involved the ashes being mixed with water or wine and then ingested by the one afflicted. Sounds pretty gross but it happened and historical records show that it did. This happened during the black plague which again was blamed on vampires, it seems the blood sucking fiends could be blamed for anything back then but to this day the legend lives on. And in the next Fun facts and trivia we will be looking at the real Dracula, Vlad the Impaler and how his shocking behavior probably helped create the legend of the Vampire. But here's the crazy thing, in the modern age we live in there are those who believe they are vampires and even dress and act like their blood sucking counter parts, going so far as to have special dentists create their fangs. Sounds creepy, but it's true.
Behind every legend there lies a small bit of truth. Were vampires ever real? do they still exist? Who knows, but one thing is for sure, they will always exist in the dark recess of our imagination and that's as real as I would like them to be.
Revered by some as a hero and by others as a villain, there's no denying the acts of Vlad Tepes were the most barbaric inhumane cruelties ever documented. His preferred method of execution was impalement the most gruesome of all tortures. The prisoner would have a stake driven into them, Vlad normally had a horse tied to each leg and the stake would be driven into the victim and once the stake was inserted they were then lifted vertically into the air where gravity would slowly push them down the pole. Their pain must have been excruciating because impalement took days to kill the victim, as the stake passed through their body tearing and puncturing vital organs, before piercing out through their necks, between the shoulder blades or where ever.
Impalement wasn't his only method torture, he used other methods such as nails in head, blinding, strangulation, burning, cutting off of noses and ears, mutilation of sex organs especially women, scalping, skinning, exposure to the elements or wild animals and burning alive.
Vlad took great pleasure in this, and sometimes he ate his lunch watching the poor condemned slowly dying of impalement, one document even recalled Vlad taking a bowl, standing beneath an impaled corpse and filling the bowl with the blood. He would then take some bread dip it in the blood and slurp it down. He was a cruel and vile ruler but it was this fear that kept law and order in his domain. No one wanted to feel the wrath of Dracula, for his punishments were saved not just for his enemies, but women and children were also dealt with severely. When Vlad was overthrown, he was imprisoned, but his thirst for blood did not cease. He would impale spiders, insects, birds, rodents anything he could kill he did, the acts of a madman you might say. But was he mad? That is something we may never know but his cruelty has gone on to become the stuff of legend and nightmares. He died in battle in 1476 where his body was decapitated and his head sent to Constantinople where the sultan placed it on display as proof that the horrible Impaler was dead. Where Vlad Tsepes final resting place is no one knows for sure, some say he is buried on an island in a monastery, some say that the day he died and his body decapitated, his remains were burned. The answer is no one knows for sure.