The Search for Dracula

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In an age of science, one tale of the supernatural continues to seduce us: the legend of the vampire.

Embodied in the persona of Count Dracula, this pale, elegant aristocrat lusts for blood, making him at once repulsive… and irresistible. By day, he hides his face from the light… by night; he escapes the velvet confines of his coffin and flaps off to drain helpless damsels of their lifeblood.

The story of the evil count, which has spawned some 200 films, has fascinated millions since Bram Stoker published his blend of history and legend in his novel “Dracula” in 1882.

In graveyards and archives around the world, scholars ascertain the uneasy truth about vampires, discovering that ancient people had compelling evidence to believe that the dead could return to prey on the living.

Scholars pursuing the real stories of vampires agree that fact is better than fiction and that Stoker’s nobleman is best set aside for the moment.

Historians have more and more evidence for the existence of the real Dracula, a true sadist, but not a vampire. Folklorists have traced stories for as long as human memory stretches, showing that people have gone to extraordinary and gruesome lengths to make sure that the undead remain in their graves. Archaeologists are now excavating corpses showing evidence of stakes driven through bodies. And, finally, scientists are segregating legend and folklore from reality, thus eliminating the notions of bat-loving, light-fearing, blood-drinking aristocrats. Instead, they’re concentrating on the “real” vampire phenomenon, where the premature dead are believed to return from their graves to bring death and disaster to family and friends.

At last, scientists are digging vampires out of their tombs to take a good, long look at them. What they’re finding is a surprising factual side to the ancient legend. Fact may be stranger than fiction!