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Dracula Bites Night
“Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!”
~ Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897
In the quote above, Count Dracula is referring to the night howling of his pet wolves, as he leads an unsuspecting houseguest up the stairs of his castle. Author Bram Stoker, whose novel helped set the stage for our modern notion of the vampire, might have been impressed with the number of popular music offerings glorifying or using as a metaphor the rapacious and bloodthirsty undead, including turn of the century offerings such as: Bauhaus, 'Bela Lugosi's Dead'; Neil Young, 'Vampire Blues'; Radiohead, 'We Suck Young Blood'; My Chemical Romance, 'Vampires Will Never Hurt You' and many more! Though disputed, some literary scholars hold that Bram Stoker wrote at least part of his horror classic in 1895 while staying at Crookit Lum Cottage, near Aberdeenshire's Cruden Bay, and may have used aspects of Slains Castle as the model for Dracula's Castle in Transylvania! Additionally, Bram Stoker's son, Irving Stoker, interestingly claimed that rather than having been inspired by Transylvanian legends of Vlad the Impaler, his father got the idea for the character of Dracula “in a nightmarish dream after eating too much dressed crab." 🧛♂️⚰️🦇✝️ 🩸🦇
illustration by Laura Birdsall
Although vampiric entities have been recorded in most cultures, the term "vampire" was not popularized in the West until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas where vampire legends were frequent, such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe. The increased level of vampire superstition in Europe led to episodes of mass hysteria and in some cases resulted in corpses actually being staked and people being accused of vampirism.
The European style vampire often visited loved ones and caused mischief or deaths in the neighbourhoods they inhabited when they were alive. They wore shrouds and were often described as bloated and of ruddy or dark countenance.
The charismatic and sophisticated vampire of modern fiction was born in 1819 with the highly successful publication of The Vampyre by John Polidori. However, it is Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula which is remembered as the quintessential vampire novel and provides the basis of the modern vampire legend and the gaunt, pale undead figure recognized today.
The Vampire tartan, designed by Carol A.L. Martin, employs carefully chosen colours to maximize the tartan terror:
Black - for the darkness of night associated with vampiric deeds
Red - for the colour of sought-after fresh blood
Midnight Blue - for the time of night to be especially cautious if in their dark realm .. and
Caput Mortuum - the puce colour of dried blood
Caput mortuum is a Latin term whose literal meaning is "dead head" or "worthless remains," used in both alchemy and as a pigment name.
For more fascinating facts about vampires, click the stylized book cover.