Dracula: History and Myth

A map of Castle Poenari

This metal sign is near the castle, but I somehow didn’t notice it during my visit. A lady who’d contacted me with some questions before her own trip to Poenari took this photo and shared it with me when she got back. I did my best to translate the Romanian with Google Translate and Wikipedia, but there are definitely some things that could use some clarification; please feel free to send me corrections if you’re…Continue Reading →

Le Musée des Vampires — the Vampire Museum in Paris

Here’s a link to an article I wrote a while back about Le Musée des Vampires, a small private museum dedicated to vampires and the study of their place in folklore and modern culture. Located just on the outer edge of Paris, it can be a bit complicated to visit for non-French speakers, but it’s totally do-able and absolutely worth the effort if you’re a fan of vampires, mythology, and weird stuff in general! One…Continue Reading →

Vampire Hunting Kit

A friend of mine sent me this great picture of an alleged 200-year-old vampire hunting kit, with the message, “You know my birthday is just around the corner…” It was apparently auctioned in Missisippi recently with a winning bid of $14,850 (link). I don’t believe for a second that the kit itself is 200 years old — no way someone would assemble these items before Dracula was published and before vampire fandom took root in…Continue Reading →

Delightful Dracula comics by Kate Beaton

I adore all of Kate Beaton’s brilliant history-and-literature-inspired comics, but this set based on Bram Stoker’s novel is my absoltue favorite, for obvious reasons. Every couple months I find myself on Ms. Beaton’s site, clicking the Previous button over and over again and reading all the way through her entire archive of comics, and I just never get tired of them.

Vlad Tepes documentary

I recently ran across this great documentary about the historical Dracula on YouTube. There are a few really cool shots of Castle Poenari in the snow. I was there in October, near Halloween, when it was chilly and a bit cloudy, but I’d love to see the place in wintertime like that. The documentary also tells some of my favorite weird stories about Dracula, like how he used to keep a golden chalice in the…Continue Reading →

My Dracula rock

I try not to collect things; I try not to own things. Of all of my adventures all over Europe (about twenty countries in the last few years), I’ve only ever kept one souvenir: this small rock that I pried out of the earth within the walls of Cetatea Poenari — the castle built by Vlad Ţepeş, aka Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula — in the Transylvania region of Romania. It’s about an inch and…Continue Reading →

Videos from Castle Poenari

I used the video feature of my digital camera for just about the first time ever while I was at the top of Castle Poenari, to try to document a little bit about the layout and size of the place. The first one is a video showing the entrance into the tower archway, the room below, and the open ceiling above.   The second is a look around from the highest point of the castle….Continue Reading →

More info about Castle Poenari and the historical Dracula

Some good articles on Wikipedia The Wikipedia articles about Vlad Tepes and Castle Poenari are pretty cool, particularly the Vlad one. Another noteworthy bit of information I picked up in wandering around Romania, which is useful if you’re going there: the castle name is pronounced something like “po-ee-NAR”; in the Romanian language, an “i” at the end of a word is (almost?) always silent. The last “r” is a bit rolled, like in Spanish, but…Continue Reading →

Getting to Castle Poenari

Visiting Castle Poenari was a dream of mine for a long time, but when it came time to do the research on how to get there, there weren’t many websites with a lot of good information. Here I’ll tell you about how I got to Poenari, as well as a few other options that exist. I visited Castle Poenari on my second trip to Romania, during a long, one-month voyage across a handful of countries;…Continue Reading →

My Visit to Castle Poenari — part 4

[Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|Part 4] This is part 4 of 4. See part 3 here. Graffiti near the top of the castle. I didn’t deface any of the walls myself, but I did pry a tiny gray rock out of the ground on the main path leading into the castle, to keep as a souvenir. I realized a few days later as I was flying back to Paris from Bratislava that I was flying on…Continue Reading →