It is said that…many years ago a foreign visitor was being entertained at the court of a high ranking nobleman. They ate outside and were surrounded, not by beautiful trees and shrubbery but by long wooden poles. Impaled on these poles were the bodies of men, women and even children; some half dead and moaning in agony, most of them dead and many decaying.
It was these decaying bodies that prompted the visitor to complain about the terrible stench. The nobleman had a cure for that. He ordered the unfortunate man to be impaled as well…..but on a much longer pole so he would be above the stench. Very considerate of him.
Whether this story is true or not is anyone’s guess; but it could very easily be so, because the nobleman of the story was Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (1431–1476) known as Vlad the Impaler (Romanian: Vlad Țepeș pronounced [ˈvlad ˈt͡sepe]
Vlad was famous as a tyrant even during his lifetime, taking great pleasure in torturing and killing. As a child his favourite pastime was torturing small animals and listening to their agonised screams. It wouldn’t be long then until he took his pleasures listening to the screams and moans of agony of tortured humans.
Of course, his favourite method of torture was impaling his victims on poles, hence his name ‘Impaler’ and he struck terror into the invading Ottomans when they saw hundreds of his victims stuck on poles along the banks of the river Danube. Needless to say…they fled.
Some sources say that the number of Vlad’s victims numbered 80,000, and in addition to this number, there were the villages and fortresses he had destroyed and burned to the ground. Doubtless Vlad the bad didn’t lose any sleep over this.
However, his bloody reputation was reported in very popular and widely distributed pamphlets in Germany after Vlad’s death, and read with macabre relish by many. These pamphlets were reprinted from the 1480s until the 1560s. Medieval Penny Dreadful anyone?
It is often said that novelist Bram Stoker based his character Dracula on Vlad The Impaler, but there are others who dispute this. Personally, I think he probably did at least in part. For example;
*Dracula’s cape may have been based on the red and black cape worn by members of the Order of the Dragon.
*Killing a vampire by driving a stake through his heart is reminiscent of Impalements.
*Vlad the Impaler was Transylvanian, as is Stoker’s character.
*Vlad the Impaler lived in a castle, which is also known as castle Dracula, and currently a tourists attraction (although the real castle Dracula lies buried beneath is structure)
*While imprisoned, Vlad the Impaler tortured and impaled rodents and insects. Count Dracula’s lackey, Renfield, devours insects in his cell while imprisoned in an insane asylum.
*Vlad the Impaler is said to have consumed human flesh, and to have drunk human blood. Some also speculate that he suffered from a rare allergy that made him lose control when exposed to blood, as well as crave it.
So….that was Vlad, a bloodthirsty tyrant, and a real character from history and (possibly) fiction.
What? You want another nasty story? Oh, go on then.
We all know that it is good manners for men to remove their headgear when in the presence of royalty. However, two Turks refused to remove their turbans on religious grounds. Sooooo…..our Vlad being the reasonable guy he was, told them that…if they wouldn’t take them off then he would make sure that they never took them off again………..he had the turbans nailed to the poor mens heads.
Don’t have nightmares.