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Eleveation: 456 Feet



Normal Halloween costume parties are usually filled with ghosts, ghouls, goblins and any other "G" starting monsters to keep my alliteration going.  The only one missing at this one was the classic vampire.  But where do we get the actual vampire story from?  Delving Hollywood deep, which is usually just slightly shallower than your big toe, you will go back to the classic Bram Stoker story of Dracula.  Of course, that novel was written in 1897 outlines the historical persona of Vlad III of Walachia.

Vlad III, or Vlad Tepes (the Impaler) was the prince of Transylvania, Romania born in 1431.  His father was part of a group called "The Dragons," a group of knights created by the Holy Roman Emporor, Sigismund.  This group was chartered with guarding the interests of Catholicism and fighting off invading Turks.  The romanian word for Dragon is "Dracul," and the diminutive term Vlad Tepes used was "Dracula," or "son of Dragon."

Zorro and Biggus Dickus

In 1442, Vlad and his brother Radu were taken as political hostages by the Sultan Murad II and then released some six years while his brother stayed for another 14 years.  His father was assassinated a year before his release and his older brother, the legitimate heir to his father's rule, had been tortured and killed by the boyars of Tirgoviste.  This type of cruelty amongst his own people against his family led him to be a ruthless ruler who has more stories of infamy, cruelty and dictatorship than Liza Minelli's divorce papers.  I will simply share a few of them to illustrate his objectivity.

Captain Jim miraculously recovered his eyeVlad (Vladdy to his friends) had an odd form of justice.  He was cruel one second and benevolant (with respect to his disposition) the next.  One story was of him passing a farm while on his way to some castle or other of his.  He looks out the window and sees a man, workin' his ass off with a shirt hanging rags around him and his pants fallin' around his knees.  His lazy, no-good, disrespectful wife was on the porch watching the toil.  Vlad stopped his coach and walked out to the man, grabbed him by his neck and dragged him to the front porch.  He perportedly asked the woman why the hell this poor man would be out in the field, kickin' ass on the turnips in a ragged-ass shirt and holes in the britches while she sat on her fat, lazy behind doin' nothin'.  Evidently he didn't like the answer because he killed her on the spot, drove the man to a neighboring farm where an eighteen year old hotty (ok, it was probably closer to 14 back in that day and age) virgin was shakin' it.  Vlad married them on the spot, told the new wife about the old wife and explained she needed to be a good wife, always.  I bet that man's wife ever had a headache in her entire life.  She was Joanie-on-the-spot with whatever the hell that man wanted.  All he had to do was ask, mouth the word "vlad," nod his head, smile like the mouse who screwed the neighbor's cat, and point to where her head should go.  And be a total dick about it afterwards.

Of course, there were some other types of sick justice.  He had an area reserved in his twisted little heart for poor people.  He felt a real pang when he saw them poor and starving and begging.  So he called a great feast at one of his castles and trucked the poor fok in like the Ellis Island of Transylvania.  He fed them all day, entertained them and let each and everyone of them eat and drink their fill.  He kindly thanked them for coming and walked out of the castle.  Vlad had left the building.  He kindly asked his guards that were prepositioned around the castle to board up all the doors and to just as kindly set torch to it.  He is the only leader in the history of the world who solved the homeless problem in their country.  Just a bit rough around the ethics edges.

Billy Bob and modern dentistry

So, ok, Vlad hard earned his cognomen "The Impaler" after seeing it done while on crusades, he wasn't original.  Impaling: Basically, take a pole, sharper at one end, some grease, a hammer and a lot of determination.  During an invasion from the Turks, he impaled 20,000 Turkish prisoners in a veritible human forest.  That is 1 kilometer by 2 kilometers of polls.  Basic line: sick-o bad-ass who didn't like lazy wives.  When the Turks came upon this calous display, they stopped, gaped, and turned around to go back home.  At the end of a tumultuous reign during a battle, he hooked up with a local governor, Count Bathory, and was defeated, beheaded and buried.  Count Bathory escaped and went to continue leading in the area.

So, that's it.  No blood sucking.  No long teeth.  No Tom Cruise.  Just a messed up ruler who had a hard time showing his soft-side.  So where did the vampire part come from? need to continue the story for another generation or three.  Count Bathory ends up having a niece named Elizabeth.  Yep.  That's right.  Elizabeth of Bathory was Vlad's grand-niece.  Not by blood but by royalty ties.  It just writes itself, doesn't it?

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