Dracula: Fact or Folklore?

Updated September 21, 2021 | David Johnson

Have Dracula stories been exaggerated by political enemies and in peasant folklore?

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While his political enemies, and peasant folklore, have no doubt exaggerated Dracula's story, scholars nonetheless believe it is factual. Archives in various nations contain contemporary accounts of Dracula's life, often written by diplomats. These reports are often strikingly similar and yet provide differing perspectives, indicating they were not copied or translated from the same sources. In addition, these documents typically provide other details such as names, dates, and locations that can be verified by other sources, adding to their credibility.

They say Dracula was spectacularly cruel.

For instance, Nicholas of Modrussa, Papal envoy in Buda (now Budapest) Hungary, wrote Pope Pius II that Dracula massacred 40,000 men, women, and children of all ages and nationalities in one incident in 1464. Gabriele Rangone, bishop of Erlau, stated in 1475 that Dracula had personally ordered the murders of 100,000 people, or close to one-fifth the population under his rule.

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