People have been sharing spine-chilling tales at Halloween for centuries, and there’s one particularly terrifying character that has been familiar to children throughout the ages: the bloodthirsty Count Dracula. But is the story fiction or reality? Adventurer Sebastian Canaves traces the steps of the famous vampire in Romanian Transylvania.

More than a hundred years have passed since British writer Bram Stoker unleashed his Gothic novel about Dracula, an undead soul who leaves his grave every night to hunt for human blood.

Since that time, the vampire count has been considered one of the world’s most feared beings.

Stoker’s tale was inspired by the historical figure of 15th-century Wallachian prince Vlad III, also known as Drăculea, a name traditionally thought to derive from his father’s membership of the aristocratic Order of the Dragon, and possibly meaning “Son of the Dragon” – or even “Son of the Devil”.

And it’s not just a name that the two figures have in common. Vlad III retains a reputation as a fearsome commander with a predilection for cruel rituals: bloodthirsty, apparently invulnerable, and responsible for countless atrocities during the Middle Ages...

So how much truth is there in the Count Dracula story? Stay tuned for more, tomorrow.

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