Dracula, you may well know, was inspired by the historical Romanian leader Vlad the Impaler. Vlad is recorded as doing all kinds of brutal stuff, only some of which was made up by his enemies/fans. 

But that was just the inspiration behind Dracula's name and Transylvanian origin. Other than that, Dracula is a very British story, inspired by the town of Whitby, where Bram Stoker stayed in 1890. The mysterious ship that arrives at the opening of the book was based on a real ship than ran aground in Whitby in 1885. Dracula's castle is based on Whitby's Mulgrave Castle, and when Dracula takes the form of a dog, that's based on a Whitby legend about a ghost hound. 

Whitby today capitalizes on this, offering "Dracula tours," sometimes featuring teens dressed as vampires. Many tourists who come to Whitby visit the local parish church—the one mentioned by name in the novel—and ask to see Dracula's grave.

This is silly on many levels, of course. Even if you mistook the entire Dracula story as a factual account (probably not what's going on in the mind of these tourists?), there's no reason Dracula would be buried in a grave there. That's just not something that happens in the story. But your typical tourist visiting England has a checklist that involves visiting the childhood homes and graves of various famous persons, and they dutifully try to see them all, without even giving them much thought.

So a rector in Whitby started directing tourists to a random old tomb in the St. Mary's graveyard. A Whitby tour guide, meanwhile, commissioned a new headstone that he could call Dracula's, and he placed it in a spot convenient for his walking tour. It's funny how many tourist attractions start like that. If you go all the way to Transylvania, you'll probably want to visit "Dracula's Castle," a national monument. It has nothing to do with the novel, and also nothing to do with Vlad the Impaler, who never even visited the place. 

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For more on Dracula and Vlad, see also:

Count Dracula Was Based On Some Asshole Actor Bram Stoker Worked With

Vlad The Impaler Earns His Nickname

Book Dracula Is An Awkward Loser

Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for more stuff no one should see. 

Top image: Universal Pictures

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