To Vlad the Impaler the year 1476 was a tragic and sad chapter.
After his reinstatement on the throne was delayed for almost two years, his last reign was as short as the first. It took prince Basarab Laiota only a few weeks to return with Ottoman support and kill him.
Although it is known that he participated in several campaigns under Matthias Corvinus as an army general, we can be only certain of his acts in the winter of 1475 to 1476.
He participated in the battle of Bosnia, where he used one of his signature methods to conquer the city of Srebrenica. During the day of a local fair, 500 of his people gained entrance disguised as merchants and slaughtered the garrison.
The Turks had come to be horrified only by hearing his name!
When, in the late spring of 1476, his cousin Stephen the Great was attacked by the Sultan, Vlad gathered troops in Transylvania and marched with Stephen Bathory [uncle of Elizabeth Bathory] to help Moldova.
Although they did not arrive in time to prevent their loss of the battle, they helped Stephen the Great to drive out the Turks out of his land.
Only then did the three cross the border in Wallachia and Vlad was on the throne of Targoviste for a third time with the help of Stephen the Great and Stephen Bathory.
But he was unable to stand on it for a long time – in the end it was the noblemen who betrayed him.
According to legend Dracula was beheaded and his head was sent to the Turkish Sultan as a reassurement that the dreaded Wallachian prince was dead. His head was exposed in a square in Constantinople so that the Turks could once again feel safe and trust their ruler again after the epic fail represented by the campaign the Sultan had started against Dracula.
For many years is was believed that the body of Vlad the Impaler had been buried at the monastery of Snagov, but recent excavations contradict these data. NO bones were found to match the period of Dracula, and some grave historians hypothesize that they were actually switched to another grave to protect Dracula`s last resting place – recent theories rank the monastery of Comana as a more probable burial site.
† Vlad the Impaler
† Count Dracula
Considering that he was not strong enough to engage in a fight with the sultan, Vlad was forced to pay tribute.
He used the time he thus gained to get rid of traitors and to organize; he fortified the city of Targoviste and built a stronghold at Poienari.
Knowing the unstable nature of the nobility he also made changes in the royal council surrounding himself with new people who had proven their loyalty.
Because during the coronation ceremony held at Arges the boyars were forced to take the oath of allegiance, he was able to command the immediate execution of the nobility who openly criticized him.
Those that were against him from the very beginning were impaled alongside their entire family, and others that were caught plotting against him were at first “spared” and then used for hard labor in the benefit of the ruler. All their assets being seized he had the funds to concentrate on building a personal army.
Is believed to attract all potential traitors trap used the following trick:
He invited to his house all small and large landowners in his country, when supper had ended he turned to the oldest and asked how many princes who ruled in that country he remembers. He answered how many he knew so Vlad turned to the others, young and old, and asked how many each recalls. One said fifty, some thirty, one twenty, another twelve, and none was so young to remember less than seven. He asked for all those lords to be impaled, and they were in number five hundred.
[translated from “Dracula” by Matei Cazacu, page 166]
The fragment is part of a German story, and the numbers are obviously exaggerated, but this scene was recognized even by the wallachian chronicle [revised and translated into Romanian in the 17th century], adding some details of psychological motivation and how landowners were sent to “work for the community”.
According to the chronicle, the feast took place at the royal court [remember the establishments he had in Chindia] on Easter. It is said that he invited not only the boyars but also all their family members. While the scene above described took place in the manor in between the council members and Vlad the Impaler, the family members were gathered and chained up. He impaled the old and took the young up at Poienari, where he made them work to death to raise the stronghold.
We are also given a reason for these seemingly cruel actions: upon investigating the death of his father and his older brother [remember that Vlad Dracul and his oldest son Mircea were killed by the boyars after they had tricked Hunyadi into believing Dracul would betray him] he found that his brother was turned in his grave – face down and twisted. He concluded that at least Mircea was buried alive and he took revenge on the people that killed his family.
† Vlad the Impaler
† Count Dracula
Around 1740, somewhere in Western Prussia, a number of members of the Wollschläger family, died one after the other in a short period of time.
One of the deceased was suspected of being a vampire so the family gathered to decide on what action should be taken. It was decided to decapitate the corpse of the suspected vampire.
A nephew of the vampire volunteered to do what had to be done. After he had chopped off the head of the corpse, he collected some of its blood in a glass.
The family members all had to drink a little bit of this horrible fluid as a medicine against the vampire disease and the corpse was reburied inside the Wollschläger family crypt in the Monastery of Jakobsdorf [with its head between its legs].
The case was mentioned in “Vampires, Burial & Death” by Paul Barber in 1988.
The author mentions an article written by Leo Gerschke in 1962, with the title “Vom Vampirglauben im alten WestPreussen” describing a trip to the monastery. Supposedly he even saw the skeleton on display.
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† Vampire Accounts