Was the truth too terrible? I ask this question of two popular Halloween legends: Dracula and the werewolf.
Dracula, or the vampire, originated from the Romanian individual Vlad Tepes (pronounced Tse-Pesh, a term for “Impaler”), according to an article on an Ithaca College website.
Dracula lived in Wallachia, which, due to its location, was often caught between Hungary and Turkey in a power struggle. Throughout his life, Dracula lived as a patriot to his country, spending years as a captive and prisoner to one of the two nations.
The terrible myths surrounding Dracula, beginning with Bram Stoker’s book, and continuing as far as the “Twilight” series, muddy the reputation of this Romanian hero.
What gives rise to these myths is the odd tendency of Dracula to impale lawbreakers and enemies.
Although he was very fair in the law and gave his life for law-abiding citizens, the penalties he set were more than severe. It was these tendencies that gave rise to rumors about him drinking the blood of his enemies.
Having been excommunicated by his church for political reasons, Vlad can be considered immortal, for in his religion, excommunicated individuals are doomed to walk the Earth forever.
Congenital hypertrichosis, combined with albinism, may have been the cause of the werewolf myth. This unique combination of genetic disorders can cause hair growth throughout most of the body, abnormal nail and teeth growth, and hypersensitivity to light, according to buzzle.com.
This disfigured appearance, coupled with the seemingly insane behavior which would accompany these individuals when exposed to bright light, could easily have been mistaken for lycanthropy in ancient times.
The myth has been around since ancient Greece, when Zeus turned Lycaon into a wolf. Popularized by modern film, these entities have become both more fearsome and more pitied.
With truths this disturbing, is the myth really necessary?