How a 500+ year old letter could tell more about Dracula

The speculations around Dracula are numerous, but in reality, the character staged by Bram Stoker in his epistolary novel in 1897 never existed. On the other hand, this immortal vampire, who uses the blood of the living and can then transform them into sometimes demonic creatures, is inspired by a real character: Vlad III the Impaler, prince of Wallachia. His nickname was Draculea (“son of the dragon”). Vlad Țepeș, his real name, is known for his bloody deeds. In stories from the chronicle of Borodoc, he is described as a “bloodthirsty vampire”, and above all, he flayed, boiled, decapitated, burned, buried alive or even impaled all his opponents.

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A “mystical” night

But ultimately, little information has emerged to date on Vlad Țepeș. However, as explained by Guardian, researchers have found a 550-year-old letter. In May, the two scientists Gleb and Svetlana Zilberstein examined this missive. They found sweat, fingerprints and saliva there. They are convinced of being able to draw up, from these elements, the environmental framework in which he lived, but also to make a physical representation of it.

They carried out this operation exactly 125 years after the publication of Bram Stoker’s novel, calling the operation “mystical”. And to tell how everything had happened: “All night, after the extractions of molecules from Dracula, it rained, the dogs howled, and the lightning fell. It was really a magical atmosphere. Count Dracula blessed his release from the Romanian archives,” they said.

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Renowned scientists

But if their description is theatrical, their scientific approach is very serious. They analyze the historical biomolecules found, their composition and their age. Molecules, according to them, more stable than DNA and which above all provide much more information. After having already studied a manuscript of “The Master and Margarita” by the Soviet writer Mikhail Bulgakov, a shirt by Anton Chekhov or even a letter from George Orwell to Moscow, where they had found traces of tuberculosis, their hope is high . “Thanks to our analysis, we hope to be able to reconstruct a molecular portrait of Vlad Dracula when he wrote or signed these letters. But also to learn more about his health, what he ate and the atmosphere in which he lived”, they explained to the Guardian.

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How a 500+ year old letter could tell more about Dracula