I want to drink your … clotted cream? Bram Stoker‘s most famous creation, vampire Count Dracula, actually hailed from Britain’s west country, not Transylvania, according to writer Andy Struthers. In a new book, Dracula Incarnate: Unearthing The Definitive Dracula, Struthers argues that Stoker’s inspiration for the blood-sucking vampire was not Vlad the Impaler, but an Exeter priest called Sabine Baring-Gould. Baring-Gould wrote a book on lycanthropy and a vampire story called “Margery of Quether” – – both had a large influence on Stoker’s imagination. “The book of werewolves and the vampire tale provided Stoker with elements of his story, and virtually everything he needed for the creation of his vampire Count, possibly including the voice of his vampire, which was female,” says Struthers. Baring-Gould also provided the novelist with many source materials. Exeter is one of the novel’s locations, says Struthers, as a thank-you from Stoker to Baring-Gould.
However, one of Stoker’s descendants insists that the vampire was not English at all. “My radar goes up when someone says ‘Dracula was from here’. Dracula was not from Exeter, but part of his inspiration was,” Dacre Stoker tells the Guardian. Stoker is the author’s great grand-nephew. “Everyone tries to find something a little bit new or different about Dracula, even now, 118 years after it was published, which is wonderful,” he added. “But to me it is a bit of a stretch to argue that Dracula came from Exeter. To argue that Bram was influenced by Baring-Gould’s book on werewolves though – with that I completely agree.” Struthers will launch his book before many of Stoker’s descendants and various blood-sucking enthusiasts at the World Dracula Congress in Dublin later this year.