The dark vengeance of Vlad the Impaler

For centuries, people have been fascinated with stories of vampires, and at the top of the story list is the dark tale of Count Dracula, a medieval prince also known as Vlad the Impaler. Elizabeth Palermo of Live Science has a feature story.

From the article:

Many historians have implied that Stoker's fictional Dracula was inspired by Vlad III, and some have even gone as far as to suggest that Vlad himself drank human blood. In their book about the similarities between Stoker's Dracula and Vlad III In Search of Dracula (Mariner, 1994) Florescu and McNally cite a 15th-century German poem that paints Vlad as a blood drinker. The poem suggests that Vlad liked to dine among his impaled victims, dipping his bread in their blood, the authors wrote.

But this interpretation of the poem, the original version of which can still be seen at Heidelberg University in Germany is tragically flawed, according to Elizabeth Miller, a research historian and professor emeritus at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada. [Famous Fangs: Tales of Our Favorite Vampires]

"This story was invented for the purpose of [Florescu and McNally's] argument," Miller said. What the poem actually says is that Vlad liked to wash his hands in the blood of his victims before he ate dinner, she added.