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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Oct 17, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Vampire novels, films and television have made vampires romantic figures but a Purdue University professor says the real Count Dracula was no pretty boy.
John T. Kirby, a professor of classics and comparative literature, says the real Vlad the Impaler, who ruled Transylvania in what is now present-day Romania in the Middle Ages, was a merciless killer of both invaders and his own people.
"Because his favorite method of execution was to impale people on a stake, he's known as Vlad the Impaler," said Kirby, who teaches an honors class on vampires in folklore, fiction and film. The class spent spring break in Transylvania.
"Stories and traditions vary over time, and the Western world shifted from portraying vampires as repulsive and horrible to more human creatures that are sexually desirable and even sympathetic," he said. "This dramatic change really began with Anne Rice's remarkable series of vampire novels in the 1970s and other novels, films and television shows that followed her lead."
Copyright 2005 by United Press International