Everyone knows about Vlad Tepes aka: Vlad the Impaler, but there is more to his legacy than just his reputation of finding pleasure in torturing and killing…..
Romanian folklore claims that the nights that Vlad and his older brother Mircea III were born, the holy statues of the city bled from their eyes and mouths. Perhaps a warning of things to come? Who knows! Though the reign of the Dracul Dynasty is found to be horrific to most, to the people of Romania saw him as a Savior.
It is said that rumors of an undead Vlad Tepes began to circulate immediately after his death. Staff that worked and resided within the Castle Bran and the Bran Estates reported having seen Vlad walking around and near the properties at night. After many years of continued aggravation of Vlad’s family insisting that he was dead, Vlad’s oldest son Mihnea, set out to put and end to it! Sometime between 1508-1510 Mihnea returned to the monastery in Snagov where his father’s remains were buried. When he reached the monastery the Bucharest priests forbid him to open the grave, thus fueling the legend further. The rumor amongst the Romanian people is that the Tepes family placed animal bones into the grave to give the appearance that Vlad was indeed dead. To this day claims of having seen Vlad on the estate and castle grounds are quite common.
The suspicion of the undead amongst the Dracul Dynasty did not end with Vlad. Though few of his successors were actually able to rule, many of them gained respected positions. One of the more popular grandsons of Vlad, nicknamed Prince General the Violent was noted for his horrific tactics in battle. He was married three times but had no offspring. Prince Violent was said to have been killed in battle sometime in 1506 but no recordation has been found to confirm.
Another well respected heir of Vlad, known as Prince Craftuious the Wise, earned his title from many thwarted attempts to overthrow his Uncle Vlad from the throne. Wounded badly by Vlad upon his final attempt to seize the throne, Prince Craftuious and his wife disappeared with their child. It is unknown if Vlad banished them from Romania or if they fled, however no records exist of them after, death or otherwise. Fearing for his throne, Vlad sent all of his male heirs to live in Moldavia, an allied country. The only three allowed to remain were his first son Mihnea, Vlad Dracul, his second son and their cousin Colviez (Prince Violent).
The last of the Dracul Dynasty to reign were Captain Radu the Bad Copelanvia is believed to have died shortly after taking the throne, but no record is found. He was succeeded by his son Vladisov Carsoni the blood thirsty. As made apparent by their earned names, most of the Dracul descendants were known to be vicious and blood thirsty, with the exception of the wives. Six of the women that married into the family had committed suicide, to include the third wife of Vlad Tepes himself.
Vlad Tepes was the only member of his family that was praised as a ruler, the remainder were seen as evil men. The Dracul’s were successful in escaping having their deaths properly recorded, adding to fuel to the undead fire, so to speak. Vlad and his heirs were suspected to be concealed on the Castle and estate grounds for many generations. Missing persons in the area and the carcasses of animals being drained of their blood on or near the Bran grounds were evident of the their revelry in the eyes of the Romanians. In an attempt to end these rumors, Prince Constatin Serban had all known graves of the Dracul descendant opened in April of 1654. It was never discussed what was found in the graves.
Today in modern Romania, the tales are still circulating. Visitors are warned to stay clear of the Bran and Vania forests lest they fall victim to one of the Dracul undead. Though this is all quite speculative, (wink wink) The decision made by the Romanian Government to condemn the Bran estates due to plagued soil only gave new life to the rumors. Perhaps it was an error in judgement that the Government stated the cause of the contamination to be due to the massive amounts of bones found on the property and surrounding area?