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Official Rules of Vampires per Bram Stoker

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Posted (edited)

From Bram Stoker's "Dracula", Van Helsing describes the rules of Dracula:

  • Doesn't actually need blood to live, but it will make him stronger and younger-looking
  • Doesn't eat regular food
  • No shadow
  • No reflection in mirror
  • "has the strength of many of his hand"
  • can become a wolf, a bat, or "come on moonlight rays as elemental dust", or he can become mist, but the "mist is limited, and it can only be round himself". However, if "he be not at the place whither he is bound ( i.e. "his earth-home, his coffin-home, his hell-home, the place unhallowed"), he can only change himself at noon or at exact sunrise or sunset."
  • Can become small ( i.e. can "slip through a hairbreadth space at the tomb door" )
  • "can, when once he find his way, come out from anything or into anything, no matter how close it be bound or even fused up with fire"
  • can see in the dark
  • can't enter a place unless invited
  • becomes powerless in daylight (but doesn't necessarily die or burst into flames)
  • "can only pass running water at the slack or the flood of the tide"
  • in the presence of garlic or a crucifix, "he take his place far off and silent with respect"
  • he is confined to his coffin if the branch of a wild rose is placed on
  • can be killed be a wooden stake, decapitation, or a shot from a "sacred bullet"

(also he can control animals, but I couldn't find the quote)

full passage below ...

"So far, then, we have all we may act upon, and let me tell you that very much of the beliefs are justified by what we have seen in our own so unhappy experience. The vampire live on, and cannot die by mere passing of the time, he can flourish when that he can fatten on the blood of the living. Even more, we have seen amongst us that he can even grow younger, that his vital faculties grow strenuous, and seem as though they refresh themselves when his special pabulum is plenty.

"But he cannot flourish without this diet, he eat not as others. Even friend Jonathan, who lived with him for weeks, did never see him eat, never! He throws no shadow, he make in the mirror no reflect, as again Jonathan observe. He has the strength of many of his hand, witness again Jonathan when he shut the door against the wolves, and when he help him from the diligence too. He can transform himself to wolf, as we gather from the ship arrival in Whitby, when he tear open the dog, he can be as bat, as Madam Mina saw him on the window at Whitby, and as friend John saw him fly from this so near house, and as my friend Quincey saw him at the window of Miss Lucy.

"He can come in mist which he create, that noble ship's captain proved him of this, but, from what we know, the distance he can make this mist is limited, and it can only be round himself.

"He come on moonlight rays as elemental dust, as again Jonathan saw those sisters in the castle of Dracula. He become so small, we ourselves saw Miss Lucy, ere she was at peace, slip through a hairbreadth space at the tomb door. He can, when once he find his way, come out from anything or into anything, no matter how close it be bound or even fused up with fire, solder you call it. He can see in the dark, no small power this, in a world which is one half shut from the light. Ah, but hear me through.

"He can do all these things, yet he is not free. Nay, he is even more prisoner than the slave of the galley, than the madman in his cell. He cannot go where he lists, he who is not of nature has yet to obey some of nature's laws, why we know not. He may not enter anywhere at the first, unless there be some one of the household who bid him to come, though afterwards he can come as he please. His power ceases, as does that of all evil things, at the coming of the day.

"Only at certain times can he have limited freedom. If he be not at the place whither he is bound, he can only change himself at noon or at exact sunrise or sunset. These things we are told, and in this record of ours we have proof by inference. Thus, whereas he can do as he will within his limit, when he have his earth-home, his coffin-home, his hell-home, the place unhallowed, as we saw when he went to the grave of the suicide at Whitby, still at other time he can only change when the time come. It is said, too, that he can only pass running water at the slack or the flood of the tide. Then there are things which so afflict him that he has no power, as the garlic that we know of, and as for things sacred, as this symbol, my crucifix, that was amongst us even now when we resolve, to them he is nothing, but in their presence he take his place far off and silent with respect. There are others, too, which I shall tell you of, lest in our seeking we may need them.

"The branch of wild rose on his coffin keep him that he move not from it, a sacred bullet fired into the coffin kill him so that he be true dead, and as for the stake through him, we know already of its peace, or the cut off head that giveth rest. We have seen it with our eyes.

How did Dracula become a vampire?

The Draculas were, says Arminius, a great and noble race, though now and again were scions who were held by their coevals to have had dealings with the Evil One. They learned his secrets in the Scholomance, amongst the mountains over Lake Hermanstadt, where the devil claims the tenth scholar as his due.
Edited by Illuminerdi

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:unsure2:

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uh...thanks?

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uh...thanks?

np

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I've always found that vampire lore seems to take a turn and twist as the years pass. Now we have vampires walking around in the day light, crucifixes don't fend them off. They seem to have lost the need for a day watcher to keep them safe while they "sleep". So, it's a little hard to keep up with what the latest Vampy stuff is.

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Most of the old vampire lore comes from Stoker's interpretation. I'm a big fan of the book, although I didn't like the ease in Which Dracula was undone.

@Illuminerdi - Have you checked out Stephen King's Salem's Lot? It's based on Dracula but set in modern times.

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I've always found that vampire lore seems to take a turn and twist as the years pass. Now we have vampires walking around in the day light, crucifixes don't fend them off. They seem to have lost the need for a day watcher to keep them safe while they "sleep". So, it's a little hard to keep up with what the latest Vampy stuff is.

Which is actually what vampires in fiction were like before Dracula, such as in The Vampyre, Carmilla and Varney the Vampire.

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I was watching a programme on the tv last night called "Four Rooms",

Four Rooms sees four of the country's top dealers in art, antiques and collectibles waiting in four different rooms, each prepared to spend their own money if the right item comes through their door. Members of the public show up with their prized possessions for sale hoping to walk away with a life-changing amount of money. They need to decide when to sell and when to see the next dealer, because once they leave the room they offer is gone for ever.

On it a man came in with the actual desk that Bram Stoker wrote Dracula on, with a letter of authenticity from a member of the Stoker family. It sold for £3000.

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Most of the old vampire lore comes from Stoker's interpretation. I'm a big fan of the book, although I didn't like the ease in Which Dracula was undone.

@Illuminerdi - Have you checked out Stephen King's Salem's Lot? It's based on Dracula but set in modern times.

Wow, "Salem's Lot", that was the first book of King's I ever read and I swear I couldn't put it down. He tend to stick more with the "old school" vampire traits. Although the one thing I never got in any of the vampire movies of the sixties and books was when the vampire hunters went after the Alpha vampire they always went close to sunset and took too long to kill the critter before the Sun went down and he/she awoke.

.....of course in fairness to the writer and director, it wouldn't have made for nearly as much drama. :w00t:

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I've always found that vampire lore seems to take a turn and twist as the years pass. Now we have vampires walking around in the day light, crucifixes don't fend them off. They seem to have lost the need for a day watcher to keep them safe while they "sleep". So, it's a little hard to keep up with what the latest Vampy stuff is.

I found it interesting though how detailed the rules are in the novel. In the movies the rules can be kind of vague and often the movies don't even follow their own rules or even make sense.

Most of the old vampire lore comes from Stoker's interpretation. I'm a big fan of the book, although I didn't like the ease in Which Dracula was undone.

@Illuminerdi - Have you checked out Stephen King's Salem's Lot? It's based on Dracula but set in modern times.

No but I have watched the film. I would like to read it however.

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The book is much better than the movie (which was made for TV if I recall correctly and shows it), but although I enjoyed the book I do not think it is one of King's better novels (although it is better then most of his recent stuff).

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Very true, but the one rule in Hollywood is that there aren't rules that are hard and fast. The priority is to make money.

I recall back when Gene Roddenberry came up with "Star Trek", he played a little fast and loose with his story lines, however when he began "Star Trek, TNG" he took the time to write out a "bible" which the writers couldn't violate. However, with time and the potential for profit, now we have a whole new bunch in a new and different timeline.

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The book is much better than the movie (which was made for TV if I recall correctly and shows it), but although I enjoyed the book I do not think it is one of King's better novels (although it is better then most of his recent stuff).

That was my first Stephen King book and it got me hooked on his stuff. I dabble in writing here and there but King was amazing. Honestly he could crank out novel after novel and made it look easy. I struggle with chapters and on bad days pages.

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If you're interested in book to film adaptations you should check out the BBCs 1980s effort of Dracula. Ive seen dozens of Dracula films, including Copolas drug induced flop, and the BBC version is by far the truest to the book.

Salem's Lot is one of those archetypal "the book is better than the film" moments. Barlow in the film is just an attack dog for Straker, Whereas in the book he is the master and only uses Straker for daytime endeavours.

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If you're interested in book to film adaptations you should check out the BBCs 1980s effort of Dracula. Ive seen dozens of Dracula films, including Copolas drug induced flop, and the BBC version is by far the truest to the book.

Salem's Lot is one of those archetypal "the book is better than the film" moments. Barlow in the film is just an attack dog for Straker, Whereas in the book he is the master and only uses Straker for daytime endeavours.

As a Dracula and Stoker aficionado you've intrigued me as I'm not familiar with a version produced by the BBC in the 1980s and now I'm wondering if I have missed one! The BBC produced a very good and faithful (it a little truncated) adaptation one in 1977 with Louis Jourdan; do you think it could be the one you are thinking of?

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As a Dracula and Stoker aficionado you've intrigued me as I'm not familiar with a version produced by the BBC in the 1980s and now I'm wondering if I have missed one! The BBC produced a very good and faithful (it a little truncated) adaptation one in 1977 with Louis Jourdan; do you think it could be the one you are thinking of?

I stand corrected! That's the one I was on about. I liked the van Helsing in this one although he's not how I pictured him in the book. (though neither is Peter Cushing, Anthony Hopkins or Hugh Jackman for that matter! I always pictured him as somewhat Einsteinesque?) I beleive the character is partially based on Stoker himself but I could be wrong.

On a side note I've visited Whitby, Highgate Cemetry, and Jack Straws Castle. And in the new year I'm going to a friends house in Romania where he says he's going to show me "castle dracula"...

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Posted (edited)

I stand corrected! That's the one I was on about. I liked the van Helsing in this one although he's not how I pictured him in the book. (though neither is Peter Cushing, Anthony Hopkins or Hugh Jackman for that matter! I always pictured him as somewhat Einsteinesque?) I beleive the character is partially based on Stoker himself but I could be wrong.

On a side note I've visited Whitby, Highgate Cemetry, and Jack Straws Castle. And in the new year I'm going to a friends house in Romania where he says he's going to show me "castle dracula"...

I know exactly what you mean about Einsteinesque, that's pretty much how I always pictured him. I do love Peter Cushing's portrayal though as the 1958 Hammer Dracula was my very first exposure to the story and I will always have a soft spot for it.

I get to Whitby fairly frequently as it's not too far from where I live but would love to go to Romania, you're so lucky!

Edited by schizoidwoman

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I know exactly what you mean about Einsteinesque, that's pretty much how I always pictured him. I do love Peter Cushing's portrayal though as the 1958 Hammer Dracula was my very first exposure to the story and I will always have a soft spot for it.

I get to Whitby fairly frequently as it's not too far from where I live but would love to go to Romania, you're so lucky!

Yeah I grew up on Hammer films so when I read the book I always pictured Drac as Christopher Lee. In my head I started seeing Seward as Cushing and could never shake it. I watched the Horror of Dracula the other day. Love the fight at the end!!

I might pay you a visit after I've been to Romania - look out for big bats outside your bedroom window...

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If you're interested in book to film adaptations you should check out the BBCs 1980s effort of Dracula. Ive seen dozens of Dracula films, including Copolas drug induced flop, and the BBC version is by far the truest to the book.

That's the one with Louis Jordan as the Count right? I thought it was from the 70s, but it's damn good. Avoid the more recent one with Marc Warren as Dracula and David Suchet as Van Helsing (despite that being what should have been dream casting) like the plague, what should have been a brauva production and unique take on the subject matter fell flat because of poor or OTT performances and a plot that meanders. Sophia Myles was the only good thing I have to say about it but I have a massive MASSIVE crush on her so I may be biased.

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If you want a whole new but still partially traditional set of stories about vampires then you should consider reading the Neceoscope series by a British author called Brian Lumley. One of the greatest writers of horror ever! If you live in Sunderland I'll happily lend you some of the books.

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I stand corrected! That's the one I was on about. I liked the van Helsing in this one although he's not how I pictured him in the book. (though neither is Peter Cushing, Anthony Hopkins or Hugh Jackman for that matter! I always pictured him as somewhat Einsteinesque?) I beleive the character is partially based on Stoker himself but I could be wrong.

On a side note I've visited Whitby, Highgate Cemetry, and Jack Straws Castle. And in the new year I'm going to a friends house in Romania where he says he's going to show me "castle dracula"...

I know that to some extent Van Helsing is based on Dr Hesselius from In a Glass Darkly (by Sheridan Le Fanu). Van Helsing is a little more active though compared to Hesselius who acts more as an observer.

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Personally i loved the movies where vampires can't enter unless u invite them :D. That seemed much more entertaining than now

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so wait twilight wasn't the first vampire book?

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If you want a whole new but still partially traditional set of stories about vampires then you should consider reading the Neceoscope series by a British author called Brian Lumley. One of the greatest writers of horror ever! If you live in Sunderland I'll happily lend you some of the books.

this sounds like a vampiric proposition... just sayin.. you know.. dont bite me.....

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The point of this post?

Vampires are like a Chinese whisper.

I did a bit of research on vamps and if you look at different parts of the world they all have there own vampires, but they differ in a few ways too.

As much as Vampires fascinate me, with the way the legends and stories of vampires have changed over the last few hundred years. Its hard to believe that the legends and stories hold even the smallest inkling of truth.

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