St Patrick’s Day Isn’t the Most Obvious Classic Monster Holiday
1906 Portrait of Bram Stoker, author of Dracula,
While Ireland and Halloween go hand-in-hand with the modern holiday’s roots tracing back to the ancient Celts harvest festival, Samhain, the connections to the patron saint of Ireland are more tenuous. Enter Abraham ‘Bram’ Stoker; Irishman and author of Dracula, one of the most famous books ever published and, arguably, the most famous of all monsters.
Stoker was born in Dublin in 1847 and it is said that he grew up on a steady diet of his Mother’s stories of the supernatural. Ireland has a long history of fantastical and mystical creatures from leprechauns and banshees to it’s own vampire, the DeargDue. The Celts, whose traditions never disappeared from Irish culture, had hundreds of gods and an equal number of demons and monsters. Stoker grew up hearing these stories and they undoubtedly influenced his fascination for the macabre.
Dracula was published in May 1897 and, although it was critically well-received, it was not a bestseller. In fact, it wasn’t until after Stoker’s death in 1912 that his book would achieve commercial success. Stoker wrote a total of 18 books, including Lair of the White Worm, but it is his haunting tale of the vampire that has given him lasting fame.
For more about Bram Stoker, watch this video from Biography Channel (click to watch full screen)):
It’s fair to say that fans of classic monsters owe a debt of gratitude to Bram Stoker. So, while tipping a pint at the pub today in celebration of all things Irish, raise a pint to Bram Stoker and that famous monster of his, Count Dracula.