Was Dracula Story inspired by Abhartach, the Bloodsucking Chieftain of Ireland?

Dracula

Tales of vampires and other similar blood-sucking creatures have been told in various societies across the world. The most famous of these tales is the story of Dracula, written by Bram Stoker, and published in 1897. This Gothic horror novel tells of Count Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England in order to seek new blood and spread the undead curse. Hoping to prevent the Count from succeeding in his quest is a small group of men and women led by Dracula’s archenemy, Professor Abraham van Helsing. It has been popularly speculated that the character of Dracula is based on Vlad the Impaler, the 15th century Prince of Wallachia. Nevertheless, there are those who believe that it was Irish folklore, rather than Romanian history that inspired Stoker’s Dracula.

It is popularly believed that Stoker’s inspiration for Dracula came from the life of Vlad the Impaler. The Ambras Castle Portrait of Vlad III.

It is popularly believed that Stoker’s inspiration for Dracula came from the life of Vlad the Impaler. The Ambras Castle Portrait of Vlad III. Photo source: Wikimedia.

Stoker’s famous novel was not originally entitled Dracula. In fact, Stoker’s original manuscript was simply entitled as The Un-dead, in which the blood-sucking count was named “Count Wampyr”. Stoker, incidentally, worked as a civil servant in Dublin, and the first novel he wrote was called Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, a satirical account of the bureaucratic lifestyle he longed to escape from. Additionally, he had never travelled further east than Vienna, and is said to have never actually visited Romania. In 1998, professor Elizabeth Miller published an essay in which she maintained that Stoker’s research notes for Dracula do not indicate that he had detailed biographical knowledge of Vlad III.

Some historians therefore suggested that Stoker did not receive his inspiration for his dark and twisted tale from the brutal life of Vlad the Impaler, but rather developed his ideas from Irish folklore.

Much academic debate surrounds the true inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Portrait of Bram Stoker, 1906

Much academic debate surrounds the true inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Portrait of Bram Stoker, 1906 (Wikimedia Commons)

Just over a decade ago, Bob Curran, a lecturer in Celtic History and Folklore at the University of Ulster, Coleraine, published a paper in the peer-reviewed journal History Ireland, in which he hypothesized that Stoker based his novel on the legendary story of Abhartach, a 5th century chieftain known for his bloodsucking habits.

The Legend of Abhartach

In the early 17th century, Dr Geoffrey Keating published the first written record of Abhartach in his work Foras Feasa ar Eireann (‘A General History of Ireland’). Although today viewed as a folk legend, Keating referred to Abhartach as a real historical figure.

According to his account,  Abhartach was a brutal 5th century warlord, who ruled over a small kingdom in an area bordered by what is now the town of Garvagh in Ireland. Abhartach was greatly feared by his people, who believed he had dark and magical powers.  The townsfolk wanted to rid themselves of this troublesome king so they called upon a chieftain from a neighboring kingdom, named Cathain, to kill him.

Cathain succeeded in killing Abhartach and buried him standing up, as befitted a Celtic chieftain.  However, the story goes that Abhartach rose from the grave and demanded a bowl of blood from the wrists of his subjects to sustain his energy. Cathain returned to kill Abhartach a second time, but again he rose from the dead, demanding the blood of the living.

Illustration from ‘The Natural History of Two Species of Irish Vampire’

Illustration from ‘The Natural History of Two Species of Irish Vampire’ (public domain)

Cathain sought the advice of a Christian saint, who informed him that Abhartach was a marbh bheo(walking dead) and must be killed with a sword made of yew wood, before being buried upside down with a great stone placed upon his body to weigh him down, preventing him from rising again. Cathain followed this advice and today, in the town of Slaghtaverty, a capstone can be seen at the site where Abhartach was supposedly buried.

The story of Abhartach was retold centuries later in Patrick Weston Joyce’s The Origin and History of Irish Names of Places, 12 years before Bram Stoker wrote his famous novel Dracula.  Interestingly, the Celtic word ‘dreach-fhuola’ means tainted blood, and some maintain that it was this word from which Stoker developed the name of his central character.

We may never know for certain whether Stoker’s Dracula is based on the Wallachian Vlad or Irish mythology. Still, old habits die hard, and while Transylvania in Romania will continue to be regarded as the haunting grounds of Count Dracula, the tale of Abhartach may well have played a central role in developing the vampire we know today.

source: http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-europe/was-dracula-story-inspired-abhartach-bloodsucking-chieftain-ireland-002992

Book promotion time… Elizabeth Hunter is back

The Scarlet Deep

So here I am promoting one of my favourite authors again, truth be told I haven´t read the book yet but it is sitting safely in my kindle waiting for my “damn lazy spell” to blow over. But I can safely promote this book because this author does NOT write bad books, ever.
In fact she is brilliant so GO AND GET THIS AMAZING BOOK!!

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/kf87vch

iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/km4uulf

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/oh34kfb

Smashwords: http://tinyurl.com/jvoluop

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/qyhkhgt

Createspace: http://tinyurl.com/q287fof

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/phodgfw

Synopsis:

On the waves of the North Atlantic, a poison spreads, sapping the life from humans and striking madness into immortals.

Patrick Murphy, the immortal leader of Dublin, has been trying to stem the tide of Elixir washing into his territory, but nothing seems to stop the vampire drug. While others in the immortal world work to cure the creeping insanity that Elixir threatens, Murphy has been invited to London to join a summit of leaders hoping to discover who is shipping the drug. If Murphy and his allies can cut off the supply, they might be able to halt the spread long enough for a treatment to be found for the humans and vampires infected.

Anne O’Dea, Murphy’s former lover, retreated from public life over one hundred years ago to help immortals in need… and to heal her own broken heart. Though powerful connections keep her insulated from the violence of vampire politics, even Anne is starting to feel the effects of Elixir on her isolated world. The human blood supply has been tainted, and with Anne’s unique needs, even those closest to her might be in danger. Not just from infection, but Anne’s escalating bloodlust.

When Anne and Murphy are both called to London, they’re forced to confront a connection as immortal as they are. As they search for a traitor among allies, they must also come to terms with their past. Behind the safe facade of politics, old hungers still burn, even as an ancient power threatens the fate of the Elemental World.

The ungrateful

I don´t usually have much to say on current events, especially not on my blog, my mother always told me that if I want to keep my friends never to discuss religion, politics and football. But lately it seems that every second news article is related to Greece and after reading plenty of them I decided to voice my opinion.

Reading about Greece is depressing, but what is truly annoying is that Germany has a very short memory considering that after World War II their debt was forgiven by many countries (including Greece) to help get them get back on their feet. Isn´t it sad that they are not capable of showing the same kindness?
“The 1953 agreement, in which Greece and about 20 other countries effectively wrote off a large chunk of Germany’s loans and restructured the rest, is a landmark case that shows how effective debt relief can be. It helped spark what became known as the German economic miracle.

So it’s perhaps ironic that Germany is now among the countries resisting Greece’s requests to have part of its debts written off.”

Let´s just hope that that is all that they have forgotten.

The spark is back with The Veil, The Devil´s Isle Book 1 by Chloe Neill

Sadly for quite a while I haven´t felt truly excited with a new book, don´t get me wrong, I like plenty of authors and am happy to buy their books but there are a two exceptions: Ilona Andrews that has yet to publish something that I didn´t like and even after years of following Kate Daniels and Curran I have yet to become bored with this series. When they published the first book in the Hidden Legacy, Burn for Me, I was excited. The same can be said for Elizabeth Hunter, Elemental Mysteries was a delicious series to read so when she announced the new series, The Irin Chronicles I was excited to read it, and was not disappointed.

Then there are authors that I like but am not overly excited to read their new books simply because at some point I became bored with the series or the characters. Not the authors fault, I simply lost interest so maybe a year after the book has been published I will buy it, maybe. One of these really awsome authors is Chloe Neill, I followed Merit and Ethan Sullivan for a while and was entertained by them but about three books ago I lost interest, I have purchased all the books but the last one in the series is still sitting in my kindle waiting to be read. But as I said I like the author so like the other authors that I like I subscribed to her newsletter years ago and always take the time to read it. Earlier this week Chloe Neill posted the first three chapters of a new book in a new series, The Veil, The Devil´s Isle Book 1, I went over to her website to read the first three chapters and I am really excited and looking forward to this book.

If the first three chapters are anything to go by this is going to be one amazing book to read, Chloe Neill has outdone herself with this book if she keeps the same pace and the same vibe that you get in the first three chapters. So yes, I have preordered the book that will only be available on the 4th of August and I am very excited to read it, so thank you Chloe Neill for bringing back that little spark that ignites the love of a book as soon as you read the first page, on August 4th I will be unavailable as I will be reading The Veil.

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Elizabeth Hunter: http://elizabethhunterwrites.com

Chloe Neill: http://www.chloeneill.com/?page_id=769#devil8217s-isle-nal

Ilona Andrews: http://www.ilona-andrews.com/books/

20 Words You’re Probably Misusing

source: http://mentalfloss.com/article/65217/20-words-youre-probably-misusing

English vocabulary is full of pitfalls that you might not be aware of. Don’t let them trip you up.

1. INVARIABLY

If something happens invariably, it always happens. To be invariable is to never vary. The word is sometimes used to mean frequently, which has more leeway.

2. COMPRISE/COMPOSE

A whole comprises its parts. The alphabet comprises 26 letters. The U.S. comprises 50 states. But people tend to say is comprised of when they mean comprise. If your instinct is to use the is … of version, then substitute composed. The whole is composed of its parts.

3. FREE REIN

The words rein and reign are commonly confused. Reign is a period of power or authority—kings and queens reign—and a good way to remember it is to note that the g relates it to royal words like regent and regal. A rein is a strap used to control a horse. The confusion comes in when the control of a horse is used as a metaphor for limits on power or authority. Free reincomes from such a metaphor. If you have free rein you can do what you want because no one is tightening the reins.

4. JUST DESERTS

There is only one s in the desert of just deserts. It is not the dessert of after-dinner treats nor the dry and sandy desert. It comes from an old noun form of the verb deserve. A desert is a thing which is deserved.

5. TORTUOUS/TORTUROUS

Tortuous is not the same as torturous. Something that is tortuous has many twists and turns, like a winding road or a complicated argument. It’s just a description. It makes no judgment on what the experience of following that road or argument is like. Torturous, on the other hand, is a harsh judgment—“It was torture!”

6. EFFECT/AFFECT

When you want to talk about the influence of one thing on another, effect is the noun and affect is the verb. Weather affects crop yields. Weather has an effect on crop yields. Basically, if you can put a the or an in front of it, use effect.

7. EXCEPT/ACCEPT

People rarely use accept when they mean except, but often put except where they shouldn’t. To accept something is to receive, admit, or take on. To except is to exclude or leave out—“I’ll take all the flavors except orange.” The x in except is a good clue to whether you’ve got it right. Are you xing something out with the word? No? Then consider changing it.

8. DISCREET/DISCRETE

Discreet means hush-hush or private. Discrete means separate, divided, or distinct. In discreet, the two Es are huddled together, telling secrets. In discrete, they are separated and distinguished from each other by the intervening t.

9. I.E./E.G.

When you add information to a sentence with parentheses, you’re more likely to need e.g., which means “for example,” than i.e., which means “in other words” or “which is to say …” An easy way to remember them is that e.g. is eg-zample and i.e. is “in effect.”

10. CITE/SITE

People didn’t have as much trouble with these two before websites came along and everyone started talking about sites a lot more than they used to. A site is a location or place. Cite, on the other hand, is a verb meaning to quote or reference something else. You can cite a website, but not the other way around. If you’re using site as a verb, it’s probably wrong.

11. DISINTERESTED/UNINTERESTED

People sometimes use disinterested when they really mean uninterested. To be uninterested is to be bored or indifferent to something; this is the sense most everyday matters call for. Disinterested means impartial or having no personal stake in the matter. You want a judge or referee to be disinterested, but not necessarily uninterested.

12. FLOUT/FLAUNT

Are you talking about showing off? Then you don’t mean flout, you mean flaunt. To flout is to ignore the rules. You can think of flaunt as the longer showier one, with that extra letter it goes around flaunting. You can flout a law, agreement, or convention, but you can flaunt almost anything.

13. PHASE/FAZE

Phase is the more common word and usually the right choice, except in those situations where it means “to bother.” If something doesn’t bother you, it doesn’t faze you. Faze is almost always used after a negative, so be on alert if there is an isn’t/wasn’t/doesn’t nearby.

14. LOATH/LOATHE

Loath is reluctant or unwilling, while to loathe is to hate. You are loath to do the things you loathe, which makes it confusing, but you can keep them clear by noting whether the word has a “to be” verb on one side and a to on the other (he is loath to, I would be loath to), in which case loath is correct, or it can be substituted by hate (I loathe mosquitoes), in which case you need the e on the end.

15. WAVE/WAIVE

The word wave is far more frequent than waive and has a more concrete meaning of undulating motion. It’s often used for waive, “to give something up,” perhaps because it fits well with the image of someone waving something away. But when you waive your rights, or salary, or contract terms, you surrender them. You can think of the extra i in waive as a little surrender flag in the middle of the word.

16. INTENSIVE PURPOSES

Intensive is a word that means strong or extreme, but that’s not what’s called for in this phrase.  To say “practically speaking” or “in all important ways” the phrase you want is “for all intents and purposes.”

17. GAUNTLET/GAMUT

Run the gauntlet and run the gamut are both correct, but mean different things. Running the gauntlet was an old type of punishment where a person was struck and beaten while running between two rows of people. A gamut is a range or spectrum. When something runs the gamut, it covers the whole range of possibilities.

18. PEEK/PEAK

This pair causes the most trouble in the phrase sneak peek where the spelling from sneakbleeds over to peek, causing it to switch meaning from “a quick look” to “a high point.” If you imagine the two Es as a pair of eyes, it can help you remember to use peek for the looking sense.

19. FORTUITOUS

Fortuitous means by chance or accident. Because of its similarity to fortunate, it is commonly used to refer to a lucky accident, but it need not be. Having lightening strike your house and burn it down is not a lucky event, but according to your insurance company it will be covered because it is fortuitous, or unforeseen.

20. REFUTE

To refute a claim or an argument doesn’t just mean to offer counterclaims and opposing arguments. That would be to respond or rebut. To refute is to prove that a claim is false. If you refute, the disagreement should be over because you’ve won. If someone accuses you of not having paid for something, you refute the accusation by producing the receipt.

What I´m currently reading

The Scarlet Deep (Elemental World #3) by Elizabeth Hunter 
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00068]
On the waves of the North Atlantic, a poison spreads, sapping the life from humans and striking madness into immortals.

Patrick Murphy, the immortal leader of Dublin, has been trying to stem the tide of Elixir washing into his territory, but nothing seems to stop the vampire drug. While others in the immortal world work to cure the creeping insanity that Elixir threatens, Murphy has been invited to London to join a summit of leaders hoping to discover who is shipping the drug. If Murphy and his allies can cut off the supply, they might be able to halt the spread long enough for a treatment to be found for the humans and vampires infected.

Anne O’Dea, Murphy’s former lover, retreated from public life over one hundred years ago to help immortals in need… and to heal her own broken heart. Though powerful connections keep her insulated from the violence of vampire politics, even Anne is starting to feel the effects of Elixir on her isolated world. The human blood supply has been tainted, and with Anne’s unique needs, even those closest to her might be in danger. Not just from infection, but Anne’s escalating bloodlust.

When Anne and Murphy are both called to London, they’re forced to confront a connection as immortal as they are. As they search for a traitor among allies, they must also come to terms with their past. Behind the safe facade of politics, old hungers still burn, even as an ancient power threatens the fate of the Elemental World.

The most difficult words to pronounce in the English language

I read this article today about difficult pronunciations, don´t know how accurate it is but to non English speakers learning the language I can imagine it can be a painful process.

source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/weird-news/the-most-difficult-words-to-pronounce-in-the-english-language-revealed–as-well-as-the-worlds-favourite-english-tonguetwisters-10159516.html?cmpid=facebook-post

“Worcestershire”. “Choir”. “Sixth”. For some, these words may seem relatively normal and everyday – but to others, they represent an unrivalled linguistic challenge.

For almost two weeks, users of the online social platform reddit have been submitting what they consider to be “the hardest English word to pronounce”.

After more than 5,000 submissions, the message thread has become a fount of difficult vocabulary, with users from across the world sharing their favourites and personal experiences.

There are references to popular culture, some very creative tongue-twisters – and because of reddit’s points system, a rough consensus has emerged as to which are the hardest.

Here are the top 10:

10 – Rural

Submitted by user ‘mattythedog’, rural appears to cause problem particularly when repeated or put next a word with similar “r” sounds.

One user says: “I cannot say Rural Juror – comes out rurrrerr jerrrerr and sounds like I’m growling.”

A self-confessed Australian user says: “An aussie would pronounce it ‘ruhral jurah.”

“This one is entirely impossible for me as a German,” says another. “’Squirrel’ I can manage, but ‘rural’ can f*** right off.”

Best tongue-twister: “I want to be a juror on a rural brewery robbery case.”

9 – Otorhinolaryngologist

One user, going for a word largely on the basis of its length, suggests this medical term for an ear-, nose- and throat-doctor.

But, as another points out, “that one looks like a beast, but once you break it down, it’s pretty easy to say”.

User THLycanthrope says: “Once you know what it is, it’s much easier. “oto-rhino-laryng-ologist” is literally “ear-nose-throat-scientist”.

8 – Colonel

Submitted by a user who explains: “If you know that it’s pronounced “kernel”, it’s easy to pronounce. But if you were new to the English language and didn’t know that, you would never pronounce it correctly.”

Another offers the “fun fact” that: “We took the French spelling (spelled and pronounced with r) and the Italian pronunciation (also spelled with an l).”

7 – Penguin

An overt reference to Benedict Cumberbatch, one user offered this popular submission presumably as an excuse to re-watch this video of the actor voicing a BBC documentary on the South Pacific.

Other users, presumably sticking up for penguin-kind, then try to pronounce Cumberbatch’s name: “Barelyspeaks Cantpronounce”, “Bumpercar Clutchisburnt” and “Buffalo Custardbath” are among the offerings.

6 – Sixth

Coincidentally sixth in our list, this word is rather explicitly criticised as: “What kind of word is that with an S and xth sound? F*** that noise.”

Best tongue-twister: “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.”

One user responds: “English is my only language but f*** you this is impossible.”

Another says: “Imagine what ‘eighth’ is like to a non-English speaker. Not one letter is pronounced the way it should be.”

5 – Isthmus

Submitted presumably due to the difficulty of the “s” and “th” sounds together, it means a narrow strip of land with sea on either side that connects two larger landmasses.

“Ithmuth,” is one reddit user’s attempt.

4 – Anemone

Entered for consideration by one user who couldn’t even spell it, writing: “Annemm… amennome… annemmoneme… f***.”

Best tongue-twister: “In me, many an enemy anemone enema.”

Helpful advice provided by one user suggested: “I’d break it down like ‘Uh – Nem – Uh – Knee’.”

3 – Squirrel

One user says that: “From a foreign perspective, ‘Squirrel’ messes with German exchange students like you wouldn’t believe. To be fair though I can’t pronounce their word for it either.”

User ‘Torvaun’ provides the interesting (unverified) fact that during the Second World War, both sides apparently used each-other’s word for this small rodent as a test for spies.

“Interestingly,” Torvaun says, “in WWII ‘squirrel’ was used as a shibboleth by the English to detect Germans, and ‘Eichhörnchen’, the German word for squirrel, was used as a shibboleth to detect non-Germans.”

2 – Choir

User Kaktu submits: “As a foreign speaker: Choir. Seriously. Why?

Someone suggests helpfully that “it’s like ‘enquire’ but without the ‘en’”.

And bright spark ‘Gnat27’ says, to much popular acclaim: “I read that as ‘Enrique’ and was confused for a solid 5 minutes.”

1 – Worcestershire

The top submission, as one user puts it, “To the USA, anyway”.

“I’ve heard a few funny pronunciations,” says user ‘hornytoad69’. “Wor-kester-shire. Whats-dis-here. Wooster-shire”

One user suggests: “It’s that ‘-cest-’ in the middle that messes people up. If you break it up like worce-ster-shire, the pronunciation makes sense.”

Others suggest similar British place names that aren’t pronounced as they are written, developing a theme, with “Leicester/Leicestershire”, “Edinburgh” and “Derby” all getting a mention.