You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myDaytonDailyNews.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myDaytonDailyNews.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myDaytonDailyNews.com.

Halloween treat: a night at Dracula’s castle in Transylvania


BRAN CASTLE, Romania (AP) — Dracula’s castle will have overnight guests on Halloween, marking the first time since 1948 that anyone has slept in the Transylvanian fortress.

The site’s actual name is Bran Castle, and two people will get to sleep there Oct. 31 thanks to a promotion by Airbnb. The guests will be wined and dined, then left alone to lie down in red velvet-trimmed coffins just as Dracula did in the Bram Stoker horror novel that popularized the legend.

The castle is famous for its connection to Vlad the Impaler, a real-life prince who stayed there in the 15th century and had a cruel habit of using stakes to impale his victims. Vlad inspired Stoker’s story of Count Dracula.

The Airbnb contest to find guests for the night launched Monday. Applicants were asked to use their “vampiric wit” to imagine what they’d say to Count Dracula if they met him. Winners will be flown to Romania and then taken to the castle set dramatically in the Carpathian Mountains. If they’re too spooked to sleep in the coffins, beds are on hand.

The castle is one of Romania’s top tourist attractions, with more than 630,000 visitors a year. Hosting the one-off Airbnb event is a descendant of Bram Stoker, Dacre Stoker.

“I want to make it both realistic and show the legend in the wonderful country that birthed the whole thing,” Stoker said in a telephone interview. He’ll play the role of Jonathan Harker, a character from the novel who encounters Dracula at the castle. When the winners arrive in a horse-drawn carriage, he plans to greet them using the same words Dracula used in his ancestor’s story: “Welcome to my house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the happiness you bring!”

Stoker added that staging “Halloween night in Dracula castle” was a way of “re-creating the book, and giving people a good experience and a good scare.”

The winning pair will tour the castle, then be treated to a candlelight dinner of chicken paprikash, the same meal described in the novel. Airbnb’s rules for the night are simple: no garlic or silver jewelry — both believed to ward off vampires — and this reminder: “The count is not a fan of mirror selfies.” (According to legend, a vampire’s image cannot be seen in mirrors.)

Bran Castle was originally a military fortress, strategically set on a highway that links Transylvania to southern Romania. Vlad the Impaler did not own the castle, but is believed to have used it briefly during his incursions in Transylvania. He is also believed to have been imprisoned in the castle for two months in 1462 when he was captured by a rival Hungarian king.

Vlad impaled his victims as punishment for wrongdoing. His victims reputedly included all the elderly residents of one community to avenge the deaths of his father and brother.

Following World War I, the castle was given to Queen Marie in gratitude for her role in unifying Transylvania with the rest of Romania. She bequeathed it to her youngest daughter Princess Ileana. In 1948, the Communists seized it from Ileana.

In 2006, years after communism ended, the castle was returned to Ileana’s son Dominic Hapsburg, a retired New York architect. His sisters spent their childhood there. A Romanian company manages the castle which is rented for weddings, soirees and corporate events. Hapsburg plays an active role in the site, but nobody has stayed overnight there since Hapsburg and his family were exiled from Romania.

The castle is very popular with tourists. “We just love Halloween, so what drew us to Romania was Transylvania,” said Gina Ricciardi of Boca Raton, Florida, visiting with her husband and friends. “We wanted to see Dracula’s castle and just experience the whole Dracula.”

Might Count Dracula himself show up on Oct. 31?

“Did he really die at end of the novel when he was stabbed with knife? Bram leaves the question ambiguous,” Stoker said. “But if he’s still floating around, he would make an appearance.”

_______

Competition: https://www.airbnb.com/night-at/dracula

Castle Website: http://www.bran-castle.com


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Travel

A shiny new ride above the sand at the Jersey Shore
A shiny new ride above the sand at the Jersey Shore

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. — It was one of the indelible images of the wrath of Hurricane Sandy: a famous Jersey Shore roller coaster reduced to a twisted, mangled wreck in the surf off Seaside Heights, its decades-old iron and steel slicing the coming waves.  It was removed months later, but the gash along the coast remained for years, the emptiness...
A giant ark is just the start
A giant ark is just the start

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. - Ken Ham built an ark, a Noah-sized ark, in the verdant, landlocked hills of the American heartland.  At the sight of the wooden vessel, tourists - decidedly more than two-by-two, a caravan of buses surrounding the site - gasp in wonder. Christian school students storm the ramps, many completing science quizzes based on anti-evolutionary...
Talk travel: To check or not to check luggage

The Washington Post's travel writers and editors recently discussed travel stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:  Q: I'm flying for a short solo trip to Paris, and I'm suddenly panicking about every little thing. The latest: whether or not to check my luggage. I'm taking a carry-on size suitcase and a purse big enough...
Drink up, business travelers. The minibar is on the way out.
Drink up, business travelers. The minibar is on the way out.

Do you think of hotel rooms as having spacious, old-school desks, the kind that invite long hours of working? And bureaus with a half-dozen drawers? Minibars, too? Well, perhaps you haven’t stayed at a hotel lately.  Ben Schlappig, a 26-year-old travel blogger and consultant, has spent more nights in hotels than many people will in a lifetime...
Washington man writes books about motorcycle trips to Chile
Washington man writes books about motorcycle trips to Chile

TACOMA, Wash. — He rode the Pan American Highway before it was paved. He spent three days in a Peruvian jail. His motorcycle broke down in Mexico. Canned sardines were a regular meal. Keith Thye of Ruston loved the adventure so much, he decided to recreate it 50 years later. In 1963, Keith Thye dropped out of classes at the University of Oregon...
More Stories