In 1459, during the course of a devastating raid in Transylvania, Vlad attacked Brasov. He burned the poor suburbs, in particular the church of Saint Bartholomew, today full of factories. He bombarded the ramparts, particularly the stronghold of weavers. On Quinta Hill, in full view of the besieged, he impaled dozens of prisoners. One of his lords grimaced at the stench. He was impaled and placed higher than the others. Impalement remained the preferred method of choice for Vlad, although he appreciated other form of suffering and killing as well. In truth, he was seized by a sadistic madness. That is the official version. We spoke about it at length with Radu. He confirmed my thoughts, that there was a gulf between the reality of Vlad and the legend. He was certainly cruel and severe, but less so than the stories disseminated by his detractors. In reality, the horrible reputation of Vlad was created by the Germans in Brasov. These rich merchants suddenly found themselves under Vlad protectionist policies. They were now forced to pay taxes on their merchandise exported into Vlad’s territories. They were losing money. So, they took vengeance in spreading horrifying rumors throughout all of Europe.
Then the King of Hungary entered the fray. The Pope had sent him funds to organize a new crusade. The king put the money to his own personal use. He then claimed that it was Vlad who stole the money, he was a monster and a torturer after all. Scribes faithfully took down the charges of the merchants of Brasov and the King of Hungary. Vlad became the dark legend of Europe. Other enemies were only too happy to further embellish the rumors, the Turks foremost among them. This is how the Dracula vampire story was born. As is often the case in history, it began with a dispute over money.
“Brasov. I never liked this city, it was always hostile. I always felt negative energy there, negative waves. I was very sensitive to the atmosphere, to waves, to energies. Even if I was negative, I preferred positive atmospheres, positive beings, positive places, as strange as that may seem.”