- Category: Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)
- Published: 30 October 2013
There are many frightful creatures that have always accompanied October’s well known holiday, Halloween, but few are aware of how those creatures came about.
The most notorious vampire first appeared in 1897 when Irish author, Bram Stoker, introduced his titled book Dracula. Although Stoker did not invent the idea of a vampire, he gave the creature its modern flare. Most do know the tale of Count Dracula, a blood sucking vampire from Transylvania, but not many realize that Stoker was influenced to create his fictitious character by a real person, Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia. In the 15th century, Vlad III ruled over Romania and became famous for his pleasure in tyranny and torture.
Graziella Ruffa, a sophomore business major, believes that Dracula is the scariest tale of all. “Who would ever want their blood to be sucked? Especially since they look like a human, you would never know until they show their teeth. By that time, it’s too late!” Ruffa said.
Nicole Rubino, junior health studies major disagrees with Ruffa mainly because the media has made such a vampire frenzy. “No one is afraid of Dracula because he is overrated,” Rubino said.
Much like the tale of Count Dracula, some tend to believe Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein was also based on a factual scientist’s life goal.
According to Roseanne Montillo, writer for the Huffington Post, Giovanni Aldini was the inspiration behind Shelley’s creature. Aldini was promised a convicted man’s body once he was hung from the gallows, which he claimed he could bring back to life.
An experienced scientist, Aldini practiced on dead frogs for decades prior to a human being. Aldini noticed that when touched by an electrical shock, the dead frog’s leg would twitch, thus showing vital fluids were still in the animal’s body and could be manipulated from the outside.
While Aldini’s attempt at bringing the convicted man’s body back to life was not officially successful, some claim to have seen the left eye open.
Freshman business management/marketing major, Heather Schlindwein once thought Frankenstein was a creature to be feared, but not anymore.“He creeped me out, but in my senior year of high school, we read the book Frankenstein and all he wanted to do was be loved,” she said.
While the previous two creatures were from over the pond, not all Halloween creatures are from foreign lands. New Jersey is home to one of its own legendary Halloween figures, the Jersey Devil.
Dr. Richard Veit teaches a New Jersey History course at the University and explained the tale he has heard about the Jersey Devil.
“The Jersey Devil is a great old Pine Barrens story. The version I have heard has Mrs. Leeds, a Quaker, giving birth to twelve children. When her thirteenth child was about to be born she was in great pain and said ‘Let the Devil take this child.’ The child was born shortly thereafter.”
Veit continued, “It was a beautiful baby boy, but in front of everyone’s eyes, it was transformed into an unusual creature with cloven hooves, wings like a bat, a tail and a head like a horse. It made a horrible ruckus then flew out of the room, only to come back and terrorize folks late at night.”
While Veit is aware of the Jersey Devils tale, he does not think there is any plausible origin for the creature.
“The story may have served to encourage people to watch what they said for fear that the unthinkable may happen,” Veit concluded.
Junior communication major, Laurel Weber, who is currently enrolled in the University’s Witches and Witchcraft class, agreed with Veit in the sense of the fear aspect the Jersey Devil brings.
“I’d have to say the Jersey Devil is the creepiest because he’s like our neighbor and I don’t want him showing up at my house one day.” Weber continued, “I feel like Dracula and Frankenstein were just misunderstood, nice guys.”
Mike Kulik, junior political science major, concurred with Weber. “The Jersey Devil is the strangest creature because no really understands that myth. Everyone knows what you’re talking about when you say Dracula or Frankenstein but when you say Jersey Devil, I’m pretty sure we all have a different picture in our heads.”
Whether these creatures were fact or fiction, they certainly do bring about a creepy mood which is matched perfectly for the holiday of Halloween.
IMAGE TAKEN from parade.com