The Dracula Society
As I’m sure you are well aware, there are an enormous amount of vampire societies and organizations that exist today. These groups range widely in their purpose: from vampiric literary scholars and students to more occult and spiritually focused endeavors. Many vampire organizations require membership and can be quite exclusive in terms of sharing information, forums, and events, etc., and range in membership fees and requirements. Most, however, only require a love for the vampire.
One such society that has existed for nearly 40 years is that of The Dracula Society. Founded by actors Bernard Davies (1924-2010) and Bruce Wightman (1923?-2005), two men with extensive knowledge and appreciation for the gothic genre, Davies and Wightman began the Society in 1973 in order to gain access to tourism-restricted areas of Transylvania (Romania). With the formation of The Dracula Society, Davies and Wightman pioneered Transylvania by organizing the first-ever Dracula-themed tour of Transylvania for Society members. Early on in their formation, The Dracula Society also organized tours of Dracula sites in what was then Czechoslovakia (currently Czech Republic and Slovakia) along with other Dracula related tours.
Today the society is more or less focused on five annual meetings held in London, UK, including the annual celebration of Bram Stoker’s birthday in early November. They also still organize an bi-annual trip to supernatural sites; this year the Society plans to tour the castles of Slovakia, including that of Elizabeth Bathory, along with the castle at Orave, which was used in the making of Murnau’s Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror. Unfortunately, it’s too late to sign up for the trip as bookings are now closed. I know, I know; I nearly bit someone just to try and cheer myself up.
Along other lines, The Dracula Society is not for those interested in occult or psychic aspects of vampire lore, and they state so plainly on their website. Nevertheless, there are countless societies and organization out there that do cater to such tastes. Rather, The Dracula Society is aimed more at lovers of Gothic characters in the literary, film, and historical folklore and mythological sense. Named after possibly the most well known vampire novel in history (although Stephenie Meyer is catching up), The Dracula Society’s goal is to pay specific homage to Bram Stoker and his beloved literary classic.
In keeping with the attributes of a secret society, The Dracula Society has its own crest and treasured artifacts. Their crest includes the insignia from the original Dracula, and dons the words “CREO QUIA IMPOSSIBLE” – “I believe because it is impossible” – a frequently used adage, but intended here to reveal a honoring of inquisitiveness and open-minded thought. At this point, I’m still wondering why I’m not already a member.
Nevertheless, if this doesn’t make you all run off and join, I don’t know what will. All I can say is viewing photos of their 2009 Romania trip sent chills of envy running down my spine at times. The Dracula Society is a well established and reputable organization that is, like any great vampire lore, sure to stand the test of time.