We all know the story about the vampire and its bond to its native soil. Right? According to the tale, a vampire can only rest in soil from the land of their origins. A vampire needs their native earth, it can’t survive without it. We all know the story, but where did it come from?
In Eastern European folklore vampires were believed to be the reanimated bodies of the recently dead. Even though these vampires were said to reside in their local boneyard there is, however, absolutely no specific mention of native soil in any vampire folklore or early vampire fiction. None, and I have read a lot of vampire non-fiction.
So where did the idea come from?
That’s right, Dear Readers. Bram Stoker came up with the native soil bit for his legendary 1897 novel Dracula. In this famous book, the vampire Dracula needed to rest in a box filled with his native Transylvanian earth. To attack him, one simply needed to destroy these boxes. Which is what they do in the novel. Of the 50 boxes of soil transported to England, Van Helsing and the others locate 49 of them. They filled them with Eucharist wafers, leaving just one, and forcing Dracula to flee to his home in Transylvania.
And there you have it. The native soil myth does not have any ties to history or folklore, this was 100% made up by Bram Stoker. Many have theorized as to why he did this. Was it an simply a plot excuse to get Dracula out of England? Was it metaphorical? Did it represent Victorian England’s fear of others invading their native soil? Who knows? All we do know is that it came out of the influential mind of Stoker.
What do you think of this bit of vampire mythos? It’s not used by many authors or film makers anymore. Do you wish more writers used Stoker’s idea?