Long before Bram Stoker’s legendary novel Dracula (1897) there was The Mysterious Stranger, a short story penned by an anonymous author. This vampire tale was translated from German to English and published in Odd and Ends magazine in 1860 – over thirty years before the famed Dracula. Why is this worth noting? Because the two stories share many similarities, so many in fact that some believe that it was The Mysterious Stranger that inspired Stoker, that maybe this is where Stoker got his ideas for Dracula. There is no actual proof of this, but who knows, it may be possible that The Mysterious Stranger inspired not only Stoker, but many other vampire authors of the time.
Below is a small excerpt from The Mysterious Stranger. I’ll let you decide whether or not it has any resemblance to Dracula.
“Now, listen! I had walked up and down my room for a long time; I was excited — out of spirits — I do not know exactly what. It was almost midnight ere I lay down, but I could not sleep. I tossed about, and at length it was only from sheer exhaustion that I dropped off. But what a sleep it was! An inward fear ran through me perpetually. I saw a number of pictures before me, as I used to do in childish sicknesses. I do not know whether I was asleep or half awake. Then I dreamed, but as dearly as if I had been wide awake, that a sort of mist filled the room, and out of it stepped the knight Azzo. He gazed at me for a time, and then letting himself slowly down on one knee, imprinted a kiss on my throat. Long did his lips rest there; and I felt a slight pain, which always went on increasing, until I could bear it no more. With all my strength I tried to force the vision from me, but succeeded only after a long struggle. No doubt I uttered a scream, for that awoke me from my trance. when I came a little to my senses, I felt a sort of superstitious fear creeping over me — how great you may imagine when I tell you that, with my eyes open and awake, it appeared to me as if Azzo’s figure were still by my bed, and then disappearing gradually into the mist, vanished at the door!”
“You must have dreamed very heavily, my poor friend,” began Bertha, but suddenly paused. She gazed with surprise at Franziska’s throat. “Why, what is that?” she cried. ” Just look: how extraordinary — a red streak on your throat!”
You can read the full story here.
What do you think? Is it possible that this story inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula? Or even other authors of the time?