Who Was Van Helsing?
I dig it when other folks do the heavy lifting for me.
Giving credit to the folks over at VAMPED, and to my online buddy Hans de Roos, for this one. We already knew that Bram Stoker had claimed that he based his character from DRACULA, Abraham Van Helsing (who is the real villain of the book, and that is not up for discussion), on a real person. Has that person been identified? Mr. de Roos thinks so. Any theory Hans puts out I am inclined to listen to. This is the guy who tracked down the real location of the fictitious Castle Dracula, after all.
Who, then, does Hans believe served as the inspiration for the Van Helsing? His pick is Professor Max Muller of Oxford University. The key to solving this particular literary puzzle might be the name “Windshoeffel”, which Stoker gave to his German—not yet Dutch—professor, his proto-Van Helsing, in his notes for DRACULA.
(Just think: we could have had a novel in which Dr. Windshoeffel did battle against Count Wampyr. Nice alliteration, but it just wouldn’t have been the same, would it?)
I’ve always tended towards the belief that Van Helsing was a composite character, based on people Stoker really knew as well as literary antecedents. But might Muller have been the primary inspiration?
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!