Essential Intellectual References Weekly #9

Two of the most terrifying real life monsters in history.

Zack S. Westby Zack S. West

Finally. Halloween is imminent. I wait for this all year. So, even though EIRW #10 will actually fall on the day of Halloween, I'm gonna do one now. I'm sorry. I can't wait. I guess you'll get two. I hope you can come to terms with that. I know it might be tough.

There's a lot of talk about monsters this time of year. Fictional monsters, like Frankenstein and Sasquatch. But if you look back in human history, there were a lot of big, scary, real monsters. Those we can't consider human, because doing so would diminish us as a species. And they were also big fans of senseless violence. That's spooky, right?

Zoinks, Scoob, we better catch that psychotic commander of an army!


Vlad the Impaler

Vlad III, born to Vlad II Dracul in 1431, was a giant bastard. He has two nicknames. The first is Vlad the Impaler, which we will get to in a moment. His second, "Son of the Dragon", or Dracula, reveals that he is most famous for inspiring Bram Stoker's Dracula. But you look at Bela Lugosi and get the wrong idea. The real Dracula was a real monster.

He grew up as a prince in the courts of Wallachia, which is not as it sounds a town from Rocky and Bullwinkle, but a reasonably large chunk of southern Romania. Then, throughout various periods in his life he was tortured, enslaved, and beaten. His father was ousted, put back in power, then murdered, and his older brother (and heir to the throne of Walla-Walla) was blinded and buried alive. Eventually, he had to march an army into his own kingdom and take it back by force, then build it up from the wretched mess it had become. His history is full of violence, so it's no surprise he got to like it so much.

You gotta love what you know, right?

Well, once he was in power in Wall of Chia, he got to know it a lot better. He was bloodthirsty- started wars and then fought at the front of them. He effectively declared war on the aristocrats in his own country, having the angry and poor populace murder them in their homes, as well as killing a few himself. On top of that, he had a bit of a thing for killing men of the cloth. All in all, more than ten thousand deaths are attributed to him.

Which brings us to the nickname. He was called the Impaler for two reasons. The first being that he was a big fan of impaling things. Like, he loved it. He did it on the battlefield, he did it in the torture chamber. He did it in a box, he'd do it to a fox. But to ward off his enemies, he would personally decapitate a few of them (like the aristocrats, or a bishop), and then impale their heads on pikes and place them around his castle. Did nobody teach him manners?

And this horrifying story inspired the tale of the comparatively effete Dracula.

 …who, in turn, gave us Blackula. Thank you.



Sheesh. The real Dracula is a tough act to follow. And Penthouse made a movie about this guy. How bad could he possibly be?

Well, it's not so bad for a while, and the accounts may not all be dead on, but one thing is for sure. Caligula, Emperor of Rome from 37 to 41 C.E., was a party guy. He looooooooved to party. But this isn't animal house. It's Ancient Rome, and he had more money than he could spend. So what did he spend it on?

Sex. And murder. But mostly sex. …and murder. He would f*** anyone. He banged people's wives and then laughed in their faces about it. He killed people because they were irritating him. He turned governmental buildings into brothels or massive orgies while the people who could stop him weren't looking. He once ordered an entire section of audience into the Arena to be murdered by animals because they were out of prisoners. He banged his sisters. And combining the sex and violence, some say when a woman would come to him pregnant with his child, he would perform an abortion himself, let the mother die, and eat the fetus. At least, that's what some people say.

I mean, he was assassinated one thousand nine hundred and seventy years ago. You're not scared… are you?



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