Why Bram Stoker sacked police from Dracula

DRACULA HAD to be rewritten after the police fiasco over the Jack the Ripper murders showed Scotland Yard was no place for heroes, one of Bram Stoker’s descendants revealed.
Bram StokerBram Stoker
Bram Stoker

The author “sacked” the fledgling Met Police from a starring role in his classic spine chiller and replaced the force with a bunch of amateur vampire hunters because of the killings in Whitechapel.

Stoker - already grumpy due to fits of indigestion - became furious at police failures to stop the real-life murderer terrorising London and keeping audiences away from the stage shows he was running as a theatre boss.

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The new secret behind the writing of Dracula has been revealed by Great grandnephew Dacre Stoker a during a rare visit to Whitby to revisit the places which inspired his ancestor.

His idol Bram wrote the novel, first published seven years later and never out of print since, during a stay at the resort in 1890 - following a bout of nightmares said to have been brought on from eating too much stuffed Whitby Crab.

Dacre Stoker has already achieved international fame by finding his ancestor’s “lost journal” in an attic.

He says the long lost writings reveal Drac’s creator planned to pit a “Detective Cotford” against a “Count Wanpyre” from Austria.

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Cotford was imagined as a top detective on the Ripper case who would have caught the killer by the time the book was published following seven years of research.

But the real life responsibility for catching Jack the Ripper fell to the Yard’s new Criminal Investigation Department - which lacked every investigative tool of the modern CID.

It was founded in 1878, after the members of the original Detective Branch were jailed for being in the pay of a gang of swindlers.

Morale plummeted during the Ripper murders and the new department was dubbed the Defective Department and Criminal Instigation Department by Punch.

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Stoker subsequently changed “Count Wanpyre” to Transylvanian demon “Dracula” and substituted his detective character for Van Helsing and his disciples.

Canadian-based author Dacre, 56, said: “The book was written was not long after Jack the Ripper - when the public had lost faith in the legal system.

People were scared to death about what would happen next - and Scotland Yard could not save them.

“The police therefore do not feature in Dracula at all, which is very strange when you think how many people get killed.”

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Bram Stoker may also have had a personal grudge. During the height of the Ripper murders in 1888, he was running the Lyceum Theatre on a shoestring for Sir Henry Irving.

Theatres closed early because people wanted to be home before dark and the Lyceum was forced to cancel Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde because people thought “there was already enough horror in the East End”.

During his life, Bram Stoker gave few interviews and little was known about the writing of Dracula.

But in 2012, Dacre found Bram’s “lost” Dublin Journal, kept by the author’s great-grandson Noel Dobbs in an attic on the Isle of Wight, containing his notes.

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Last year, Dacre and his co-writer Hans De Roos used the jottings to solve one of the world’s biggest literary mysteries – the precise location of Castle Dracula.

They tracked it down to an empty mountain top in Romania, which was also the site of an extinct volcano which featured in the original ending of Dracula.

In the first draft, the volcano erupts caused an earthquake which destroys Dracula’s Castle with the Count inside.

But Stoker changed the ending so Dracula only appears to die by being slashed across the throat and stabbed in the chest, rather than staked through the heart.

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Dacre believes the “less-final ending” was to allow the Count to be resurrected for a sequel – but Bram fell ill and died in April 1912, the same week the Titanic sank.

Dacre, who has already written his own sequel, Dracula: The Undead, based on Stokers’ plot notes and featuring Cotford, is now planning a prequel.