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Here are my Personal Highlights
"Dracula 97"


Billed as "The Great Debate", "The Mother of All Debates" and the "Debate

of the Dynamic Duo", this was in my view a resounding success. It was well

attended (standing-room only in a room that accommodated 100). Chairing

the session was Montreal scholar Benjamin Leblanc, who used as a gavel a

wooden stake, which he threatened to employ against the first debater who

stepped out of line. (I am glad to say he did not have to use it. We were

both very well behaved!)

I started with a 20-minute paper entitled"Filing for Divorce: The Case of

Vlad Tepes vs Count Dracula". I argued that the commonly held view that

Stoker based his character of the count on Vlad the Impaler is fallacious;

that Stoker borrowed the name "Dracula" along with a few scraps of rather

vague information from William Wilkinson, but knew nothing else about the

historical figure. Furthermore, I argued, there is no evidence to

support claims that Stoker learned about Vlad either from Arminius

Vambery or from research he conducted at the British Museum.

McNally's response was that Stoker did indeed know quite a bit about Vlad,

though he did concede that it is not clear if and how he obtained any of

it from Vambery. His own research altered some of the original statements

made in In Search of Dracul a (1972) and are reflected in the revised

edition (1994). He agreed that some have taken his original theories to

the extreme, but contended that he cannot be held responsible for the

excesses of others.

A very lively discussion followed. We succeeded, I believe, not in

settling the matter (not our intention) but in raising provocative issues

for future research. We agreed to disagree, called it a "draw" and

proceeded to the Bar for a drink!


Just briefly, and the camera were never focused on me!! But it was fun! I

(along with Gordon Melton) accompanied Elvira into the Ballroom for the

Opening Ceremonies and was seated next to her in the front row. While we

waited for the event to begin, I had a chance to chat with her and was a

bit surprised to find that her wit is genuine, not just a stage gimmick.

But such an incongruity - the Dracula scholar and the Mistress of the

Dark! (Check out the photo.)


There were several special guests at "Dracula 97" whom I had never met,

and this finally gave me the opportunity. On top of the list I would put

Jeanne Kalogridis (author of the "Covenant with the Vampire" trilogy).

Even though I had written the Foreword for her most recent book (Lord of

the Vampires) and had received a glowing acknowledgement, I had never met

Jeanne in person. It was a delightful experience.

Another writer I have always wanted to meet was Fred Saberhagen. I had the

opportunity of meeting him (and his wife) at the airport. I stood there

(with Jeanne Youngson) with my little sign reading "Dracula 97", watching

as the passengers deplaned (I had no idea what Fred looked like), but he

spotted us without any difficulty. (So did a few other passengers who gave

us rather strange looks!)

I had another sign for Veronica Carlson whom I also met at LAX (with

Anne-Marie Finn). I remembered her from "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave"

(with Christopher Lee) and was looking for someone vaguely similar but

20-plus years older. I recognized her immediately. She has hardly changed

one iota from her appearance way back then. In addition to her strikingly

beautiful physical appearance, Veronica possesses a warmth of personality

that made me like her instantly.


Honorable Mention go to:

The Dating Game (run by Bev Richardson)

The Costume Contest (a visual delight)

Drac's Marketplace (when I finally got time to visit)

Reading a message of welcome from Patrick Stoker (Bram's great-nephew)

A social gathering for Romanians and Canadians (a potent combination)

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COPYRIGHT©2005 Dr. Elizabeth Miller