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Jack the Ripper, Dracula & Bram Stoker

Date Saturday - April 23, 2016
Host Dave Schrader
Guests Neil Storey

Since its publication in 1897, there have been suggestions that the fictional exploits of Dracula were more closely associated with Jack the Ripper than a Transylvanian Count. Historian Neil Storey joined Dave Schrader (email) for the full show to discuss the first British-based investigation of the sources used by Bram Stoker. In his book, The Dracula Secrets, Storey paints an evocative portrait of Stoker, his influences, friends, and the London he knew in the late 19th century while exploring how Stoker created Dracula out of the climate of fear that surrounded the Jack the Ripper murders in 1888.

Storey speculated about the identity of the infamous killer, including the Freemason conspiracy, while noting "you will never get that evidence now [to know definitively]." He pointed out how the nature of a prostitute's work, done in secret away from police patrols and on dimly lit streets, gave the Ripper an advantage over his unsuspecting victims. According to Storey, the Ripper murders demonstrate the culprit had hands-on medical knowledge. As an example, he cited victim Catherine Eddowes, whose body was laid open the way a surgeon would open a body on an operating table, particularly in post-mortem examinations.

Regarding Bram Stoker, Storey explained how after going through notebooks and original manuscripts he found no mention of Elizabeth Báthory or Vlad the Impaler as possible inspirations for Dracula. "It's an assumption that's been handed down because for so many years we didn't know where the devil Bram Stoker had got this stuff from," he said. The foreword from the first foreign language translation (Icelandic) of Dracula, written by Stoker indicates the story is based on the fear caused by the crimes of Jack the Ripper, Storey revealed. He further suggested Stoker personally knew Francis Tumblety, the medical quack who many suspect was the Ripper, through mutual friend Thomas Henry Hall Caine. Stoker may have first spotted Tumblety at Piccadilly, which is also where his character Jonathan Harker first spots Dracula, he noted.

In the last hour, Storey took listener calls and shared some ghost tales.

Related Material

Neil Storey Photos
Neil Storey Photos
Historian Neil Storey shares several photos to accompany his presentation on the 4/23/16 program, including this one of him taken at Whitby Abbey, NorthYorkshire, England—place well known to Bram Stoker. View them here.

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Bumper music from Saturday April 23, 2016

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