En busca de vampiros

En los cuentos populares de la Europa oriental, los vampiros son unos chupasangres nocturnos que se han alzado de entre los muertos. Conocemos la apoteosis de esos seres, Drácula, como vampiro de Transilvania, una persona parecida a un murciélago con largos colmillos y que permanece tumbada en un ataúd durante el día y muerde nucas y bebe sangre para mantenerse.

Pero, ¿por qué sabemos cosa alguna sobre Drácula y los vampiros? ¿Por qué y cómo creció un mito regional hasta llegar a ser uno de los elementos más resistentes de la cultura occidental?

El Drácula histórico, Vlad Tepes, no fue un vampiro. Vlad nació en 1431 y reinó intermitentemente a partir de 1448 como Príncipe Voivoda de Valaquia, la parte septentrional de la actual Rumania, y tuvo enfrentamientos periódicos con el Imperio otomano, el rey Matías Corvino de Hungría y las ciudades sajonas de Transilvania. Aunque logró importantes victorias sobre los otomanos, Corvino lo hizo prisionero y murió en 1477 en un nuevo combate con las tropas otomanas.

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