Darling Pet Munkee Issue 4: Genuine Soil From Dracula’s Castle

It’s time yet again for an examination of the item behind the Darling Pet Munkee song! We’re working on a video for this song right now! See post 1 and post 2 about that!

It’s hard to even begin to decide where this story starts and where it should end. The loose, but specific similarities in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula between the titular character and Vlad III Dracul (AKA Vlad the Impaler) (and less so to the Blood Countess Elizabth Bathory) became popular in the 1970s with the publication of In Search of Dracula, a book connecting Vlad with Stoker’s character. Although they were hardly the first to propose this connection, they were perhaps the most explicit and thorough up to that point.

Apparently, someone was inspired around this time to create a collectible memento – a necklace full of soil from a castle on the edge of Transylvania (in Romania) allegedly tied to Vlad’s reign.

Why soil? One of Dracula’s legendary traits is that he can only rest in the presence of soil from his homeland. Presumably, the ownership of this item would allow you to feel as though you, like Dracula, can be at peace when traveling.

I was lucky enough to acquire a genuine 1970s amulet on eBay recently!!! Although it has an extremely cheap gold-colored chain and is essentially a plastic coffin amulet full of some dust, I thought it was kind of great. I got number 1697 out of 5000!!!

 

Our musical tribute to this fine item:


Here’s an interesting tale associated with the acquisition of the dirt from http://archives.citypaper.net/articles/2005-01-06/cover.shtml
Meanwhile, life at Warren Publishing was never dull. One day, Warren was sitting in his Manhattan office when his phone rang. “The FBI is here to see you,” his secretary said.
OK, Warren thought, Which wiseass artist is trying to pull a fast one? “Sure, show them in,” he replied, then reclined back in his chair, awaiting the punch line.

But there was no punch line. There were two FBI agents out there, and they were not happy. Seems they caught one of Warren’s employees trying to smuggle in something from a foreign country. “It was dirt from Dracula’s castle,” Warren explains. “I had sent an airline stewardess friend over to Transylvania to dig up and crate a couple pounds of dirt from the estate of Vlad the Impaler.” A small scoop of the dirt was placed in tiny metal coffins which were hooked to necklaces — another genius Captain Company item. “Wear Dirt from Dracula’s Castle — Around Your Neck!” Says Warren, “After some careful explanation, the G-men decided to let me go with a warning.”

Apparently, someone decided that there was still enough interest and continues to sell a similar item. They even stepped it up to practically guarantee that Vlad had stepped on the specific soil included in the vial:  http://www.draculadust.com/#!gallery

Most likely, you can also still find the original amulets on eBay. It seems a batch were never sold and are still being liquidated by some company that acquired them.
There are so many fascinating stories about Dracula, that I feel a little sad to end it here. I’ll leave you with the lyrics to “Genuine Soil from Dracula’s Castle” and a bunch of reading links and videos to watch to get you started…
Genuine Soil from Dracula’s Castle

I offer you this amulet
I offer it from around my neck
I offer you this sacrifice
For those who have paid the ultimate price
of Dracula’s dirt, Dracula’s dirt, one pure gram of Dracula’s dirt.

I offer you this amulet

That Vlad himself would use to rest
The blood and soil of Transylvanian rite
For those who have paid the ultimate price

of Dracula’s dirt, Dracula’s dirt, one pure gram of Dracula’s dirt.

Interesting articles on Dracula, Bram Stoker, and the tourist industry surrounding Vlad the impaler: http://www.netplaces.com/vampire/in-search-of-dracula/

Read Dracula for free: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/345