Cheryl Clack

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Something wicked made its way onto the Winthrop University campus when a historian gave a Halloween-themed lecture on the life and history of the real-life figure who inspired the modern legend of Dracula.

Dr. Alice Sullivan, an assistant professor of art history and architecture at Tufts University, gave the lecture at Dina’s Place on Oct. 27.

The lecture explored the life of Vlad III, more commonly known as “Vlad the Impaler,” and how his life influenced vampirism in modern pop culture.

“The kind of stories that developed around his figure, in the later years of his life and in the afterlife, this effort to demonize him came to the fore in later centuries, in the modern period and the 20th century through Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula.’ So, I was interested in how this historical figure and the events of his life could be transformed,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said she was pleased with the timing of the lecture, after the faculty of Winthrop’s medieval studies department invited her to speak on campus near Halloween. She said it was “very fitting” and a “wonderful opportunity” to talk about Dracula so close to the holiday.

Students and faculty in attendance said they were impressed with the lecture.

“I really liked how Dr. Sullivan moved from talking about the historical figure and moved on to talk about the modern figure. I thought that was kind of fascinating and helped bring the audience along quite nicely,” said Dr. Gregory Bell, the department chair for medieval studies at Winthrop.

Winthrop senior Sidney Morfin said the lecture allowed her to learn more about the figure she has read about.

“I thought it was interesting and I thought it would be nice to actually learn more upon like the historical side of it,” Morfin said.

Sullivan said she hopes her lecture would inspire others to start their own research.