Carla Laemmle, niece of the founder of Universal Studios, who was the first person to ever speak in a Dracula talking’ movie and who lived on the actual movie lot for many years; Bela Lugosi Junior, son of one of the big screens most well-known character vampires; Jeanne Youngson, wife of an Academy award-winning producer and director, who established the first-ever (maybe the only) Dracula Museum, in New York; Forrest Ackerman, sadly departed, the worlds foremost collector of horror and fantasy artifacts and originator of the sexily-clad vampirellas; Vincent Hillyer, a former California almond farmer once married to the sister of the Shah of Iran as well as to Milly Vitale, a prominent Italian actress, who offered $10,000 to anyone who could bring him a vampire and had two doctors lined up to verify the find - these are just some of the colorful, larger-than-life characters Sean Hillen met during his search for the origins of Dracula. Not to mention a midnight meeting in the ruins of Vlad the Impalers castle, deep within the rugged mountains of Wallachia, Romania.
And as this year (2012) marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Bram Stoker, it seems a most appropriate time to re-issue Sean’s travelogue, DIGGING FOR DRACULA,’ for the first time in e-book form.
Initially published as a creative book-in-a-coffin’ concept in Dublin in 1997, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first ever publication of the best-selling novel (see www.diggingfordracula.com), re-issuing it in electronic format now during this particular centenary seems doubly appropriate.
While not professing to be an expert on vampiric issues, Sean was fortunate enough to be foreign correspondent for the The Times newspaper, London, during most of the 1990s in Romania. In fact, he traveled there before the fall of Communism to write about developments in that beguiling Latin-Balkan nation.
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