When Bram Stoker was researching his world-famous novel Dracula one of his biggest influences was a woman who was born into a wealthy family in the Lanarkshire town of Airdrie.
One of the UK’s leading literary institutions has establish how Stoker had a copy of Emily Gerard’s book on Transylvanian folklore and took notes while researching his own novel.
Gerard’s The Land Beyond the Forest is credited with introducing Stoker to the concept of “nosferatu”, a vampire-like creature who sucks the blood of innocent victims.
She wrote her book after spending two years in the mid-1880s in Romania with her husband, who was posted there as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army.
In her book, she wrote: “More decidedly evil is the nosferatu, or vampire, in which every Romanian peasant believes as firmly as he does in heaven or hell.
“Every person killed by a nosferatu becomes likewise a vampire after death, and will continue to suck the blood of other innocent persons till the spirit has been exorcised by opening the grave of the suspected person, and either driving a stake through the corpse or in very obstinate cases of vampirism it is recommended to cut off the head, and replace it in the coffin with the mouth filled with garlic.”