October 31, 1998
Transylvania, Romania

Our journey has lead us into the heart of Transylvania. It is All Soul's Eve, one of the last nights of the year when all things evil have full sway in the world...
We are in an ancient fortress town called Sighisoara (the 's' in the middle of this word has a squiggily line accent mark underneath it that cannot be transmit via the internet -- a very special character in Romanian that makes the town's name pronounced like 'Sigi-schwara.')
This is without doubt one of the oldest towns in Romania. When the Romans first conquered this town, they built a fortress here called 'Castrum Sex' (Fort Six, though the words suggest a different meaning.)
It has remained a fortress ever since, it's walls protecting from centuries of invading Turks, Wallachians, Saxons, Magyars and Huns.

See a 360-degree, Virtual Reality panoramic view from the clocktower of Sighisoara.

This land of the earth, perhaps more than any other, has been the most conquered and fought over, and has seen the most blood spilled. There is no wonder then that this town Sighisoara is also the birthplace of the world's greatest warrior, the most famous in all of history Vlad Tepes (again the squiggily accents on the 'T' and the 's' to make the sound like 'Tepesh'.)

Vlad Tepes was born Vlad Dracul, Jr. and fought alongside his father to defend his homeland of Transylvania against the invading Turks. Young Vlad was captured by them and learned their ruthless ways of killing by impaling victims on sticks and leaving them to die. By the mid-1400s, Vlad became ruler of Wallachia, and a cruel and harsh dictator he was.

Here is where the imagination of a British writer named Bram Stoker takes over at the end of the 19th century with a novel called "Dracula" (probably the most derided book in this entire country because Romanian's despise the analogy that they are like vampires - they look upon it as a national insult.)

Stoker imagined that the soul of Vlad Dracul was too evil to enter either heaven or hell and was doomed to haunt the earth for eternity, living in his castle high in the foothills of the Carpathians along the pass to Wallachia.

Little did I know that this digital journey was drawing me closer to Dracula's castle... and on this night, the forces of evil are too powerful to resist...

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