Teodora Buzea

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

John C. Leffel, Ph.D.


“We don’t believe in vampires.”

I didn’t bother to turn away from the TV to look at my parents. On screen, a crew of young men were interviewing an old woman. She spoke only Romanian, and a too-perfect female voice spoke for her in English. I could see the confident fear in her expression as she exclaimed that vampires were indeed real and that she was always scared of them. She wasn’t alone. All of Transylvania were aware of the existence of vampires. Truly, these young men— ghost hunters and cryptologists—were right to come here to this haunted nation. The crew moved to Bran Castle, home of the infamous Count Dracula. It was time to look for vampiric activity. If they were lucky, perhaps they would even find the ghost of cruel Dracula himself. They stumbled down the halls at night with candles to guide them. “Vlad Ţepeş (a.k.a. Dracul) was a king of a different Romanian kingdom. He stayed no more than three days in Bran Castle, if any,” my mother said. At that, my attention was split. What did my parents mean by saying that Dracula—the Dracula—didn’t actually live at Bran Castle (or, as I and so many lovingly called it, “Dracula’s Castle”)? “Vampires are not even Romanian.” My worldview on what I thought vampires were ended at that moment. As a first generation American to two Romanian-born immigrants (Transylvanian ones to boot), I thought I knew enough about “real” vampires even without being a vampire aficionado. I knew that Bram Stoker’s Dracula is what made Transylvania so memorable. Was it all a lie?