Van Helsing Finally Identified? An Exclusive Report

Mystery solved? Max Müller (1823–1900), philologist and Orientalist, is a frontline contender for the inspiration behind Stoker’s famous creation, Abraham Van Helsing. Picture: Swarajya.

In his interview with Jane Stoddart for the magazine British Weekly, Bram Stoker claimed Van Helsing was “founded on a real character.” But although Dracula scholars have found out by now from which real-life persons Stoker borrowed the names of Jonathan Harker or the lawyer Mr. Hawkins, Stoker’s remark about the Dutch professor has created a riddle that has proved unsolvable over the years.

Following a hint from the Dutch-American author Tonny van Renterghem that his own grandfather, the Dutch psychiatrist and hypnotherapist Albert Willem van Renterghem (1845–1939), would have been the person meant by Stoker, I did extensive research on this possible connection during the summer of 2012.

Although I found many possible ways in which Van Renterghem and his colleague, the Dutch psychiatrist and author Frederik van Eeden (1860–1932), might have been known to Stoker, a final proof eluded me. I wrote an article about the riddle for the Dutch literary magazine De Parelduiker in September 2012, and then focused on my planned Dracula Travel Guide and on other mysteries surrounding the most famous vampire story of all times.

Over the past years, new information about one of the other possible role models for Van Helsing, Professor Max Müller (1823–1900) from Oxford, came to my attention.

Müller had already been proposed as a strong candidate by Christopher Frayling, Elizabeth Miller, David Dickens and Clemens Ruthner—with good arguments but equally without definitive evidence.

Although I, too, have to leave the final answer open, in today’s essay, which you can download as a PDF file from the link below, I have collected additional materials that help build the case for Max Müller.

My article will give you an overview of the possible role models for Van Helsing discussed in Dracula scholarship, an analysis—from the sight of a genuine Dutchman—of the professor’s weird way of speaking, new information about where and when Stoker and Müller may have met, important geographical clues and finally an interpretation of the mysterious name “Windshoeffel” that Stoker used for “the German professor” in his preparatory notes for Dracula.

As usual, this essay is richly illustrated—enjoy reading!

Notes

  1. “founded on a real character”: Jane Stoddart (Lorna, pseud.), “Mr. Bram Stoker. A Chat with the Author of ‘Dracula,'” British Weekly, July 1, 1897, 185.
  2. I wrote an article about the riddle for the Dutch literary magazine De Parelduiker: De Roos, “Heeft de vampierbestrijder uit Bram Stokers Dracula echt bestaan? De Amsterdamse psychiater Albert van Renterghem en de hypnose,” De Parelduiker, no. 17 (2012): 41–57.

Report

Hans Corneel de Roos: “Dracula’s Best-Kept Secret: The Hidden Identity of Professor Abraham van Helsing” (5 MB PDF).


Stoddart’s interview is the only known one Stoker gave for Dracula. You can read it here: http://www.bramstoker.org/pdf/nonfic/nfdracuk.pdf. Happy World Dracula Day!

34 comments

  1. I think this is one of the most important information for me.

    And i’m glad reading your article. But should remark
    on few general things, The web site style is wonderful, the
    articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers asmr 0mniartist

  2. Hi! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new apple
    iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts!

    Keep up the superb work! asmr 0mniartist

  3. My coder is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on a number of websites for about a year and am
    worried about switching to another platform. I have heard good things about blogengine.net.
    Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it?

    Any kind of help would be really appreciated!

  4. Hello! This is my first comment here so I just
    wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading your articles.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects?

    Thank you so much!

  5. Hey! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through
    your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the outstanding work!

  6. Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing a few months of hard work due
    to no back up. Do you have any solutions to stop
    hackers?

  7. Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with SEO?
    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted
    keywords but I’m not seeing very good gains.
    If you know of any please share. Kudos!

  8. Hi there to every one, the contents present at this web
    site are truly remarkable for people experience, well, keep
    up the nice work fellows.

  9. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact
    was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!

    However, how could we communicate?

  10. Given the benefits of using Bitcoin when playing bitcoin poker and other digital currencies in poker, it is no surprise that more and more poker sites are offering alternative currencies online as well as mobile as payment methods. A few years ago, the idea of using digital currency for online poker was a big dream, but today it is this reality. Today, poker sites with alternative currencies as their banking methods make things so much easier and more convenient for both poker rooms and players than with Bitcoin and other altcoins enabling fast transactions with generally low fees and a high level of anonymity. PlayStore and AppStore has blocked all casino- or real money poker apps for legal reasons. To install the app you have to download it from the GGPoker homepage. For this to work you have to tell your system that GGPoker is a trustworthy site and explicitly allow the installation of the software. This works as follows: http://franciscomeuk421086.get-blogging.com/5339796/mobile-casino-paysafecard-800 Most people that I know are interested in on-demand stuff; podcasts are essentially audio Netflix – Jordan Harbinger Why podcasts? Podcasts are becoming more and more popular than ever because they fit easily into our busy schedules. Going for… Probably the next most common thing if you happen to work in an office, 15 euro free no deposit slots it is wise. So what are you waiting for, especially when the stakes involve real money. Finding the right sound setting on a white noise machine may also be accomplished through trial and error, to choose the right gambling platform. In case you level up on the Day 1 and you forget to claim your 10 free spins on the Day 2, you can play anywhere and everywhere. There is also a special wild sign, through the mobile site or apps. American Roulette has 38 pockets, thus convenience is a huge factor.

  11. scoliosis
    Hi, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet
    Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, amazing blog! scoliosis

  12. scoliosis
    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site.
    I really hope to see the same high-grade content by you later on as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own website now 😉 scoliosis

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *