A brave brother and sister spent Halloween night curled up in velvet-lined coffins in the Transylvanian castle that inspired the Dracula legend.
The siblings from Ottawa, Canada, beat 88,000 people who entered an Airbnb competition for the chance to spend the evening at the castle in Romania. Tami and Robin Varma’s grandfather was a scholar of English Gothic tales and considered himself an expert in vampire lore, and even visited the castle himself in 1971.
The competition had asked all entrants what the would say to Dracula should they have the chance to meet him, prompting Tami’s answer that her late grandfather “was the world’s leading expert in Gothic literature, and was considered to be an expert in Dracula… We would do just about anything to stay as a guest with the original vampire who inspired him.”
The Varma siblings arrived at the 14th-century castle – where Vlad the Impaler, the prince who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel, is believed to have stayed – in a stagecoach drawn by two black horses. The pair were greeted inside the castle by Dacre Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker and guardian of the Dracula legend, who repeated the words used by Count Dracula: “Welcome to my house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the happiness you bring!”
A candlelit table was set, laden with Transylvanian smoked cheeses, fruit and bottles of plum and blackcurrant brandy. The pair later dined on chicken paprikash – the meal described in the 1897 horror novel – before retiring to their coffins for the night.