Bram Stoker's Abraham Van Helsing

Van Helsing Character was Inspired by Dutch Author Robert Roosevelt

Dr. Abraham Van Helsing of Bram Stoker's Dracula On the left is a picture of Van Helsing. On the right is author Robert Roosevelt. There are striking similarities between the two. They are both Dutch, scientists, have a reputation of kindliness, "bushy brows," etc. Robert Roosevelt also lived in Holland while an ambassador in the 1880s-90s. ( scripts/ )

Robert Roosevelt was friends with Oscar Wilde, who was a guest at his home in Sayville. Wilde, Stoker, Whitman and Roosevelt were in the same "crowd."

Congressman Robert Roosevelt

"Mr. Stoker told me that Van Helsing is founded on a real character." - Jane Stoddard, 1897

Because Dracula author Bram Stoker has said in an interview that the vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing was based on a real character, there has been much speculation over the years as to who he was. He was no other than Robert Roosevelt. Robert Roosevelt was the closest of all relatives to his nephew Teddy Roosevelt. It was from his Uncle Robert that Teddy became interested in science, nature conservation, and politics. Robert Roosevelt was a popular author in the 1890s and he also had a distinguished career in as politics serving as a congressman as well as the New York State Commissioner of Fishes.

Congressman Roosevelt was very good friends with Oscar Wilde, with Wilde even spending time at Roosevelt's estate in Sayville, Long Island. Bram Stoker wife was the former lover of Oscar Wilde. Teddy Roosevelt was close personal friends with Bram Stoker going back to when he was an obscure local politician with a friendship lasting into his presidency with the Dracula author visiting the White House.

But why is Robert Roosevelt the person that Stoker based the character Van Helsing on? Besides traveling in the same circles, Roosevelt fits the bill. Above are pictures of Van Helsing and Robert Roosevelt. Notice the resemblance. In additions, they are both Dutch, scientists, have whimsical personalities, wives that were crazy, bush eyebrows, etc. Roosevelt even lived in Holland while ambassador to the Hague.

There is something else too. The Roosevelts hated vampires and Teddy was quite vocal about it. The book "Rough Rider in the White House" by Sarah Lyons Watts it said on Page 105 " Roosevelt extended his self—described protest against the degenerate effects of female sexuality to Rudyard Kipling's poem “The Vampire". ... and on Page 107 “The Vampire,” he (Roosevelt)  wrote, has “always struck me as being in a decadent tone." The book has many other quotes by Roosevelt about his dislike of vampires. The Roosevelts did not believe in supernatural vampires of course, but disliked the idea of them. It is easy to see why Robert Roosevelt was the inspiration for Van Helsing. But it goes even further.

Stoker's Grand-Nephew said, "he became friends with Theodore Roosevelt, when he was police commissioner of New York, and continued to see him when he was President." Bram Stoker had a very long and close friendship with Teddy Roosevelt starting long before he was president. Congressman Robert Roosevelt was Teddy's mentor and became his father figure when his father died at a young age. ("The Man Who Wrote Dracula" by Daniel Farson, 1975, St. Martin's Press, Page 93)

Congressman Robert Roosevelt was an author and friend of Oscar Wilde. Oscar Wilde, like Bram Stoker, considered Walt Whitman the greatest writer. Bram Stoker was even invited to the White House by Theodore Roosevlt. ( cliffsnotes/dracula/1.html )Although they were on opposite poles, in many ways the Roosevelts were similar to the Wilde/Whitman group. Both groups were intellectuals and avid writers. Robert Roosevelt was an early naturalist and was the person that influenced Theodore to become a conservationist. Compare to how Dracula is similar/opposite to Van Helsing, then compare how Whitman is similar/opposite to Robert Roosevelt.

It is well known that Bram Stoker to a great, though not total, extent based Dracula on Walt Whitman. Both Roosevelt and Whitman lived in the western part of Suffolk County, NY. Whitman was Bram Stoker's hero and friend. The fictional character Dracula took on not only the likeness of Whitman but represented his sexually seductive nature. Dracula was the seducer who through stealth seduced the weak, ignorant and evil to his side. Dracula's aim was to take society with his erotic ways. This is what Walt Whitman was doing with his poetry. The person that stood in the way of Dracula was Van Helsing that represented what was good and decent. The people at the turn of the century that most represented what was good and decent were the Long Island Roosevelts, especially President Theodore Roosevelt. Fellow Long Islander Walt Whitman represented everything that was evil and indecent because he was a proponent of the ungodly. What Walt Whitman started turned into a worldwide sexually decadent movement. At the time the people who most strongly stood in his way were the Long Island Roosevelts.

An example of how the Roosevelts stood in the way of the movement that Whitman started, Theodore's son Archibald started the Veritas Society which was an organization that fought against America's decline. One of their books was entitled "The Great Deceit" about how the country was going downhill because of leftists. Archibald Roosevelt set up the headquarters for this organization in West Sayville, New York.

Although the Roosevelts did not agree with Oscar Wilde and friends on the way society should go, they were people that they could get along in a social context. The Dutch on Long Island were considered to be very conservative, which was 180 degrees from where the Jericho Hicksites were. Walt Whitman grew up as a Jericho, Long Island Hicksite.

Dracula seduced people much like the Golden Calf seduced the followers of Moses and fire at night seduces insects to come too close and bring about their own destruction. Bram Stoker's Grand-Nephew said that he died of syphilis that he got from loose sex. (The Man Who Wrote Dracula, Page 235) Stoker was enamored by Walt Whitman and his sexually charged poems. He made the mistake of following Whitman and Oscar Wilde, becoming a victim of seduction. The story is somewhat of an allegory of what he saw as a seduction of society by evil writers. Towards the end of his life he publicly condemned writers that included sex in their books. Quite a turnaround from when he was younger and promoted the works of Walt Whitman. This was because he knew he was slowly dying of syphilis.

Thus the book "Dracula" is a warning to all that dare to follow Whitman down the Primrose Path.

President Teddy Roosevelt President Roosevelt, like all Roosevelts, never to bowed down to fellow Long Islander Walt Whitman.

Roosevelt home in Sayville located in the East Swamps off middle road>>

Roosevelt Meadowcroft House

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From the Jane Stoddard interview.
British Weekly, 1 July 1897, p. 185
 "Readers of “Dracula” will remember that the most famous character in it is Dr. Van Helsing, the Dutch physician, who, by extraordinary skill, self-devotion, and labour, finally outwits and destroys the vampire. Mr. Stoker told me that van Helsing is founded on a real character. In a recent leader on “Dracula,” published in a provincial newspaper, it is suggested that high moral lessons might be gathered from the book. I asked Mr. Stoker whether he had written with a purpose, but on this point he would give no definite answer, “I suppose that every book of the kind must contain some lesson,” he remarked; “but I prefer that readers should find it out for themselves.”"


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Renfield Syndrome

Rough Rider in the White House: Theodore Roosevelt and the Politics of Desireby Sarah Lyons Watts  -  Provided by University of Chicago Press
Page 105
 Roosevelt extended his self—described protest against the degenerate effects
of female sexuality to Rudyard Kipling's poem “The Vampire". ...
Page 107
“The Vampire,” he wrote, has “always struck me as being in a decadent tone."

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