The Legend of Vlad Dracul
1428 Elm: You explored the castle in Hungary where Vlad the Impaler was a political prisoner for 13 years. One could surmise that his brutal treatment while being incarcerated might have led to his violent tendencies such as bathing in the blood of his victims or drinking it. Do you feel he was a vampire in the traditional sense or a psychopath?
DW: The projection upon Vlad is very layered, primarily from the Stoker legend. He used the name Dracul from his father and he was a legend in history for his brutality.
When you read about him, everyone was brutal in those days but the fact that he used impaling as a torture device wasn’t unprecedented. He took it to such a degree and beyond the pale.
He also killed a lot of royals in that area on his quest for power. The specifics of his time in Budapest speak to the theory of him being very traumatized as a kid.
A historical fact that I learned about him that always comes up but isn’t really talked about that much is when military leaders would take over another country, they would often take the children of the leader they usurped or defeated. Those youngsters would be taken back to the homeland where they would be adopted or at least trained.
Then you would return that child to his rightful throne but he would have been trained in your land. It makes perfect sense in terms of strategy.
So, Vlad being taken prisoner for those years, he would have been indoctrinated. He may have also been heavily abused. You can only imagine the traumas that would come from that.
I think that my theory is that yes, he was a psychopath. Yes, he was really traumatized from his youth and all the years he spent in foreign lands and all the victimization that probably happened…when he got out of that and seized his enemies? He took it to extremes.
When he becomes so extreme in his violence, he is then used as an almost otherworldly character. He may have also propagated those rumors for himself because he wanted the propaganda. He wanted people to believe he was a crazy man. That would discourage people from attacking.
The Haunting of Don Wildman
1428 Elm: What episode stuck with you from your debut season? Is there a particular one that haunted you?
DW: We went to Peru, to a place that had a massive sacrifice site of small children. There were hundreds of them. What happened was a mysterious event took place. I won’t give it away because that’s what we reveal on the show.
1428 Elm: Did you have any personal paranormal experiences while filming Buried Worlds?
DW: Yes, during our Roanoke episode. There is a plot of land in a specific area in Mathews County, Virginia. People in that town all know that there are entities there. One guy saw an apparition of a ship moving through dry land. Another person had experienced orbs.
I had a personal experience in that zone by a swamp. I had to get into some waders to do a search there. It was a Saturday morning, as sunny as can be, a beautiful day, I was standing next to this growth of very thick reeds.
As I was putting the waders on, maybe 5 to 6 feet away in the reeds, I heard the crunch of a human footfall like somebody walking there. It wasn’t scary. I thought there must be somebody in there like a hunter.
I called my producer over. He listened and thought it was duck hunters. I kept dressing and I kept thinking there is no place for a person to be in there. Plus, there is an entire camera crew why would this person be hunting 5 feet away from us? It didn’t make any sense.
It was only later that I realized that the rhythm of the walking was not a person going through the reeds. If they were walking around with a gun, they would have said something. When you are least expecting an encounter, there it is!
You can catch Buried Worlds with Don Wildman, Monday, June 8 on Travel Channel at 9 p.m.
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