Jack the Ripper suspect was real-life inspiration for original ‘Dracula’

The real-life inspiration for Dracula was a Jack the Ripper suspect, according to an author.

Andy Struthers, 54, has spent ten years trying to discover what influenced horror novelist Bram Stoker to create the vampire character.

He started his research after reading the 1972 book In Search of Dracula, which claimed the inspiration was Vlad the Impaler.

Mr Struthers, of Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside, didn't agree and has worked tirelessly since to try and uncover the truth.

His previous research suggested it could have been an Anglican priest from Devon named Sabine Baring-Gould.

But he now claims to have uncovered evidence in the Dracula author’s writings that indicates the real inspiration was in fact Francis Tumblety.

Convicted criminal Tumblety was believed by many historians to have been the serial killer Jack the Ripper.

He was known to have been in the Whitechapel area of east London during the killing spree in the 19th century.

Mr Struthers said he was convinced Dracula, from the 1897 horror novel, wasn’t based on Vlad the Impaler.

He said: "I knew right away that the two people weren't the same, and I've made it my life's work to find out who the inspiration for Dracula was.

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"What I've found during my ten years of research is that Dracula was based on Jack the Ripper, specifically the prime suspect – Francis Tumblety."

Tumblety was born in Ireland to parents James and Margaret Tumuelty (corr), alongside 10 brothers and sisters, and he immigrated to New York.

He returned to London on many occasions and historical researchers Stewart Evans and Paul Gainey found evidence to point to him being the killer.

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They found that Tumblety had lived for a time at a boarding house in Whitechapel during the murderous rampage of Jack the Ripper.

He was arrested by police on November 7, 1888, for unrelated crimes, and while released on bail Tumblety fled to France under a false name, before returning to the US.

It was never proven Tumblety was the serial killer.

But Mr Struthers believes he has found enough evidence to confidently claim he was the real-life inspiration behind Dracula.

He added: "It's in Bram Stoker’s research papers, people haven't looked at the papers in the right way so it's never been seen.

"It even says the word 'ripper' in his papers, researchers have read the word as 'suckers' before.

"I've put the claim to the Stoker estate – they have said they will look into it with an open mind.

"Dracula is a true story. I know it sounds wild, but it's based on the story of Jack the Ripper – as soon as you know that bit of information, it all makes sense."

His claims can be read in his book Dracula Incarnate: Unearthing the Definitive Dracula, which was released in its third edition last year.

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