While 'Twi-hard' fans are lapping up the next fix of their vampire saga, let's take a look at some facts and fiction surrounding the granddaddy of all vampires - Dracula. While author Bram Stoker's novel was by no means the first story of a blood-sucking immortal, it was certainly the one by which vampires were defined for years to come. Bram Stoker was an Irish author. His work, Dracula, was published in 1897. It is the iconic forerunner of more than 600 movies, along with plays, musicals and, of course, video games. Now the real Dracula - and yes he was real - was Vlad III, prince of Wallachia, a region in modern Romania. Although he is known as an all-round bad guy in the West, some historians believe he just got a lot of bad press. The name Dracula came about because Vlad's dad belonged to a club, the Order of the Dragon, opposed to the Turks. Dracula apparently means 'son of the dragon'. Vlad's dad didn't always hate the Turks, but Vlad did. His dad sent him and his brother Radu the Handsome to live with the Turkish sultan as hostages so that he could get Turkish military support. It was a tough time for young Vlad. While he was with the Turks he witnessed people being impaled, and was trained in war - something the Turks would come to regret. After his dad was killed, the Turks invaded his homeland and put Vlad on the throne, which in retrospect might have been a bad idea. His first rule didn't last very long, as his homeland was invaded by a Hungarian leader who put Vladislav II on the throne. Later, Vlad retook his homeland and killed Vladislav II in hand-to-hand combat. But while Vlad was pretty mean - he used to impale people, leaving them to die in agony over a few days - he was never known to have dined on blood. He put tens of thousands - some even say 100,000 - of people to death in his stand against the Ottoman empire. And he was mortal. He died in battle against the Turks. His corpse was beheaded and the head sent to the Sultan who proudly displayed it on a lance. So the impaler was impaled. So while he might have lent his name to the most famous vampire, he was rather a different kind of blood-letter, and unlikely to have been the inspiration behind the novel. So who was? One suspect is Elizabeth Bathory, known by some as Countess Dracula. She is from around the same neighbourhood as Vlad. She was born in 1560 and died in 1640. The accusations against her have never really been proven, but she is thought by some to be the most prolific female serial killer of all time. After her husband died, she was accused of killing about 600 young women, and it was said she bathed in their blood to retain her youth. Although there were many bodies - as many as 100 - found in her castle, to this day no one knows exactly what happened. Some researchers believe she was a victim of political conspiracy. She was, after all, a powerful woman with enemies. Previously she was known to be something of a campaigner for women who needed her help. Both of these historical figures are a far cry from today's romanticised version of vampires, but perhaps there is a little dragon in Twilight's Edward.