This guy was pretty much as bad as it gets. Most famous, of course, was his penchant for having people impaled - skewered alive through the anus or vagina on giant wooden spikes, to be slowly dragged down by their own weight. In fact, he liked the practice so much he once impaled 30,000 people at one time, for violations of some trade law or other (those of higher social standing got longer spikes). All told, good old Vlad is said to have impaled hundreds of thousands of people. And while his nickname Vlad the Impaler or, in Romanian, Vlad Tepes ("Vlad the Spike") only came about after death, his behavior certainly could have earned him lots of other colorful monikers.
Vlad the Daddy's Boy: As a boy, Vlad's father, Vlad Dracul ("Vlad the Dragon"), traded him to the Turks as a peace offering. That obviously tweaked the kid a bit. Upon his return, Vlad (called Dracula, or "the Little Dragon") invited his father's murderers, the boyars (Romanian nobility) to an Easter dinner. He arrested them all, sending the healthy ones into slavery to build him a palace (which many of them did naked). The rest he had impaled.
Vlad the Utopian: As ruler of Wallachia, Vlad wanted his realm to be a model of order and productivity and tried several innovative tactics to achieve this. He once had all the poor and sick invited to a great banquet. Like a good host, he fed ‘em, got ‘em drunk, then burned the hall with them all inside. The result: no more poor and sick people. To demonstrate his kingdom's absence of crime, he placed a golden chalice in the middle of a busy square in Tirgoviste and left it overnight. Not surprisingly, no one touched it, knowing what the penalty for thievery was under Vlad's rule (hint: it probably involved a tall spike).
Vlad the Literalist: When Turkish ambassadors said their custom prevented them from removing their hats in his presence, he had their hats nailed to their heads.
Vlad the Renaissance Man and Dietary Innovator: Impaling wasn't Vlad's only pastime. He also enjoyed having people physically disfigured, skinned, dismembered, boiled, eviscerated, or blinded while he watched, and frequently while he ate. His supposed habit of drinking his victims' blood and eating their flesh led to Dracula vampire stories we all know so well. If you happened to be a guest at one of his impaling dinners and you got queasy or expressed disgust, guess what - you got impaled.
From mental_floss' book Forbidden Knowledge: A Wickedly Smart Guide to History's Naughtiest Bits, published in Neatorama with permission.
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