The origins of Van Helsing, Vampire Hunter

Abraham Van Helsing, the infamous vampire hunter of Dracula fame, has confused historians by his apparent German accent and Dutch origins. We read that he was a Dutch Catholic  possessed of reddish hair and blue eyes, with an insane wife and a son who died.

In The Unofficial Chronicles, which deals with Abraham’s fictional grandfather, Gerhardt, I’ve taken the liberty of making the Van Helsing origins Prussian. Prussia was an empire that covered a vast area, including modern day Germany and Poland, and which was ‘next door’ to the Netherlands where Abraham is supposed to have originated.

Gerhardt Van Helsing's chest of tools? (I can't imagine what that hand is for....) Attribution: FluoritLaufer: Wikimedia Commons
Gerhardt Van Helsing’s chest of tools? (I can’t imagine what that hand is for….) Attribution: FluoritLaufer: Wikimedia Commons

In 1809, the year of my novel, Prussia was actually unwillingly allied to France after a major defeat by Napoleon. But England and Prussia had a long-standing close relationship. It thus stood to reason that Prussia’s “refugee soldiers” would end making up their own regiment, the King’s German regiment, within the British army to fight against Napoleon.

Gerhardt Van Helsing, an important secondary character in the Chronicles, has an interesting past which readers will get glimpses of as time goes on. He is both an intellectual and a soldier – both traits which he passed on to his progeny (the later Abraham from Dracula). But here, in the Unofficial Chronicles, we see him as a yet relatively young man in his early thirties with every intention of working against Napoleon when he can and for the general good of society through his unique services to the British crown.

He may, someday, require that I write his story separately, but for now, Gerhardt Van Helsing remains John Grissom’s good friend and an important member of the newly created Bow Street: Odd Crimes Division.

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