Our friend Serch met us at the entrance early yesterday afternoon, tickets in hand and ready to enter "El Refugio." In what is quickly becoming a common theme of repurposing here in the Guadalajara area, I was to learn that El Refugio (The Shelter) was built in 1859 as a hospital, subsequently abandoned, and eventually renovated and turned into a museum in the early 1980s.
With it's high arches, numerous garden spaces, and unending (albeit empty) rooms, El Refugio contains the potential to be one of the greats among the museum crowd. But not today. Not right now. Because, for now, it is nothing more than a haven for evil...a shrine to the greatest monsters known to man.
And, knowing this, we thought it wise to arm ourselves before entering.
We entered, prepared to face any challenge with our crucifixes, garlic, holy water, and rubber hand. Not quite sure what the hand is for. Unless it's this chick's sick version of a rubber ducky.
Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed. The Blood Queen. Countess Dracula. Whatever you want to call her, and whoever she really was, she has been accused of some truly heinous acts. She, along with four coconspirators, has been linked to the murders of up to 650 innocent souls. It is suggested that she bathed in the blood of virgins in an attempt to retain her youthful looks. For her crimes she was placed under house arrest. That's all? Sheesh. I hope they at least disconnected the Cable.
We all know this guy. Vlad the Impaler. The man. The myth. The legend. The template for Dracula and the ensuing decades of vampire flicks. Without this guy, Anne Rice may not have become a bestselling author. Universal Studios might be one monster short. There would be no Team Edward. Yes. Thank you, Vlad. Thank you for existing.
His victims might not agree, though. Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, is best known for his resistance against the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. Oh, yes, and for shoving sticks into his victims through the most uncomfortable means possible.
But again, what about all the GOOD things Vlad did?
After narrowly escaping both Lizzy and Vlad (it was an exciting adventure, I promise), we fell victim to a giant spider attack. Apparently, this is a vampire spider. To illustrate this, there was video footage of Shelob, the giant elf-blood-drinking spider from "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" playing in the background. Nothing to say about this, really, but it made for a fun photo. Moving right along...
...to the vampire bat. There are three species of bats that feed solely on blood: the common vampire bat, the hairy-legged vampire bat, and the white-winged vampire bat. Disappointingly, there are none that are known to transform into people, undead or otherwise.
Below the exhibit you will see our friend Serch. I'm not sure how many species of Serch there are, but this appears to be the common variety. Based on our after-museum dinner, I can speculate that it feeds on various types of meat and tequila. Much like the common variety Aaron and TJ.
But I get ahead of myself. No vampire exhibit would be complete without this guy. He's pale. He's creepy. He sleeps a lot during the day and parties hard at night. Oh, Look! Dracula's there, too!
Dracula is, of course, the most renowned of all vampires, and was made famous in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel of the same name.
As I mentioned earlier, Dracula is based heavily on real-life psycopath Vlad the Impaler. And yet, for all the real villainy Vlad committed, Dracula gets all the credit. No wonder he's got a stick up his...no, wait. Those were his victims.