If Transylvania were a person, they'd probably be equivalent to a pigeon-holed actor, claiming, "I swear there is more to me than Dracula!"
If you took the time to read into their other legendary native tales, you would instantaneously agree. From a defunct bridge to a bride who dies at the alter, Transylvania houses many more tragic and mysterious stories that would also make for captivating films.
Move over Dracula. Let Transylvania show us the dark and hidden places that represent so much more than just the gothic vampire we are so familiar with.
1. Till Death Do They Part
This story is commonly told in a surrounding area near Sibiu. In the past, couples that were looking to divorce were locked in the Prison Tower, in which they were forced to eat and sleep together. Finally, only one member of the couple was looking to separate.
However, they were told they would never be liberated unless they finally made up.
2. Water for Freedom
Tucked away in Hunedoara is the Hunyad (or Corvin) Castle which dates back to the 14th or 15th century. It is also rumored to be the castle in which Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Dracula, resided for seven years in the dungeon.
Legend has it that Iancu of Hunedoara promised to grant three Turkish prisoners freedom if they dig through the rock and locate water. After 28 years, the prisoners finally struck gold and found water. Regrettably, Iancu had passed and was followed by his wife, who had the three men beheaded. Before they passed, the three men wrote an inscription on the wall stating, "you now have water but you don't have heart" in Turkish, which can still be seen to this day.
3. The Black Church
The gothic Black Church of Brasov not only is riddled with bullet holes and burned sections due to a fire, it also contains a strange statue of a little boy falling in peril.
There are two theories on how this eerie statue came to be. One is that the boy fell to his death when asked by construction workers to see if the wall was being built straight. The second was that an envious master pushed the boy over the edge due to his awe-inspiring skills.
The builders then created this statue to commemorate the young boy, so that he will never fade into nothing.
4. The Most Beautiful Daughter in the Village
Much like the tales of Romeo and Juliet, or Tristan and Isolde, this story centers on a wealthy father who had the most stunning daughter in all the village. With many men interested in asking for her hand in marriage, the father decided to give her away to the man who had the most amount of wealth.
Little did he know that his daughter had fallen for a poor servant. The servant left the village to make a living elsewhere, breaking the poor girl's heart. She was forced to marry a man picked by her father. Once she stepped into the church and walked up to the altar, she collapsed and died, her bouquet turning into a stone cross.
5. The Dishonest Bridge
Residing in Sibiu is the Bridge of Lies. While incredibly picturesque, this bridge is said to make noises and even collapse if a person standing on it were to tell a lie.
Legend has it that merchants who took advantage of their customers, girls who lied about their purity before marriage, and soldiers who promised themselves to girls back home would be thrown off the bridge or disappear forever.
6. Sacrifice Lake
The ancient stories told by the villagers in Maramures touch up the lake and human sacrifices. One such legend describes a church that sunk into a flood. It is said that the village of Tisa can still hear the church bells ringing in the Easter night.
Other stories discuss an entire wedding drowning in the lake, as well as young girls who come to the lake as a ritual to help the process of getting married. Others have even claimed to see chunks of flesh floating at the surface of the water.
7. The Lord's Daughter
Built in the 1500s, the Ardud fortification's legend is a melancholy one to say the least. Lord Francis Rakoczi kept a penetrating army away. As a plan to take over the fort, the army sent a handsome officer to captivate the Lord's daughter.
She divulged information about a hidden tunnel. Once her father found out and escaped, he cursed her for eternity.
Atonement was only possible if one man were to kiss her in her three spirit forms: a snake, a frog, and a weeping bride.
I could see any number of these tragic legends getting turned into film. Romania houses many castles, forts, bridges, lakes, and so forth that are claimed to be haunted. These stories that have been passed down from generation to generation truly are captivating, and would translate onto the screen in a highly effective way.