In October I’m going to launch the a Kickstarter campaign for 70million USD to buy Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle) to host the world’s biggest and best Halloween party in history. I’m waiting till October to launch it officially, because I know media channels will be more likely to share the campaign closer to Halloween. But regardless of whether I actually get funding, I think my ideas for using the castle to improve Romanian Tourism and boosting the economy deserve recognition. If you think this sounds like a good idea, please check back in October so you can help me promote the campaign.
The Kickstarter Story
Vampire art and literature continues to permeate contemporary life, literature and culture – but the mythology of vampires has a long and complex history, and the “literary Romania” found in Gothic horror novels is only loosely based on historical events and places.
Bran Castle, the alleged home of Vlad the Impaler (who may have inspired the literary figure of Dracula) is a mecca of historical and literary importance. If there is one specific building in the whole world which has influenced paranormal literature, fantasy and mythology, dreams and fables and of course the waves and waves of vampire romance, this is it.
As a PhD candidate of comparative mythology with plans to write a book on Romania’s influence on Western Supernatural Literature, I was surprised and disappointed to see the headlines in May of 2014 that the castle was up for sale.
According to media reports:
The owners would consider a buyer “if it were an interesting offer and they were the right people,” Meyer said, adding, “It doesn’t have to do with class, it has to do with who will preserve the castle.”
“The aim, though, is to take the whole thing a stage further, reroute the road and make Bran a destination, the kind of place people will stay for two or three days,” he said. “That’s why we’d like whoever buys the castle to continue running it as a tourist destination. This isn’t just a national monument, it’s the largest and most significant attraction in Romania.”
The landmark is one of the most significant sites in Romania, and offers the largest potential for increased tourism – but only if a proper tourism funnel can be built, with large and exciting high end events.
My plan is to raise enough money to buy the castle by planning the world’s best Halloween Party, for an elite group of wealthy, cultured jetsetters who are bored of typical Halloween parties and are looking for a little danger and excitement.
I will then live in the castle for a year and finish writing my book, which will re-introduce the enormously influential history and literature of Romania and make Romania one of the top choices for a holiday vacation. I will also invite 100 other authors to live in the castle with me, on the basis that all the books will be published – both fiction and non-fiction – to create even more appeal and keep Romania in the hearts and minds of an international community.
After that I will “revamp” the current tourism apparatus, broadening and improving the tours, adding activities and events, improving infrastructure and making a visit to Romania the obvious choice for tourists from any country. Currently only around 500,000 tourists visit the castle each year. I will boost it to 1 million, doubling Romania’s tourist industry and bringing in a flood of wealth that will support Romania’s economy.
As a writer and entrepreneur with proven ability for managing large groups of people and with the creative vision to run highly organized, successful events, I’m confident I can make this project work. To make a serious offer to the current owners, however, I need to show that I can come up with the money. I’d like to open with a $50 million offer, but it may cost more, and it will no doubt take a lot of extra funds to improve the grounds and improve transportation. I think with $70 million I can get everything done well enough to significantly boost tourism and improve the entire Romanian economy.
I know that sounds like an insane, impossible amount of money, but I’m given hope by the Pittock Mansion of Portland Oregon, which was saved from demolition when citizens rallied to raise funds.
- 1000 people to buy a ticket to the party for $10,000 (these tickets can be given away as incredible prizes to your following or to build your own brand or business).
- 1000 sponsors to give $50,000. You will be featured in a large plaque in the castle, and all the promotional material. I will make sure every tourist and every Romanian citizen know of your contribution. Ideal for
- 100 writers to raise $100,000. We’ll find you a room and you can live in the castle for one year to write a Romanian-themed book, not necessarily vampire related. You can write about culture, history, language, or even chronicle your one year stay. Reach out to your fans and communities if you need to and see if you can raise the money for this once in a lifetime experience (being part of this campaign is a great way to stay in the media). If you have a large enough established platform (I’m talking to you, Stephenie Meyer) this fee can be waived – we’ll keep a few rooms open for “special guests” to visit and soak up the atmosphere.
- 1000 people to rent a week’s stay in the castle for $1000. Includes a local tour and some other special benefits. We may build some “micro houses” on the grounds to live in rather than inside the actual castle, but you’ll have far more access than the typical tourist.
- 10,000 people to pitch in $100. We’ll send you a cornucopia of cool stuff. Depending on our partners, we may send vampire related merchandise, inspirational posters or prints of the castle, 5 of the best books that the authors end up writing (signed), and more – we promise the value of the benefits will far exceed the $100 spent.
- 10,000 people to give up $25
All prizes will be designed and made in Romania. We will also strongly emphasize a transition to eco-friendly, sustainable tourism by using only local foods, encouraging local arts and crafts, severely limiting disposable utensils (for example using handcrafted mugs instead of paper cups).
Remember, you won’t actually pay anything unless we reach the $70 million dollar goal. It’s a long shot, but even if we don’t make it, supporting this campaign is also a vote for a revolution in tourism, and can be used as a model for how to turn a national monument into an environmentally friendly, economy boosting mecca of awesomeness that preserves and defends history and culture while supporting local artisans, farmers and workers in all industries.
Ps) Dear Romanian Government – if this campaign isn’t successfully funded, maybe you can give me a smaller castle in Transylvania that I use instead? I’ll organize everything, invite bestselling authors, and throw a lengthy, Romania-centered media frenzy that will keep tourists flocking to Romania for years to come.