|“||The strength of the vampire is that people will not believe in him.||„|
|~ Professor Abraham van Helsing (Dracula 1931).|
Professor Abraham Van Helsing is one of the main characters in the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. He was an elderly Dutch scholar who had delved into "occult" matters sufficiently to offer some assistance when the affliction of vampirism first appeared in England in the late 19th century. He was no action hero, and was reliant on the young wooers of Lucy Weston (Dr. Seward, Arthur Hamilton, and Quincey P. Morris) as well as the recovered Jonathan Harker, to carry out the more demanding physical tasks of vampire-hunting.
Abraham Van Helsing is a Dutch doctor as well as the arch enemy of Count Dracula. Previous to the story Abraham's son had died which caused his wife to have a mental breakdown which led them to become estranged (however remaining married). He enters the story when he is contacted by his former pupil Dr. John Seward for assistance treating Lucy Westenra, a woman whom Seward had courted but lost out to Arthur Holmwood, Lucy's fiance. Van Helsing, who has a broad range of expertise, suspects that Lucy is the victim of a vampire. When Lucy dies and becomes a vampire herself Van Helsing reveals his suspicions and he and Arthur track Lucy to her coffin and destroy her vampiric form so that her soul can be set free.
When Dracula later attempts to turn Mina Harker into a vampire, Mina is left with the psychic ability to track Dracula which motivates Van Helsing to lead the quest to Dracula's castle in his home land of Transylvania where Dracula is destroyed by Mina's husband Jonathan Harker and Quincey Morris who accomplished the task following Van Helsing's instruction.
After Dracula's death Van Helsing remained a family friend to the Harker family.
In his appearances in the older Universal Dracula cycle, played by Edward van Sloan, he more or less followed this pattern, although his tendency to make grotesque demands upon the younger men working with him was somewhat toned down. In the later Hammer cycle, as portrayed by Peter Cushing, he began to be more directly involved in the combat with the Undead, this taken to near-ridiculous lengths when he demonstrated a knowledge of Kung Fu in "The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires." he was also played by Anthony Hopkins in the 1992 movie Bram Stoker's Dracula.
In the 2004 film, "Van Helsing". Portrayed by Hugh Jackman in this film with some differences from the Stoker character. Known as Gabriel Van Helsing he is a much younger version who works for a group called the Knights of the Holey Order who hunt evil monsters and vanquished them from the Earth established by the Pope. Van Helsing has faced many enemies even a monstrous Mr. Hyde who he defeated in Paris in Notre Dame but after so many killing he is passed off as a murderer and became the most wanted man in Europe. After facing Mr. Hyde he is sent on a new assignment to hunt the evil Count Dracula, the lord of all vampires. With is sidekick Carl Van Helsing heads to Transylvania to help Anna Valerous fight against snarling Werewolves, the monstrous Frankenstein Monster, Count Dracula's three evil vampire brides, and the master of all evil himself, the dark lord of vampires, Count Dracula.
In the movie Nadja, he was played by the late Rutger Hauer and in Dracula 2000 he was played by the late christopher plummer.
Abraham is known to be the doctor who has knowledge about vampires and how to combat them and his former student is a friend of one of the victims which in turn leads him into confrontation with Dracula. Likewise, he is the professor of medicine.
- Abraham Van Helsing is one of the select few characters within the Bram Stoker's Dracula novel who is physically described in one place by Mina Harker.
- Van Helsing inspired the Ravenloft hero Rudolph Van Richten.