Bram Stoker's Preface to the Icelandic edition
While reading this story, the reader can see for himself how these papers have been combined to make a logical whole. I had to do no more than to remove some minor events that do not matter to the story, and so let the people involved report their experiences in the same plain manner in which these pages were originally written. For obvious reasons, I have changed the names of people and places. But otherwise I leave the manuscript unchanged, in accordance with the wish of those who have considered it their solemn duty to present it to the eyes of the public.
To the best of my belief, there is no doubt whatsoever that the events related here really took place, however unbelievable and incomprehensible they may appear in light of common experience. And I am further convinced that they must always remain to some extent unknowable, although it’s not inconceivable that continuing research in psychology and the natural sciences may all of a sudden provide logical explanations for these and other such strange happenings, which neither scientists nor the secret police have yet been able to understand. I emphasize again that the mysterious tragedy described here is completely true as far as the events as such are concerned, although in certain points, of course, I have reached a different conclusion than the people involved. But the events as such are irrefutable, and so many people are aware of them that they will not be denied. This series of crimes has not yet passed from the public’s memory − this series of crimes, which seem incomprehensible but appear to stem from the same root, and have created in their time as much horror within the public as the infamous murders by Jack the Ripper, which occurred a short time later. Some will still recall the remarkable foreigners who for many seasons on end played a dazzling role in the life of the aristocratic circles here in London, and people will probably remember that at least one of them suddenly disappeared inexplicably, and that no trace of him was ever seen again.
All the people who are said to have played a part in this remarkable story − willingly or unwillingly − are widely known and well respected. Both Thomas Harker and his wife − who is an extraordinary woman − and Dr. Seward are my friends, and have been so for many years, and I have never doubted that they would tell the truth; and the highly regarded scientist, who appears under a pseudonym here, may likewise be too famous throughout the educated world for his real name − which I prefer not to mention − to remain hidden from the public, especially from those people who have learned firsthand to appreciate and respect his brilliant mind and masterly skill, though they no more adhere to his views on life than I do. But in our times it should be clear to all serious-thinking men that
“there are more things in heaven and earth
London, —Street, August 1898