The private journal of author Bram Stoker, in which he sketched his first thoughts about his legendary creation "Dracula", has been unearthed after more than 100 years.
The thin, unmarked book was discovered on a shelf in his great-grandson's home on the Isle of Wight in Britain. It had been passed down by Noel Dobbs' ancestors for more than a century before arriving in his home, the Daily Mail reported.
Dobbs was unaware of what the book was until an American researcher contacted him to ask if he knew about a journal his famous ancestor had written.
The book that was signed "Abraham Stoker" had 305 entries dating from 1871, when Stoker was in his 20s. The journal also contains romantic poems.
Dobbs sent photocopies of a few pages to his cousin, Dacre Stoker, a professor in South Carolina, who has now written a book about his famous ancestor, based on the journal.
"When I saw it, I was amazed. I thought, 'The Holy Grail! We've found it!'" said Dacre Stoker.
"There is so little written by Bram about Bram. Family, scholars and fans wanted to know what made the man who wrote Dracula tick. And here we had a major set of clues," Dacre Stoker said.
His book, "The Lost Journal", will be published in March 2012 to mark the centenary of Bram Stoker's death.
The last entry of Stoker's journal in 1881 hints at a major character he would use in "Dracula", a man who was driven to eat living things including flies. A passage says: "A man builds up his shadow on a wall bit by bit by adding to substance. Suddenly the shadow becomes alive."
Actor Christopher Lee made the character of Dracula immortal in a 1958 movie.