Who are some "fictional" characters who really existed?

Sometimes I’m surprised to learn that a person I assumed was only fictional actually existed. People I’ve been surprised to learn were real over the years include

Cyrano de Bergerac

D’Artagnan (and the other musketeers)

Pilot Major John Blackthorne (though his real name was William Adams, he was fictionalized less in Shogun than most people are in Hollywood biopics)

Robinson Crusoe, though fictional, was based on the real
Robinson Crusoe

Who are some other people mainly famous as fictional characters who in fact either really existed (at least by that name) or are very closely based on somebody who existed?

I have been told that William Tell was real, but appearentley not.

John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman lived from 1774-1845

Star of way too many episodes of Scooby Doo, [Blackbeard](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackbeard, Edward Teach/Thatch) is quoted from his diary in the sig. line of a poster here.

Serial killer/fairy tale evil murdering husband Bluebeard was born with the name Gilles de Rais. (Note: his real life slayings were beyond TMI, by far.)

For some stupid reason, when I was a kid, I was very surprissed to hear that Erik the Red, the man who discovered Greenland was real. Probabley because his name was over-used in cartoon, like in the case of Blackbeard.

Well, Vladimir “Dracula” Tepes was real, and real mean.

I think that they narrowed Killroy and Mother Goose down to some level, but it’s a bit hazy. Food for thought. :slight_smile:

One might make the case for Uncle Sam.

And one would be wrong, probably.

What level would that be. That they were fictional or real? Cites?


Our Vlad was a vicious boy:


…unless, of course, that was a whoosh. Whoosh on me?


Another page on Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), AKA Vlad Dracula (Vlad, Son of Dracul (Dragon)). Dracul, FTR, being the nickname of his father, Vlad Dracul.

While there is no doubt a lot of exageration in the matter, there’s also no doubt that Prince Vlad did some fairly dispicable things. The impalings which gave him his nickname are, as far as I can tell, more or less non-contraversial - if, perhaps, exagerated in scope.

Much more recently, a lot of people seem to think that most of the people on HBO’s Deadwood are fictional, but in fact most of them are real; not just Wild Bill and Calamity Jane but also Al Swearengen, Steth Bullock, Sol Starr, and others.

Well, somebody was whooshing somebody, or trying to, because the cite that jumps immediatly to mind is Cecil’s own, which I would normally love to triumphantly dangle over a moderator except it’s more likely he was only kidding.

Buffalo Bill



Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Pancho Villa

Jim Bowie, Davey Crockett, Daniel Boone

Lope de Aguirre (Aguirre the Wrath of God and Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (Fitzcarraldo), subjects of two Werner Herzog movies, were real people.

Economist and schemer(?) John Law was the main character of the novelThe Gamester by Rafael Sabatini.

I’ve heard that it’s up for debate whether Davy Crockett existed.

Who in the world did you hear this from?

If it was a solipsist, he doesn’t believe you exist either ya know.

I think the jury’s still out on Robin Hood too. There were a couple of “Robin Hood’s” listed for around the same era, but where or not any of them were “the” Robin Hood is undecided.

I was surprised to find out that Learned Hand was not only a real name, but a real judge as well.

“The mid-day sun is too much for most eyes; one is dazzled even with its reflection. Be careful that too broad and high an aim does not paralyze your effort and clog your springs of action.” is one of his quotes that seems relevant to my own life. His favorite quote, “I beseech ye in the bowels of Christ, think that ye may be mistaken.” comes from Oliver Cromwell (of all people), and I think it really ought to be inscribed over all buildings, religious and otherwise.

(His full name is Billings Learned Hand, but Learned Hand is how he’s universally known. He had a cousin named Augustus Noble Hand, also a judge.)