In Bram Stokerís timeless novel Dracula the Count travels from Transylvania to England in the 1890s to look for fresh young blood so he can spread his curse. Iím sure heís real and investigations revealed heís buried under a mysterious stone bearing a skull and crossbones in a corner of St Maryís Church at Whitby. Being intensely curious I went to find it.
As the beginning of the story Jonathan Harker who is an English solicitor visits Count Dracula in the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania to complete a property sale for his boss. He soon realises heís a prisoner in the castle and meets three female vampires. Dracula leaves Transylvania and abandons the young solicitor, leaving him to the bloodthirsty vampires (narrowly he escapes.) Dracula travels on a Russian ship to England but it runs aground on the shores of Whitby on the East Coast. The crew start disappearing. An animal resembling "a large dog" (Dracula) is seen leaping onto rocks.
When the novel was published in May 1897 the run of 3000 copies didnít sell well but itís since been translated into 44 languages and sold millions of copies around the world. Seven years before publications Bram Stoker had stayed in a guesthouse at 6 Royal Crescent at Whitby at the suggestion of his manager. At this time Bram had written two novels but wasnít well-known. He had a week taking solitary walks around Whitby before his wife and baby son joined him. The guesthouse owner, Mrs Veazey, liked to clean Bramís room each morning so heíd stroll down into the town to get out of the way. †On 8th August 1890 he strolled down to the public library and found a book detailing the experiences of a British consul in Bucharest who mentioned a fifteenth-century prince called Vlad Tepes who impaled his enemies on wooden stakes. He was known as Dracula. A legend was born but the novel took six years to write.
I soon found Draculaís grave up the 199 steps to the cemetery of St Maryís church. Some of the headstones up there are gnawed, some are teetering on the eroding cliff, most bear words now made illegible by merciless weather. Draculaís grave can be found at the rear of the cemetery just before you go through the gates to Whitby Abbey. The location up near the ruins of a once-great Benedictine monastery is a splendid spot for Dracula to be buried. The stone was broken and did not bear any reference to the bones under it. Iím sure heís under there.
Previously Iíve visited the guest house where Bram stayed. The link is here..
Here he isÖ
Not a bad view, DracÖ