Home > Haunted Britain > Whitby: Where Dracula Walked

Whitby: Where Dracula Walked

By: Paul Geraghty - Updated: 25 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Whitby Dracula Vampire Vampires Bram

The small port town of Whitby on the Yorkshire coast both inspired and played host to the writer Bram Stoker as he worked on his great novel Dracula. Stoker was employed in London as manager of the Lyceum theatre and holidayed frequently in Whitby both before and after the writing of his most famous work.

Whitby in the Dracula Story

Macabre tales from the local fishermen are said to have had a great influence on Stoker and he chose to set part of the novel in the town. It was in Whitby in fact that Dracula first made his arrival on British shores, leaping in the form of a great black dog from the doomed ship Demeter as it crashed on the Whitby shoreline; it was here too that the character Lucy was seduced by Dracula and turned into a vampire herself.

While living in Whitby, Stoker picked up several little snippets of knowledge which found their way into his novel. He heard of the Russian schooner Demetrius which, only a few years before, had foundered on the Whitby coast while bearing a cargo of coffins. Corpses in various states of decay washed up on the shore for some time to come. In the novel, Dracula himself travels to Britain on a Russian ship called Demeter which also bears a cargo of coffins. Today there is a memorial on the spot where Stoker is said to have received inspiration for this section of his novel.

The name Dracula also came from what Stoker learned in the Whitby library while researching the history of vampirism. His intention originally had been to call the character Wampyr but, while reading in the library, he came across references to the Hungarian duke Vlad Tepes (also known as Dracula) who fought fiercely against the Turks in the 15th century and was renowned for his brutality. A hand-written footnote in the book said that Dracul meant “Devil” in Hungarian. Something in this seems to have tingled Stoker’s imagination and he changed the name of his character to Dracula.

Whitby Today

Modernity has arrived in Whitby as in everywhere else but its historical character has been rather well preserved, particularly in the cobblestone streets and winding passages of the Old Town. When darkness arrives, standing in certain spots, it is easy to imagine oneself transported back to the nineteenth century and to recapture the sense of foreboding and of vulnerability which led Stoker to choose this location for the scene of Dracula’s arrival on British shores.

Whitby has certainly made the most of its dark heritage. Almost every shop and establishment you can think of now boasts some Dracula association. The tourism trade has replaced the fishing industry as the economic mainstay of the town. Among the most compelling of the attractions offered are the Dracula Experience, which retells the classic story through a mixture of music, animation and live actors’ performance; and the Dracula walks which offer a tour of all the Dracula-related spots in the town together with helpful commentary from a local guide. Whitby also has a genuine haunted history as well as a fictional one and another walking tour is available which will give you some insight into the legions of local ghosts.

Conclusion

Nestled against the North Sea, Whitby has managed to preserve much of its “olde worlde” charm and today can certainly provide the basis for a pleasant excursion for anyone with an interest in the paranormal or in literary gothic.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Mum
    Re: Ley Lines
    I have had weird things going on in my house in Bredbury Stockport and lots of orbs .was wondering in ley lines run under my house
    27 July 2019
  • Swainy87
    Re: Signs that Your House is Haunted
    Hi .. I've been in my new house 4 months. One night the playstation turned itself on when I was upstairs in bed but I just…
    27 May 2019
  • Gáagít
    Re: What to do if You Think You Have a Poltergeist
    Just recently We’ve moved into a new house, apart from a complete dread of our back hallway it was perfect.…
    27 May 2019
  • SamanthaS
    Re: Signs that Your House is Haunted
    In addition to my last comment, I flew to TX for a few days to be with fiancée, came back and my cat was completely wired up…
    15 May 2019
  • SamanthaS
    Re: Signs that Your House is Haunted
    My bf and I moved into my family home with my 78 year old mother about 2 yrs ago. The 1st year and a half was amazing, we got…
    15 May 2019
  • MrS
    Re: Signs that Your House is Haunted
    I've bought an ex local authority house 10 months ago. My parents have recently got a puppy that is 6 months old. She's been…
    9 May 2019
  • Tibb
    Re: Signs that Your House is Haunted
    I am working in a care home, I’m not a believer in this sort of thing but the past few months have made me question…
    2 May 2019
  • Lilah
    Re: Signs that Your House is Haunted
    I saw my baby brother's toy tractor thingy move, like the tires. Then me and my sister saw my barbie car move, so i knew it…
    3 April 2019
  • Gaile
    Re: Signs that Your House is Haunted
    Our teenage neighbor took his life and he was a close friend of my mother. Months after his suicide, my dog started barking…
    15 March 2019
  • Deavesy 25
    Re: Signs that Your House is Haunted
    Objects in my house keep getting moved into different places.my dog is barking a lot and following something around the room…
    9 March 2019