Dracula Slept Here

by wjw on April 6, 2013

I am currently in a part of the world where towns have names like Grewelthorpe, Winksley, Buttertubs, Reeth, Scab Hill, Copsgrove, Giggleswick, Todmorden, and Bakup.

Honestly, it’s as if PG Wodehouse invented the whole country.

These are the ruins of Whitby Abbey.  Historians know this as the home of St. Hilda and the Venerable Bede, and site of the Synod of Whitby, which was the showdown between followers of the Irish and Roman versions of Catholicism.  (I won’t go into how that turned out except to remark that nobody around here is going around saying “Begorrah!”)

Most of my friends, however, probably know Whitby Abbey as the site of an unfortunate meeting between Lucy Westenra and Count Dracula.

Let us examine the forensic trail left by this encounter.

As I’m sure we remember, Lucy’s friend Mina Harker, from her vacation rooms in the north part of town, was looking at the Abbey ruins, only to see Lucy being engulfed, as it were, by the Count in the spooky old graveyard next to the Abbey.

Here’s a photo of Whitby taken from the graveyard.  Mina Harker’s rooms would have been straight ahead, somewhere on the steep slope on the north side of the Esk.

With preturnatural eyesight, she observed Lucy and Dracula in the graveyard at night, or at any rate dusk.  Alarmed, she threw on a dressing gown and ran down the steep streets to whatever Swing Bridge was over the river Esk at the time, ran across the river, then up another steep hill to the graveyard.   Though, unsurprisingly, she arrived too late, you really have to give her credit for endurance as a long-distance runner.

Oh well, it’s not exactly the most far-fetched part of the novel, is it?

There are some tacky vampire souvenirs in the abbey gift shop, and some kind of Dracula Tour you can take.  I preferred to bravely strike out on my own because, y’know, I’m just heroic that way.


michael Grosberg April 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

One of my favorite things to do on trips is to take locale-relevant books as reading material. Going on a sightseeing tour and reading about the very same place later in the day is awesome. Happened to me twice accidentally…

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post:

Contact Us | Terms of User | Trademarks | Privacy Statement

Copyright © 2010 WJW. All Rights Reserved.