Dracula – it’s one of the scariest books of all time and kicked off generations of readers obsessed with vampires and other monstrous creatures. But you might be surprised to see just where Bram Stoker got the inspiration for his dark, ghoulish tale – a quaint, English fishing village in which much of his story is set.
On July 29, 1890, Stoker boarded a train at King’s Cross Station in London bound for the trendy and remote seaside village of Whitby in North Yorkshire for a desperately-needed holiday. The then-42-year-old manager of a London theatre was exhausted from a national tour with the celebrated Shakespearean actor, Henry Irving.
Little did he know, by the time he returned home, he’d have the idea that would become one of the most famous novels in English literature.
From the 13th-century Gothic arches of Whitby Abbey to the weathered headstones of St. Mary’s churchyard, it’s not hard to see why he was so inspired. There was even the shipwreck of the Russian vessel Dmitry, which inspired Stoker’s ship the Demeter, which bought Dracula from Varna, Bulgaria to England.
“I think he was struck by the setting,” Bram’s great-grandnephew Dacre Stoker (a novelist himself) tells Mental Floss. He’s thinking, ‘This is perfect. I have the ships coming in, I’ve got the abbey, a churchyard, a graveyard.’ Maybe it was by chance, but I think it just became that perfect scene.”
Flick through the pictures in the gallery above to take a virtual tour of the gorgeous village, and tell us in the comments, have you ever visited Whitby? Did you have any idea it was the inspiration for Dracula?