Author Bram Stoker: Since the novel’s publication in 1897, readers and filmmakers alike have been able to conjure up the horrifying picture of Dracula.
In 1897, Bram Stoker wrote his tale about a bloodthirsty Count from Transylvania who travels to England.
But a historian has revealed that when writing his book, Bram Stoker frightened the locals of an Aberdeenshire hamlet by striking a bat-like position while perched on rocks.
To learn more about Stoker’s month-long stay at Cruden Bay—home to the haunted 16th-century Slains Castle—historian Mike Shepherd pored among hotel registers, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and interviews.
He found an interview with the author’s wife Florence, who said that Stoker used method acting to put himself in Dracula’s shoes, as reported by The Guardian.
Dracula author Bram Stoker terrified Aberdeenshire locals
Residents and hotel workers alike reportedly felt threatened by him. His sitting “for hours, like a giant bat perched on the rocks of the coast”, was how she put it.
She continued, saying that he would “walk alone up and down the sand hills” as he planned out his novel’s story.
Part of Stoker’s story takes place at Whitby, a coastal town in Yorkshire that served as inspiration during the author’s prior vacation.
However, most of Stoker’s novel was composed during his time spent at Cruden Bay.
In 1927, Florence remarked, “When he was working on Dracula, we were all afraid of him.”
The location was remote on Scotland’s eastern shore, and he became preoccupied with the location’s ethereal energy.
To think things out, “he would roam alone up and down the sandhills thinking it out,” or “he would sit for hours, like a big bat, poised on the rocks of the coast.”
Mr. Shepherd has speculated that Bram Stoker specifically sought out the seaside community to escape and concentrate on his work.
‘He knew he wanted someplace with invigorating air, on the east coast: in 1892 he took the train to Peterhead and went down the shore, and he discovered precisely the area he’d been searching for,’ he recalled.
Over the course of his career, the author would pay Aberdeenshire as many as thirteen separate trips.
Cruden Bay is not specifically mentioned by name in Dracula, although there are allusions to it throughout the text.
Local dialect Doric is spoken by a fisherman in the book, and a chamber at nearby Slains Castle is octagonal like the one mentioned in Dracula’s castle in Transylvania.
Two of Mrs. Stoker’s recipes were included in a cookbook put together by the villagers after her husband’s death in 1912.
One of them is called Dracula Salad, and it consists of ripe plums and tomatoes seasoned with vinegar.
The first Festival of Darkness, which will investigate how the isolated region of Scotland influenced Dracula, will begin later this month.
Famous cinematic versions of the narrative will be shown, including the first Dracula “talkie” from 1931.
Mr. Shepherd added that the screening will take place in the Cruden Bay community center, where Stoker had previously spoken.
The book by Bram Stoker follows Dracula as he travels from his native Transylvania to England in search of fresh human victims.
After terrorizing Whitby, he is finally tracked down by Abraham Van Helsing and his team.
Jonathan Harker, a prominent English lawyer who accompanies the count on a business trip but becomes the count’s prisoner, also makes an appearance in the story.
A plaque commemorates Bram Stoker’s time spent at the still-standing hotel where he did extensive research for the novel.
A film version starring Christopher Lee was released in 1972 and is as well-known.
In the 1993 cinematic adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Gary Oldman is also the Count.