Sunday, January 18, 2009
Haunted by Whitby
In 1890, Bram Stoker visited Whitby.
Sitting on the top of the East Cliff he imagined a shipwreck. Then he visualised a black dog leaping from the stricken vessel and running ashore. After climbing the 199 steps, the hound was seen disappearing into the graveyard.
That black dog was, of course - Count Dracula.
Stoker found Whitby, with its ruined abbey and 11th century Parish Church, to be a haunting location for a scene in his classic novel.
I too found Whitby an enigmatic place and it was that setting I used for the opening of my first novel, SEA DUST.
Though I have lived in Australia for almost 40 years, it is the places which haunt me from my childhood that I write about.
THE BLACK THREAD (published this month in large print) is set on the Leeds and Liverpool canal. It is a dramatic tale set in the dark days of the inland waterways.
Photo: (Margaret Muir) Caedmon’s Cross stands in the graveyard of St Mary’s Parish Church. It was erected in memory of the poet who died in AD 680