Thursday, October 27, 2011

The House of Karnstein (pt. 4)

The Last Scions
If the 20th century saw a fall to so many other noble houses, it should come as no surprise to learn the Karnsteins also faltered.  While individuals of that family's bloodline--alive and undead--almost certainly walk the earth, the bitter truth remains that by the 1970s two young women would seem to be the last of that name

Countess Irina
When the head of the Italian branch, Count Leopold, died in the late 1960s, his bride soon followed.  It remains unknown whether he himself ever discovered his bride was in fact possessed by Millarca Karnstein, the vampire of centuries past.  However, it remains certain their daughter, Irina, ultimately inherited some aspect of the Karnstein darkness. Whether she was in some sense a dhampir (i.e. the offspring of a human and vampire) or perhaps one of the last Karnsteins to suffer the kiss of the Patriarch, or something else must remain a matter of speculation.  Yet are facts have come to light.  Born in the late 1950s, she was young when coming into her title and wealth.  A strange, melancholy person, she in fact chose for a considerable amount of time to remain mute.  Even when interviewed by a journalist in the Riviera, she refused to actually speak.  That journalist later turned up dead, as did numerous others in the vicinity of Irina.  Reading their autopsies makes for a strange experience.  Most seem to have died of shock, not only to blood loss but also from what one coroner called "sexual excess."  At any rate, the Karnstein reputation by now had grown much too intense.

In the early 1970s Irina vanished from Europe.  Evidence suggests she changed her name and enrolled in a Canadian private girl's school under the name "Enessa."  She stayed but one year, during which time a teacher and two students died--and at least one dog was found on campus more or less ripped to shreds.  One student fatality had lived across the hall from Enessa's room.  The two had grown close. This girl, Lucy (a very unlucky name for women who encounter the undead), was said to have perished of severe anemia.  The point should be made that Lucy's best friend had a nervous breakdown at the end of year -- she also noted in a personal diary how Enessa hardly ever ate anything while avoiding the sun.  Meanwhile, the teacher who died suddenly (her autopsy report remained confidential) had evidently disliked "Enessa" intensely and punished her. 

What happened next remains speculative, but she seems to have fallen into the company of one of Dracula's soul clones, quite possibly none other than a melancholy and despairing Lejos.  Once a Hungarian nobleman, then transformed into a puppet by the Prince of Darkness, he had seen his children brought low and his own efforts thwarted far too many times.  After taking severe wounds from the werewolf Lawrence Talbot, sightings of this once-mighty vampire lord described him as withered, tired--still wielding great power and dignity, yet a shadow of his former self.

He had fallen in love with a gypsy woman, engendering a male child named Edgar.  Lejos was one of the few of Dracula's clones who had this ability.  Knowing he also had had a daughter (one he had in retrospect mistreated) he mistook Irina/Enessa for her and--perhaps longing for the family now gone--she went along with this pretense, even taking a new name for herself, Nadja.  Lejos even gave her a Renfield as her personal slave.  When one of the Van Helsings (probably an aged Adam van Helsing) managed to kill Lejos, Nadja (aka Irina/Enessa) sought out her "brother" Edgar, the only person with whom she now felt any kind of emotional bond.  Repeating her mother's experiment, she managed to use her own blood to possess Edgar's fiancee, while allowing Van Helsing to find then destroy her body.

At the present the ensuing events in this couple's lives remains unrecorded.

Luisa,  Heiress in Iberia
Relatively little is known about the Spanish branch of the Karnsteins save that they were known as Karlsteins, had the title Conde (or Count), and were viewed with extreme distrust by locals in the coastal area where their castle had been reared.

Circa 1971, the heiress the estate returned there as her aged grandmother lay dying.  The heiress, Luisa Karlstein, found the sick old woman insisting on telling her the family secret--that they were the guardians of none of that Count Dracula!  In fact, it seems much more likely the vampire in the Karlstein vault was a past Conde of that family.  The old woman was very sick, after all.  Luisa, visiting that very crypt, discovered there was indeed a nosferatu there.  Under his influence, she even began to demonstrate vampiric traits herself!  She even drank the blood of a girl with whom she'd fallen in love.  Mysterious murders led a small band of amateur slayers to that very crypt where they destroyed the coffins and their inhabitants with fire.

Nothing more has been heard from the Spanish branch of the Karnsteins.

Erotikill (motion picture)
The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (motion picture)
Nadja (motion picture)
La Fille de Dracula (motion picture)

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