Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Story of Collinsgreen

(part three of three)

Of all the Collins family branches in the New World, none exceeds those of upstate New York in terms of obscurity.  Like the family of Cabot Cove, they were conflated by chroniclers with members of the family in Massachusetts.  More, their history was depicted as taking place in Maine.

But the Gold Key Comics, Marilyn Ross novels, the two motion pictures from the 1970s as well as the unfinished pilot for the WB in 2004 all give clues as to this branch of a most cursed family.

We know the estate of Collinwood stands in Collinsport, Massachusetts.  Collins House can still be seen in Cabot Cove, Maine.  The town where the Collins family of upstate New York made their home has yet to be identified, although it certain lies near a large lake.  The estate, however, we know was named Collinsgreen (Gold Key #14).

This branch seems to have been founded approximately the same time as that of Collinsport, almost certainly by one Eban Collins who was born in 1642 (Gold Key Comic Strip Storyline #1) and sentenced the witch Mathilda Primrose Bell to death as a witch in 1671.  Interestingly she made sure her son Lucas embarked on a campaign to wipe out the entire Collins family.  The lad, becoming a warlock, eventually did kill many Collines over the years--using as his source of power a cane with an animal head!  Given the garbled nature of this story, we cannot be sure of its full significance.  But such a staff or staffs seem to be entwined with this clan for centuries (as discussed in part two).

At any rate, the true patriarch of the New York Collins family was Thomas Collins I who lived from 1748-1801 (Gold Key #3) and who had quite a few sons, none of whom ended up happy.  Jebediah cheated some of the local tribes--a crime for which Thomas locked the lad into a shed until he died!  His sons Seth and Jeremiah I (not be confused with Jeremiah II, brother to Joshua of Collinsport) became merchants with very shady reputations, locating their own families to the town of Cabot Cove.  The fraternal twins Jacob and Esau later died the same night in a fire at Collinsgreen, an event that also cost Jacob his wife but not (fortunately) his son Thomas II.

Thomas had a brother, Benjamin, who died relatively young and left his three sons to be raised by Thomas I--George, Theodore I and Alexander.

The New York Branch

Theodore Collins I preferred to live in Manhattan, where he came into possession of the fabled Collins Pearl ("The Blood Pearl" Big Finish) as well as  having two children--Millicent and Daniel.  After Theodore's sudden death, these two went to live in Collinsport.  Millicent suffered a series of tragedies and went mad, but her much-younger brother ended up adopted by Joshua Collins, inheriting Collinwood.  The entire Massachusetts branch are therefore his descendants ("Dark Shadows" daytime series, 1795 storyline).

George Collins on the other hand married a woman named Martha and ultimately became master of Collinsgreen (the fate of Thomas II remains a mystery at this time).  They had two sons at least.:  Charles Collins I and Gabriel Collins I.

Charles married twice, both times unhappily.  His first bride Laura (almost certainly a phoenix) he seems to have murdered by drowning in the wake of his affair with Gabriel's wife, Antoinette ("Night of Dark Shadows" motion picture).  Antoinette was evidently a witch of considerable power, which ultimately led to a small lynch mob helped by Gabriel to hang her in the Collinsgreen grounds.  Charles was enraged, but eventually married again to a woman named Flora ("Dark Shadows" daytime series, 1840s storyline) and by her had two children--Desmond and Peter Collins.  Peter went to live in Cabot Cove, where he built a mansion called Stormcliff.  When his wife died he sold everything and vanished.  His uncle Gabriel went to live in Stormcliff until his own death.

Thomas II had two children, a son named Asa and a daughter named Polly.  Asa's son Giles proved to be a very dangerous man, in effect a mad scientist who encountered a time-traveling Constance Collins of Maine (The Phantom and Barnabas Collins).

Desmond on the other hand eventually married a young woman named Letitia Faye ("Dark Shadows" daytime series 1840s storyline) and they had three sons:  Michael, Stephan and Charles II.

Michael was master of Collinsgreen, married to a woman named Sally and close to his niece Paula.  Stephan, Paula's father was something of a ne'r do well, becoming seriously estranged from the family.  Paula married an equally dangerous man, a werewolf named Christopher, but in the end was saved by Jonathan Collins (The Foe of Barnabas Collins).

Paula's brother Paul on the other hand went into the U.S. Navy, died in China while captain of the USS San Paulo ("The Sand Pebbles" motion picture).  He did however have two children--Justin and Ann.

Charles II married a woman named Rebecca and they had a daughter named Emily and a son named Frank as well as an adopted daughter named Ada (Barnabas, Quentin and Dr. Jeckyl's Son) all of whom encountered the vampire Jonathan Collins.  It is from Frank that the so-called Manhattan branch of the family came.

However, Paul's daughter Ann ran away and became a Broadway showgirl ("Gold Diggers of Broadway" motion picture).  Her brother Justin on the other hand became master of Collinsgreen and had a son named Louis and a daughter named Geraldine.  Louis married Michelle Collins of Cabot Cove, but the marriage did not last.  They separated, with their daughter Constance coming to live with her mother and their son Martin staying at Collinsgreen.  Geraldine married a man named Walter Curtis and had a daughter, Nancy.

Frank Collins had a son, an Egyptologist named Anthony (Barnabas Quentin and the Mummy's Curse) who visited Collins House in Maine about the time he discovered the tomb of Pharoah Rehotep.  Anthony in turn had two sons--Ernest, a musician whose wife Elaine died and then who himself died before he could marry Constance Collins, and Quentin Collins IV who married a young woman named Tracy.

This Quentin seems to have been a reincarnation of Charles I, and when he inherited Collinsgreen the spirit of his ancestor took control with the help of the ghost of Antoinette.  Tracy in this process died, tragically.

Alexander the Vampire

Now we come to the most important member of this branch, at least as far as this blog is concerned.  Alexander Collins was the son of Benjamin, nephew of Thomas I.  His story has ended up garbled but barely discernable.  He was (as far as we know) the first Collins in the New World to become a vampire.  Available evidence suggests this was the result of a curse put upon him, possibly by witches but maybe as revenge by someone enraged at the Collins family.  We're not sure.  However, what happened next seems relatively clear.  His uncle, who raised him, did not choose to destroy Alexander.  Instead, he had the young man sealed in a coffin and wrapped with chains.  Then buried that coffin deep in the earth.  Most likely Thomas I told this tale to Joshua Collins, who sought to emulate his older cousin in regards to Barnabas.

Sometime around 1970, construction workers found this coffin and broke the chains, paying for that piece of bad luck with their lives ("Dark Shadows" 2012 motion picture).  They were not the first.  Alexander soon presented himself as a long-lost cousin--hardly unusual in the Collins family history--but became increasingly unstable emotionally.  Quite simply, he had been driven insane by what happened to him, not least by the fact he had been engaged to marry when turned into one of the undead.  He victimized young Nancy Collins, ultimately transforming her into a vampire ("House of Dark Shadows" motion picture).  This might have gotten even worse save for the fact that two members of the Van Helsing family were nearby--Conrad and his son Adam (Vampirella).  In the 1970 motion picture, Conrad became Professor Stokes, just as Adam became Jeff Clark.  The film twisted many events but the essence was that Alexander was shot with a crossbow bolt in an abandoned monastery on nearby St. Eustace Island.  Exactly who "Maggie Evans" in this film was in real life remains unknown.  One possibility is that this was Michelle Collins, Louis' estranged wife.

Meanwhile, Louis Collins also died, victim of the vampire Alexander.  His son Martin, already a little unstable, went to Collins House in Maine to live with his mother Michelle--who in turn may have had an affair with Adam Van Helsing (if she is the person conflated into Maggie Evans for that film, this could be viewed as further evidence of same).  Certainly as he grew up, Martin tended to called Adam "Uncle."  When Geraldine Collins Curtis died, within the year, Quentin IV inherited the estate ushering in a time of horror ("Night of Dark Shadow" motion picture).  Many years later, Martin  and his Uncle came together again when the former's wife was bitten by a vampire, i.e. Irina Karnstein ("Nadja" motion picture) in New York City.  After dispatching her (or so they thought) the three of them joined forces with Martin's sister Constance (who by then manifested her latent lycanthropy, most likely inherited from her mother) to go and rid Collinsgreen of the evil spirit of Antoinette.  They succeeded, but at some horrible cost to Martin's wife.  They had a son, whom Martin strangely enough named Alexander (evidence he'd blocked out much of what happened in his childhood), just as Constance had a daughter, Jessica.  The latter's father remains unknown at this time.

Here the story takes a new turn.  Fortune hunters (or perhaps just vagrants) at St. Eustace Island accidentally revived the vampire Alexander Collins ("Dark Shadows" WB pilot).  Professor Norse of MONSTAAH theorizes (persuasively in my opinion) that the non-physical remnant of a vampire put nto torpor but not destroyed seeks to attract humans to it and make them spill blood.  This happened circa 2004, and Alexander found the passing of over three decades enough to try again to re-integrate into the world via his descendants. 

Yet something more interesting happened than one might expect.  First, the new governess to young Alexander Collins II (a traumatized child) seemed to remember this earlier man--indeed she would seem to have been the reincarnation of his long-dead fiancee.  More, this all coincided with the return of the ghost-witch Antoinette, freed by young Alexander.  She and the elder Alexander soon became (im)mortal enemies.  One reason for this was Alexander's feeling more human.  Perhaps it was seeing a child with his name.  Maybe finding his one true love again after all those years of despair.  Whatever the cause, he became instrumental in destroying this creature's spirit even though the manor of Collinsgreen itself was destroyed in a fire ("Dark Shadow" 2012 motion picture).  And the governess in question, tricked to her death by the vengeful spirit on Antoinette, was saved by becoming undead at Alexander's fangs.

At this point, this is all we know.  Precisely what became of sibling Martin and Constance Collins has yet to be revealed.  Jessica's parentage also remains unclear.

A final note--the vampires Barnabas and Jonathan were both apparently Varneans (indeed independent research indicates the former to be have been indirectly sired by Dracula Prime himself!).  It remains a little unclear what kind of vampire Alexander was and (presumably) still is.  Accounts indicate he was more tolerant of sunlight than one might expect and there is no evidence he ever transformed into a bat or other animal.  Given his great hunger--his victims lost an enormous amount of blood with each feeding--this might well indicate he was Dacian.

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