Sunday, April 12, 2020

Dracula Helena

Of all the Soul-Clones created by the Impaler, the figure known as Dracula-Helena may be the strangest. 

Her origin is unique for one thing.  She was married to the latest (and one of the least impressive) holder of the title Baron Frankenstein, who had grown quite obsessed both with his beautiful bride--who in turn felt little or nothing for him--and with re-creating his famous ancestor's work.  What happened with and to them both was dramatized (with lots of silly humor and exploitative footage) in the motion picture Mistress Frankenstein.

Basically, she suffered a severe head trauma due to a fall.  The damage was severe enough to be fatal, or would have been had her husband not had the equipment needed to maintain life.  However, she required a new brain. 

The Baron's servant was able to get a new brain with good speed, and so she was revived.  Exactly what methods were used remains unknown but such a transplant has been successfully carried out by many Frankensteins in the past, including both Victor and Frederick Frankensteins as well as the former's son Wolf (in the films Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein and Young Frankenstein).  However, Helena immediately began to show a wildly different personality.  Formerly bored and asexual, now she demonstrated a powerful libido aimed exclusively at women.  More, the women with whom she had encounters acted dazed, distracted, even mesmerized.

In short, they behaved precisely as vampire victims do.

Which begs the question--where did that brain come from?  My own research has led me to specific theory, mostly based on subsequent behavior and "filling in some dots."

Quite simply, at approximately the same time as (but prior to) the events above, the Countess Irina Karnstein underwent a huge change.  She was a strange individual, who had at one point been "adopted" by the mentally unstable clone called Dracula-Lejos as his "daughter."  It was at this time at least she attracted the attention of Dracula-Prime himself.  This terrible figure watched as Irina performed a weird blood experiment to use blood to transfer her consciousness into another person to become the wife of her step brother, Lejos' natural son.  She did this in Transylvania, the very lands the Impaler himself calls his domain.

Thus when Irina's body was abandoned in a an old castle (as chronicled in the motion picture Nadja), Dracula had his servants steal it and sell the brain to a servant of Baron Frankenstein.  The Baron might never have realized his wife was now a vampire, and if not then becoming was soon to become a soul-clone of Dracula!

What happened of course was not merely a scientific process.  An element of magic was involved.  The resulting individual evidently gained the powerful lust for women which is part of the first Dracula's personality, as well as a degree of arrogance.  Her powers seem impressive--not least an ability to walk in sunlight, which may mean at least physically she was something of a dhampyr a la the infamous Blade.

However the next time we see her, as chronicled in the silly comedy film The Sexy Adventures of Van Helsing, she encounters one of two sisters in the Van Helsing family.

Again, the filmmakers were focused upon making a farcical exploitation film so using it as a guide for actual evens requires more than a few pinches of salt.

Maybe a whole pillar.

Essentially, however, it would appear during college this particular Van Helsing, Lavina, underwent a strange experience wherein the ghost of some ancestor helped her incapacitate Dracula-Helena who was using Lavina's growing awareness of her own orientation to almost seduce her.  However, if not completely destroyed such creatures can come back.  When Dracula-Helena returned, she had a more involved plot which involved both Lavina and her sister Mina.

As chronicled in the film Lust for Dracula, this next plan took years, and was aimed at driving both Van Helsing sisters mad.  It also saw Dracula-Helena helping fund some drugs that could result in weakening the will of test subjects.  Mina Van Helsing was one such subject, persuaded she had married a man named Jonathan Harker but who was in fact a woman and minion of Dracula-Helena.

In the course of events, both Lavina (now using her middle name Abigail and working as a doctor) and Mina were seduced and betrayed by the Soul-Clone--arguably making her one of the most successful of all the Impaler's creations.

The precise fate of the sisters remains unknown at this time.  As of this writing, it has been sixteen years since the events described herein.  One possible clue is the motion picture An Erotic Werewolf in London, which hints as a nightmarish dreamscape in which Mina Van Helsing may be trapped--or it may be she has become a werewolf as part of Dracula-Helena's schemes.

So far as we know, this marks the only female Soul Clone the true Prince of Darkness has created.  If indeed she has retained (as it seems) the ability to walk in sunlight due to Irina Karnstein's dhampir nature, then she remains also a formidable opponent.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Dracula Pan

The Dark Prince, Vlad Tepes, Count Dracula we now know created many an individual soul clone (as recorded via the motion picture The Seven Golden Vampires) which leaves a vampire historian the job of tracking them down.

Ironic that, since the international best-seller The Historian offers plenty of genuine clues as to a very powerful clone, one this chronicler has dubbed Dracula-Pan for reasons which will soon become clear.

Dracula-Pan began his life as a scholar into the esoteric and the occult.  His history has been recorded in the novella  The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen. His researches led him to discovering one of the books left behind by the Impaler as a clue and bait, to become the King of the Vampires' personal librarian.  All this happened most likely in the 1890s, but in the early 1900s the Impaler decided upon revenge on all those who thwarted his 1887 attempt to invade England (as chronicled by Bram Stoker in his famous novel).  A series of Soul-Clones were created and dispatched to wreck vengeance upon various members of the Seward, Harker, Holmwood, and Van Helsing families.  One of these was Raymond, the former scholar who by now was a vampire enslaved to Dracula Prime.

This new Soul Clone proved unusually successful, gaining nearly all the powers of Dracula himself (which is not at all always the case).  But he also showed certain specific individual traits from his original personality which "bled" into the new copy.  I list those below.

But first, his history.  We know his initial encounter with a member of the Van Helsing family involved a man whose daughter had married a man named Poirot, and by him had a son named Hercule.  Dracula-Pan at this time had claimed a castle in Luxembourg as his own, but when he used a cult to persuade a member of  the Holmwood family infected with syphillus to invite him to England via a young solicitor, the elderly vampire regained his youth by draining the young man dry.

This entire tale was recounted (with some changes of detail for marketing purposes) in the 2006 British adaptation of Dracula starring Marc Warren and David Suchet.

We know at the end of this misadventure, the Soul Clone had committed a lot of slaughter but some of his would-victims escaped.  He, terribly wounded, yet survived.

It would appear this same Soul Clone later created a human persona for himself as an international tycoon under the alias "Alexander Lucard" and again head-quartered in Luxembourg at the same castle as before.  He vied with one Emil Van Helsing, ultimately transformed the man's son into a vampire himself out of malice.  Now at this time Lucard (or Dracula-Pan) had achieved something only a few versions of the Impaler had ever done--he could walk in sunlight, albeit at the cost of nearly all his supernatural powers. 

Yet at the same time, he showed several traits which show him to be an unusual and specific Soul-Clone:

  • The ability to walk in sunlight, which Dracula-Pan initially showed when he survived his first battle with the Van Helsings.
  • An ability and even taste for enjoying things like wine.
  • In fact, generally this creature seems to be interested in the "finer" things of life, dwelling in luxury, surrounding himself with art and antiques.
  • Unlike most Soul-Clones (but in common with other) he can and does wield magical items--indeed one such is almost certainly the only reason he can endure sunlight.
  • Also unlike the vast majority of Soul Clones, he does not keep a 'harem' of any kind, although he enjoys very much the hunt and seduction of his female prey.
His adventures in Luxembourg were the subject of the t.v. show Dracula: The Series.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Erzebet Bathori Timeline

Circa 1180 – Wampyri Faethor Ferenczy impregnates Ezebet Bathori’s great great great grandmother Elspa Bathori.  (Necroscope: Deadspeak by Brian Lumley)

1560Erzebet Bathori born.  She is also indirectly related to Voivode Vlad III “the Impaler” of Wallachia.

1575 – She is formally wed to Count Ferenc Nadasdy, whom she doesn’t realize at the time is her own great great great grandfather the Wamphyri Faethor Ferenczy. (Necroscope: Deadspeak by Brian Lumley)  This would seem to have triggered something in her, because during this marriage her behavior began to transcend that of a typically cruel aristocrat of her times.
1600s – Erzebet makes a deal with a Dracula soul-clone and becomes his bride.  Precisely which soul-clone remains a matter of speculation, the two top candidates being Dracula-Matthias and Dracula-Lykos.  At this point, due to her Wamphyri heritage, she demonstrates many vampire characteristics although not yet dead and still able to walk in sunlight.  However, she still needs blood to keep from aging.  (Blood Scarab)  About this time she also had a negative encounter with Dracula-Prime (Dracula Lives #4).  So it would seem from this time onward she herself was aware of the existence of Dracula’s doppelgangers.

1611 – Erzebet masquerades for a time as her own daughter Ilona, but eventually the truth comes out when she seeks to marry a young nobleman.  (Countess Dracula film) Captured by the Inquisition, Erzebet’s servants are executed, including the polish werewolf Waldemar Daninsky.  She herself is to be buried alive, but not before swearing vengeance.  (Night of the Werewolf 1972)  In fact she was sealed in a room in her castle, with a young woman of lower nobility named Jeanette to look after her needs.  Jeanette, who had been Erzebet’s favorite and forced to watch many murders, fed the Countess ground glass in her food to kill her (Secret Six from DC Comics)  In the wake of her trial, authorities began hunting vampires in Europe with far greater efficiency, eventually forcing many of them to see the New World (Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter)

1614 – Her body is found dead. 

1614-circa 1875 – Erzebet seems to be in the equivalent of torpor, requiring outside intervention to be reborn.  Like many a vampire witch before her, she manages it eventually though.

Circa 1875-1900 – Student of the occult Erika contacts the spirit of Erzebet Bathori, steals a medallion and brings the Countess back to life as a full vampire. (Night of the Werewolf 1972)  Erika becomes Erzebet’s first victim and ‘bride.’  The also-reborn Waldemar Daninsky (brought back via removal of a silver dagger from his heart) manages to kill her, but then she takes possession of Erika’s friend Karen, whom she’d earlier bitten.  As far as anyone knows, this marks the first time she fled her body into another at the point of death

Circa 1887 - In London, Erzebet vampirizes and enslaves a English serial killer of women to serve as a procurer.  This individual rightly or wrongly (mostly wrongly) has been identified as Jack the Ripper (Dark Shadows/Vampirella) .  Most likely, she was still recovering from her original body's second death at the claws and fangs of a werewolf.

Circa 1910 – Erzebet, having been defeated by someone (that adventure remains unchronicled or at least unidentified at this time) is resurrected by a witch named Drolta Tzuentes.  In alliance with Dracula-Matthias (whom she called "uncle") she possessed the body of a Gorgon and fights a member of the Belmont family, John Morris. (Castlevania Bloodlines)  Evidently, from subsequent events this defeat proved very traumatic and she had difficulty rebuilding her strength.,

Prior to 1970 – Erzebet in the body of an elegant blond older woman seduces a young newlywed.  This is a time when she seems adrift, spending literally decades wandering Europe.  She is killed in a car accident but then possesses the newlywed, who is not yet a full vampire.  (Daughters of Darkness)

Prior to 2005 – Erzebet maintains a cult in Montreal. (Eternal 2005)  At this point Erzebet would seem to have become re-invigorated in some way, having regained her ambition.  No longer a loner, she surrounds herself with servants and uses her cult to become increasingly powerful “behind the scenes.”

Prior to 2007 – Erzebet’s death cult includes branches in Slovakia (HostelPart II 2007).  At this point a model in Eastern Europe is tortured and bled to death so a “Mrs. Bathory” could bathe in her blood.

Prior to 2008 – Seeking a way to have all the advantages of undeath but not wishing to fear sunlight, Erzebet seeks a mystical solution in Los Angeles, soon after the death of her ‘husband’ Dracula-Lykos.  Her body is destroyed by an Egyptian “goddess” possessing a mummy and she has to possess a new host.  (BloodScarab 2008)  It seems possible her essence fled into a video game for a time.  (Stay Alive 2006)

Circa 2011/2012 -  Erzebet goes to New York City to seek revenge upon old enemies, running afoul of Vampirealla and (most likely)  Jonathan Collins of Cabot Cove, Maine (not to be confused with his distant cousin Barnabas Collins of Collinsport, Massachusetts).  He and his werewolf cousin Quentin David allied themselves with Vampy and her friend Pantha at this time. (DArk Shadows/Vampirealla)

2013 - By now Erzebet's cult has spread and given her a firm grasp of actual power in Europe especially.  She begins to gather a full "court" around her, echoing that of old including a witch and even a werewolf.  Taking over the mysterious Chateau des Ombres not from from Vyones, France, she begins to gather a large group of undead under her leadership.

Note:  Unlike most vampires of her type, Erzebet is not a shapeshifter, unless she happens to possess someone with that ability.  Her ability to possess others, however, is very nearly a power uniquely hers.  This, and her inherent strength as a powerful undead, makes her one of the most infamous and long-lasting vampire in many, many years.

Many thanks to the scholars of MONSTAAH for their help in putting together this timeline.

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.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Maine Branch

(part two of three)

As stated in Part One, I believe evidence abounds which points to three branches of the Collins family in New England.  Initially, the creators of the television series Dark Shadows attempted to fuse details from all three into one narrative but this failed.  Ultimately, they focused almost exclusively upon the Massachusetts branch whose magnificent mansions of the Old House and Collinwood were built on or near Plum Island.

The Gold Key Comics as well as the Marilyn Ross novels however took a much more haphazard approach, pulling what stories they wished from all three.  This section deals primarily with the one in what is today the state of Maine.  As inadvertently revealed in the novels, the name of the estate here was simply Collins House rather than Collinwood.  Evidence suggests the mansion, while impressive and clearly a sign of wealth, didn't really approach in size the Massachusetts or New York homes.

The full history of the Collins family in England remains as yet untold.  However, we can state with some certainty their relations included the Bennets of (appropriately enough) Netherfield Park.  More disturbingly, it would appear the name "Collins" came to be seen as accursed as far back as the Middle Ages.  At least sometime in the 1300s a man named Mordecei Collins (Gold Key #11) decided to make it his quest to wipe out the evil of his house, even to the point of arranging his ashes to be mixed with clay after death by an alchemist.  This clay then became the material from which a Golem was made, to become active once each century and attack the evil of the Collins family.

His efforts over the ensuing centuries remain mixed, or so it might seem given what happened to others of the Collins name.  On the other hand, perhaps that indicates how terrible the horrors he did prevent!  That all we know of consists of the lesser evils of the clan!

Circumstantial evidence does suggest at least one source of the so-called Collins Curse.  As those who've studied the infamous history of the mighty vampire Dracula Prime know, a powerful demon or magic user pretending to be a demon (even Satan) gave to the then-newly undead Impaler several mystical items.  One of these was a cane with a silver wolf's head.  One unanswered question in all this would be--who made that cane?  Given that at least one other such cane seems to have followed the Collins family through its history I would posit a medieval Collins was the craftsman.  He may well have created a prototype and kept it, with ignorant descendants taking it as a mere heirloom.  More, evidence exists of exactly such a cane in the hand of an-as-yet unidentified female vampire in the late 17th or early 18th century.

The New World

In many ways the Maine Collins branch is an offshoot of the New York.  Like many families then (and now) certain names popped up again and again.  Some confusion may have arisen among chroniclers because of this.

Cabot Cove is a town in Maine, founded unofficially sometime around the American Revolutionary War but became incorporated somewhat later due to the auspices of brothers Seth Collins and Jeremiah Collins I (Jeremiah II was brother to Joshua of the Massachusetts branch).  Both men had made their fortunes in trade but not always in ways their father Thomas I approved.  Indeed Henry Collins (Strangers at Collins House #3) speculated that Jeremiah's treatment of African Slaves had something to do with subsequent events.

But Collins House itself was built by Jeremiah, who married twice.  However only his first marriage produced children.  We know little or nothing about his first wife but his second, a much younger woman named Rosette de Freniere, had an affair or simply fell in love with Seth's son Jonathan.  This Jonathan Collins would prove one of the most important figures in the family.  He had a brother, James, who married a woman named Maria.  Collins House itself went to Jeremiah's sons--William and Tobias.  There was also a daughter named Erica.  Jonathan himself proved a brooding but brilliant figure, but who fell afoul of a mad scientist and a vampire circa 1830 (Barnabas, Quentin and The Grave Robbers).  Only 25 years old at the time, Jonathan had fallen for a young lady named Paula Sullivan.  In 1849 Jonathan Collins "died."  In fact, he rose from the dead as a vampire.  The exact circumstances remain a little unclear, but at least he was spared his cousins' fates of becoming sealed for centuries in hunger and darkness.  (Note:  Keep in mind that many of Jonathan's exploits were conflated with those of Barnabas Collins of Massachusetts.)

William, son of Jeremiah, suffered a terrible fate.  Disapproving furiously of the friendship between Jonathan and his son Jonas Quentin--no doubt due to the former's relationship with Rosette--he sent Jonas Quentin on a trading mission abroad in the 1830s.  When Jonas Quentin returned, he brought with him one Count Villalobos--a werewolf who'd made the young man one as well.  Upon learning this, William sought to kill the Count and succeeded but ended up bitten.  Blaming Jonathan and the entire Collins family he killed 15-year-old Daphne, his own niece.  Eventually Jonathan was able to trap William on an island.  [Gold Key #5] But Jonas Quentin eventually went insane at least partially out of guilt but also because, like Lawrence Talbot, his curse rendered him immortal (Barnabas, Quentin and the Witch's Curse).

Tobias had four known sons:
  1. Gerald who had two children, Derek and Irma.(Barnabas, Quentin and the Serpent as well as  The Curse of Collinwood).
  2. Enoch, who married Sophronia and had a ward named Sabina (Barnabas, Quentin and the Unknown Assassin).
  3. Daphne, murdered by William.
  4. Nathaniel, a ship captain.  His ship was the Arrow and he was murdered by the warlock Lucas Prinrose Bell in Egypt.  (Gold Key #6)  His daughter died at sea while young.
  5. Theodore (Barnabas Collins and the Gypsy Witch)
Theodore in turn had three sons:
  1. Quentin David, a melancholy young man who somehow became a werewolf.  Please note--the novels often conflate different Quentins in the Collins family as the same person whereas it was a very common name in this clan.
  2. Conrad, who had a club foot and more importantly would seem to be what we in modern times would call a psychopath.  (Barnabas Collins and Quentin's Demon)
  3. Jonas, who married Margaret (Barnabas Collins).  It was Margaret who circa 1900 realized that "cousin Jonathan" was in fact his namesake and a vampire.
Jonas and Margaret had four children:
  1. Michael James.
  2. Henry, who had quite an exciting but strange life.
  3.  Greta, who was crippled but evidently bore a startling resemblance to the long-dead Rosette.
  4. Judith, an adopted daughter.
 As yet we do not know who was Michael James' wife but he had three known children:

  1. Mark, a rather disreputable archeologist with a daughter named Linda.  (The Mystery of Collinwood)
  2. Michelle.  In the Ross novels she is most often conflated with Liz Stoddard.  In fact she was much younger and rather more of a rebel.  She spent some time in New York City, during which she became a werewolf (Wolf).  However, she generally was able to control this aspect of herself.  She married a cousin eventually--Louis Collins of New York.  It did not last.  Upon their separation, their elder daughter Constance went with her mother to live in Collins House.  Their younger son, Martin, went with his father.  Michelle at one point also seems to have had an affair with Adam Van Helsing (of Vampirella fame) leading young Martin to call him "Uncle."
  3. Edmund (conflated with Roger Collins in the novels), who was in some ways the very oddest member of the family but in a totally normal (as in non-para) and natural (as in non-super) way.  The man traveled extensively as part of his business, during which he married rather a lot of women.  He never divorced even one.  Not until his death did any of this come out.  His known children include:

The legal wrangles about all of Edmund's many children were almost certainly the major reason the Collins family was no longer living in Cabot Cove by the 1990s.

Please note that in nearly all the Ross novels the characters of Victoria Winters, Maggie Evans and Carolyn Stoddard are in fact conflated with Constance Collins, daughter of Michelle.  It seems very likely that she inherited the strain of lycanthropy from her mother.  Her story and that of Martin pertain somewhat more to the New York branch.

Please note that much of the personality of Michelle (Liz), Edmond (Roger) and Constance (Carolyn) would appear to inform the chronicler of the 2012 motion picture Dark Shadows.



Saturday, August 4, 2012

Shadows Dark, Darker, Darkest

(part one of three)

The Collins family, with their infamously paranormal history, presents quite the challenge to any historian.  Consider the following--what sources exist to give details regarding not only the vampires associated with this clan but also the ghosts, werewolves, witches and the like?
  • The original television series
  • The Gold Key comics
  • The Marilyn Ross novels released approximately the same time
  • The two feature motion pictures released in 1970 and 1971
  • The revival television nighttime drama in 1991
  • The Innovation Comics based upon the 1991 revival
  • The 2004 unfinished pilot for the WB (available only at certain Dark Shadows Festivals)
  • The various Big Finish Audio Dramas
  • The Dynamite Comics picking up where the story left off in 1971
  • The Tim Burton/Johnny Depp motion picture of 2012
What makes the above so very confusing is the blatant self-contradictions  in each and every version.  For example, when we first encounter the governess Victoria Winters as she arrived at the great house of Collinwood, the house itself is identified again and again as being somewhere around 150 years old.  Yet the flashback story revealed it to have been built more than twenty years earlier!  More, its builder was said to be Jeremiah Collins when it turned out to be his older brother Joshua.  And so on.

Trying to make the rest of the history fit into one coherent narrative makes for a knot of gordian purportions.  At least until one premise rears its head that makes all things much clearer...

There are not one, but three branches of the Collins family in New England.  Accept that, and it all begins to make a lot more sense.  Dan Curtis, Sam Hall and others who created the original daytime soap opera had access to quite a bit of material about this family.  At first, they picked out what they thought might make the best overall story.  Over time, this grew far too complicated and they settled more-or-less upon one.  Something very similar happened with other chroniclers, and continues to this day.

Here are the three branches...

The Collins of Collinsport, Massachusetts
When we see the original television show, the new Dynamite comics, or listen to the Big Finish audio dramas we learn of this branch.  Although initially identified as taking place in Maine, this family's history makes little or no sense if that were true.  During the 1790s Maine was a remote wilderness.  It beggars the imagination to believe anyone would build such a grand mansion as the Collinwood we see in such a remote spot.  It would be as if someone built a Disneyland in the middle of Siberia!  More, the history doesn't match.  There were no witch trials in Maine!  Nor was there any kind of easy transportation between Maine and Salem, such as would be needed for what we know of the history of the Collins family in the late 1600s.

So the Collinsport referred to herein almost can be found somewhere along Plum Island on the Massachusetts coast, effectively just off center from the very heart of the old Massachusetts Bay Colony.  This accounts quite neatly for Amadeus Collins in particular being a prominent judge who oversaw the trial of notorious Satanist Judah Zachary!

An excellent article exploring the surprising connections between the Collins family of Massachusetts and other supernatural aspects of the Wold Newton Universe can be found in The Great Old Ones And The Collins Family by Frank Schildiner.  The only point major addition I would make to his accounting would be the possible identification of "Barretstown" in one of the Innovation Dark Shadows comics with Innsmouth of terrible memory.  Note that this presumes the 1991 Revival and the comic books derived from it are a hodge-podge of details from the Massachusetts branch.

The Collins of Cabot Cove, Maine
Physically the most isolated of the all Collins family branches in New England, tales of this group of relatives make up the bulk of tales from the Ross novels and some of the Gold Key Comics.

We need to understand how chroniclers (rather like those of Dracula's soul-clones) changed names to somehow match the family introduced in the original television series.  Thus although each branch of the family included in its members a male vampire who used the (not unusual) expedient of pretending to be his own descendant, in fact these three undead were different people with different personalities and histories.  In Maine, this vampire was named Jonathan Collins and he became a vampire in the 1840s.  Of the three he would seem to have been the most scientifically bent, the most overtly womanizing in habit, and the most ruthless in his habit.  For all that, he wasn't truly evil, and more than once managed via medical means to (at least temporarily) alleviate his vampiric state.  By 1993 it seems this family no longer resided in the town, their mansion (the smallest of the three great estates) Collins House put up for sale when under an alias Jonathan purchased it.  Ironically enough, at this point when he'd diluted nearly all undead taints from his body, he was murdered--by having a stake driven through his heart (as seen in "The Legacy of Borbey House" on Murder She Wrote).

The Collins of Collinsgreen, New York
Although some details of this branch emerge in the Ross novels and Gold Key comics, the major source for details--garbled as they are--are all three motion pictures as well as the unfinished pilot for the WB network.

Central to our subject is Alexander Collins, the first known Collins vampire in the New World.  Much scholarship involving this man remains difficult because of efforts to conflate him with his cousin Barnabas Collins of Massachusetts.  But we do know he was changed into a vampire not as a result of thwarted love but as part of a curse placed upon the Collins family itself, almost certainly by some kind of Satanic coven.  Rather than destroy him, his immediate family chained up his coffin and buried it deep underground, no doubt hoping this would seal him away forever.  Alas, this was not to be.  When accidentally discovered and released in 1970 by a road crew, the now-insane young man whose bloodlust had grown quite out of control, slew several family members before being tracked down and staked in an abandoned monastery on a lake.  So he remained, immobile, for thirty years.  Then, would-be fortune hunters came across his skeleton and removed the stake.  More, one of them cut her hand and that blood revived the vampire.

He came to Collinsgreen in 2004 to find the little boy whose sister he'd turned into a vampire was now grown up, a wealthy and powerful figure with his own dark secrets--not least still struggling with a powerful witch whose spirit longed to take over the estate from the Collins family into which she'd married.

To be continued...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Children of a Lesser Hell-God

Contrary to what many assume, vampires come in a variety of different types and bloodlines.  More, creatures exist that blur the line between Living and Undead.  Most famous of these is the dhampir--offspring of a human being and a vampire.

Stranger still is a someone who, although bitten, does not transform into a full vampire.  Exactly why remains unclear. There seem to be some people who (for some reason) resist the complete change.  Certain very powerful vampires seem capable of deliberately creating this bizarre hybrids.  One expert, whose exploits regarding such ended up as a film titled Zoltan, Hound of Dracula, coined an accurate term for them.  Pseudo-nosferatu.  Others call them ghouls.  Another source refers to them as carouche.  Yet they may perhaps be best known via the most famous such entity.


The name conjures up a specific image.  A madman in padded cell.  Bound in a straightjacket.  Hoarding flies, then spiders--intending to eat them.  Not entirely accurate, however.  When one looks for similar beings in the history of vampires, one needn't go far to find them.  Keep in mind also that it remains unlikely all the individuals identified with the name actually bore it.  Accounts of Dracula's soul-clones often end up tweaked to resemble Stoker's novel.  The motion picture Nosferatu included a person who ran a business, was in fact a respected man of property.  Yet who went mad, obsessed with devouring tiny lives, and utterly devoted to serving one of the living dead.

In the motion pictures Fright Night and its sequel, Jerry Dandridge and his sister each had a servant--formidable men in their own right.  They each ate bugs.  When killed, they dissolved into a mass of the creatures, leaving a putrid skeleton behind!

From these and other clues we may well deduce facts about this odd supernatural creature, neither one thing nor the other.  Consider also how the Count of Saint Germain has such a servant, well-treated, even a friend.  Yet dependent upon the vampire.

1.  All pseudo-nosferatu are created by vampires.  Exactly how remains a mystery, but it needn't be permanent.  Xander Harris began the process but returned to normalcy.  The Renfield of the novel even rebelled against his Master (I myself believe the soul-clone Dracula-Mordante was in England before Dracula Prime, and it was he who transformed the man known as Renfield).
2.  Pseudo-nosferatu evidently need to remain in the proximity of at least one vampire.  One almost never hears of one by themselves--and when they are, their efforts to bring a vampire near them are ceaseless.
3.  The pseudo-nosferatu has a will that has been enthralled to that of another.  Indeed, they behave much as a drug addict would if their opiate-of-choice could walk around, think, act on its own agenda.
4.  One of the distinguishing characteristics of the pseudo-nosferatu is that they feed on "lesser" lives.  Animals or insects usually.
5.  Lacking nearly all the weaknesses of a true vampire, a pseudo-nosferatu possesses but one power in common with the true undead.  They are stronger than a normal human being.  They may or may not gain extended youth and vigor.  But they remain harder to physically subdue and kill than is usual.