Stoker visited the town in 1890 and was immediately smitten by the dreary and deathly charm it exuded, and its best attraction was the church, known as Whitby's Abbey, which he's even mentioned in the book.
We've all come to learn about Dracula in some way, shape, or form, whether it is in full-length feature films, television series, books, or animated series, and let's not forget the original - Bram Stoker's Dracula. We know that Vlad Tepes was a vampire from Transylvania who lived in a castle that'd float away in the clouds, taking him to wherever he wanted to go. But, what if we told you the origins of Dracula fiction has little or nothing to with the once-obscure place in Romania. The inspiration for the greatest ever Vampire instead came from a small coastal town of Whitby. According to Discovery, Stoker visited the town in 1890 and was immediately smitten by the dreary and deathly charm it exuded, and its best attraction was the church, known as Whitby's Abbey, which he's even mentioned in the book.
The Abbey that we see now is the partly destroyed remains of a 13th-century church perched atop a cliff overlooking the entire town. Wait till you get to the spooky bit. Right beneath this abbey is an ancient church and a graveyard that can be reached after a 199-stairs descent. When Stoker was rummaging through the spot, he managed to jot down some of the names he could glean off of the tombstones, and he reportedly used them as Dracula's victims. In fact, the first-ever Dracula victim, Swales, was a name he found on one such trip a few hundred feet below the ground. Allegedly, the very idea of Dracula's characterization arrived when Stoker was at a local coffee shop in 1890 where he found a book published 70 years prior, in 1820.
The book narrated stories detailed by William Wilkinson, who served as a British consul in Bucharest. "Those stories spoke of a 15th-century prince named Vlad Tepes who was said to have killed his enemies with wooden stakes. He was also known as Dracula, or "the son of the devil," Discovery reveals. "The author published a footnote below this account: "Dracula in the Wallachian language means Devil. The Wallachians at that time ... used to give this as a surname to any person who rendered himself conspicuous either by courage, cruel actions, or cunning."
Even the language Dracula used was largely inspired by the Yorkshire dialect, which can be traced throughout the book. Stoker made note of 168 words from the local dialect and used the same in his book. One of the words used was "barguest," a term which means "terrifying ghostlike image of someone". Speaking to Mental Floss about the possible connections, John Edgar Browning, a horror expert, notes: "I do think Stoker meant for that connection. "Moreover, he probably would have meant for the people of Whitby in the novel to make the connection, since it was they who perceived Dracula's form as a large black dog."
In the present times, Whitby is home to goth festivals with as many as 10,000 of them said to congregate in the small town every year as every shop and establishment and paints itself in Halloween colors to give a horrifying makeover.