Bringing Dracula’s Tale To Life

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Bernie McLinden, who is a Senior Ranger (Coast) for the North York Moors National Park Authority, tries out the new Bram Stoker App on the 199 steps in Whitby. The soon to be launched app will allow people to walk in the footsteps of Bram Stoker along and around the coastline of Whitby. ©TONY BARTHOLOMEW/TURNSTONE MEDIA

Bram Stoker International Film Festival launches mobile apps bringing to life Dracula’s tale for Whitby visitors.

The new Apps will mark 125 years since Bram Stoker’s stay in Whitby ignited the creation of Dracula.

Visitors to Whitby in North Yorkshire, have something new to sink their teeth into with the creation of two mobile apps that bring to life the maritime folklore and places that inspired Bram Stoker to write his horror classic Dracula.

The free apps, which have been created by the Bram Stoker International Film Festival with funding support from the North York Moors National Park Authority, are the result of months of research by the team to retrace the author’s footsteps during his stay in the historic fishing port in 1890.

The first app, which has been released in time for Halloween, brings to life the Viking legend of the phantom Black Dog or Barghest that Stoker heard about during his stay and then adapted for use in the novel.

The starting point for the Barghest Trail is Kettleness, a cliff top location in the North York Moors National Park, which was exorcised after a number of sightings of a huge black hound.

Then as visitors follow a six-mile route that Stoker walked, along what is now part of the Cleveland Way National Trail back to Whitby, the downloaded app uses sound, images and dialogue to digitally relate haunting stories attached to 13 landmarks en-route.

The landmarks include Tate Hill where Stoker saw the wreck of a grounded ship, The Dmitry on the beach below. This inspired him to create the shipwrecked Russian schooner, The Demeter from which Dracula jumped ashore in the guise of the black dog.

A second app, Mina’s Trail will launch soon and will capture the Dracula plot by retracing the route taken by one of the heroines, Mina Harker from a guesthouse on the West Cliff to Whitby Abbey.

Both apps include one of the town’s most famous Dracula settings, the 199 Steps which feature when the Black Dog dashes up them after jumping ashore, and when Mina runs up the steps to save her friend from the count’s clutches at St Mary’s Church.

Bernie McLinden and Michael McCarthy try out the new Bram Stoker App on the clifftop above Whitby. ©Tony Bartholomew / Turnstone Media
St Mary’s Church. Bernie McLinden, Senior Ranger, and Michael McCarthy, Director of the festival, try out the new Bram Stoker App on the clifftop above Whitby. ©Tony Bartholomew / Turnstone Media.

The apps will be available to download to both android phones and smartphones from www.bramstokerfilmfestival.com, www.play.google.com (for the android version) or from Apple’s iTunes app store.

A short film using actors at this year’s Festival is also being made to complement the apps, and will bring to life the story at the various locations in and around Whitby. The film will soon be available on
www.thebarghesttrail.com.

Mike McCarthy, director of the Festival explains: “While the Barghest Trail is more for those who like a good walk along a beautiful part of the National Park coastline, Mina’s Trail is shorter and easier and will be a
family-friendly way of introducing this classic tale to a new, younger audience.

“It will enable them to take part in the haunting drama by experiencing the journey from Mina’s viewpoint and encourage them to take photos to see how their experience matches up to the original Dracula plot! Importantly, we’re also making sure that both apps, once they have been downloaded will continue to work, even if the mobile phone signal is intermittent.”

The North York Moors National Park Authority has supported the development of the new apps as part of its Local Distinctiveness and Tourism grant scheme, which supports projects that raise the profile of the North York Moors area and promote its local distinctiveness.

North Yorkshire

The National Park is also providing some promotional support as part of the ‘Sea Life, See Life’ project funded by the Coastal Communities Fund.

The Coastal Communities Fund is funded by the Government, with income from the Crown Estate’s marine assets. It is delivered by the Big Lottery Fund on behalf of UK Government and the Devolved Administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The ‘Sea Life, See Life’ project covers a 36-mile stretch of coastline from Saltburn to Cloughton, just north of Scarborough, the majority of which is within the North York Moors National Park. This section of the coastline includes Staithes, Runswick Bay, Sandsend, Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay.

The National Park is a beautiful landscape of stunning moorland, spectacular coast, ancient woodland and historic sites. It was created on 28 November 1952 and became Britain’s sixth national park. For more information go to www.northyorkmoors.org.uk