The latter is obvious from the description of the two greatest victories of the Turks [or the Tartar Atamans – Auth.] over the united Crusader troops: the defeat of Nicopolis in 1396, when the troops of Hungarian, Czech, German, Polish and French knights were put to complete rout, and their leader, King Sigismund of Hungary, barely managed to flee for his life, as well as the defeat of Varna in 1444, when the Crusader army was also crushed mercilessly, with Ladislas III Jagiellon and the Papal Legate Giuliano Cesarini slain on the battlefield” (, page 149).
Utilizing the narrative device of a newspaper clipping (dated August 8th), the story of the landing of Count Dracula’s ship is presented. The report indicates that the recent storm, one of the worst storms on record, was responsible for the shipwreck of a strange Russian vessel. The article also mentions several observations which indicate the vessel’s strange method of navigation; we learn that observers feel that the captain had to be mad because in the midst of the storm the ship’s sails were wholly unfurled.
Many people who witnessed the approach of the strange vessel were gathered on one of Whitby’s piers to await the ship’s arrival. By the light of a spotlight, witnesses noticed that “lashed to the helm was a corpse, with drooping head, which swung horribly to and fro” as the ship rocked. As the vessel violently ran aground, “an immense dog sprang up on deck from below,” jumped from the ship, and ran off. Upon closer inspection, it was discovered that the man lashed to the wheel (the helm) had a crucifix clutched in his hand. According to a local doctor, the man had been dead for at least two days. Coast Guard officials discovered a bottle in the dead man’s pocket, carefully sealed, which contained a roll of paper.
In a newspaper article the next day, it is revealed that the ship, a schooner, was a Russian vessel, one from Varna, called the Demeter. The only cargo on board was a “ballast of silver sand” and “a number of great wooden boxes filled with mould.” It is revealed that the cargo was consigned to a Whitby solicitor, Mr. S. F. Billington, who has claimed the boxes. The bizarre circumstances of the ship’s arrival have been the talk about town for the last few days, and there has also been some interest as to the whereabouts of the big dog which jumped ashore on the first night. The dog has disappeared, and some citizens are worried that the dog may be dangerous. Reportedly, a half-breed mastiff was found dead, its throat torn out and its belly split open.
CliffNotes for Bram Stoker’s DRACULA.
Varna (Bulgarian: Варна, pronounced [ˈvarnɐ]) is the third-largest city in Bulgaria and the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Situated strategically in the Gulf of Varna, the city has been a major economic, social and cultural centre for almost three millennia. Historically known as Odessos (Ancient Greek: Ὀδησσός), Varna developed from a Thracian seaside settlement to a major seaport on the Black Sea.
Varna is an important centre for business, transportation, education, tourism, entertainment and healthcare. The city is referred to as the maritime capital of Bulgaria and has the headquarters of the Bulgarian Navy and merchant marine. In 2008, Varna was designated as the seat of the Black Sea Euroregion by the Council of Europe. In 2014, Varna was awarded the title of European Youth Capital 2017.
The oldest gold treasure in the world, belonging to the Varna culture, was discovered in the Varna Necropolis and dated to 4600–4200 BC.
WikiWonka page on VARNA…Bulgaria.
Whytherefore is is a “strange” Russian vessel sailing from Varna in Bulgaria carrying a Transylvanian Voivode?
And WhereTF does Whitby, Yorkshire, UK fit into all this?
I’m confuddled and befused.