Dracula story brought to life with new mobile apps for Whitby visitors

23rd October 2015

Visitors to Whitby 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 launches this weekend during the Film Festival (22nd – 25th October) in Whitby, 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 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.

The apps will be available to download to both android phones and smartphones from www.bramstokerfilmfestival.com/ 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.”


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Ranger at Whitby's 199 steps - Tony Bartholomew