Page 77. " a Salvation Army meeting in a back street "
Salvation Army
Creative Commons AttributionSalvation Army - Credit: zieak

The Salvation Army is a Protestant denomination of the Christian Church, founded in 1865 by William Booth. It was set up to provide religious guidance and social services for the disadvantaged, whose needs Booth felt were not being met by religious providers at the time.

Brass bands are a regular feature of Salvation Army meetings.

Page 80. " Burdon-Sanderson’s physiology or Ferrier’s brain-knowledge "
Caricature of Burdon-Sanderson for Vanity Fair. Caption read
Public DomainCaricature of Burdon-Sanderson for Vanity Fair. Caption read "Oxford physiology". - Credit: wikimedia commons

Sir John Scott Burdon-Sanderson (1828-1905) was a physiologist who measured the electrical output of the heart, and noted the relations of minute organisms to disease.

James Frederick Ferrier (1808-1864) was a philosopher who published doctrines in metaphysics.

Page 82. " men like trees walking "
by hector

Christ Healing the Blind
Public DomainChrist Healing the Blind - Credit: El Greco
A Biblical reference:

And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

Mark 8:22-25

Page 85. " for visits to Mulgrave Woods, Robin Hood’s Bay, Rig Mill, Runswick, Staithes "

These are all Yorkshire attractions and seaside towns, along the east coast of Britain near Whitby.

Robin Hood's Bay, through Whitby and Runswick, to Staithes
Public DomainRobin Hood's Bay, through Whitby and Runswick, to Staithes - Credit: Google Maps
Page 85. " a sudden show of ‘mares’-tails’ high in the sky "
Cirrus Clouds (Mares' Tails)
GNU Free Documentation LicenseCirrus Clouds (Mares' Tails) - Credit: Rosarinagazo/Wikimedia Commons

Mares’ tails is a name sometimes given to Cirrus clouds, which are thin and wispy and often accompanied by tufts. A high number of these clouds may indicate stormy weather to come, or be the remnants of a thunderstorm.

Page 86. " the R.A. and R.I. walls "
by hector
Royal Academy of Arts, London (19th century)
Public DomainRoyal Academy of Arts, London (19th century) - Credit: William Shipley


The Royal Academy (R.A.) is a private art institution in Piccadilly, London.  Founded with the support of George III in 1768, it hosts an annual summer exhibition open to "all artists of distinguished merit".  Around 1,000 works are selected for exhibition each year.  Prizes are awarded, and the works are available for sale to the public.  The R.A. has been housed at various times in Pall Mall, Somerset House on the Strand, and the National Gallery; since 1868 Burlington House has been its home.


The Royal Institution (R.I.) is an independent scientific organisation, famous for its Christmas Lectures.  Founded in 1799, it is located in Mayfair, London.  It is less clear why paintings of the Whitby storm would end up there, except perhaps for meteorological interest. 

Therefore the Whitby correspondent is probably referring to the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, a society originally called the New Society of Painters in Water Colours, but renamed in 1885, in time for this reference.

Page 86. " As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean "
The mariner up in the mast in a storm, Gustave Doré
Public DomainThe mariner up in the mast in a storm, Gustave Doré - Credit: wikimedia commons

This is a line from the famous poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written 1797-8:


Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, nor breath nor motion;

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.


Water, water, everywhere,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink.


Read more of the poem here

Page 87. " the new searchlight was ready for experiment "
by hector
Searchlight, 1893
Public DomainSearchlight, 1893

The new searchlight, combining a carbon arc lamp with a parabolic reflector, is another of the innovative technologies that Bram Stoker showcases in this story of science versus superstition.

Searchlight development was largely driven by military application.  Weak and unfocused limelight searchlights are thought to have been trialled in the Crimean War, and a searchlight was used by a Union warship during the American Civil War.  Limelight was soon replaced by electric arc lights, which were employed in the Siege of Paris (1870-1871) to deter German sappers.  Silvered reflectors were introduced by 1876, and searchlights were used in battle by Austrian and British naval vessels during the 1880s.  The first 60 inch carbon arc searchlight was built by General Electric and exhibited in 1893.  Shortly after the publication of Dracula, searchlights were used in the Boer War, aboard trains and in besieged towns.  Searchlights would later take on particular military importance with the advent of night bombing raids in World War I and then the mass aerial bombardment campaigns of World War II.  They were also used to signal, and to blind enemy naval and air crews.

Civilian uses of searchlights included lighthouses and, later, movie premieres.

Searchlights exhibited at the 1893 Columbian Exposition


Carbon Arc Searchlight at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition
Public DomainCarbon Arc Searchlight at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition
Page 88. " Between her and the port lay the great flat reef "
by hector
Whitby Harbour
Creative Commons AttributionWhitby Harbour - Credit: Chris Robertshaw


The correspondent is probably referring to the rocks due east of the Whitby piers.  According to

Most directions of approach are clear of danger and straightforward... the exception to this is from the East. When approaching from that direction a good offing is necessary to clear Whitby Rock and a shoal patch that extends outwards from the Abbey Cliffs just to the east of the harbour entrance.


Google Map
Page 89. " some of the 'top-hammer' came crashing down "
by hector
Schooner, c.1878
Public DomainSchooner, c.1878 - Credit: James Buttersworth

This is a misprint or spelling mistake: the "top-hamper" consists of the sails, rigging and anything else above deck that creates top-heavy weight or wind resistance.

Page 90. " the statutes of mortmain "
by hector

The Statutes of Mortmain were enacted by Edward I in 1279 and 1290 to prevent land being donated to the Church with consequent losses of tax revenue for the state.  Under the Statutes, no estate could be granted to a corporation (such as the Church) without royal assent.

Mortmain literally means "dead hand", so this seems to be a pun rather than a serious opinion on the legal status of ship and cargo.

Page 90. " a steadfastness as noble as that of the young Casabianca "

Casabianca is a young boy from a poem of the same name, written by Felicia Heman and published in 1826. The famous first line is: “The boy stood on the burning deck…” In the poem, Casabianca refuses to abandon his post without orders from his father. Unfortunately, his father is dead below and cannot tell his son to flee the burning ship:


A ship in a storm, James E. Buttersworth, 19th century
Public DomainA ship in a storm, James E. Buttersworth, 19th century - Credit: wikimedia commons

Yet beautiful and bright he stood,

As born to rule the storm;

A creature of heroic blood,

A proud, though childlike form.


The flames rolled on—he would not go

Without his Father's word;

That father, faint in death below,

His voice no longer heard.

Page 90. " the schooner is a Russian from Varna, and is called the Demeter "

In his notes, Stoker recorded an incident in 1885 when a Russian schooner named Dmitri, travelling from Navra, ran into Whitby harbour. The Whitby Gazette on 24 October 1885 reported that “the Russian schooner Dmitri of Navra, with silver sand, came in suddenly, in heavy weather, but going ashore in “ Collier's Hope” became a total wreck.”

Varna (a real Bulgarian port) is an anagram of Navra, which does not seem to exist.  Someone is getting confused.

Silver sand is a soft mortar sand used in building.

Page 92. " at dawn entered Bosphorus "

The Bosphorus is a strait between European and Asian Turkey.  The capital city of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) straddles the strait.


The Bosphorus (red) and the Dardanelles (yellow)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Bosphorus (red) and the Dardanelles (yellow) - Credit: Thomas Steiner/Wikimedia Commons
Page 93. " Passed Gibraltar and out through Straits "
Strait of Gibraltar
Public DomainStrait of Gibraltar - Credit: NASA

Africa and Europe lie just 14km apart at the strait that links the Mediterranean to the Atlantic.   In the Ancient World, the strait was known as the “Pillars of Hercules”. 

The Strait has always been of extreme strategic importance, hence the longstanding British claim on the Rock of Gibraltar.   


Part of postcard depicting the Rock of Gibraltar (c.1810)
Part of postcard depicting the Rock of Gibraltar (c.1810)
Public DomainPart of postcard depicting the Rock of Gibraltar (c.1810) - Credit: unknown
Page 94. " we must be past Straits of Dover, as in a moment of fog lifting he saw North Foreland "
by hector
North Foreland
Creative Commons AttributionNorth Foreland - Credit: Robert Cutts

North Foreland is a headland on the easterly most point of Kent, in southeast England.  The lighthouse at North Foreland was the last to be manned in the UK, being automated only in 1998.

The Strait of Dover, or Pas de Calais, is the narrowest point in the English Channel, between South Foreland and Cap Griz Nez, a distance of 21 miles.


Google Map
Page 99. " We had a capital 'severe tea' at Robin Hood's Bay "
by hector
Robin Hood's Bay
Creative Commons AttributionRobin Hood's Bay - Credit: Lee Bailey

Robin Hood's Bay is still a charming little fishing village of cobbled streets and red-roofed cottages.  It has no known connection to the outlaw from down south.  The village has a history of disaster, with houses and streets being washed away by the sea.  This was probably the fate of the "sweet little old-fashioned inn, with a bow window right over the seaweed-covered rocks".  The highest sea wall in Britain was built here in 1975 to prevent further loss.


Google Map


A 'severe tea' was presumably high tea, a large meal of meat or fish followed by bread and jam or cake eaten at the end of the working day.


Page 99. " I believe we should have shocked the ‘New Woman’ with our appetites "

‘New Woman’ was a term used in the late 19th century to describe a woman who asserted her independence and individuality. Cycling and smoking, activities normally associated with men at the time, were seen as indicators of a new woman.

Such women became deeply involved in the suffragette movement.


A woman in trousers smokes while watching a man do the laundry, 1901
Public DomainA woman in trousers smokes while watching a man do the laundry, 1901 - Credit: Library of Congress
Page 99. " a fight for it with the dusty miller "
by hector
The Sandman
Public DomainThe Sandman - Credit: Vilhelm Pedersen

Presumably "dusty miller" is intended to be a term for sleep, although we can find no other such usage.  A number of plants and pubs are named "Dusty Miller", and in the twentieth century the term was used as slang for a coal miner.

Curiously, Dusty was a nickname for men named Miller in the late nineteenth century, and "dustman" was a term for sleep (e.g. to have met with the dustman meant to feel sleepy), akin to the sandman.  It looks like Mina, or possibly Stoker, is getting a little confused.