Mysterious Count Carpathian Von Porl - Whitby, 1890
Only one written account can be found to verify the night of the 27th of September, 1890 when a stranger walked into the Duke of York public house situated at the base of the 199 steps of Whitby Abbey, an event so unusual that the account was written by a visiting tourist.
‘From out of the wicked storm strode in a man clad in black and without a single speck of colour about him anywhere. He was carrying a large silver lantern which cast arched shadows around the room, strangely our unexpected guest seemed to absorb the gloomy light and I could discern no shadow. I noticed that his hands locked around the handle of the lantern were coarse, broad with squat fingers and nails cut to a sharp point resembling the claws of a savage beast, suitably matching the thin cruel looking, peculiarly sharp white teeth protruding over his lip. All this was rather extraordinary to witness and left me with a great feeling of unease for the rest of the night that I could not shake.
The stranger sat down and would answer no questions but rather he would fix people with a stare using his distinctive amber eyes, his black cape wrapped around him tight even though he was getting the full heat of the fire.’
The Duke of York recorded a visitor that night, unfortunately no name is given but a room was occupied only to be found deserted the next morning with both windows flung wide open. Moors surround Whitby and the terrible storm the night before with its turbulent sea made travel impossible so a search was mounted to discover the whereabouts of the stranger.
He was never found. The first body was found in Arguments yard, not far from the Duke of York, further bodies were found in Chapel Yard and Linskill Square with the final body discovered in a sealed room at Bagdale Hall, all had been drained of blood leaving a murderous trail across Whitby and out onto the moors.
Our research into this painting would have faltered would it have not been for the tourist’s description of that night we uncovered, for the description was penned by no other than Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, 1897 and it is assumed that this brief description in his own diaries was the trigger for his famous novel.
Now the twist, in 1898 Victorian England was buzzing to the new sensation of Count Carpathian Von Porl, a remarkable magician that could perform outstanding tricks and even change shape at will. Theatres throughout the land sought to book the great performer as his fame grew. Bram Stoker who by that time was working as the Director of London’s Lyceum Theatre managed to book the Counts unique act. Bram sat in the audience to enjoy the spectacle, the Count strode onto the stage to rapturous applause dressed in black and without a single speck of colour about him anywhere.
A terrible unease gripped Bram as the realisation sank in, pinned by those amber eyes he remained transfixed with fear until the end of the show, apparently the only one gripped by terror in the airy theatre. As the curtains fell Bram rushed from his seat and onto the stage, the count was gone but he knew what he would find in the dressing room.
Witness statements vary, but the only thing we can be sure of is that the bodies were completely drained of blood.
We are now investigating the peculiar code hidden in this piece; we believe it’s to do with magic and is contained with the strange numbering system used in the playing cards, it may even reveal what happened to the Count.