Bram Stoker at Cruden Bay: Gothic horror in the Summer holidays

A view of
Cruden Bay

Bram Stoker discovered the village of Cruden Bay while on holiday in Scotland in 1893 (Leatherdale, 1985). He returned year after year to Cruden Bay in the Summer, staying at the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel, and afterwards in the hamlet of Whinnyfold, a few miles to the south of the village. His experience of the neighbourhood was incorporated into Crooken Sands set in a location based on Cruden Bay, and in 1895 he published a romance, not particularly well-received, entitled The watter's mou with dialogue written in the Doric, the local Buchan dialect. Dracula, Stoker's masterpiece was published in 1897.

Leatherdale notes that the Buchan coastline, and superstitions of the Buchan folk at the time may have played a part in developing the gothic qualities of his Stoker's fiction. In 1902, Stoker wrote The mystery of the sea, setting the novel around Cruden Bay.

The seer is a short story, of autobiographical tone, set in Cruden Bay, the first person narrator being in effect, Stoker himself. It is of interest as much for the topographical comments as for the eery quality of the action.

(Revision date: Monday 30th August 2010)