After Shannon Moore Shepherd spent time in Paris researching the origins of Bram Stoker's Dracula, she visited her husband's family in Scotland, where she once again found herself tracing Stoker's travels. The author had stayed at the same hotel they were in!
In 1894, while taking holiday here in Cruden Bay, Bram Stoker may have experienced a similar palette and sense of delicious anticipation as he came upon the ruined castle grounds. According to multiple sources on New Slains Castle, Bram Stoker was invited by the 18th Earl of Erroll to visit his humble home. A dark and foreboding sky combined with a sense of awe at the majestic structure before him and curiosity about the nobleman who ordered its construction and walked its candlelit hallways at night, is all reportedly real inspiration for the fantastical fictional Romanian castle in Dracula and its eccentric master. The Kilmarnock Arms website even affirms that the castle was a tangible inspiration.
If Stoker was invited to cross the darkness to New Slains by its Earl, then his own story isn’t much different from his protagonist, Jonathan Harker. As Stoker might have done politely with the Earl, Harker returns the invitation to Count Dracula. Now, collective consciousness would tell us, though we may not be sure how exactly we know, that a vampire cannot enter a home without being invited. This is something Jacques Sirgent touched on in his recent lecture at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris.
Sirgent also had information about the ties between a Countess of Erroll and the original Dracula family in Romania. Read the rest of the story, and see New Slains Castle in many pictures, at Atlas Obscura.
(Image credit: Shannon Moore Shepherd)