Dark Shadows: First Werewolves, then Vampires

The Collinwood maidservant Beth goes to Gypsy Magda to plead with her to remove the werewolf curse from Quentin. Now that his wife Jenny is dead, Beth hopes to marry him herself. But Magda tells her that the curse, once cast, cannot be revoked, and it will carry on to Quentin’s male children. If Beth marries Quentin, her own sons with him will become cute little were-puppies (Magda doesn’t put it that way, but it’s my mental picture).

Then Beth tells Magda something the gypsy-woman doesn’t know: Quentin is already a father and Magda has cursed her own blood. It’s been hinted at before; during some of Mad Jenny’s rants about her “babies,” one began to suspect that she wasn’t really referring to her baby-doll collection. Beth now reveals that after Quentin and Laura ran off together, Jenny gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. Since she’d gone mad by then, Judith took the babies away to be cared for by a woman in Collinsport. Beth often goes into town to visit them and pays their nurse. Quentin knows nothing about this–presumably, he was gone before he had any idea his wife was even pregnant. Beth is adamant that the existence of the children remain unknown to Quentin.

Quentin the Werewolf

Once Magda learns that her werewolf curse also encompasses Quentin’s infant son–her own nephew–she’s contrite and anxious to revoke it. But such curses can’t be removed easily.

Barnabas gets involved with all this when he bites Beth and makes her tell him everything she knows about Quentin’s werewolf problem (which he already strongly suspects) and about the twin children (which he didn’t). Beth is sent to have a silver pentagram made to protect the little boy from the curse; the silversmith is a teenaged boy, who will become the aged Abe-Vigoda character we saw in the 1960s.

But before this plot can progress, Barnabas has to face a crises involving two other young boys–1890s Jameson and 1960s David.

Jameson has had a bad dream and awakes crying that “David Collins is dead!”

This name means nothing to Jameson’s father and Aunt Judith, who conveys the incident to Barnabas. As far as they know, there’s never been a David Collins. But since Barnabas came back into the past to try and save David, it’s crucially important to him. He asks Jameson to tell him about the dream.

Jameson’s dream is about the 1960s Collins family–Roger, Elizabeth, and Carolyn–having a birthday party for David, but it’s weird in a dream way. Carolyn, for example, has a little handpuppet that she occasionally uses to speak for her in creaky, old-lady voice. The ghost of Quentin is there too, although only David can see him.

David's birthday party

During the party everyone makes ominous hints that David, who is now 12, won’t live to see 13. When David blows out the candles on his birthday cake, his entire family except for ghost-Quentin disappears.

Quentin tells David that he won’t leave him even after death. He didn’t want to die himself, but there were 3 things that could’ve helped him to avoid it:

1. The silver bullet found at Collinwood.
2. The person who could save him was murdered.
3. He must save the eye that can not see–or maybe that one’s Londo Mollari; Quentin’s is the person he truly loved turned away from him.

The first of these comes true right away, when Edward Collins finds a silver bullet near the Collinwood front door. Magda had dropped it earlier while loading a gun to shoot Quentin (Barnabas stopped her from doing this).

Then there’s another emergency. Dirk the Groundskeeper has been going slowly mad since Laura went up in flames. Now he’s running around saying that she’ll be coming back. He also remembers about Barnabas’s coffin being in the basement at the old house and threatens to tell the other Collinses about it. I’d be surprised if they listened to him at this point, but Barnabas chooses to take care of this threat in the usual way–the bitey way.

While watching this part of the story unfold, I was reminded of when Barnabas first appeared at Collinwood in 1967 and Dr. Julia Hoffman constantly had to talk him down from killing anybody he felt might threaten him; she succeeded in finding less bloody solutions more often than not. In the 1890s, he has no one to advise him not to go around biting people as the answer to every problem, and his actions tend to make things worse for him.

Barnabas only wants to keep Dirk under his control, but he takes too much blood and not only ends up killing the groundskeeper, but creating a new vampire. Oops!

Just after Barnabas and Magda discover that the body of Dirk-they-thought-dead has gone from the little hidden room behind the bookshelves, where they’d put it, company comes to call at the old house.

Remember Carl Collins? Youngest brother to Edward, Judith, and Quentin, played by John Karlen? Yeah, I’d pretty much forgotten about him too, since he’d disappeared from the show for weeks. He’s back. He had taken a trip to Atlantic City and returns now with a fiancee, a young lady named Pansy Faye, a Vaudeville singer and clairvoyant.

Pansy in a trance

Pansy demonstrates both parts of her stage act, the first cheerfully when she’s introduced to Barnabas, and the second a little while later when Judith, who doesn’t approve at all of Carl’s choice, reluctantly comes over to the old house to meet her.

When she goes into a trance, Pansy declares, “Dirk is dead! His murderer is in this room!”

Judith thinks this a joke in very poor taste and storms out. Carl follows after her. When she wakes, Pansy tells Barnabas that she has no memory of what she just said and, finding out that Carl has gone to confront his sister, also leaves to find them and have it out.

While Judith and Carl are arguing about his prospective wife at Collinwood, Pansy is still on the woodland path between the two houses and ends up as Dirk the Vampire’s first victim.

Barnabas finds her soon afterwards back at the old house dead, with teethmarks on her neck. He has another body to conceal, and tells Carl that she’s left and he doesn’t know where she’s gone.


Author: Kathryn L Ramage

Kathryn L. Ramage has a B.A. and M.A. in English lit and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She lives in Maryland with three calico cats named after the Brontë sisters. In addition to being the author of numerous short stories, reviews, essays, and period mystery novellas, she is also the author of a series of fantasy novels set in a dukedom called the Northlands on an alternate Earth whose history has diverged from ours somewhere during the medieval period.