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-Coffin Benches of Whitby Harbor

“I pulled into Whitby, carryin’ a load of dread. I just need some place where I can lay my dead. Hey, mister, can you tell me, where a man might find a bed? He just grinned and shook my hand, ‘Over there’ was all he said.” (Apologies to The Band, but this song popped into my head when I was reading this linked article.)

So we know about those 199 steps leading up the Cliffside from Whitby Harbor to the ruins of Whitby Abbey, right? Dracula in lupine form ran up those steps when he arrived in England in the novel DRACULA. Today Dracula marks like to make that same climb. Conveniently there are benches at intervals for them to sit on—but those benches were not originally intended for people’s backsides. They were in fact placed there to hold coffins. Poor pallbearers in earlier times, having to haul caskets up those steps, would need to be able to stop and rest. Those benches were places to set down the coffins without having to put the coffins on the ground.

At the top of the cliff is the Bram Stoker Memorial Seat, which is also a bench but was never intended to be used as a coffin stand—but maybe it should have been. In fact, maybe the bench itself should have been fashioned to look like a coffin carved out of granite. This would be poetic, considering the character for which Stoker will forever and always be remembered.

TheCheezman • June 10, 2019

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