Today’s pop-culture landscape is rotten with stories about melodramatic, brooding vampires and their supernatural love affairs. But back in the 1960s and ’70s, those narratives belonged almost exclusively to the soap opera Dark Shadows. Near the end of its run, the series had become such an institution that it spawned a pair of Dark Shadows feature films (not to be confused with the 2012 Johnny Depp reboot), and to promote them, the producers staged what might have been the first ever nationwide spooky beauty pageants.
Courtesy of Atlas Obscura.
Romanian friends told us this area of medieval villages and fortified churches had little to do with the fiction of “Dracula,” yet the night was turning into a vampirish cliché. In his 1897 novel, the Irish writer Bram Stoker described the Carpathian pass as “an imaginative whirlpool” where every known superstition gathered. I saw how he might get that idea.
Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.
Although most Americans spend Halloween dressing up and trick-or-treating, other countries have their own celebratory rituals. Here are 12 Halloween (and Halloween-like) traditions from around the world.
Courtesy of Mental Floss.
October 13 is the second ill-fated Friday to fall in 2017. And while January the 13th wasn’t especially sinister, it seems that no matter how many such moments pass us by, the dreaded day continues to inspire unease and fears of misfortune.
Courtesy of National Geographic.
Thodoris Nikolaou has spent the last three years — and counting — crisscrossing the Balkan Peninsula to create a visual mosaic of the region’s people and their stories. But for Mr. Nikolaou, the project, called “…Balkaniotheque” and sponsored by the Onassis Foundation, became more than a multifaceted look at the region. It has been a search for his very identity.
Courtesy of the New York Times.
Every October, the English seaside town of Whitby transforms into a page taken right out of a Bram Stoker novel.
All types of subcultures—from goths clad in 19th-century corsets and bustles to steampunks sporting vintage flying goggles—descend on this quiet port for Whitby Goth Weekend, the United Kingdom’s largest goth event.
You can see Whitby Abbey in the background of Daughters of Shadow and Blood – Book III: Elizabeth.
Courtesy of National Geographic Australia.
Daughters of Shadow and Blood – The Complete Trilogy is on sale at Amazon for $9.99 for the month of October. Follow the link to get the e-book box set today!
Buda, Ottoman Hungary, 1599: Yasamin, the naïve daughter of an Ottoman bureaucrat, finds herself trapped in an arranged marriage to the son of the powerful governor of Buda. She is unprepared for the gossip and scheming rampant in the palace but realized she faces more than petty jealousies when someone tries to drown her in the baths the day before her wedding.
Gračanica. Kosovo, 1689: Elena, an Albanian peasant girl, has sacrificed her own future to keep her family from starving, but one horrific night they are taken from her, murdered by monsters out of her nightmares. Even seeking refuge at the nearby monastery, though, is not enough to keep the creatures that stalk the night at bay.
Berlin, Germany, 1878: Lady Elizabeth James, the neglected wife of a British diplomat, receives a disturbing reminder of her past—a calling card bearing her father’s name. But he disappeared ten years earlier, and Elizabeth believes him dead. A murder at the British embassy raises even more questions about her father, and she is soon caught up in a hunt across the city for a brazen killer.
They became known as the Brides of Dracula. You know his story. Now read theirs.
The views from Kosovo’s highest peak are incredible. Or so I’m told. It’s a tricky thing to confirm in blanket murk and howling winds. I’ve just leaned into a gale to reach the 2,656m summit of Mount Gjeravica, where a shabby concrete marker displays a defaced plaque commemorating Kosovo’s first and only Olympic medallist.
Courtesy of The Guardian.
This remote and mysterious mountain range, much of it accessible only by foot, offers more than beauty. It hosts shepherds and goatherds and ancient pastoral traditions that have yet to be destroyed by mechanisation. In its isolated villages, traces still survive of a centuries-old code of conduct that combines extremes of punishment and generosity.
I’ve always said the “Accursed Mountains” would be right at home on a map of Middle Earth. Courtesy of the Financial Times.