Dracula: Mourning, Death and Resurrection with Dr Kate Cherrell

08/06/2024, 1-3pm

Derby Museum and Art Gallery

The Strand



In the heart of the city, Derby’s Museum and Art Gallery is home to a fascinating and diverse range of nationally (and internationally) important collections.…

This biting and far-reaching talk explores depictions of death, mourning, burial and resurrection in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula.

Moving from the remote mountains of Transylvania to the windswept cliffs of Whitby and bustling streets of London, Stoker depicted uniquely macabre and monstrous moments of death, eternal rest and superstitions that persisted long after the Count’s departure.

Written at a time of enormous social and cultural change, approaches to death and burial across the western world were changing dramatically. Overcrowded city churchyards became terrifying health hazards and paved the way for the construction of grand garden cemeteries, where the great and good could spend eternity in elaborate mausoleums and richly decorated tombs. Stoker not only wrote about these beautiful mausoleums and ‘Lordly Death House[s]’, but transformed them into unsafe, monstrous places, harbouring undead interments. Far from being ‘just a story’, Vampire hysteria was to grab the British mindset many years later and, fired by Tabloid journalism and Dracula revivals, these same graves were stormed by modern-day Vampire hunters, keen to rid the city of its undead.

Dracula was not simply a book, but a glimpse into death and mourning cultures across the UK and Eastern Europe. Stoker provided a glimpse into the lived Victorian experience of mourning, but also led us down the path of fearsome folklore, deviant burials, bloodthirsty superstition and the eternal motif of the vampire’s grave.

Do vampire graves really exist? Did Stoker write about real burials? Why did a Whitby church tell tourists to stop asking for ‘directions to Count Dracula’s grave’?

This talk explores the mortality of Stoker’s Dracula, and the undying legacy left behind. From mortsafes and caged graves to Hammer Horror, Stoker transformed the way in which we continue to imagine and fear the figure of the vampire.”

About Dr Kate Cherrell:

Dr Kate Cherrell is a writer, researcher and public speaker specialising in 19th century gothic and spiritualist practice. A former cemetery worker and keen taphophile, she is the creator of BurialsAndBeyond.com, a blog exploring the stranger sides of life, death and what’s left behind. She has been internationally published, writing both commercially and academically, and her debut novel is due in late 2024. She co-hosts Loopholes, a weekly light-hearted esoteric discussion podcast and can be seen co-hosting Discovery’s Jack Osbourne’s Haunted Homecoming and Unexplained: Caught on Camera.

Booking essential, suitable for adults.

Accessibility at Derby Museums 

Image of Dr Kate Cherrell (c) Rich Kuro. Grave image courtesy of Jan Kopczynski.

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