Whitby's St Mary's Church tells tourists to 'stop asking where Dracula's grave is'
Whitby's iconic St Mary's Church has resorted to asking tourists to 'stop asking' directions to 'Count Dracula's grave'.
The church - whose cemetery was mentioned in Bram Stoker's epistolary Gothic novel about the vampire - has put up a polite notice reminding visitors of the character's fictional status and that he is not buried in the graveyard.
A picture of the notice was posted on Twitter by author Kevin Meagher, who wrote it had been put up, "without a hint of irony on the door of the Church of St Mary the Virgin, adjacent to Whitby Abbey".
The notice reads: "Please do not ask staff where Dracula's grave as there isn't one."
The novel's global acclaim contributes to the thousands who visit the seaside town each year, particular visitors who make their twice-annual pilgrimage over the North York Moors for the town's world-famous Goth Festival.
Whitby also boasts a Dracula exhibition on the seafront which remains a popular tourist attraction.
St Mary's Church meanwhile, located on the East Cliff headlands next to famous landmark Whitby Abbey, is mentioned in a passage in the novel, which reads: "As the cloud passed I could see the ruins of the Abbey coming into view; and as the edge of a narrow band of light as sharp as a sword-cut moved along, the church and churchyard became gradually visible...
"It seemed to me as though something dark stood behind the seat where the white figure shone, and bent over it. What it was, whether man or beast, I could not tell."
Though Dracula was a purely fictional character, it is thought Stoker's inspiration for the blood-thirsty Count was based on 15th-Century Romanian ruler Vlad III - known as 'Vlad the Impaler' - who died in the country in the 1470s and is buried in an unknown location.