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Barnabas Collins
Barnabas Collins 001.jpg
Barnabas Collins
Aliases: The Collinsport Strangler
Franchise: Dark Shadows
Notability: Main character
Type: Vampire
Gender: Male
Location: The Old House; Collinsport, Maine
Known relatives: Collins Family
Status: Alive
Born: 1760
1st appearance: Dark Shadows: 210
Final: Episode 1198
Actor: Jonathan Frid
Tim Gordon [1]

Barnabas Collins is a 175-year-old vampire from the town of Collinsport, Maine. Having bridged the centuries, he has been both an adversary and an ally to his extended family members over the course of several generations.

History[edit | edit source]

18th Century[edit | edit source]

Barnabas Collins was born the son of Joshua and Naomi Collins in 1760. [2] As a young man, he became active in the family business traveling to China and the Caribbean. He developed close ties with his uncle, Jeremiah Collins (some sources indicate that Jeremiah and Barnabas were brothers due to the closeness of their ages, but this has since been proven erroneous). Other members of Barnabas' immediate family included his aunt, Abigail, his beloved sister, Sarah, and his cousins, Millicent and Daniel Collins. As a child, Barnabas had developed a crush on his uncle's first wife, Laura Stockbridge Collins [3] who died suddenly in 1785. [4]

Josette[edit | edit source]

In the early 1790s, Barnabas traveled to the island of Martinique where he met Josette DuPres. The two instantly fell in love and began a passionate romance with each other. During their courtship however, Barnabas had an affair with Josette’s maidservant, Angelique Bouchard because he was not certain that Josette felt the same way as he. [5] Angelique fell obsessively in love with Barnabas, but Barnabas spurned her affection – an act that would have disastrous consequences in Barnabas' future. [6] Barnabas asked Josette to marry him and the two arranged for the wedding to take place at the family estate known as Collinwood (Note: In the future, this version of Collinwood will come to be known as the Old House). Barnabas returned to Collinsport to inform his family while Josette returned to her home in France to collect her belongings (and her family).

The Witch[edit | edit source]

In the winter of 1795, Barnabas met Victoria Winters. Through strange circumstances, Victoria had come to stay at Collinwood as governess to Barnabas' sister, Sarah. What Barnabas didn’t realize however, was that Victoria was actually a woman from the year 1967 who had traveled backwards through time as the result of a séance gone wrong. [7] Although some members of the Collins family suspected Victoria of being a witch, Barnabas was one of several Collins family members who actually liked the poor, time-lost girl.

Within a few days time, Josette and her family, the Countess Natalie du Prés and her brother Andre du Prés arrived at Collinwood. First, Josette's aunt, Countess Natalie du Prés arrived with her servant, Angelique. The Countess was quite unaware of the woman's indiscretions with her Barnabas. [8] Angelique pleaded with Barnabas to abandon Josette and marry her instead, but Barnabas was adamant and completely dismissed Angelique. [9] One of the Countess' favorite pastimes was reading the tarot and she saw that her niece was safe, as long as she was at sea, but the cards showed that once she was on land, a "wicked woman" would prove to be her enemy. Many people thought this was a reference to Victoria Winters, when it was, in fact, a reference to Angelique. Josette arrived safely soon after.

What Barnabas didn't know at this time, was that his jilted lover was actually a powerful witch. Enraged by his behavior, Angelique used her magic to choke Barnabas Collins, forcing him to fall gravely ill. [10][11] When this failed to force Barnabas to abandon Josette, Angelique used her power to make Josette fall in love with Jeremiah Collins. [12] She used the same magic on Jeremiah and before long, Josette abandoned Barnabas to marry his uncle instead. [13] Barnabas was furious and challenged Jeremiah to a duel. Angelique secretly supplied Barnabas with a good luck charm that protected him, and Barnabas dealt Jeremiah a fatal wound. [14][15][16]

After the death of Jeremiah, Angelique forced Barnabas into marrying her. [17] Joshua disowned Barnabas over this, but his mother, Naomi, knowing nothing of the nature of Barnabas' marriage and wanted nothing more than for Barnabas to be happy, gave him the Old House as a wedding gift, much to Joshua's consternation. [18] On their wedding night, Barnabas learned of Angelique’s true nature. He discovered that she was the secret cause of so much misery at Collinwood. Barnabas tried to kill Angelique, but she miraculously survived the gunshot wound. [19][20]

The Curse[edit | edit source]

Fearing for Josette's safety, Barnabas met with her and pleaded with her to leave Collinsport. He gave her a handcrafted music box and told her that he would meet her in Boston in a few days. [21][22] Angelique learned of this and tried to prevent Barnabas from returning to his lover. Barnabas shot Angelique in the chest, apparently killing her. With her final breaths, Angelique placed a curse upon Barnabas. A large bat flew into the parlor of Collinwood and bit him upon the throat. [23] Within days, Barnabas Collins died and rose from the grave as a vampire. [24] Joshua Collins decided to keep his son's death a secret, so he buried him in the secret room of the family mausoleum, fabricating the story that Barnabas had gone to England (which later proved very useful to Barnabas). To the few who knew that Barnabas was really dead, like Josette, he concocted the story that Barnabas had contracted The Plague and he did not want his death known. Angelique, who had survived the gunshot, tried to prevent his rising as a vampire by driving a wooden stake through his heart. She was too late, and he strangled her.

One of the first to discover Barnabas' secret was his little sister, Sarah. One evening, Sarah ran out into the cold, evening rain in search of Barnabas. The following day, she developed severe pneumonia and died soon after. [25] The death of Sarah Collins tormented Barnabas gravely, but little did he know that an even more traumatic event loomed on the horizon.

Barnabas tried to hide the knowledge of his resurrection from his love, Josette, out of fear of the vampiric lust for blood overtaking him, but he eventually succumbed to his inhuman nature and bit Josette, drinking some of her blood. [26] Josette became her vampire lover's thrall, and agreed to share his undead state. But before the lovers could be reunited, Angelique caused Josette to have a horrifying vision of herself as a blood-sucking ghoul. Josette could not live under the shadow of such terror, and so threw herself from the top of Widows' Hill onto the rocks below. [27] This single act represented the greatest tragedy in Barnabas Collins' life. Barnabas even went so far as to call her spirit back from the grave, but the shade of Josette told him she did not want to be with him, and showed him her hideous face to convince him to let her go back to the grave. [28]

After Josette[edit | edit source]

By 1796, Barnabas had continued to plague the town of Collinsport, feeding indiscriminately off of various women. Several people, including his own mother and father, learned about Barnabas' resurrection and his true nature. He made enemies as well, including the opportunistic Nathan Forbes, and the puritanical Reverend Trask.

Reverend Trask, convinced that Victoria Winters was the witch that had been plaguing Collinsport for the past winter, was determined to see her hang at the gallows. Barnabas Collins, aware of Angelique's true powers, knew that Vicki was innocent. He abducted Reverend Trask and forced him to write a letter proclaiming Victoria's innocence. After which, he sealed Trask up inside of a wall in the cellar of the Old House. [29] This event would have dire ramifications for Barnabas in both the 19th and 20th centuries.

Joshua Collins was horrified to see what had become of his son. However, he did not have the strength to end Barnabas’ life – even when Barnabas begged him to do so. At Barnabas' request, Joshua kept him secured in the tower room at the newly constructed Collinwood. However, his cousin, Millicent Collins and mother, Naomi both discovered Barnabas' great secret – a discovery that would lead to the insanity of one and the suicide of the other. [30][31] Joshua even went to the extraordinary lengths to study all he could about vampires, and with Countess DuPres, held a ceremony to summon assistance from the supernatural world. Bathia Mapes, a white witch, showed up at Collinwood and attempted to cure Barnabas, but the sudden appearance of Naomi Collins caused her to loose concentration and she was consumed by supernatural flames [32][33]

Once again, Barnabas pleaded with Joshua to end his life. Instead of killing him, Joshua had the loyal servant, Ben Stokes seal Barnabas within his coffin inside a secret antechamber in the Collins family mausoleum at Eagle Hill Cemetery. Joshua, Ben and Barnabas were the only ones still alive who were even aware of the existence of this hidden room. He secured the coffin with thick chains so that Barnabas would remain trapped for all time. [34] Later, Barnabas would travel back to 1796 and have a chance to redo the events which followed his mother's death. This time, Lt. Nathan Forbes brought Countess DuPres to the mausoleum to kill Barnabas, but he was stopped by Stokes, who killed Forbes and Countess DuPres, leaving he and Joshua Collins still the only remaining people who knew the Collins Family secret. Ben later recorded this information in a diary he took to his grave (literally) and Joshua passed the secret on to Daniel Collins, who then passed it to Edith Collins.

19th Century[edit | edit source]

Barnabas Collins spent the 19th century chained in his coffin. Only later when Barnabas traveled back to the past from 1969-1970 did he exist outside of his coffin in that century.

1840-1841[edit | edit source]

Following a disturbance in 1970 which lead to the destruction of Collinwood and the deaths of several family members, Julia Hoffman traveled back to 1840 via the Stairway into Time created by Quentin Collins I. When she arrived there, she released Barnabas from his coffin. Having never made it to 1967 where he met Julia, he did not recognize her and picked up where he left off when he was chained in the coffin in 1795.

Shortly after this, the Barnabas who existed in 1970 finally succeeded in possessing his 1840 body by use of the I Ching.

In 1840 Barnabas encountered the warlock Judah Zachary (working through Gerard Stiles' body) who was the so called 'son of Satan', and the one who originally bestowed powers on Angelique in 1692. After having her powers revoked by Judah, Angelique made an alliance with Barnabas and together they eventually defeated him, and in ,doing so averted the disaster in 1970. At this time Barnabas realizes that he truly loves Angelique and he professes this to her as she dies from a gunshot wound inflicted by Lamar Trask.

1897[edit | edit source]

In 1969, Barnabas entered an I Ching trance in an attempt to contact the ghost of Quentin Collins, who had been terrorizing the family and had forced them to leave Collinwood. In doing so, Barnabas found himself chained in his coffin in 1897. [35][36]

When the gypsy Sandor Rakosi discovered his coffin, Barnabas took control of him. He learned that Sandor and his wife, the fortune teller, Magda Rakosi had been squatting at the Old House. Barnabas impressed his will over both of them, forcing them to cooperate with his demands. He moved back into the Old House and his coffin was brought to the downstairs basement.

A handyman from Collinwood named Dirk Wilkins had discovered Barnabas' secret and told it to Jamison Collins. Barnabas attacked Dirk and brought him back to the Old House where he made the demands that Dirk needed to convince Jamison that everything he told him was a lie. He placed Dirk in the secret room behind the bookcase so that he could recover from his injuries, but Dirk escaped and became a vampire soon after. [37]

Due to Barnabas' presence in 1897, Count Andreas Petofi arrived in Collinsport and eventually had a portrait painted of Quentin which made Quentin immortal. Thus, Quentin's ghost was not able to exist in the future, since he was alive. Quentin and Barnabas struck up a great friendship which would last at least until 1970.

While in 1897, Barnabas encountered Lady Kitty Hampshire, neé Kitty Soames, who was the reincarnation of Josette. [38]Kitty was engaged to Edward Collins, but broke off the engagement to marry Barnabas for reasons she did not completely understand. One night, at the Old house, Kitty found herself putting on Josette's wedding dress and disappeared into Josetee's portrait, reemerging in 1795. Barnabas was able to follow her, and here he became the pawn of the Leviathans. [39]

20th Century[edit | edit source]

Resurrection[edit | edit source]

In 1967, a man named Willie Loomis broke into the Collins mausoleum in search of the fabled Collins family jewels. He discovered the secret antechamber in the rear of the Collins Family mausoleum and released the chains binding Barnabas to his coffin. Barnabas rose from his coffin and attacked Willie, turning him into his personal slave. [40]

Barnabas donned modern clothing and introduced himself to the current family living at Collinwood. He claimed to be a descendant of the original Barnabas Collins who moved to England to sire a European branch of the family in the late 1700s. Although everyone at Collinwood were astonished by the similarities between he and the likeness of his ancestor, no one felt that Barnabas was anything other than what he claimed to be – a distant cousin. [41][42]

With the permission of the head of Collinwood, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Barnabas moved into the Old House. He revealed that Willie Loomis was now working for him as his personal handyman and assigned him the gargantuan task of returning the Old House to its former glory. [43][44]

A new Josette[edit | edit source]

Maggie Evans was a waitress who lived in a seaside cottage Collinsport Inn with her widowed father Sam Evans, an artist. Her mother had passed away when Maggie was a little girl. Maggie's father was a constant source of worry to her, as he had a drinking problem and had never gotten over his feud with the Collins family.

Her life changed forever when she was bitten by Barnabas, who saw her as the image of his long lost Josette.. [45][46] As a result of her loss of blood, Collinsport physician, Dr. Woodard requested a blood transfusion to save her life. [47] Later, she was kidnapped by Barnabas, who tried to brainwash her into believing herself to be Josette. After attempting unsuccessfully to destroy Barnabas, Maggie was recaptured and locked in a secret room. There she discovered a little girl playing with a ball and singing "London Bridge". She learned this was the ghost of Sarah Collins, Barnabas' beloved sister, and they became friends; Sarah later helped Maggie to escape. [48]

After her escape, Dr. Woodard sent her to Windcliff Sanitarium, because she had lost her memory. [49] There, she was put into the care of Doctor Julia Hoffman. Doctors Woodard and Hoffman, together with Sam Evans and Joe Haskell, agreed to inform everyone in Collinsport that Maggie was dead, so that her mysterious captor would not seek her again. [50]

Friend and Confidante?[edit | edit source]

Doctor Hoffman soon learned that Maggie's disappearance involved the Collins family, and secretly brought her patient to the estate in effort to regain her memory. While doctor and patient were walking through the Collins family cemetery, Maggie was seen by Victoria Winters who believed her to be the ghost of Josette.

Doctor Hoffman found out what Barnabas was the kidnapper and that he was a vampire, but her love for him led her to try to help the vampire. She became one of Barnabas' confidants.

Maggie escaped Windcliff with the help of Sarah's ghost. The first place she turned up was the Blue Whale Pub. There, upon seeing Victoria Winters, Burke Devlin, and of course Barnabas Collins together, she collapsed. Maggie remembered large fragments of her missing time, including the little girl Sarah. Barnabas Collins, fearing exposure, convinced his friend Doctor Hoffman to erase the Maggie's memory of what he'd done to her through hypnosis. To Maggie, everything seemed fine after this. She was overjoyed to be reunited with her father and Joe.

Crazy Joe[edit | edit source]

An injured and mentally distraught Joe Haskell escaped from Josette's room. He found Barnabas napping in his chair downstairs and tried to strangle him with a curtain cord. Sarah Johnson arrived just in time and Joe, believing that he had killed Barnabas, fled from the house. He sought shelter at the Collins family mausoleum where he was discovered by Roger and Elizabeth, who brought him back to Collinwood to recuperate. When Barnabas revived, he commanded Mrs. Johnson to not contact the authorities, but she ultimately disobeyed him. (DS 614)

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • In the continuity of the original Dark Shadows television series, the witch Angelique Collins was responsible for turning Barnabas Collins into a vampire. In the movie House of Dark Shadows, the origin of his vampire curse is never provided. In one scene, Barnabas says, "When they put this curse upon me,", suggesting that more than one person was responsible for Barnabas' condition. It is possible that Barnabas is referring to the Leviathans as the originators of his curse in this timeline, as these creatures had recently been used on the television series to restore the vampire curse to Barnabas.
  • Before casting Jonathan Frid, actor Burt Convy was considered for the role of Barnabas Collins.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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