The Demeter is a fictional ship featured in the 1897 novel Dracula by author Bram Stoker. It has also been featured in various adaptations of Stoker's novel. The Demeter was a Russian sailing vessel responsible for bringing the vampire count Dracula from his homeland in Wallachia to the seaside town of Whitby in England. The boat maintained a skeleton crew which consisted of just the captain, two officers and five crewmen.
The final voyage of the Demeter took place from July-August of 1893. Dracula arranged passage for several boxes of cargo to be shipped. The captain and crew of the vessel had no idea that they were actually transporting the slumbering vampire himself inside of his coffin. The Demeter set out from Varna on July 6th after taking in supplies of silver sand and boxes of earth. By July 16th, the first mate - Petrofsky, mysteriously disappeared. Nobody could explain his absence, but the rest of the crew were quite shaken.
On July 24th, the ship reached the Bay of Biscay. By this point, another crewman turned up missing. The remaining seamen searched the cargo hold, but found nothing but boxes of earth. The second mate was the next to go and was discovered missing on July 29th. The crew began to suspect that a presence of evil was on board the ship. By the end of the month, only the captain and one mate remained. On August 1st, the captain searched for port, but the ship was bogged down in a mysterious fog bank. The remaining mate began to go insane. On August 3rd, the fog had still not let up and the mate's mental state worsened. Before the captain could take action to calm the man down, the mate threw himself into the sea. The captain could not maintain the sanctity of the ship by himself. He bound his arms to the wheel and held fast to a crucifix.
The ship eventually drifted into Whitby Harbor. The captain was found dead at the wheel - a look of horror etched upon his face. The cargo belonging to Count Dracula. Witnesses claimed to have seen a large wolf running from the ship. The ship's log had been recovered and analyzed and from there, local authorities were able to learn about the story of the Demeter.
- In the original novel, Dracula, the journey of the Demeter took place in 1893. In the 1992 film adaptation of Dracula, the voyage took place in 1897, which is the year in which the novel was first published. The date indicated on the captain's log in the film is June 27th, 1897.
- The Demeter also appeared in the 1979 film adaptation of Dracula. In this film, the ship likewise transported Count Dracula from Transylvania to England.