Happy Sunday and Standard Time (5 Nov)

Daylight Savings Time ended at 2am this morning. If you did not set your clock back one hour, now is the time to set your clocks back. On an old episode of Match Game, one of the panelists forgot to do this and this didn’t show up when they began taping. And it can become terribly embarrassing to admit to an employer or to a school that you forgot to reset your clocks.

The debate over changing how we set the hours in a day has been going on for a long time. In olden times, people pretty much went by the sun and its position in the sky. Then as we got more sophisticated, we developed devices that measured how time passed during the day. To help people who did not have such devices, churches or government buildings rang bells hourly. Ships had bells that chimed off the watch so the crews knew exactly what time it was. The standardization of time was encouraged by railroads and steamships that needed to have accurate schedules for trains to run. That led to international standards being developed and time zones created.

Most were fine with standard time, which simply put is when the sun comes up and goes down according to the astronomical calendar. That generally means more sunlight in spring and summer and less sun in the autumn and winter. It was during World War I that the first use of what is called Daylight Savings Time. Germany introduced to conserve fuel by extending the clock by one hour. The US introduced it as well in 1918 which had it begin in March 1918 and end in October. Once the war was over though, the law was repealed. Daylight Savings was unpopular in many areas (mostly rural). Some cities kept though (like New York City). Nationwide Daylight Savings was reintroduced in 1942 but made year-round during the war. After the war, many states adopted the use of Daylight Savings as summer Daylight Savings Time. Not all did though, which led to confusion with transportation timetables. Pressure was brought to bear on the federal government to act.

In 1966 the Uniform Time Act was enacted imposing nationally both Standard and Daylight Savings Time. Starting in 1967, clocks were advanced one hour on the last Sunday in April and fell back one hour on the last Sunday in October. States were given the option whether to change their clocks or not. Daylight Savings was once again imposed nationally during the Arab Oil Embargo between 1973-1975. It started out popular but quickly faded. My mother didn’t like it since mornings were very dark in the winter during this time. Its popularity dropped and it came to an end. In 2007 the start of Daylight Savings was changed to starting on the second Sunday in March and ending on the first Sunday in November. The downside was and still is that some areas have sunrise during Daylight Savings as late as 8:30 am.

Various states and groups have sought for the reintroduction of national Daylight Savings Time to avoid the changing of the clocks. Many cite the hassles and the fact it causes problems adjusting to changing forward and back. States passed laws in support of the change. In 2022 the U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act to impose Daylight Savings nationally. It went to the House of Representatives but a lot of groups protested the change and it was not put to a vote so it ended up dying at the end of the legislative session. I think the simple way was the easiest. Just stay on standard time year round and do not mess with it.

Autumn is in full splendor if you live in an area where the trees change colors allowing for some breathtaking scenes. Alas if you live in an area that has lots of evergreen trees, palms, and assorted others those annual changes are not seen much accept in areas where those trees grow. Fortunately the Internet does allow us to travel and see the colors in many areas.

Have a nice Sunday everyone.

Fall by Lisa Runnels(publicdomainpictures.net)


Remembering History:Carter Finds Door To King Tut’s Tomb (4 Nov 1922)

The Mask of Tutankhamun; c.?1327 BC
Image: Roland Unger (Wikimedia)

On 4 November 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter found steps near the entrance of King Ramses IV in the Valley of the Kings. By this time many of the ancient Egyptian tombs had been discovered but not the little-known King Tutankhamen, who died at age 18. The discovery of the steps would lead Carter and his fellow archaeologist Lord Carnarvon to enter the interior chambers of the tomb finding them intact. It would start a large excavation process in which Carter explored the four-room tomb over several years and cataloguing its contents. The best known was a stone sarcophagus containing three coffins nested within each other. Inside the final coffin (made of solid gold), was Tutankhamen’s mummy preserved for over 3,000 years. Since many royal tombs had been looted in the past, finding an intact tomb and its mummy was a rare archaeological find. The Cairo Museum houses the treasures from the tomb.


“Entrance to King Tut’s Tomb Discovered.” HISTORY, 4 Mar. 2010, www.history.com/this-day-in-history/entrance-to-king-tuts-tomb-discovered.

Dorman, Peter F. “Tutankhamun | Biography, Tomb, Mummy, Mask, and Facts.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 3 Nov. 2023, www.britannica.com/biography/Tutankhamun.


Welcome to November

Le Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry-November
Jean Colombe (1430–1493)
Public Domain (Wikimedia)

November is the last month of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, and the last month of Spring in the Southern. The name November comes from the Latin novem, which means nine. This was its position on the old Roman calendar as that calendar only had ten months. The name remained despite it becoming the 11th month of the newer Julian and later Gregorian calendars. Daylight Savings Time, if it has not come to an end already, ends for everyone in the Northern in November. The annual Leonid Meteor Shower is usually around November 17-18. The first full moon of November is often called the Beaver Moon since many beavers build their dams around this time. In the United States, the major holiday is Thanksgiving celebrated on the last Thursday of the month.

The symbols for November are the topaz (birthstone that symbolizes friendship), and its flower is the chrysanthemum.

Remembering History: Balfour Declaration (2 Nov 1917)

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour 1902
Photo: George Charles Beresford (1864–1938)
National Photo Gallery (UK), id number x8451
Public Domain US

A letter written by Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour on 2 Nov 1917 to Baron Walter Rothschild expressing Britain’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine would lead to the Balfour Declaration and setting the stage for the eventual creation of the state of Israel. World War I was in a stalemate and disagreements between the allies over the course of the war were growing. Efforts to defeat Turkey had also failed thus far. Russia was a big issue as well with the Czar being toppled. The current leadership kept the war against Germany against growing opposition to it. The revelation of the Zimmerman Telegram in March 1917 finally prompted the United States to declare war on Germany but their troops were still very far off.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George publicly supported Zionism (a movement to support the creation of a Jewish state). Lloyd George was supported by other leaders and hoped that such a formal declaration would gain support from Jewish supporters in neutral countries. And it was hoped gain support both in Russia and the United States. Lloyd George also knew that after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the British would dominate Palestine and that was crucial to Britain. It was an important land bridge between India and Egypt, a post-war goal they wanted to control. So, establishing a Zionist state there under their protection would accomplish this goal.

It was not without opposition that held it up. Obviously, anti-Semites opposed it because they hated the Jews and had no desire to give them any state of their own. Some Jews opposed it as threatening the status of Jews in both Europe and the United States. There were also fears of violence against the Jews being encouraged by this declaration. However, the declaration did get the approval for France, Italy, the United States, and even the Vatican. The letter sent to Baron Rothschild stated:

His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.


The Treaty of Versailles (1919) established a mandate system. Britain was temporarily given administration of Palestine and to work with both Jewish and Arab inhabitants in that area. Many Arabs there and elsewhere were not happy with the idea of a Jewish state and felt cheated by the British who had promised them their own nations. As the Jewish population increased, violence between Jews and Arabs increased. This led to instability and delays in establishing a Jewish state. In the aftermath of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust revealed, international support for Zionism led to the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948. However, there are those that oppose the Balfour Declaration to this day and seek its recission.


“Balfour Declaration.” HISTORY, 14 Dec. 2017, www.history.com/topics/middle-east/balfour-declaration.

“Text of the Balfour Declaration.” Copyright 2023, www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/text-of-the-balfour-declaration.

Domnitch, Larry. “Reflections on the Balfour Declaration.” The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com, 2 Nov. 2021

Balfour Declaration Books on Amazon

All Souls Day

All Souls’ Day by Jakub Schikaneder(1855-1924)
National Gallery Prague
Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

All Souls’ Day is to commemorate the faithful dead and is celebrated by special mass by Catholics and some Christian denominations (most Protestant churches do not observe it). Catholics believe there are three places souls will go: heaven, purgatory, or hell. Purgatory is the place many souls end up as they have lesser sins and are not in a state of grace. Purgatory is an essential stage where souls are cleansed in preparation to go to heaven. Unlike hell, where the fire is for punishment, purgatory is a place for purification and repose. We pray that the souls of our loved ones, friends, and others will be allowed to leave and enter heaven on this day. We especially pray for those who have no one to pray for them.

All Souls Day is not to be confused Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) which does remember friends and family who have died but is not a Catholic or Christian religious event(though it takes place from 31 Oct through 2 Nov which coincides with Halloween, All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day).

Suggested Reading

Rutler, George William. 2014. Hints of Heaven: The Parables of Christ & What They Mean for You. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press.

Van Den Aardweg, Gerard JM. 2009. Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages, and Warnings from Purgatory. Charlotte NC: Tan Books.

Thigpen, Paul. 2019. Saints and Hell, and Other Catholic Witnesses to the Fate of the Damned. Charlotte NC: Tan Books.

Remembering History: The Lisbon Earthquake of 1755(1 Nov 1755)

Copper engraving from 1755 showing the catastrophe of the day when the earthquakes hit, the tsunami, and the fires.
Unknown author
Public domain via Wikimedia Commons


Portugal was a prosperous country in the 18th century. It had acquired immense wealth thanks to its colony in Brazil and its trade in Asia. Lisbon had become a bustling center of trade and one of the busiest ports in the Atlantic. Roughly 10 percent of its population lived in Lisbon and many had become wealthy off the trade generated in gold and diamonds. It would all change on All Saints Day in 1755.

Around 9:40 am three tremors struck Lisbon and one of them is thought to have been 8.0. The shaking was so violent that it was felt in Morocco. The earthquakes caused considerable damage but something far worse occurred. A 20-foot tsunami generated by the earthquakes raced ashore knocking down everything in its path. Since it was All Saints Day many were in churches where candles were lit. When the earthquakes hit, churches and buildings were toppled killing many right away and injuring scores others. The lit candles then ignited fires and were fanned by the winds. The fires would burn for days, and aftershocks would cause more damage and death,

Most of the destruction in Lisbon took place along the Tagus River and the center of the city. The destruction took with it priceless works of art and homes of both the wealthy and the poor. Other areas of Portugal were affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Lisbon saw great cathedrals toppled along with the grand library and the royal palace. Those who had fled down to the docklands saw water had retreated. Some went into the shallow water to try to retrieve treasure from sunken ships not knowing the great danger they were in. When the tsunami hit, everyone in docklands were swept away and perished. Many who had made it out of the city after the earthquake or after the tsunami would never return. Great works of art, literature and prized buildings for their architecture were all gone.

It was a stunning blow to Portugal and the city had to be rebuilt from scratch. 85% percent of the infrastructure was gone. The old city had been built in medieval times with narrow streets and confusing layout. The Marquis of Pombal, the prime minister, was given the task of rebuilding Lisbon. Lisbon would be modeled on French architectural trends of the time that called for wider streets, squares, and avenues. Using the military as a guide, buildings were put up in manner followed an exact pattern making it prefabricated for its time. And they made sure the buildings were made strong so as not to collapse from an earthquake again. The earthquake greatly affected the economy of Portugal that took a while to recover. While price controls were enacted, there were still volatile swings in prices. If there was an upside, construction workers got paid well for their efforts (comparative to what they made before the catastrophe). Also, the economy was reformed in the process making the country less dependent on Great Britain.

The Marquis of Pombal sent out a survey to all local parishes asking them for information about what happened. He was the first person to do this and the preserved detailed responses he got back are a wealth of information as to how much the earthquake did in many areas of the country. This has allowed a scientific reconstruction of the earthquake (and tsunami as well) allowing scientists to understand more fully what these natural forces can do. In effect, Pombal began the science of seismology, the collecting of data about such events.

Today if you visit Lisbon, you can see the effects of the reconstruction and how its people adapted to this massive reconstruction. Rick Steves covers it in his travel to Lisbon. Old world charm with very modern touches.


Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 | Great Lisbon Quake, Tsunami and Fire Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 Oct. 2023, www.britannica.com/event/Lisbon-earthquake-of-1755.

Earthquake Takes Heavy Toll on Lisbon. HISTORY, 13 Nov. 2009, www.history.com/this-day-in-history/earthquake-takes-heavy-toll-on-lisbon.

Cohen, Isabel. “The Lisbon Earthquake of 1755: The Day the World Was Shaken.” bePortugal, 26 Sept. 2019, beportugal.com/lisbon-earthquake.

Wikipedia contributors. “1755 Lisbon Earthquake.” Wikipedia, 23 Oct. 2023, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1755_Lisbon_earthquake.

All Saints Day

The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs (about 1423-24)
Fra Angelico (circa 1395–1455)
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

All Saints’ Day (Solemnity of All Saints, All Hallows, Hallowmas or All Saints’)is celebrated on 1 November by most Western Christians and is to honor all saints known and unknown. In some Catholic countries, it is a holiday. It is a holy day of obligation for most Catholics except when it falls on a Saturday or Monday. In that case it is celebrated on Sunday. Eastern Orthodox is celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost and is called All Saints’ Sunday.

Pope Boniface IV formally started All Saints’ Day on May 13, 609 AD. He also established All Souls’ Day to follow All Saints Day. Pope Gregory III (731-741 AD) moved it to 1 November as that was the day the foundation of a new chapel (St. Peter’s Basilica) was being laid. He wanted to dedicate the new chapel to All Saints. Halloween then became part of a three-day period called ‘Days of the Dead” which it is the first day of (the vigil), then followed by All Saints and then by All Souls (those in purgatory). During the reign of Pope Gregory IV (82y-844 AD), he decided to make the feast of All Saints (just celebrated in Rome at that point) universal meaning all dioceses had to observe it.

All Saints  Day is a public holiday in Ireland where all schools, businesses and government is closed.

Halloween Titanic News

The Grand Staircase of the RMS Olympic
Photo:Public Domain (Wikipedia)

Titanic Exhibition at Guildhall Is Rare and Fascinating
Malvern Gazette, 29 Oct. 2023

The sell-out Titanic Exhibition, which runs until November 4, drew in large crowds at Worcester Guildhall on the city’s High Street where they had a chance to get close to unusual objects from survivors and from the wreck itself. Crowds have been left spellbound by the haunting photographs and artefacts at the exhibition, which opened on Wednesday, telling her story from her beginning to her tragic end.


S.S. Keewatin 2007
Public Domain (via Wikipedia)

Titanic-era Steamship Arrives at New Home in Kingston
CBC, 29 Oct. 2023

One of the world’s largest remaining Edwardian steamships, the S.S. Keewatin, has arrived at its new home at a museum in Kingston, Ont., after sailing through the Great Lakes from Georgian Bay near Barrie. The vessel is older than the Titanic. It had been docked at Port McNicoll in Georgian Bay, which was once a vital stop along a Canadian Pacific Railway shipping route. The museum secured a heritage designation for the Keewatin and will fund about $2 million in major repairs. Later on, Keewatin will open as a museum exhibit in a dry dock.

Titanic Related Ghost Story

Michael Imperioli relates in Celebrity Ghost Stories of encountering a ghost in an old New York hotel. The ghost was of a woman who lost her fiancé on the Titanic. You can watch it and other ghost stories on  on YouTube below.




HALLOWEEN-What It Originally Meant

Halloween Decoration in Fall
Vera Kratochvil

(Note:This has been edited and rewritten in some parts for the 2023 edition. ]

October 31st is set aside as Halloween. It is not an official holiday (meaning government shuts down, banks closed, and many professional offices closed) but is celebrated nearly as one these days. There are really two separate Halloweens, one is secular and the other religious. The secular one most people easily understand. Kids dress up in silly or scary masks and go to homes asking for candy by yelling “trick or treat” to those who open their doors. Pumpkins have become associated with the day along with all kinds of scary decorations as well. Horror movies get shown during this time. Halloween has a religious meaning to that goes back to how the Catholic Church set the day up.

The original meaning of Halloween was All Hallows Eve that got contracted over time to Halloween. All Hallows Eve is the vigil of All Saints Day, a solemnity (meaning a major feast in the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar). All Saints Day honors all the saints we know by name and any saint in heaven whose name is unknown to us. Originally this feast was celebrated on 13 May, but Pope Gregory III (731-741 AD) moved it to 1 November as that was the day the foundation of a new chapel (St. Peter’s Basilica) was being laid. He wanted to dedicate the new chapel to All Saints. Halloween then became part of a three-day period called ‘Days of the Dead” which it is the first day of (the vigil), then followed by All Saints and then by All Souls (those in purgatory).

All Souls’ Day by Jakub Schikaneder(1855-1924)
National Gallery Prague
Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

During the reign of Pope Gregory IV (827-844 AD), he decided to make the feast of All Saints (just celebrated in Rome at that point) universal meaning all dioceses had to observe it. This meant that people with their own cultures would celebrate in their own ways. Since it was customary to have vigils before a major feast day, there was nothing unusual in this. In celebrating these particular holy days, we are reminded of heaven and hell. It reminds us that we have choices to make in this life that can lead to one of two outcomes: heaven or hell. By striving to live good lives by following God’s teachings, we want to go to heaven rather than the other place.

The roots of Halloween thus are not founded in any pagan celebration (such as Samhain or Druid festivals), and it is just coincidence that it occurs during the same time frame. If you study what those festivals were about, they had nothing to do with Christianity and followed a different belief system. Samhain, perhaps the best known, was a harvest festival in Scotland to celebrate the end of the harvest and to prepare for the coming of winter. It was a common belief (and not limited to Scotland, Ireland, or England) that this particular time of year where the transition from light to dark occurred meant also when evil spirits would abound to cause trouble. So they would offer them food at their tables for these invisible guests. Mischief Night grew out of this as well where you would do pranks on your neighbors.

Communal eating during this time meant lots of shared foods given out. The Scottish Halloween Cake was popular was hidden inside was a special prize of three trinkets. Later others celebrating All Souls Day would hand out pastries to those who came to console them on family who had passed away and that to would also add to the idea of handing out food during this time. Many wore masks to cover their faces so evil spirits would not see them. As the celebration of Samhain and others like it faded with the conversion to Christianity, some of the old rituals of having harvest festivals, wearing masks, and asking for food would continue. Creating lanterns too out of turnips and other things would continue. The Irish tradition of the Jack O’ Lantern was imported to the US and, thanks to the wonderful availability of pumpkins (and easier to carve than turnips) became a symbol for Halloween that many adopted as well.

Protestants had a different take on Halloween and All Saint’s and All Soul’s Day. The argument (and there are several different ones, but this is the most basic) is that the Catholic church merely taken over these pagan festivals and incorporated them into the church by renaming them. More zealous Protestant denominations like the Puritans banned Halloween (along with Christmas and Easter) saying they were pagan. In places where such views were strongly held (such as in the northeast of the U.S. or in England when the Puritans were in charge), it had the full power of the state to impose the restrictions. As time went out, and without many Catholics around to push back (in countries like England they were forbidden to practice and adherents who failed to submit to the new Protestant order imprisoned or executed), this became a dominant view of what Halloween was.

The religious origins of Halloween were overtaken and completely secularized as a result.

What the Protestants who hated Halloween didn’t count on was the many peoples who still practiced forms of Halloween immigrating to the U.S. While they had strict controls in New England, many simply landed in other areas where it was allowed and even embraced. The old English and Scottish custom of knocking on doors for Soul Cakes and promising to pray for the departed resumed along with wearing costumes. Likewise, the old customs of holding harvest festivals where people would gather, eat food, and share stories of old would resurrect. Kids would bob for apples, there would be spooky tales told, but most of all it was just a fun time. Halloween, far from being made extinct by like the Puritans, came back. And when the Puritans and those that shared their views fell out of favor and power in England, it came back (though sadly some traditions would remain more secular as a result).

Halloween then became a time of festivity, trick or treating, and putting on funny or sometimes scary outfits. The idea of Halloween parades would come about as a result of trying to curtail some of them more unpleasant sides of Halloween, namely Mischief Night pranks that sometimes got out of hand. Using toilet paper to cover trees, eggs to pelt cars and people, and sometimes more dangerous ones (like a flaming bag of dog poop on a porch) led to the creation of more ways to channel that energy.

Halloween candy, once a small, became national as did pumpkins. No longer were pumpkins just for pumpkin pie but many wanted them for decoration as well. And competition would emerge as to who could grow the biggest one of all. And of course, the selling of costumes and holiday decorations would explode as well. From costumes to candy, pumpkins to Halloween cakes, Halloween became an unofficial but nationally practice holiday that included kids as well as adults. And let us not forget the various Haunted Houses, haunted hayrides, and people decorating their houses in a wide variety of decorations that no doubt future people will ask “what the heck?”

There is a darker side to Halloween practiced by those who want to glorify violence, horror, and sexuality. Some use the time to dabble in such things as fortune telling, seances, using Ouija boards, or even ghost hunting. All of those things most pagans wanted to avoid during their ancient festivals during this time. At best they wanted to placate spirits and avoid the evil ones as much as they could. Yet now many decide to do these things thinking they are harmless, but many find out it is not at all like they thought it would be. This is why people now are trying to reclaim Halloween to make it less dark and more family-friendly rather than just people dressed up as zombies or worse dressed up in some sexually explicit costumes.

Today you see more families doing more things together such as going to haunted hayrides or holding Halloween parties where kids can get treats and have fun as well. During Covid lockdowns, such celebrations were limited but coming back as is trick or treating. Many though are opting to also take the time to revisit what the original Halloween was all about. This is perhaps a natural outgrowth of the overhyping and commercialism of Halloween. The higher costs of many items such as candy as made people revisit some classics from the past such as popcorn, roasted pumpkin seeds, baking cookies, and even making your own candy. It is not as hard as you might think.

While the original meaning of Halloween has been secularized for a long time (like Christmas was before it got its resurgence in the 19th century), it is starting to move away from some of the more excessive parts. And for some, the day does include just a few prayers for the two days of the dead that are to come.

Suggested Reading

Rossetti, Msgr Stephen. Diary of an American Exorcist: Demons, Possession, and the Modern-Day Battle Against Ancient Evil. Sophia, 2021.

Van Den Aardweg, Gerard J. M. Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages, and Warnings From Purgatory. Tan Books, 2009.

Baker, Robert Allen and Joe Nickell. Missing Pieces: How to Investigate Ghosts, UFO’s Psychics, & Other Mysteries. Prometheus Books, 1992

Thigpen, Paul. Saints and Hell, and Other Catholic Witnesses to the Fate of the Damned. Tan Books, 2019


Dracula (1931)

1931 theatrical release poster. This is one of several styles used to promote the movie.
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Todd Browning’s Dracula is considered a classic movie and is praised for its acting and the atmosphere it connotes. It was not the first movie adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel. Nosferatu was the first but since it was made without permission, was yanked from the theaters, and disappeared for a long time. That movie altered the story in keyways hoping to make it just different enough to pass muster. The 1931 movie borrowed from the stage version, a bit from the book, and a bit from the Nosferatu movie. While the story differs from the book, it makes up for it with great acting and made Bela Lugosi (who had played Dracula on stage) a household name.

For its time, Dracula was quite scary. Unlike today where blood and guts are shown in horror movies (and television or streaming ones as well), it was all about atmosphere to relay the horror of Dracula. The story opens with Renfield (not Jonathan Harker) on his way to meet with Count Dracula. He is warned by people to wait until the next day but says he must go. He is told about how they believe vampires live in that castle, which he scoffs at. He is given a crucifix to protect him. At Borgo Pass he is quickly tossed out with his baggage and the carriage speeds away. A carriage awaits him to take him to Castle Dracula. On the way he leans out and sees a large bat flying where the driver ought to be. When he gets to the castle, the door opens, and we see Dracula walking down the stairs to greet him. The entry is pretty much in ruin, unlike the book, and there is no greeting like the book where he is welcomed. An interesting spooky part is a large spider web that covers one part of the stairs. Dracula passes through it with no issue, but Renfield has to cut through it, and we see a large spider nearby. Dracula makes a comment about the spider living off blood and notes blood is life. The interesting scene (not the in book either) conveys that Dracula is a supernatural being.

After having his meal and showing Dracula the paperwork on Carfax Abbey, he retires to his room but not before cutting his finger and Dracula looking at him in a terrible way. In his room after opening the window, he falls to the ground. Dracula’s brides are there but are sent away by Dracula. The scene shifts to the Demeter where a crazed Renfield is serving his master and is found after the ship is boarded to find the crew dead. He is sent to a sanitarium run by Dr. Seward. We see Dracula attack a young girl before going to the theatre where he meets Dr. Seward, Jonathan Harker and his fiancée Mina Murray, and Lucy Westenra. That night he attacks Lucy while she is sleeping. We shift to what appears to be a medical examination of Lucy by Van Helsing noting that despite transfusions she dies. And the curious marks on her neck get his attention as well.

Meanwhile Renfield’s fascination with consuming flies and then spiders get Van Helsing’s attention. Renfeld wants to be sent away so his cries will not affect Mina. When Van Helsing shows him wolfsbane and how he fears it, he notes it is used to ward off vampires. Van Helsing in a meeting with Seward and others believes a vampire is at work. Meanwhile Dracula starts feeding on Mina causing her to relate strange dreams and her being fatigued. Dracula, who met them at the theatre, shows up. And it is here that Van Helsing’s suspicion that a vampire is about is confirmed. Dracula casts no reflection in the mirror of the cigarette box. Later when Van Helsing opens it in from of him, Dracula quickly tosses it away and for a moment we see his true face. After he regains control, he asks for pardon and departs. Renfield later relates he allowed Dracula to enter the sanitarium as he promised him lots of rats. Dracula returns later to confront Van Helsing by saying Mina is now his and for Van Helsing to return to his own country. Dracula tries to hypnotize him but fails. And Van Helsing uses a crucifix to force Dracula to retreat.

By now Mina knows about Dracula’ biting her and realizes her fate. She tells Jonathan that their love is finished. A vampire bat looms overhead, and she tries attacking Jonathan, but fails. Mina is being protected by wolfsbane around her neck and other protections, but Dracula uses hypnotism to get the maid to remove then and takes Mina. Van Helsing and Harker see Renfield escape and heading towards Carfax Abbey. Dracula believes he led them there and kills him. Van Helsing and Harker search the abbey and Harker finds Mina. Meanwhile Van Helsing finds Dracula in his coffin and kills him (offscreen). Mina then returns to normal, and the movie ends with Dracula dead and Mina free of his control.

The movie is now considered a classic and with good reason. While the story deviated substantially from the source material, it makes up for it with great acting and atmosphere that modern day horror movies fail to convey. And it became a template for vampire movies that would come after it (either made by Universal or by others later). Most vampire movies (with few exceptions) hue to the dusk to dawn nature of the vampire though, in the actual book, Dracula is free to move about during the day. However, the sun limits his abilities, and he has to stay in whatever form he is until sunset. Reviewers were shocked when Francis Ford Coppola had Dracula walking around by day in London in his movie. Had they read the book, they would not have been.

There were subsequent sequels to Dracula by Universal but none of them (except one- Abbott & Costello Meets Frankenstein 1948) had Bela Lugosi in them. After the movie, Lugosi sought to distance himself from the role believing he would be typecast. He did star in many movies with Boris Karloff but failed to grow beyond mad scientist type roles due his thick Hungarian accent. He was diagnosed with sciatic neuritis and became addicted to the prescribed drugs morphine and methadone. The drug dependence and his alcoholism contributed to him not getting major acting roles after 1948 relegating him to low-budget movies like Ed Wood’s Plan Nine from Outer Space (1957) which he died before it came out.

Bela Lugosi died of a heart attack on 16 August 1956 which occurred when he took a nap. His wife and daughter decided to bury him with his Dracula cape and cloak. Some later said he didn’t want that, but his son confirmed it was a decision that both he and his mother made consistent with his wishes. He was nearly broke at the time and his family could not afford his funeral. Frank Sinatra quietly paid the expenses for it. He is buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.


Ebert, Roger. “Dracula Movie Review &Amp; Film Summary (1931) | Roger Ebert.” Roger Ebert, 19 Sept. 1999, www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-dracula-1931.

Pfeiffer, Lee. “Dracula | Tod Browning’s Horror Film Classic, Bela Lugosi [1931].” Encyclopedia Britannica, 29 Sept. 2023, www.britannica.com/topic/Dracula-film.

Fear: The Home Of Horror. “Dracula (1931) Original Trailer | Classic Monsters.” YouTube, 31 Oct. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSPNLK1wWaU.


Titanic, historic ship, and general history news.