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Barnabas Collins is a 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.
Barnabas Collins was born the son of Joshua and Naomi Collins in 1770 (1012). 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 Collins and Daniel Collins. As a child, Barnabas had developed a crush on his uncle's first wife, Laura Stockbridge Collins (760), who died suddenly in 1785 (741) (not knowing at the time that she was a Phoenix).
In the early 1790s, Barnabas traveled to the island of Martinique where he met Josette DuPres. The two instantly fell in love. During their courtship however, Barnabas had a brief affair with Josette’s maidservant, Angelique Bouchard because he was not certain that Josette felt the same way as he (368/369). Angelique fell obsessively in love with Barnabas, but Barnabas spurned her affection – an act that would have disastrous consequences in Barnabas' future (368/369). 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 family.
In the winter of 1795, Barnabas met Victoria Winters, who travelled back in time via a séance and traded places with Phyllis Wick, a young lady about to arrive at Collinwood to be the governess of Barnabas’ sister, Sarah. The fantastic time-space transposition occured at the moment of an unfortunate carriage crash transporting Miss Wick to Collinwood. Wick was simultaneously sent to 1967 Collinwood, where time literally stopped during the séance. What Barnabas or any of the Collins family didn't realize is that Victoria was from the year 1967 (366). Although some members of the Collins family would later suspect Victoria of being a witch, Barnabas was one of several Collins family members who actually liked this confused and mysterious girl and her fantastic claims of being from the future. Unable to make logical sense of the present circumstances, Victoria was nevertheless installed as Sarah's governess by the family patriarch, Joshua Collins.
Within a few days time, Josette and her family, the Countess Natalie DuPres and her brother Andre DuPres arrived at Collinwood. First, Josette's aunt, Countess Natalie DuPres arrived with her servant, Angelique. The Countess was quite unaware of the woman's indiscretions with her Barnabas (368/369). Angelique pleaded with Barnabas to abandon Josette and marry her instead, but Barnabas was adamant and completely dismissed Angelique (368/369). 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 (370-371). When this failed to force Barnabas to abandon Josette, Angelique used her power to make Josette fall in love with Jeremiah Collins (374). She used the same magic on Jeremiah and before long, Josette abandoned Barnabas to marry his uncle instead (382). 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 (383-384, 391).
After the death of Jeremiah, Sarah fell mysteriously ill. Angelique claimed to know a "herbal" remedy for her illness and used this to coerce Barnabas into marrying her (397). 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 (395), much to Joshua's consternation. 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. Believing she was dying, however, she cursed him, telling him that he would never rest and that whomever loved him would die. A large bat then attacked him (405). Despite desperate efforts to save him - including by a repentant Angelique - Barnabas soon died of what his doctor thought was plague (409).
Secretly buried in a hidden room of the family mausoleum at Eagle Hill Cemetery on his father's orders because of this belief, Barnabas woke to find Angelique about to drive a stake through his heart. After she confirmed that he had become one of the living dead who could only walk at night, he remembered the other part of the curse - that all who loved him would die. Thinking Angelique wanted to get rid of the curse because she knew she would be its first victim, strangled her. However, after attacking his first victim (an unknown villager) Barnabas began to regret killing his wife, wishing she had managed to destroy him instead (411).
By 1796, Barnabas continued to plague the town of Collinsport, feeding indiscriminately off 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 who had been plaguing Collinsport over the past winter, was determined to see her hang at the gallows. Barnabas, 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, before sealing him up inside a wall in the cellar of the Old House (442). 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 the former and the suicide of the latter (457, 459). 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 (449) and attempted to cure Barnabas, but the sudden appearance of Naomi Collins caused her to lose concentration and she was consumed by supernatural flames (451).
Once again, Barnabas pleaded with Joshua to destroy him. Instead of killing him, Joshua had his loyal servant Ben Stokes seal Barnabas within his coffin in the secret room of the Collins family mausoleum. Joshua, Ben and Barnabas were the only ones still alive who were even aware of the existence of this hidden room, created to hide the family fortune during the Revolutionary War. He put a cross on the inside lid and secured the coffin with thick chains so that Barnabas would remain trapped for all time (460).
Later, Barnabas would travel back to 1796 and have a chance to redo the events which followed his mother's death. This time Nathan Forbes brought Countess DuPres to the mausoleum to kill Barnabas, but he was stopped by Stokes, who killed both Forbes and the Countess, leaving himself 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 (quite literally) and Joshua passed the secret on to Daniel Collins, who then passed it to Edith Collins. The family secret went no further, as a time-travelling Barnabas arrived as Edith was dying and was the only one who heard her say it; unsurprisingly, he kept quiet.
Following a disturbance in 1970 which led 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 Zachery (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 realized that he truly loved Angelique and he professed this to her, but she died from a gunshot wound inflicted by Lamar Trask without hearing his eleventh hour declaration.
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 (700, 701). 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 had never died in the first place. Quentin and Barnabas struck up a great friendship which would last at least until 1970.
While in 1897, Barnabas encountered Lady Kitty Hampshire, née Soames, who was the reincarnation of Josette (844). 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 Josette's portrait, reemerging in 1795. Barnabas was able to follow her, and here he became the pawn of the Leviathans (886).
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' hand rose from the coffin and attacked Willie (210).
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, said the family history, 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 come to visit his relatives after his own branch of the family died out (211-212). This was in fact the truth (Daniel Collins was Barnabas' cousin, not a sibling); his direct line really had died out - he simply neglected to say just when it had happened.
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 (220-221)
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 (227), who saw her as the image of his long lost Josette (221). As a result of her loss of blood, Collinsport physician, Dr Woodard requested a blood transfusion to save her life (231). Later she was kidnapped by Barnabas, who tried (unsuccessfully) to brainwash her into believing herself to be Josette, intending to eventually transform her into his vampiric 'bride'. After attempting (and failing) to destroy Barnabas, Maggie was locked in a secret room, where 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 (235-260).
After her escape, Dr Woodard sent her to Windcliff Sanitarium because she had lost her memory and mentally regressed to a child (261). There she was put into the care of Dr Julia Hoffman, a psychiatrist and doctor with knowledge of blood disorders. 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 (262).
Believing the report that Maggie had died, Barnabas decided to select another potential Josette. This time, however, he intended to be far less hasty than he had been with Maggie - this woman would be gradually manipulated into becoming his lost love. His choice: Victoria Winters (274). To begin his plan, he arranged a costume party at the Old House to celebrate its renovation, his guests attending as 18th-century ancestors; Victoria is "cast" as Josette. Barnabas, of course, would attend as his "namesake". Unfortunately the party didn't go quite as planned, with a spontaneous séance calling up Josette reliving her frantic flight to her death; Barnabas deliberately interrupted the seance to conceal his involvement, claiming he couldn't let her die again (281). He then made a peace offering to Victoria: Josette's music box, which quickly had the same mesmerising effect on her as it had had on Maggie. Before long, other Collinwood residents were expressing worry that Victoria was becoming obsessed with Josette.
Dr Julia Hoffman realised while treating Maggie for her trauma that the likely culprit was Barnabas Collins. Suspecting Barnabas' true nature - but keeping it to herself - she had Dr Woodard arrange an introduction for her to the Collins family, posing as a family historian, in order to further investigate Maggie's case (284), and was allowed to stay at Collinwood. She then managed to sneak into the Old House one morning and find Barnabas resting in his coffin (289), before deliberately provoking the vampire to make a late-night visit the following evening to try and kill her for knowing too much (290).
Confronting Barnabas in her room, Julia managed to save herself by claiming that she might be able to cure him of his vampirism. Intrigued, Barnabas allowed her to start work, but was shocked to learn that Maggie Evans was still alive, albeit suffering traumatic amnesia; Julia offered to use her hypnotic skills to keep her patient from remembering in return for Barnabas' cooperation (291). This cooperation suffered when Maggie escaped from Windcliff and made her way back to Collinsport (294-295), and by Julia's attempts to keep Barnabas away from Victoria (especially after she became engaged to Burke Devlin) (301).
Increasingly desperate to win Victoria, Barnabas willingly submitted to Julia's experiments (302), but began feeling increasingly weak as the serum began to take effect (305). This weakness, however, did not suppress his vampiric powers, which he used to confront Dr Woodard when he stole Julia's journal and realized what Barnabas really was. To stop him revealing the truth, Barnabas killed the doctor with an injection that made it appear that he had suffered a fatal heart attack (341). He then forced Julia to accelerate his treatment in order to win Victoria, which Julia reluctantly agreed to (346), but doing so caused Barnabas's appearance to match his chronological age, turning him into an old man (347-348). He returned to his apparent age after attacking Carolyn (who had stumbled into the Old House cellar) (350-351), but this also reversed the effect of the serum, leaving him as he had been before the experiment started - fully vampiric.
Barnabas then used the mystical bond between himself and his victim Carolyn to use her as an instrument of his revenge against Julia, believing she had sabotaged the experiment for her own reasons. This campaign ended as he almost killed her before being stopped by the appearance of the ghost of his little sister Sarah (363-364) - the first time he had seen her since her death in 1795.
With Sarah now being revealed as a ghost, the Collins family decided to hold a séance to contact her and find out what she wanted - despite Barnabas' protests, fearing what might be revealed. As the séance progressed, Victoria was snatched through time and replaced by Sarah's governess Phyllis Wick (365).
Like the rest of the participants in the séance, Barnabas was frozen in time until Victoria was thrust back to 1967 as she was being hanged (Phyllis Wick replacing her on the gallows) (461). Although her memories were damaged in the transfer, Barnabas was desperate to stop her revealing what had really happened and bit her (462), before arranging to take her away from Collinwood to marry (465). However, Vicki crashed the car upon seeing someone on the road who looked just like Peter Bradford, her lost love from 1795, leaving both herself and Barnabas in hospital (466).
Their doctor, Eric Lang, realised what Barnabas was (despite Julia's desperate attempts to hide the truth as dawn approached), and decided to try and cure him. Although he wasn't entirely sure how he managed it, Dr Lang managed to fully cure Barnabas, who gratefully vowed to help the doctor in the future (467).
Note: Jeremiah Collins is the only known victim who was killed prior to Barnabas becoming a vampire. It should also be noted that Barnabas shot and mortally wounded Angelique Bouchard Collins before becoming a Vampire, but due to her being immortal, she never died.
Willie Loomis is the only known victim to be bitten on the right wrist.
Charismatic and passionate, Barnabas was well-liked by his family and friends. Barnabas was intelligent and manipulative.
Barnabas proved himself to be a man of contradictions many times. Although capable of great kindness and foresight, he could also be vindictive and sufficiently passionate to commit severe blunders for purely emotional reasons, as well as to conceal his true identity and nature.
His most complex emotional relationships were with Julia Hoffman and Angelique Collins. With both he was at various times a bitter enemy and a devoted friend. The former proved over time to be his greatest single ally. Yet although he was willing to go to extraordinary lengths on Julia's behalf, and clearly viewed her as his dearest friend (the order to kill her broke the hold the Leviathans had over his mind, for example), he never seemed to reciprocate her romantic feelings for him, although he did confess to Willie Loomis that he cared for Julia more than he appeared to (570) and threatened to destroy Angelique if she ever harmed Julia again. He inexplicably professed to love Angelique as she lay dying after she lifted the curse from him and gave herself up to save Quentin Collins, even though she had been both directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of most of his immediate family in 1795 (as well as himself).
However, in a TV Guide article written after the end of the series, head writer Sam Hall discussed the outline the show's finale would have taken had the cancellation notice not come through sooner than expected. The outlined plans involved Barnabas finally declaring his love to Julia after she nearly died treating him for an illness being suffered by Adam (and thus himself). After she (again) cured him of vampirism, the pair were married in Singapore, far away from Collinsport and the threat of the resurrected Angelique. In the 2003 audio play Return to Collinwood, this scenario was made "official", with Barnabas and Julia reported to be in the Far East on a spiritual retreat and unable (or perhaps unwilling) to return to Collinwood for the reunion that formed the core of the play.
In the script for 205 Barnabas' portrait is described as the “Jered Collins portrait in the foyer.” In the same script, the name “Jeremiah” is crossed out and “Barnabus” (misspelled) is written in by hand. Even as late as 209, the script still lists the name of the character as “Jered,” although “Barnabas” was always the name spoken on the show.
For reasons that were never adequately explained, Barnabas Collins has no recollection of meeting Victoria Winters in 1795 when he encounters her again in 1967 (211). This can be attributed to time travel paradox. Since Vicki's jaunt into the past takes place after her initial meeting with Barnabas, the timeline does not sufficiently correct itself to account for Barnabas' memories in 1967 (211,365-366). The same explanation accounts for changes made when Barnabas traveled back to 1796 (661)-(667) where he and Vicky were both aware of their future lives and what to expect in the near future.
After returning from the past of 1897. Barnabas became a part of the Leviathans' plot and his vampire curse was brought back upon him when he disobeyed their command to kill Julia (950).
After returning from Parallel Time in 1970, for some reason Barnabas did not attack anyone for their blood until traveling back to 1840. This was a period of several months.
In Parallel Time, there evidently was no affair with an obsessed Angelique as Barnabas and Josette married, siring a very hot-headed son named Bramwell Collins. However, in that timeline Barnabas lost most of his money and died relatively young.
Another paradox of time that was never explained occurred when Barnabas and Julia returned from 1840. If the vampire curse had been lifted from Barnabas in 1840, rendering him human again, why did he not crumble to dust upon his return to 1971? He would have been well over two hundred years old! And if he had been mortal since 1840, why did the Collins family even recognize him as their "British cousin" since, logically, he would not have been in his coffin for Willie Loomis to have released in 1967? Was Barnabas, in fact, a vampire again and it was simply never addressed? This is possible when considering Sam Hall's TV Guide article on planned storylines, which had Barnabas and Julia marry overseas after she had (again) cured him of vampirism. It should also be remembered that the end of the 1840 storyline marked Barnabas' final onscreen appearance (Jonathan Frid, having tired of the role, had moved on to play Bramwell Collins), and we only see Barnabas and Julia back in the present for part of the final act of that episode - not nearly long enough to establish what had happened to him.
Initially Barnabas was only meant to be a short-term (ie 13-week) character, but his rapid popularity with viewers meant that he became a central character for the rest of the series. Presumably if this had not happened, Barnabas' attempt to transform Maggie into a vampiric copy of Josette (225-261) would have ended with his exposure and destruction.