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Redmond Swann was an English clergyman, who, in the early 1600s, immigrated to the new world with several colonists and helped to establish the village of Barrettstown, Maine. Swann, a mysterious man blessed with eternal life, decided that the town would prosper more under a strictly enforced pledge of isolationism. Because of this, families were encouraged to inter-marry and future generations were spawned as the products of inbreeding. Because of the hereditary rules of genetic drift, each successive generation born in the village of Barrettstown harboured great physical deformity. One out of every four children were born an abomination. Swann did not see these products of inbreeding as monsters, but rather, he saw them as God’s chosen children. Swann took these children under his protective wing and used them to maintain order in the village. Through the ages, the healthy population of Barrettstown began to dwindle as more and more deformed children were born.
In the late 1600s, Swann noticed that Barrettstown had grown into a swelling reservoir of mystical energy. Several of the village’s healthy women had turned towards witchcraft, and Swann followed in the steps of people like Cotton Mather and conducted his own Salem-inspired witch hunts. Many women were drowned as witches.
By the 20th century, nearly all of Barrettstown’s citizenry were short, malformed dwarves. Swann maintained his inbred population and proclaimed that all of those who had not suffered from hereditary deformity were the true abominations. One of these families was the Hoffmans. Vincent and Lara Hoffman’s family line extended back several centuries, but neither of them suffered from the birth defects that plagued the remainder of the community.
In January 1991, Swann and his followers, (including the dwarves, Gregory and Nathaniel) captured Vincent and Lara Hoffman, two former members of Barrettstown who had the fortune of not being born with any genetic birth defects. Vincent was able to send off a plea for help to his niece Julia in Collinsport. Barnabas Collins, Julia, and Willie Loomis travelled to Barrettstown to rescue the Hoffmans. Swann captured the would-be rescuers and secured them away inside of an old silo along with the Hoffmans. The group managed to escape however and confronted Swann at his church. They trapped Redmond Swann and the entire malformed population of Barrettstown inside of the church and sealed off all of the exits. Vincent Hoffman set the building ablaze and Swann and his entire congregation died in the fire.
- Redmond Swann is an original character who was featured exclusively in the Dark Shadows comic book series. He never appeared in the television show.
- The circumstances behind Swann’s 18th century altercation with Barnabas Collins are unknown.