The year 1897 (MDCCCXCVII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. The 1897 Flashback was the longest of the three main flashbacks featured in the show, spanning 183 episodes. Many of the actors played more than one character during this timeline, which saw Dark Shadows receive its highest television ratings ever.
Barnabas Collins traveled to this year from 1969 by utilizing a meditation on the 49th hexagram of the I-Ching (701). Because he was alive and trapped in his coffin in 1897, he appeared there as a vampire. He was able to escape from his coffin with the help of Sandor and Magda Rakosi (701). His purpose was twofold: the first part was to learn why Quentin Collins was haunting Collinwood in 1969 and stop him in order to save the life of David Collins; and the second reason was to discover the connection between Quentin Collins and Chris Jennings and try to cure Chris of his lycanthropy. At one point his mission was jeopardized by Count Andreas Petofi. Barnabas' physical body disappeared from 1969, prompting Dr. Julia Hoffman to perform her own meditation to travel to 1897 (837). Julia was very disoriented for a couple of days after her arrival and did not stay in the time for very long. Unlike Barnabas, only Julia's astral body traveled back to 1897, making her impervious to physical harm (849).
The Death and Will of Edith Collins
The matriarch of the Collins family lay on her deathbed in Collinwood awaiting the arrival of her eldest grandson, Edward Collins from Boston in order to tell him the Collins Family secret (701). Although the secret was only supposed to be passed on to the eldest child, Quentin Collins convinced his sister, Judith Collins to try and find out what the secret was, lest it die with Edith (702). Both were unsuccessful (704) and Edward arrived (705) just after Barnabas arrived, once again pretending to be a relative from England (704). Barnabas' appearance frightened Edith terribly as the secret was that the original Barnabas Collins (now standing before her) had never gone to England, but was a vampire who was trapped in a secret room of the Collins Family Mausoleum. Edith died before she was able to relate the secret to Edward, and thus the secret presumably died with her, not that it mattered anymore since Barnabas had escaped. After Edith died, Quentin schemed with the family lawyer, Evan Hanley, with whom Quentin dabbled in Satanic rituals, to discover the contents of Edith's will (708). Upon discovering that he had been left nothing, he and Hanley hired Sandor to forge a new will in which Quentin and his two brothers were guaranteed to always have a place to live at Collinwood although Judith got everything else (712).
Quentin was unaware that after he had run off to Alexandria, Egypt with Edward's wife, Laura Collins, his own wife, Jenny Collins, had given birth to twins, gone insane, was still alive and locked in the Tower room at Collinwood. Edward had Judith make all the arrangements to have a local woman, Mrs. Fillmore raise the children as her own while Jenny's maidservant, Beth Chavez, visited the Tower room daily to feed Jenny. At the prodding of Angelique, who had been summoned back from Hell by Evan Hanley and Quentin Collins (711), Rachel Drummond, the governess of Edward's two children, Jamison and Nora Collins, freed Jenny from her prison where she went on a rampage of the house and grounds, stabbing Quentin to death. Barnabas persuaded Angelique to use her magic to bring Quentin back to life whereupon he eventually killed Jenny. Quentin, unaware that Jenny was a gypsy and the sister of Magda Rakosi, incurred for her murder the curse of becoming a werewolf. This curse also extended to his male heirs, which included his son and Chris Jennings (Quentin's great-grandson).
The Return of Laura Collins
Edward's wife, Laura Collins showed up at Collinwood, supposedly to win back Edward and her children, but the truth was she had a limited amount to time left to live and had promised the Egyptian God Ra that she would bring her children with her (sometimes only Nora seemed to be important, and sometimes only Jamison seemed important, but initially and finally both were needed). Barnabas recognized Laura as Laura Stockbridge Collins, the first wife of his uncle, Jeremiah Collins, and recalled that he had had a slight crush on when he was a little boy. Laura remembered Barnabas, but had not seen him since he was about 12 years old, and it took her a while to realize he was the same man. Knowing that the 1960s branch of the Collins Family were the descendants of Jamison, he had to stop Laura. When Laura decided to kill Barnabas in his coffin, she incurred the wrath of Angelique. Together Angelique and Barnabas were able to thwart Laura's plans and her servant, Dirk Wilkins, whom Barnabas accidentally turned into a vampire.
The Trask Family
When Angelique brought Quentin back from the dead as a zombie, Collinwood was visited by Rev. Gregory Trask, the headmaster of Worthington Hall, a boarding school that Edward was planning on sending Jamison and Nora to in order to get them away from their mother. In appearing to have exorcised the spirit of Quentin Collins from Jamison, Trask endeared himself to Jamison's aunt, the spinster Judith Collins. Trask discovered that his former student, Rachel Drummond, was Jamison and Nora's governess and through blackmail convinced her to return to Worthington Hall, where she had been raised as an orphan. Worthington Hall was inhabited by orphans and other unwanted children and Trask abused them. Assisting Gregory Trask was his wife, Minerva and daughter, Charity although the two of them were much less active in mistreating the children, being convinced by Gregory it was for the best. Eventually, Gregory Trask met Evan Hanley whom he blackmailed into placing a spell on Tim Shaw to kill Minerva Trask. Once Minerva was dead, Gregory wasted no time in marrying Judith Collins and trying to get Charity to marry Quentin in order to gain control of the Collins Family fortune. Evan Hanley next conjured up a black shade of Minerva to drive Judith insane and she was sent to a sanitarium to recover.
The Hand of Count Petofi
Once Magda discovered she had cursed her own kin, she tried to remove the curse. She knew the originator of the curse had died, but that before she did, she had managed to reverse the curse. She went to Montreal and stole the severed Hand of Count Petofi, but was unable to use it. Eventually Julianka, the great granddaughter of the gypsy woman who started the curse and had Petofi's hand severed as payment for ending the curse, arrived in Collinsport to kill Magda and regain the hand. Julianka agreed to remove the curse from Quentin but was killed before she could accomplish this. King Johnny Romano was also slain, though he had been immune to Count Petofi's magic. The hand changed possession several times before finally making its way back to Petofi, who placed a bizarre curse on the residents of Collinwood that they would see themselves as they really were, in order to get the hand back. Once he had his hand back, he discovered that Barnabas, although born in the 18th century, had arrived in 1897 from the year 1969 and became determined to travel to the future in order to escape the wrath of the gypsies.
The Curse of Petofi
Count Petofi took possession of the body of Jamison Collins in order to pass on a curse that the residents of Collinwood would see themselves as they really were. Beth Chavez was revealed as the servant of Barnabas Collins while Edward Collins became to believe he was a servant. Gregory Trask and Evan Hanley were revealed as the murderers of Minerva Trask, and Charity Trask became possessed by the spirit of Pansy Faye, a showgirl from Atlantic City whom Carl Collins had intended to marry before they were both killed. Eventually the curse ran its course as Petofi weakened before recovering his hand before his time was up, but the after-effects had some far-reaching consequences.
Charles Tate and Amanda Harris
Just after Petofi had placed the curse on the Collins family, Charles Delaware Tate came to Collinwood, having been commissioned by Count Petofi to make the Portrait of Quentin Collins. Tate had sold his soul to Petofi for the talent he possessed and the day he got the talent, he drew a sketch of a young woman whom he imagined to be the ideal woman for himself. He had drawn several sketches and portraits of her when Petofi arranged for him to meet Amanda Harris at the Collinsport Inn. Amanda had no memory of her life before the date that Charles Tate had drawn her first sketch, because he had created her when he drew the first sketch. This power was unknown to him or to Petofi, but later discovered. However, Amanda Harris was not impressed by Tate and spurned him for Quentin Collins. Tate became enraged and stole Quentin's magical portrait, much to the consternation of Petofi, who was trying to hide the portrait before escaping to 1969. Amanda Harris and Quentin arranged to travel to New York together, but Angelique stopped Quentin, having newly taken repossession of his own body, from leaving, reminding him that he had promised to marry her and threatening to kill Amanda with a voodoo doll. Having recently caused the death of Beth Chavez, Quentin was particularly susceptible to this threat. Meanwhile a fire broke out in the studio of Charles Tate, and he claimed that the portrait of Quentin had been destroyed.
Petofi Attempts to Travel to 1969
Terrified of gypsies and the curse of King Johnny, Count Petofi decided that traveling to 1969 would put a nice buffer between himself and the tribe of King Johnny Romano. To this end, he discovered that he would need a real body in that time to inhabit. He had already arranged to have Charles Delaware Tate paint a magical portrait of Quentin to hold the werewolf curse, but he discovered through Pansy Fay/Charity Trask that Quentin would still be alive and young in 1969. His plan was to switch his mind and soul with Quentin, his previously mentioned "payment" for relieving Quentin of the werewolf curse. Petofi also needed to find out which hexagram was needed to travel to the future. He employed a number of servants for this purpose, one of whom died in the process, but eventually Charles Tate was the one who discovered the correct hexagram (probably because he too was on the list of people destined to live until 1969). Petofi then initiated the mind switch with Quentin, but Angelique, Barnabas and Julia had worked together on an elaborate scheme to make Barnabas appear to have been staked by Charity Trask/Pansy Fay and then Barnabas reappeared at Collinwood pretending to be the real Barnabas who had returned from England, but had spent several months in the thrall of Barnabas the vampire. Although Julia was forced to return to 1969, Angelique and Barnabas forced the mind switch to end, although this had caused the death of Beth Chavez and made Quentin finally seem to grow up and become serious. Although Angelique was infuriated by Quentin's attempt to flee Collinwood to be with Amanda Harris, she agreed to let him leave so he was out of Petofi's grasp.
Kitty Soames, the Lady Hampshire, was the recent widow of Edward's friend, the Earl of Hampshire. Kitty came to Collinwood with the intention of marrying Edward and getting his money, as the scandal of her husband's suicide (due to his involvement with Count Petofi), had left her penniless. She was unaware that Edward had no money either, and (although Edward did have real feelings for her), he wished to marry Kitty for her money. However; as soon as she came to Collinwood, Kitty became fascinated with the Portrait of Barnabas. Her initial meeting with Barnabas had left her intrigued, as Barnabas recognized Kitty as the reincarnation of his long-lost love Josette. After much trial and tribulation, Kitty became more fascinated by the Portrait of Josette and eventually she traveled back to 1795 through the portrait, bringing Barnabas with her.
The Death of Gregory Trask
When Petofi's curse was originally placed on Charity Trask, she seemed aware of who she was, but didn't care, deciding she would prefer to live the life of showgirl Pansy Faye (whom she never met!). She was obviously possessed by Pansy Faye as she began to dress like her and sing Pansy Faye's theme, but when she discovered her father had engineered her mother's murder, she seemed to cease caring and became Pansy Fay full-time. She had left Collinwood to take an apartment in town and perform at The Blue Whale when Judith Collins returned from the sanitarium. Judith was stronger-willed than ever before and determined to run her own life. Judith brought Charity back to Collinwood and involved her in her scheme to rid herself of her husband. She appeared to believe that Gregory had tried to visit her in the sanitarium, but the doctors had not allowed him to see her, even though Edward had visited her. In truth, she had discovered that Gregory had taken up with a widow in Bangor who committed suicide when she discovered that Gregory was married. It was Judith who gave Charity the money to purchase the Portrait of Amanda Harris and bring it to Collinwood to torment Gregory. She then drugged Gregory and immured him in Quentin's room which she had emptied except for a few candles, the portrait of Amanda Harris, a telephone and a pistol. She called Gregory occasionally to torment him, and once she was convinced he had shot himself, she had Tim Shaw remove the bricks and replace it with paneling. She also had the West Wing sealed off permanently. In this way, she provided the skeletal corpse and telephone that David Collins and Amy Jennings would find in 1969, which according to the story before time had been changed had belonged to Quentin Collins, who was now immortal.
Deaths in 1897
- Sophie Baker
- Beth Chavez
- Dorcas Trilling
- Carl Collins
- Quentin Collins (brought back to life as a zombie by Angelique and later returned to normal)
- The unnamed son of Quentin and Jenny Collins
- Edith Collins