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This article belongs to the continuity of the Dark Shadows movies.


The Collins family mausoleum was a large burial tomb in a privately owned cemetery in Collinsport, Maine. The façade of the mausoleum boasted a large pediment engraved with the name Collins upon it, set between two carvings of the Madonna . A large iron gate opened into a small chamber containing a steep set of stone steps leading downward into a larger burial vault. Two large coffins rested deep inside the mausoleum’s inner recesses. Upon one of the walls was a stone relief of a dove and another of a lion. The lion held an iron ring in its mouth, which was actually a trigger to open a door leading into a lower secret chamber. Inside this secondary vault was an ancient coffin, wrapped in chains, containing the body of the vampire, Barnabas Collins. Barnabas’ body had remained sealed inside the hidden chamber since 1797.

In June of 1970, Willie Loomis, a handyman working for the Collins family, discovered a doggerel with a riddle describing the secret chamber. Believing it to be the resting place of the Collins family jewels, Willie broke into the chamber and awakened Barnabas Collins.

A short time later, Barnabas attacked and eventually murdered his cousin, Carolyn Stoddard. Her body was laid to rest at the Collins family mausoleum. Carolyn’s fiancé, Todd Blake returned to the tomb the night of her funeral and discovered that Carolyn had risen as a vampire. She attacked him, drinking his blood and leaving him stumbling about in a daze.


  • In the continuity of the original Dark Shadows television series, the Collins family mausoleum was much smaller, and resided at Eagle Hill Cemetery. The mausoleum from the movie may likewise be located at Eagle Hill, but it is never mentioned by name.
  • The following poem is the riddle that Willie Loomis used to find the secret chamber. The novelization featured a slightly different version of the riddle. The author of the riddle remains unknown.

Movie version
The Madonnas rest high above
The Lion’s head watches the dove
And in the womb beneath the hill
A blazing light glows bright and still
Novel version
The three Graces spin – high above
The lion’s head looks down at the dove
And in the womb beneath the hill
The secret fire glows bright and still


House of Dark Shadows

House of Dark Shadows (novel)