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In June of 1970, Carolyn met Barnabas Collins, a relative newcomer to Collinsport. She grew immensely infatuated with Barnabas and was elated to discover that her cousin would be moving in to the original family estate, commonly referred to as the Old House. Barnabas had plans to renovate the Old House to its original condition.
A party was to be held at Collinwood in honor of Barnabas' arrival in Collinsport. Carolyn visited the Old House to see Barnabas just before sunset, telling Willie Loomis that Barnabas, as the guest of honor, should be getting ready for the party. Barnabas rose from his coffin while she was visiting and spoke with Carolyn about England. The two distant "cousins" exchanged veiled flirtations.
At Collinwood that evening, Carolyn was preparing her dress for the party as Barnabas appeared in her room and attacked her, placing her under his power. Downstairs, Barnabas introduced himself to the family governess, Maggie Evans. Carolyn took note of the fact that Barnabas had an interest in Maggie and became extremely jealous.
After the party, Carolyn went to the Old House to confront Barnabas. She overheard him speaking to his handyman Willie Loomis about his desire for Maggie Evans. Carolyn burst into the room and threatened to expose Barnabas unless he chose to forget Maggie and love her instead. Barnabas flew into a rage and attacked Carolyn. Willie leapt upon Barnabas' back, but it was too late. Barnabas had taken too much blood from Carolyn's body. He barked at Willie and instructed him to remove her body. Willie took Carolyn back to Collinwood and left her at the front steps of the house. She managed to take two steps inside the foyer and collapsed upon the floor, dead. Collinwood's housekeeper, Mrs. Johnson discovered her body and frantically alerted the rest of the household.
Three days later, funeral services were held for Carolyn Stoddard. She was interred in the Collins family mausoleum at a privately owned cemetery. That evening, Carolyn rose from the grave as a vampire. She skulked back towards Collinwood and found her cousin, David, playing at the old, emptied swimming pool. She beckoned David to come near her, but David grew terrified at Carolyn's presence and raced back to Collinwood.
Eventually, family friend Professor T. Eliot Stokes discovered the truth about Carolyn. He tried to convince Roger Collins and Todd Blake that Carolyn was a vampire and had risen from the grave. Both men thought the mere idea of such a thing was ridiculous. Todd ridiculed the Professor's theories at great length, but ultimately decided to check things out for himself.
Late in the evening, he wandered over to the mausoleum and began creeping down among the lower depths. Carolyn stepped out of the shadows and bit Todd upon the neck. Todd was delirious from the loss of blood, but survived the attack and eventually made his way back to Collinwood.
Over the next few days, Professor Stokes had convinced Sheriff George Patterson that Carolyn was a vampire and represented a threat to Collinsport. After consulting at length with Stokes, Patterson warned his deputies and armed them with crucifixes and silver bullets. Professor Stokes and the police deputies scoured the estate and found Carolyn's coffin hidden within the Collins family stables. Todd Blake was present and under Carolyn’s mind-control. He tried to protect her from the sheriff's men, but they easily outnumbered him and held him down. The other officers cornered Carolyn and pinned her to the ground. Professor Stokes produced a hammer and a wooden stake and pounded the stake into Carolyn's chest ending her immortal existence once and for all.
- Actress Nancy Barrett also played the role of Carolyn Stoddard on the ABC television series Dark Shadows, but did not die in the series as she does in the film.
- Nancy Barrett also plays the role of Claire Jenkins in the 1971 film Night of Dark Shadows.
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