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Last Updated: March 06, 2015 11:14:48

Christine FeehanWelcome to my research page on the Dark Series. Over the years I researched a wide range of subjects to help enhance my stories. The Dark Series continues to keep me busy researching. I intend to share my favorite findings with you on these pages -- the ones that helped inspire elements of the Dark Series. I hope you enjoy!


Photo by Bill Yeaton
© Bill Yeaton
Bill Yeaton and Lisa Cach (a wonderful writer and good friend) made a recent trip to Romania and Bill took some amazing photos. Lisa was wonderful enough to bring me back everything I asked for, from samples of rocks to the brightly colored eggs so popular in that region.

Traveling to many of the villages is very much like stepping back into a different era. Few cars travel the road. Many times carts are pulled by horses. It is a beautiful country with many churches, colorful cemeteries, wonderful castles, monasteries and fortresses. The buildings are amazing. The cities are modern, with contrasting modern architecture and a wealth of cars on the streets. The mountains themselves boast untamed forest and interesting weather patterns. It is a land rich in history and steeped in legend.

Click here to see Bill Yeaton's photos of Romania.


The Carpathian Mountains are a REAL place. I have spent many hours researching them and I hope you enjoy their beauty as much as I do.

A bit about the real Carpathian Mountains
information provided by:
Carpathian Ecoregion Initiative


photo courtesy of Lisabeth Hutchins

The Carpathian Mountains are the backbone of Central and Eastern Europe. Covering an area of more than 200,000 square kilometres, they stretch across seven countries from the Danube in Austria in the north-west to the Iron Gate Dam in Romania in the south. The mountains are home to a wide array of wildlife, diverse nationalities and rich cultural heritage.

The value of the Carpathians cannot be overestimated: exceptionally rich in species diversity, the region supports species not found anywhere else in the world, and it is also the last European stronghold of large mammals, such as the brown bear, wolf and lynx (outside Russia). In addition, the region contains some of the continent's most extensive areas of both montane and virgin forest. More than half of the Carpathian range lies within Romania, while its highest peak—at an altitude of 2665 metres—is found at Gerlach, Slovakia.

photo courtesy of Lisabeth Hutchins

The Carpathians play a crucial role in Central and Eastern Europe: forming the bridge between Europe’s northern forests and those to the south and west as well as being a vital catchment area for the whole region. The area receives twice the rainfall of surrounding areas and it is this freshwater that feeds the major rivers—the Danube and the Vistula—through to the Black Sea and the Baltic. In real terms, this has major implications for humankind. More than 80% of Romania’s water supply (excluding the Danube), 40% of Ukraine’s supply, and one third of the outflow of the Vistula river, come directly from the Carpathians.

This terrific video about the Carpathian Mountains region is 47 minutes and 12 seconds long. Special thanks to Slavica for providing it!

The Carpathians are home to numerous different nationalities and ethnic groups, bound together by the highland way of life. More than five million people live in and around the Romanian region alone. Culturally, the Carpathians are steeped in age-old traditions, and marked by peoples who have shared climate, hardships and sense of isolation.

Even more info on the Carpathian Mountains
information provided by:


The Carpathian Mountains are the eastern wing of the great central mountain system of Europe curving 1500 km (~900 miles) along the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, and the Ukraine.

The name is probably derived from the Dacian Carp tribe, living in the 1st millennium BC on the Eastern Carpathian slopes. Another source could be the Indo-European word "korpata" which means mountain or rock. As Chrawat, it was first applied to the inhabitants of the region, whence it passed in the form Krapat or Karpa as the name of the mountain range. In official Hungarian documents of the 13th and 14th centuries the Carpathians are named Thorchal or Tarczal, and also Montes Nivium.

They begin on the Danube near Bratislava, surround Hungary and Transylvania in a large semicircle, the concavity of which is towards the south-west, and end on the Danube near Orsova, Romania. The total length of the Carpathians is over 1500 km and their width varies between 12 and 500 km. The greatest width of the Carpathians corresponds with its highest altitude. Thus the system attains its greatest breadth in the Transylvanian plateau, and in the meridian of the Tatra group (the highest range with Gerlachovsky - 2655 m (8705 ft.) above sea level ). It covers an area of 190 000 sq. km, and after the Alps is the most extensive mountain system of Europe.

The Carpathians do not form an uninterrupted chain of mountains, but consist of several orographically and geologically distinctive groups; in fact they present as great a structural variety as the Alps. The Carpathians, which only in a few places attain an altitude of over 2500 m, lack the bold peaks, the extensive snow-fields, the large glaciers, the high waterfalls and the numerous large lakes which are found in the Alps. They are nowhere covered by perpetual snow, and glaciers do not exist, so that the Carpathians, even in their highest altitude, recall the middle region of the Alps, with which, however, they have many points in common as regards appearance, structure and flora.

The Danube separates the Carpathians from the Alps, which they meet only in two points, namely, the Leitha Mountains at Bratislava, and the Bakony Mountains at Vacz (Waitzen), while the same river separates them from the Stara Planina or Balkan Mountains at Orsova, Romania. The valley of the March and Oder separates the Carpathians from the Silesian and Moravian chains, which belong to the middle wing of the great central mountain system of Europe. Unlike the other wings of the great central system of Europe, the Carpathians, which form the watershed between the northern seas and the Black Sea, are surrounded on all sides by plains, namely the great Hungarian plain on the south-west, the plain of the Lower Danube (Romania) on the south, and the Galician plain on the north-east.

The Carpathian Mountains form the southern edge of the outer ring of mountains around Mare Imbrium on Earth's Moon. They were raised by the same impact event that created the Imbrium basin, and separate Mare Imbrium from Oceanus Procellarum.

Additional Information:

  • The Carpathian Ecoregion -- The Carpathian Ecoregion Initiative is bringing together people in Central and Eastern Europe to secure conservation and sustainable development in the Carpathians. This initiative, begun in Summer 1999, involves an international partnership dedicated to the protection of one of the most important natural areas of Europe. The initiative seeks to combine conservation efforts with actions to support the local economy and culture. In this way, we aim to secure the future of the Carpathians for both nature and the region’s people.

  • Want to visit the Carpathian Mountians? Check out some of these links:


Vampire Bats Kill 13 in Amazon Village

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (April 3) - Rabies spread by vampire bats has claimed 13 lives on an Amazon river island, local media reported Saturday.

The deaths occurred over the past 21 days on Portel Island, according to the O Liberal newspaper. The island is about 1,500 miles northeast of Rio de Janeiro.

In all, 19 people have been infected with rabies. Of those infected, 13 have died and six remain hospitalized, two of whom were in very critical condition, the newspaper reported.

Since March 9, some 300 people have reported being bitten by the bats, but most of them were vaccinated against rabies, O Liberal reported.

Health officials were working to immunize people and cattle to contain the disease's spread.

About 100 people from around the sparsely populated region are camped out near the municipal health post distributing the vaccine which requires separate doses over five days, O Liberal reported.

The first reported rabies death transmitted via bat bite was of 10-year-old Mailson Moura de Souza, according to the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper.

"My son and my relatives have been finished by this disease. I'm afraid the rest of my family will die as well," Souza's father was quoted as saying in the newspaper.

Some reports attribute the spike in the number of bat bites to increased deforestation on the island that sits near the mouth of the Amazon river.

Click here to view article from CBS website.


JaguarJaguars are majestic animals found primarily in South America and into Mexico. This majestic animal can conquer just about any territory. They are masterful swimmers, powerful climbers and deadly runners. While jaguars used to roam the southern united states into the majority of South America, they are now localized to the north and central parts of south America because of the encroachment of civilization. Most Jaguars reach only 150 pounds for a male and 100 pounds for a female, but despite their relatively small size these animals are fierce hunters with the capability to take down almost any prey. Sadly these powerful and beautiful animals are declining rapidly due to deforestation. Where once Jaguars roamed freely over a large area and in fairly large numbers, there are now only 15,000 or so remaining in North and Central South America.

Facts About Jaguars:

  • The Jaguar is the largest cat in the western hemisphere and the third largest cat in the world (after lions and tigers)
  • Jaguar translated means “the beast that kills its prey with one bound”
  • According to Indian myth the Jaguar acquired its unique spots by daubing mud on its fur with its paws. If you look closely the spots on a Jaguars’ coat resemble paw prints!
  • Typical lifespan in the wild is fifteen to seventeen years and in captivity up to twenty three years.
  • While Jaguars can be found in forest, savanna, scrub and desert, they are always near a supply of water.

For more information on Jaguars visit:


Dr. Alan RabinowitzDr. Alan Rabinowitz is currently the director of the Science and Exploration program for the Wildlife Conservation Society. As the director Dr. Rabinowitz has become the backbone for an amazing proposal called the Jaguar Corridor. The Jaguar is in need of genetic diversity to survive. In order to accomplish genetic diversity and preserve this breathtaking species, Dr Rabinowitz is spearheading the preservation of large tracts of land around the globe. The ultimate goal of the Jaguar Corridor is to have a continuous stretch of land from Mexico to Argentina in which the Jaguars can roam.


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