Halloween Science: Dr. Frankenstein and his monster
By Jeff Ayers — / Death Wish Coffee Blog
On this edition of our Spooky Science series lets take a closer look at the origins, the mystery, and the science behind one of the most iconic monsters associated with Halloween: the creation of Dr. Victor von Frankenstein.
(Make sure you check out the video at the bottom of this blog for the full story on Frankenstein's monster!)
Now, it is widely known that Dr. Frankenstein and his monster are creations of author Mary Shelley, in a story she wrote and published in 1818. Mary and her friends were fascinated with the scientific discoveries of her time, and some of them made their way into her work.
Two relatively new scientific advancements were the idea that you could resuscitate someone from drowning, and the emerging field of electrophysiology, or the study of how electricity can affect the limbs of animals.
These ideas, that someone could be revived from death or near death, or that life could be somehow infused into something that was dead, both had a lot of weight in society and were something science was actively trying to explain.
Popular culture has taken the original story that Mary Shelley developed and skewed it a little though. While the good Doctor Frankenstein does take a bunch of dead people parts in the hopes to reanimate them, but he found an unknown element of life that aided him in his endeavors.
Thanks to the 1931 film adaptation of the story, we now associate lightning and electricity reanimating the monster on a metal slab raised to the heaven's in the doctor's lab.
If we wanted to try and create the monster today, thanks to scientific advances like transplants, lab grown organs, and even cybernetic implants - it could be possible. Find out more about the origins of the story and the modern day implications in the video below.