Frankenstein, the real story
Every legends, every novels, has a basis of truth: “Frankenstein”, Mary Shelley's novel with a scientist as lead character, Victor Frankenstein, is no exception to the rule.
Frankenstein, shocked by the death of his mother, dreamed of giving life to a “perfect” human being, endowed with heightened intelligence, good healt and long life . The result, as we all know, was quite different from that desired and revealed to be one of the all-time most famous monster.
In real life the Frankensteins were a Franks family established near Darmstadt, Germany, since since the sixth century a.d. The Frankensteins built the namesake castle in the 13th century, to then take part, as knights, to many wars among which one against Vlad III.
Vlad III, called “Tepes” (i.e. the impaler), was voivode, i.e. prince, of Wallachia and son of Vlad II Dracul, both historical figures of whom Fanwave.it already talked who inspired the character of the legendary vampire described by Bram Stoker in Dracula.
Johann Conrad Dippel
Among those people who lived at the castle, btw not being a Frankenstein, one of the most disturbing figures was Johann Conrad Dippel (born August 10, 1673, died April 25, 1734), writer, preacher and theologian but even “mad scientist” son of a Luthern pastor who lived at the castle.
Dippel after his studies in theology devoted himself to the pietism movement which wanted to reform Lutheranism in a more secular sense. He served a seven-year sentence, then travelled through Europe and he graduated in medicine.
Dippel: scientist, inventor and alchemist
Fascinated by the alchemy, Dippel returned to the Frankenstein castle to find the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life. He never found them, but came up with the Dippel's oil, produced from the distillation of bones, hair and blood of animals (we suppose!) and realized untill the end of 19th century, and the Prussian blue (or ferric ferrocyanide), then adopted as the colour of the Prussian army's uniforms.
Up to here was the official story of Dippel as a scientist and alchemist, even if among his collegues there were already rumors regarding how he tried some “evil things”, like the corpses' theft and dissection in thesearch of understanding the secrets of life. Does this remind you of something?
Some insisted to sustain that Dippel sectioned animals to try to create a potion against the devil and to have tried to distill a Dippel's oil variation distilling parts of human bodies in the attempt to reach the elixir of life.
Dippel never tried, untill his death, to deny such rumors, also because they favored the sales of his oil.
A mysterious death at the Wittgenstein castle
He died under somewhat mystifying circumstances at the Wittgenstein castle: chronacles of times referred his body was totally blue and because of this many thought he could have ingested some Prussian blue to experiment some benefical effects, btw we now believe he could have died because of an ictus.
Mary Shelley probably visited the Frankenstein castle and heard the legends around the alchemist, whose figure and whose actions seem ideal archetypes for the fictional story of doctor Frankenstein that has been so successful.