Situated on a hilltop some 10 miles away from the town of Gernsheim lies the legendary Frankenstein’s Castle overlooking the Rhine. The stories and movies that followed were inspired by a young girl named Mary Shelley. It began in 1814 after she celebrated her 17th birthday while briefly stopping off in the town for a rest before proceeding on.
Mary and her now husband Percy Bysshe Shelley had run away secretly to France and Switzerland to get married. Upon returning to England by riverboat traveling through Germany they decided to stop off for a brief rest before proceeding on. As the story goes, Mary more than likely looked up and saw the castle sitting on top of a steep cliff.
During the course of their three-hour stop in Gernsheim, it’s not likely that they attempted to climb up to the summit. However, it is quite possible that she overheard some of the gruesome stories regarding the alchemist and physician Johann Konrad Dippel, who was born in the castle. Dippel had created a type of animal oil which he claimed to be a common medicine furthermore speculating the involvement of transferring souls between dead bodies with the assistance of a funnel.
Although there is very little supportive evidence that Dippel was the guiding factor for the novel, the coincidences are somewhat creepy. In comparison, Mary Shelley’s social environment does consist of a connection to Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin’s experiments with electricity would certainly be an inspiration for the animating process for bringing the monster to life.
On the other hand, the connection to anatomist Erasmus Darwin is by far the most certain among all of them. He is reported to attesting to the fact that those events associated with the Gothic tale are “not of an impossible occurrence”. It was outlined within the introduction to the original version of the novel. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the published novel.