(Investigator 45, 1995 November)

On a stormy night in Switzerland in 1816 four people swapped ghost stories. They were English poet Lord Byron, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his new wife Mary Wollstonecraft and Byron’s friend Dr Polidori. That night the idea for the story of Frankenstein was born.

The book was published in 1818. In the story a student named Frankenstein used corpses from cemeteries and dissecting rooms to construct a monster which he then animated with electricity.

In 1823 Frankenstein appeared on stage in five versions including an opera.

In 1910 came the first screen version.

Subsequent movies were:

1915     Life Without Soul
1920     Il Mostro di Frakestein
1931     Frankenstein
1935     The Bride of Frankenstein
1939     Son of Frankenstein
1942     Ghost of Frankenstein
1943     Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman
1944     House of Frankenstein
1945     House of Dracula
1948     Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
1957     The Curse of Frankenstein
1957     I Was a Teenage Frankenstein
1958     Frankenstein-1970
1958     The Revenge of Frankenstein
1959     Frankenstein's Daughter
1964     The Evil of Frankenstein
1966     Frankenstein Conquers the World
1966     Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster
1966     Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter
1967     Frankenstein Created Woman
1967     Mad Monster Party
1970     Blood of Frankenstein
1970     Dr Frankenstein on Campus
1970     Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed
1970     Horror of Frankenstein
1971     Lady Frankenstein
1973     Frankenstein: The True Story
1973     Flesh For Frankenstein
1974     Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell
1974     Young Frankenstein
1977     Frankenstein – Italian Style
1977     Victor Frankenstein
1981     Frankenstein Island
1985     The Bride
1986     Gothic
1986     The Vindicator
1988     Frankenstein General Hospital
1988     Haunted Summer
1990     Bride of Re-Animator
1990     Frankenstein Unbound

Constructing a monster from bits from various corpses and giving it life with electricity is and will be a technological/scientific impossibility. However something similar – a creature created via cloning combined with gene manipulation – may be possible.

If you've seen more than six or seven of the movies you might ask yourself: "Why do I find this so fascinating?"

(B M)

Re: Article of Frankenstein

(Investigator 46, 1996 January)

The concluding paragraph on page 51 reads, "Constructing a monster from bits and pieces from various corpses and giving it life with electricity is and will be a technological/scientific impossibility." Really?!

In view of the advances made in medical technology over the past couple of decades how can the writer be so absolutely sure? Severed body parts, including fingers, toes, ears, penises, arms and legs have all been restored to their owners. Organ transplants are commonplace. Bones, skin and cartilage can be grown and grafted. Seen recently on TV – a human ear being grown on the back of a hairless mouse, and baboons' and pigs' hearts about to be transplanted into humans.

Tissue and organ rejection has been the major problem in the past, but has increasingly been overcome. Using "bits and pieces" to repair or even create a body may not be as far-fetched as the writer would have us believe!

Harry Edwards