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Part of having lived in Europe is the eventual regret of having missed something.   Castle Frankenstein would be one of those places.  Care of, there’s this Skeptical Inquirer article about the place and it’s relation to Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley and her husband:

It is even possible they visited the castle itself or, in any event, learned from their German traveling companions its legends. These include the tale of Knight Georg von Frankenstein and a dragon-like monster that had terrorized the vicinity. Sir Georg was a real person whose tomb in the nearby village of Nieder-Beerbach bears the date of his death in 1531. Although he slew the creature–probably only a snake (the exaggeration being attributable to his popular identification with St. George the dragon slayer)–it succeeded in piercing his armor below the knee and so poisoning him (Florescu 1975, 53-69).

Other legends relating to Burg Frankenstein concern an alchemist, Johann Konrad Dippel (1673-1734). Although not a descendant of the Frankensteins, Dippel had been born in the castle and at university registered as a resident of “Franckensteina.” However, after two years marked by “scandalous behavior,” he was forced to flee at night due to a “serious incident,” rumored to have involved bodysnatching from a local cemetery. Subsequently, Dippel turned to alchemy and claimed to have discovered a secret formula by which he transmuted silver and mercury into pure gold. He also sought to produce an elixir of life, and to that end conducted experiments in distilling blood and the boiled residue of bones.

In his eventual medical thesis at the University of Leiden (1711) Dippel focused on his previous chemical experiments and animal studies. He practiced vivisection on animals and came to believe that the body was an inert mass animated by a spirit that could be transformed into another corpse to reanimate it (Florescu 1975, 63-86).


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