By Andrea Moyer
Imagine you’ve planned an exotic vacation with friends in the beautiful Swiss countryside. You’re stoked, you can’t wait, you’ve planned and saved for this but when you finally arrive, the weather does not cooperate. It rains heavily for days on end, putting a damper on all of the fun, adventurous outdoor activities you’d planned. You’re stuck indoors for the better part of the vacation with nothing to do – no TV, radio, Wi-Fi – nothing. Not even a crossword puzzle. What would you do?
Several days of you and your friends exhausting the supply of reading material and staring at one another quickly loses its appeal, so one of your more flamboyant chums suggests that you each come up with a ghost story of your own and it quickly turns into a contest to see who can come up with the best.
Did you know that in addition to Halloween the fourth Friday in October, or Frankenstein Friday, is also a thing? When we hear the name Frankenstein, we often think of the monster and not its creator, Victor Frankenstein. Still less do we recall the name of the author who first penned Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. She produced this work of fiction in 1817 on a dare during a particularly bad spell of weather. Forced indoors, she and her companions, who included her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley and friend, Lord Byron, entertained each other with German ghost stories. Lord Byron finally challenged the rest of the group to come up with their own ghost story and a new horror fiction was generated. Enjoy these fun facts surrounding one of the most iconic and infamous of monsters!
- While he’s often been referred to as “Frankenstein”, the monster in Mary Shelley’s story has neither a first nor a last name. He’s simply called “the Creature”.
- The Modern Prometheus was used as a subtitle and refers to the Titan, Prometheus, who had created mankind according to Greek mythology.
- Though many film versions of this story allude to Frankenstein animating the monster using electricity, this was never mentioned in the original novel. It is entirely a Hollywood invention.
- Shelley’s frustration with having no ghost story to present to her companions day after day ceased when she experienced a dream-like vision of what would become her protagonist.
- Mary Shelley started writing Frankenstein at the age of eighteen and was twenty years old at the time of its publication, although it was first published anonymously.