In 1818, Mary Shelley published her story of an electrically resurrected corpse named Frankenstein. However, Shelley is not the only one with this bold idea. In the early 1800s, many scientists were fascinated by the idea that electricity could give life to corpses.
Scottish professor – Andrew Ure is one of those scientists. Although he is a chemistry professor (and knows almost nothing about electricity), he still wants to do this experiment, and Ure goes on board and does an experiment on a man. Andrew Ure’s Frankenstein is a convicted murderer who had just been hanged. And obviously, Ure’s experiment was astonishing to the public at that time. So what is that story really like?
Electricity was once believed to be the “essence of life”. Scientists for centuries have been searching for the “ray of light” of life. At the time, scientists believed electricity was itself a biological liquid that could be activated, and that it could help scientists better understand diseases. This search for the “ray of light” of life has led to many experiments involving electricity, especially as religion begins to slowly lose its position and scientific viewing of the world becomes acceptable. than. Thunder and electricity are no longer considered to be the wrath of God toward mankind, but instead become an integral part of the quest for elixir.
The process of using an electric current to make biological matter move is called Galvanism, named after the first person to demonstrate this method, Luigi Galvani. Many scientists have practiced their experiments with electricity on animals instead of humans. For his part, Galvani uses frog bodies for his theories, and another scientist Karl August Weinfold uses the body of a cat. He later beheaded healthy cats and caused the body to twitch and move using electric current. Meanwhile, other scientists used much larger animals, such as cows, poles, pigs …
In 1751, Britain passed the Murder Act. This law stipulates that all people who are executed after they are found guilty of murder can use their bodies for scientific purposes. At that time, this act had many benefits. First, anatomists at that time were in desperate need of bodies, and they would have more corpses to study. And second, it is considered an additional penalty for offenders, since dissecting the body of that time is considered an insult, harming the person in the afterlife.
The story of trying to create a real-life Frankenstein begins in August 1818, when Matthew Clydesdale, 35, was drunk and murdered one of his coal miners – an 80-year-old man. The murder weapon is a coal picker. Because of this crime, Clydesdale was sentenced to death by hanging. After being hanged Clydesdale’s body was brought to the laboratory table, and this was also the prerequisite for Andrew Ure’s resurrection process.
Ure is a scientist and was a chemistry professor at Anderson College. However, he had no practical experience with electricity. He became interested in a wide range of subjects about the human body from the moment he became assistant to professor of anatomy James Jeffray. Ure is considered a relatively small figure in the history of science, and his experiment on Clydesdale is one of his most famous endeavors.
Ure performed his experiment by running electric current into the incisions of Clydesdale’s fingers, hips, neck and heels. This experiment can cause the corpse’s diaphragm to move up and down as if the body was breathing, and Ure also caused the corpse’s fingers to shrink and point to different people around the room. This caused panic among many observing the public experiments, one of whom even fainted.
Ure then described Matthew Clydesdale’s expression when he was electrocuted through his body: “Every muscle in the murderer’s face simultaneously contracted and appeared to be in rage, horror, great hope, anguish … “.
But in fact, after many attempts, Andrew Ure still can not bring life to a corpse. And it seems that Ure soon learned of this and argued that using electricity as a resurrection technique would inevitably fail because Clydesdale had died from a serious injury.
Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein was published in 1818, the same year that Ure performed his experiments. The timing of Ure and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in real life seems to be a coincidence, as many scientists at the time were also experimenting with methods of electric resurrection.