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12 Electrifyingly Interesting Frankenstein Facts

Check out these frightening Franken-facts to discover the story of Mary Shelley - one of the most important people in horror history!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  March 9th 2022

Written in 1818 by Mary Shelley, the story of Frankenstein's monster has had a huge effect on art, movies and popular culture. But how many of these shocking facts did you know about this classic spooky tale?

Looking for more hair-raising info? Check out these ghost facts, these extra scary facts, or even these witch facts!

1. Thomas Edison made it into a film

Thomas Edison, the guy who invented the lightbulb, made the story of Frankenstein into one of the world's first horror films! The film was lost for decades until it was found again in the 1980s. Now you can watch it on Youtube - if you dare!

2. Frankenstein was the first ever Science Fiction story!

Sci-fi buffs reckon Frankenstein is the first example of the Science Fiction genre. It's where the classic image of the crazy scientist comes from, which has influenced all kinds of movies and TV shows, from Despicable Me to Back to the Future.

3. It didn't go down well at first

When the book first came out in 1818, it wasn't popular at all! It took a few years for the book to catch on, and it's big break came in 1823 when it was made into a play. Those critics must've been kicking themselves!

4. It was published anonymously

When the book first came out, there was no author's name attached to it. Because it was dedicated to Mary Shelley's dad, people assumed it was written by her husband, Percy Shelley. Back then people often assumed that things were made by men, which is very unfair and often totally wrong! Even after Mary's name was put on the front cover, some people still doubted she wrote it. Boo.

5. Mary had to overcome scandal

@videserv | giphy

When the news came out, many people were horrified that a woman had written a frightening story. Back then women were expected to write dainty poems about flowers and cushions (that sort of stuff), and the idea of a woman horror writer was in itself pretty scary! Thankfully we've moved on a bit since then.

6. Mary's Mum was "the mother of feminism"!

Wikimedia Commons

Mary's mum was Mary Woolstonecraft, a famous political thinker, writer and philosopher. Mary Woolstonecraft spent her life trying to get more rights for women, and is now thought of as a feminist legend. Clearly this greatness was passed down to her daughter Mary!

7. There's a real Frankenstein Castle!

There really is a castle with the name of Frankenstein! It's in Southern Germany, not too far from Frankfurt. It's likely Mary got the name for her book from the castle, as she probably went near it during her travels in Europe. That's not all she might have taken from the Castle, as we'll find out next...

8. Who was Konrad Dippel?

Wikimedia Commons

The real-life Castle Frankenstein was the birthplace of controversial (and pretty weird) religious figure Konrad Dippel. Konrad was an alchemist, and spent years trying to create an elixir of life. It has been claimed his experiments involved explosives, black magic and dead bodies - though most of this is probably legend. It is very possible though that Konrad was the inspiration for Dr Frankenstein! Could he be the original mad scientist? Unfortunately we'll probably never know!

9. Frankenstein's monster has no name!

Everyone knows that Frankenstein is the name of the scientist who creates the monster, not the monster itself. In fact, the monster doesn't have a name at all! It's just called "creature", "demon" and "it". People do often get the scientist and the monster mixed up though!

10. Mary got the idea for the story from a dream

@colbertlateshow | giphy

Whilst travelling Europe with her husband, Mary had a terrible nightmare - a vision of a man being brought to life by a giant machine. When she woke up she started work on the book immediately. She later said about the dream, "what terrified me will terrify others". She wasn't wrong!

11. The story came out of a writing contest

Mary's book was originally written when she was on holiday with her husband Percy and a few friends, Lord Byron and John Polidori - all very successful writers. The group were travelling in Europe, and to keep themselves busy during bad weather they decided to hold a ghost story writing competition. None of the others actually finished their stories, although one half-written one ended up getting turned into a famous vampire story later on. So that's 1-nil to Mary!

12. Mary was a teenager when she wrote it!

One of the most impressive things about Mary's win at the ghost writing contest isn't just that she was up against some of the best writers of the day, but that she was only 18 at the time! She wouldn't have known it at the time, but her character would eventually become one of the most famous Halloween symbols ever!