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Frankenstein Castle was the home of alchemist Johann Conrad Dippel-the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s gothic novel Frankenstein

Marija Georgievska

Frankenstein Castle is a hilltop castle in the Odenwald mountain range overlooking the city of Darmstadt in Germany.

It is thought that this castle was the inspiration for Mary Shelley when she wrote her Gothic novel “Frankenstein” in 1818.

Frankenstein Castle. Photo Credit

Frankenstein Castle. Photo Credit

The meaning of Frankenstein is “Stone of the Franks”. The Franks were a Germanic tribe, and “stein” is the German word for “stone”.

Thus, the term “Frankenstein” is actually a rather ordinary name for a castle in this region.

Odenwald is a landscape with dark forests and narrow valleys shrouded in mistery and enshrined in legend. Photo Credit

Odenwald is a landscape with dark forests and narrow valleys shrouded in mistery and enshrined in legend. Photo Credit

Johann Conrad Dippel was born at Castle Frankenstein in 1673. He was a German pietist theologian, alchemist, and physician.

Dippel made some impressive contributions to science, including helping discover the dye “Prussian Blue”, which is still used in modern-day textile production.

Dippel did some cadaver experiments of his own. Photo Credit

Dippel did some cadaver experiments of his own. Photo Credit

Popular rumours stated that Dippel performed gruesome experiments on cadavars that he stole from local graveyards.

Fixated with the human soul, he documented many experiments of “soul transference”. Dippel also claimed to have invinted an “elixer of life” and a way of exorcizing demons through the use of a potion made of boiled animal bones.

It is believed that the castle is at least seven centuries old. Photo Credit

It is believed that the castle is at least seven centuries old. Photo Credit

Castle Frankenstein is now in ruins, with only two towers, a restaurant and a chapel remaining. It gained international attention when the SyFy TV-show Ghost Hunters International featured it in 2008.

The most interesting part of the show is when sounds are heard coming out of the chapel. The Ghost Hunters team left Frankenstein Castle convinced that there was some sort of paranormal activity going on.

Frankenstein Chapel. Photo Credit

Frankenstein Chapel. Photo Credit

Once home to a mad scientist, the castle now opens its doors on Halloween. Brave visitors nervously crowd outside the castle’s front gate, waiting for their turn inside.

Hidden behind the herb garden of the castle there is a Fountain of Youth. Photo Credit

Hidden behind the herb garden of the castle there is a Fountain of Youth. Photo Credit

 

Over the centuries the castle fell into disrepair it was even used as a quarry and there was not much left. Photo Credit

Over the centuries the castle fell into disrepair it was even used as a quarry and there was not much left. Photo Credit

The castle has never been developed into a commercial attraction on a large scale, and local people use the mountain chain on which it is located for sport activities like hiking and mountain biking.

The castle is open to the public until late at night.