The Real Dr. Frankenstein

Dr. Andrew Ure, (1778 – 1857), was a Scottish scholar, chemist, and doctor. He was a Professor of Natural Philosophy, specializing in chemistry and physics, at the Andersonian Institution in Glasgow in 1804. His evening lectures on chemistry and mechanics enjoyed considerable success. But Dr. Ure had a slightly darker side. A popular idea of his day was that electricity was the key to life and could be used to reanimate dead bodies, bringing them back to life.

In 1818 Ure revealed the experiments he had been carrying out on the corpse of a murderer/thief named Matthew Clydesdale, after the man had been executed by hanging. He decided to perform one of his experiments in front of an audience of his fellow doctors and students. He explained to his audience his belief that in cases of suffocation, drowning or hanging, that life could be restored by stimulating the phrenic and supraorbital nerves. Ure then began his experiment.

He proceeded to cut into the corpse and insert electrodes into the incisions. At first, the corpse actually simulated breathing. When the supraorbital nerve was excited, Dr. Ure states, “…every muscle in his countenance was simultaneously thrown into fearful action; rage, horror, despair, anguish, and ghastly smiles, united their hideous expressions in the murderer’s face…” The scene took an even more bizarre turn when one of Ure’s assistants was actually kicked by the corpse, sending him flailing to the floor. The display proved too much, as most of the audience quickly fled the scene. One man was so taken aback by what he saw, he passed out.

Via: CuriousHistory

Advertisements

Sensory Deprivation and the Presence of God

In 1983, a team of deeply pious scientists conducted a radical experiment in an undisclosed facility. The scientists had theorized that a human without access to any senses or ways to perceive stimuli would be able to perceive the presence of God. They believed that the five senses clouded our awareness of eternity, and without them, a human could actually establish contact with God by thought. An elderly man who claimed to have “nothing left to live for” was the only test subject to volunteer. To purge him of all his senses, the scientists performed a complex operation in which every sensory nerve connection to the brain was surgically severed. Although the test subject retained full muscular function, he could not see, hear, taste, smell, or feel. With no possible way to communicate with or even sense the outside world, he was alone with his thoughts.

Scientists monitored him as he spoke aloud about his state of mind in jumbled, slurred sentences that he couldn’t even hear. After four days, the man claimed to be hearing hushed, unintelligible voices in his head. Assuming it was an onset of psychosis, the scientists paid little attention to the man’s concerns.

Two days later, the man cried that he could hear his dead wife speaking with him, and even more, he could communicate back. The scientists were intrigued, but were not convinced until the subject started naming dead relatives of the scientists. He repeated personal information to the scientists that only their dead spouses and parents would have known. At this point, a sizable portion of scientists left the study.

After a week of conversing with the deceased through his thoughts, the subject became distressed, saying the voices were overwhelming. In every waking moment, his consciousness was bombarded by hundreds of voices that refused to leave him alone. He frequently threw himself against the wall, trying to elicit a pain response. He begged the scientists for sedatives, so he could escape the voices by sleeping. This tactic worked for three days, until he started having severe night terrors. The subject repeatedly said that he could see and hear the deceased in his dreams.

Only a day later, the subject began to scream and claw at his non-functional eyes, hoping to sense something in the physical world. The hysterical subject now said the voices of the dead were deafening and hostile, speaking of hell and the end of the world. At one point, he yelled “No heaven, no forgiveness” for five hours straight. He continually begged to be killed, but the scientists were convinced that he was close to establishing contact with God.

After another day, the subject could no longer form coherent sentences. Seemingly mad, he started to bite off chunks of flesh from his arm. The scientists rushed into the test chamber and restrained him to a table so he could not kill himself. After a few hours of being tied down, the subject halted his struggling and screaming. He stared blankly at the ceiling as teardrops silently streaked across his face. For two weeks, the subject had to be manually rehydrated due to the constant crying. Eventually, he turned his head and, despite his blindness, made focused eye contact with a scientist for the first time in the study. He whispered “I have spoken with God, and he has abandoned us” and his vital signs stopped. There was no apparent cause of death.

Via: ACuriousHistory