These creepy, real-life medical experiments may have inspired Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein"

And reveal the potential monsters in us all

Published September 4, 2014 2:18PM (EDT)

  (screenshot/It's Okay to be Smart)
(screenshot/It's Okay to be Smart)

Mary Shelley's book "Frankenstein" is often cited as the first work of literary science fiction. And while the ability to, quite literally, shock life into a creature is purely the stuff of stories, it is possible she snagged the idea from some eerie real-life experiments being done on dead animals and bodies at the time.

Electrical shock, ultimately, did not bring corpses back from the dead; however, as Joe Hanson from "It's Okay to be Smart" points out, Shelley's "Frankenstein" does raise a lot of interesting questions about science, and nature versus nurture. Is it a cautionary tale about the moral limitations of science? Or is it about humans? And the potential monsters in us all? Watch below:

By Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email

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Electricity Frankenstein Mary Shelley Medicine Monster Nature Versus Nurture Science Video