"It proved a wet, ungenial summer", Mary Shelley remembered in 1831, "and incessant rain often confined us for days to the house". Sitting around a log fire at Byron's villa, the company amused themselves with German ghost stories, which prompted Byron to propose that they "each write a ghost story". Unable to think of a story, young Mary Godwin became anxious: "Have you thought of a story? I was asked each morning, and each morning I was forced to reply with a mortifying negative." During one mid-June evening, the discussions turned to the nature of the principle of life. "Perhaps a corpse would be re-animated", Mary noted, "galvanism had given token of such things". It was after midnight before they retired, and unable to sleep, she became possessed by her imagination as she beheld the grim terrors of her "waking dream", her ghost story:

This was the year without summer due to the Tambora eruption. Look at that temperature anomaly image!

Rasputina wrote a neat song about this.



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If anyone reading this hasn't read it yet, I actually very much recommend giving Frankenstein shot. It's been over a decade since I last read it, but I still remember distinctly how poetic it was. It's a wonderful book.


posted by francopoli: 775 days ago