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Tuesday, 1 April 2014
FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUTH THEY TRIED TO HIDE...
You're looking at old photos of a corpse unearthed in 1901 that proves the FRANKENSTEIN legend is true. Apparently, MARY SHELLEY based her 1818 tale of horror on rumours of an artificial man, created by German resurrectionist and surgeon LIPAR OFLO in 1800. In 1869, Hungarian KAJOK VASALAS, intrigued by the persistent assertions that the novel was based on true events, spent over 30 years investigating the claims and, with the financial backing of a group of sympathetic seekers after truth, finally tracked down the cadaver, which was preserved in an air-tight, salt-filled casket in the cellars of The Royal Czech Society of Sciences.
(The 'experts' could not dispute that here, indeed, was a being stitched together from the parts of other corpses, but doubted that such a creature ever actually drew the breath of life. Until, that is, the remains of half-digested food were found in its stomach. )
It turns out that JACK PIERCE, credited with creating the make-up for BORIS KARLOFF's portrayal of the monster in 1931, actually used photos of the corpse as reference. Pierce came originally from Greece and his real name was JANUS PICCOULA; his uncle, DEMIS PICCOULA, was a high-ranking professor of the Society, and supplied him with copies of the photographs upon learning that UNIVERSAL were planning to produce the movie. However, when the other members saw the success of the horror classic, they threatened to sue Universal unless a substantial amount of money was donated to Society funds. A deal was eventually struck, on the condition that no mention ever be made that the visage of Universal's monster was anything other than an original creation, and that the corpse's existence should not be revealed for at least 80 years.
But why would Universal be afraid of the truth becoming common knowledge? Presumably because the film, despite its huge commercial success, came in for much criticism at the time from church groups, appalled by the suggestion that mere Man was capable of usurping the role of the one true Creator. If it were ever to become known that the motion picture was based on demonstrably true historical events, the public backlash against the studio would have been immense. It's also likely that the Society would have claimed copyright of the image and deprived the studio of millions of dollars in merchandising potential.
However, the truth is now out! In order to meet the cost of preserving the DNA-tested and authenticated remains, the Society has gone public with the story, Universal's arrangement having only been legally enforceable until 2011. A major television documentary is now in the works, telling the true story of facts concealed from the public from as far back as 1931.
Truth, as they say, is often stranger than fiction.
The corpse is currently stored in refrigerated conditions in what is now known as The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, formerly The R.C.S.S. A BBC documentary, FINDING FRANKENSTEIN: The TRUE STORY Of A MONSTER, will be screened in November.
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And now, an important word from our sponsor:
Yes, you're right - it is an APRIL FOOL!
The photos are 'borrowed' from ROBBY's CLASSIC MOVIEMONSTERS blog. The monster was made by MIKE HILL, and the photos were taken by STAN WONG (with a little tweaking from me). So, did you fall for it? Nah? Oh well... next time.