Five Mad Scientists Who Went Too Far in the Name of Science

Science sometimes creeps me out. Not so much because of the discoveries of new planets or animals, or even diseases. It creeps me out because of what we as humans, are capable of doing in the name of science. And as much as I'd like to think that these kind of experiments never happened, they did. Scientists go to far in their “madness.”

Perhaps you once upon a time read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein? Some of the scientists listed (Ure, Galvani, and Dippel) were the inspiration behind Dr. Frankenstein. And despite Shelley's wonderful imagination, no amount of idealized creation could think of such things that these men were capable of doing.

Vladimir Demikhov (1916-1998)

Demikhov was a pioneer in organ transplantation. Although he was unable to be the first to do heart transplants in humans, he did do many organ transplants in animals. He was most notoriously known for creating a cruel monstrosity in 1954. He surgically attached the head, shoulders, and front legs of a puppy onto a mature dog. People were astonished, if not repulsed, to see the animals lap up milk from bowls.

This creation wasn't his only. In a span of 15 years, he created 20 more of these creatures. None of them lasted more than a month due to tissue rejection or infections.

Giovanni Aldini (1762-1834)

Aldini was the nephew of Luigi Galvani. His uncle essentially discovered the concept of galvanism, when experimenting with electrical currents on frog legs. Aldini took those experiments further. Aldini conducted his experiments on corpses.

In front of an audience, he conducted an experiment on a hung murderer, George Forster. He applied conducting rods to the man's rectum, whereby the dean man began to punch the air, and his legs began to kick and flinch. Rods applied to the face made it clench and quiver. The left eye popped open. Several people present feared the man had come back to life, and had he actually sprung forth, he would have to be re-executed. One individual was so horrified, that shortly upon leaving the spectacle, he reportedly died.

Andrew Ure (1778-1857)

Andrew Ure, despite his many accomplishments as a Scottish doctor, was more famously known for four experiments conducted on Matthew Clydesdale on November 4, 1818. The first experiment involved an incision in the nape of the neck. Part of the vertebra was removed. An incision was then made in the left hip. Then a cut was made in the heel. Two rods connected to a battery were placed in the neck and hip, which caused great, uncontrollable convulsions. The 2nd rod was then placed into the heel, whereby the left leg kicked with such force, that it nearly knocked over an assistant. The 2nd experiment made the diaphragm of Forster's chest rise and lower, as if he were breathing again.

Ure had reported that had Forster's blood not been drained, or his neck broken from the hanging, he was sure he could bring him back to life. The 3rd experiment showed the extraordinary facial expressions exhibited when Ure made an incision in Forster's forehead. The rod was inserted, and Forster's face began to show emotions of anger, horror, despair, anguish, and hideous, contorted smiles. The expressions scared viewers so badly, that one doctor who was known to have a strong stomach, passed out on the spot. The final experiment had people believing that Forster was indeed alive. A cut was made into the forefinger. Once the rod was inserted, Forster began to raise his hand and point to people in the audience. Needless to say, many were horrified.

Sergei Bruyukhonenko

His research led to the development of open-heart procedures. He developed a crude machine called the autojektor (a heart and lung machine). By using this primitive machine, Bryukhonenko kept the heads of severed dogs alive. In 1928, he displayed one of the heads in front of an audience. To prove it was real, he banged a hammer on the table. The head flinched. When a light was shone in its eyes, the eyes blinked. And when it was fed a piece of cheese, the remnants promptly popped out of the esophageal tube, much to the displeasure of disgusted viewers.

Johann Konrad Dippel (1673-1734)

Dippel was a bit of a weirdo. He was an alchemist who was trying to find ways to extend life. He lived in the castle of Frankenstein (yup, this place actually existed) in Darmstadt, Germany. When corpses from the Frankenstein cemetery began to disappear, he was chased out of the village. He was also known to have boiled the flesh of corpses and animals to make elixirs. He was an ardent vivisectionist (operation on live specimens), and although he was constantly searching for the elixir for long life, it would elude him.

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