Scientists Back Up Frankenstein Moon Tale

Author Shelley could have been inspired by moonlight, as she said
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2011 9:45 AM CDT
Scientists Back Up Frankenstein Moon Tale
The Villa Diodati estate where Mary Shelley wrote her famous story about Frankenstein and his re-animated monster.   (

Literary critics have long doubted Mary Shelley's claim that the idea for Frankenstein came to her one night in a vision of sorts, when she woke up and saw moonlight streaming through her shutters. But now researchers have proven that Shelley was telling the truth—or at least possibly so. Two physicists and an English professor examined the Switzerland estate (it's still standing) where Shelley wrote her famous tale and looked up weather and astronomical records for the early morning of June 16, 1816. The result? There was a bright, bulging moon shining that night, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

“Mary Shelley wrote about moonlight shining through her window, and for 15 years I wondered if we could re-create that night,” said one of the physicists. “We did re-create it. We see no reason to doubt her account, based on what we see in the primary sources and using the astronomical clues." (More literature stories.)

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