History’s Most Famous Mad Scientists

The character of the mad scientist is one that is often featured in fiction like Frankenstein. This character seeks to delve into research that is considered taboo, risky or overly ambitious. Well, in real life there are men of science who made valuable contributions, but also seemed to have crossed over the thin line between crazy and genius. They have gotten the title of mad scientist. Here are five of the most famous mad scientists in history. 

1. Jose Delgado (1918-2011)

Jose Manuel Delgado was a brilliant scientist. He was interested in using electricity for mind control. The manipulation of the brain is an area that a few scientists had tried to explore prior to his work. Delgado advanced the concept by using electrodes to successfully control both humans and animals. Delgado was successful in creating technology that used a brain chip to electrically alter the mind. He inserted electrodes into animal brains. Then, using a remote control that emitted radio waves, the scientist managed the primates. The technology was used on a charging bull and he was successfully able to stop the bull before it charged into him. Delgado didn’t stop there. He even experimented with at least twenty humans.

2. Paracelsus (1493-1541)

A Renaissance scholar named Paracelsus graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of Ferrara in the early 16th century. He was a practicing physician, botanist and occultist. It is believed that he engaged in extremely weird personal experiments because of the latter. Paracelsus believed that by preserving a man’s seed in a warm environment and feeding it with our lifeblood, he might produce a living homunculus which is a tiny man. He strongly thought that this technique was the origin of wood nymphs and giants and even gave instructions for anyone else who wanted to try it.

3. Giovanni Aldini (1762–1834)

Aldini’s crazy experiments were pursued at a time when electricity was quite new. Aldini’s primary goal in his travels across Europe was to electrify his subjects. Although it may sound horrifying, he claimed it was done for scientific purposes. Aldini became an entertainer when he showed audiences what happens when an individual is electrocuted. Who were his subjects you may wonder? He used the bodies of individuals who were no longer alive. He attached electric nodes to the bodies and allowed people to watch as the facial muscles change, the teeth chatter and differences in the eyes. Giovanni Aldini was one of the few scientists to cure mental illness by shocking the brain.

4. Stubbins Ffirth (1784-1820)

Stubbins Ffirth was a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania who was obsessed with the notion that yellow fever was not communicable. This mad scientist went through extreme measures to prove it. Ffirth smeared various bodily fluids of infected patients into self inflicted wounds on his body, in his eye and drank some as well. He didn’t get sick; however, it was later found that he had used samples from late stage patients who were no longer infectious.

5. Johann Conrad Dippel (1673-1734)

Johann Conrad Dippel was an alchemist, theologian and scientist. He is recognized for developing a popular dye called Prussian Blue which is still being used today. Dippel is also known for his many controversial experiments. He made a stew from animal hides and bones that he named “Dippel’s Oil,” which he believed was an elixir that could make anyone live longer. It is also believed that he stole bodies from Castle Frankenstein where he lived, which were used in his numerous experiments.

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