Frankenstein is the name of an infamous bourgeois European family that has left its mark on society for hundreds of years. Throughout the course of history, the name of Frankenstein has become synonymous with "monster" and science gone wrong.
This tormented and seemingly cursed family bloodline extends all the way back to the 1st century A.D. The Frankensteins originated from the Franks – a barbaric Germanic tribe that inhabited the region that is now known as Bavaria. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Franks living in the Francia region relocated and established a strong community south of the Rhine. An immense fortress was built in the mountains that became known as the Rock of the Franks. Known also as Frankenstein, the fortress was commanded by a powerful warrior named Arbogast, the earliest known progenitor of the Frankenstein family line. Arbogast von Frankenstein earned a reputation as a savage fighter by challenging and defeating knights in jousting contests on the castle grounds. This fortress was but the first of many such structures that would become known as Castle Frankenstein over the years.
In 1440, a knight of the Teutonic Order named Frank von Frankenstein traveled across Eastern Europe as a violent missionary converting heathens to Catholicism. His crusade brought him into conflict with the Wallachian voivode, Vlad Tepes. Vlad's forces were greater than Frankenstein's, and he had Frank's body impaled on the grounds of his castle. Ironically, some four-hundred years later, Vlad Tepes (who would later become more infamously known as Dracula) would meet an untimely end at the hands of the Frankenstein family's most notorious legacy – the Frankenstein Monster.
The Frankenstein family has also been tied to the story of St. George and the Dragon. In 1531, Hans von Frankenstein and his older brother Georg encountered a creature known as the Scheusslischer Lindwurm. This dragon-like entity rose from a well in the mountains of the Katzenborn and attacked the neighboring villages. Hans von Frankenstein believed that the monster could be placated through human sacrifice. After drawing lots, Hans offered up a peasant named Annamarie as an unwilling sacrifice to the dragon. Georg, who had been off fighting a war, returned home and slew the dragon with his sword, but he was unable to save the life of Annamarie. As years passed, Hans found history repeating itself, as another dragon-like monster rose from the Katzenborn. Aided by Puritan warrior Solomon Kane, Hans von Frankenstein sought to stop the monster, but it was Kane who delivered the fatal blow that saved the village. Like before, another innocent victim, this time a woman named Cathryn, was needlessly sacrificed before the monster could be destroyed. Madness and regret soon overwhelmed Hans, and rumors of a curse upon the Frankenstein family began to circulate. By 1662, the Frankensteins left the region and the property was sold.
In 1683, Johann Karl von Frankenstein became a bishop of the ecclesiastical principality of Worms, Germany. He passed away in 1691. His exact relationship to the Frankenstein family remains unknown.
In 1673, Lutheran minister, Johann Dippel and his wife Anna Munchmeyer fled from France during the reign of King Louis XIVV. They gave birth to a son named Johann Konrad on Bergstraße near Darmstadt. Dippel studied theology, philosophy and alchemy at the University of Giessen obtaining a master degree in theology in 1693. He published many theological works under the name Christianus Democritus, most which are still preserved today. Dippel's true calling however was in the pseudo-science of alchemy and he became obsessed with learning the secret of immortality. In the year 1732, Dippel developed a meager version of a Philosopher's Stone which he dubbed Arcanum Chymicum. He sold it to the Landgrave of Hesse in exchange for the title to Castle Frankenstein. Dippel became known as Baron von Frankenstein. In 1734, family members found Dippel dead in one of his many castle dungeons. The cause of death was unknown, but it appeared as if Dippel took his own life after consuming a vial of poison.
Fearing a resurgence of the "Frankenstein Curse", Dippel's five brothers and sisters took Konrad’s infant son, Alphonse, and fled Darmstadt for Switzerland. They established a new branch of the family line in the city of Geneva.
By 1770, Alphonse Frankenstein was a wealthy missionary and bourgeois who taken a wife named Caroline Beaufort. While on holiday in Naples, Italy, Caroline gave birth to the first of three sons, Victor. Alphonse's other children were named Ernst and William. In 1775, the Frankensteins discovered an orphan girl named Elizabeth Lavenza living in squalor in the Italian village of Como in Milan. They took her in and raised her alongside Victor as his adopted sister.
Victor Frankenstein left for the University of Ingolstadt in 1788 where he studied natural science under the tutelage of the venerated Professor Waldman. Like his grandfather, Konrad Dippel, Victor Frankenstein sought to unlock the key to life itself. In 1792, Victor constructed a human body using limbs and organs of corpses. By way of an unknown chemical process, he animated the body and succeeded in creating a creature that would henceforth become known as the Frankenstein Monster.
The Frankenstein's Monster despised its existence and swore vengeance against the entire Frankenstein family for creating him. He eventually trailed Victor back to Geneva where he callously murdered Victor's young brother, William. A short time later, the monster murdered Victor's bride, Elizabeth. Before long, Alphonse Frankenstein died of a broken heart, and Victor followed soon after, killed by the monster.
Ernst Frankenstein , the last Frankenstein siblings, survived and went on to father a new generation of von Frankensteins.
A Frankenstein related, Maximilian von Katzenelnbogen emerged during the X-Men's Schism, refusing to be considered as a Frankenstein. Although, Frankenstein's Monster came to Westchester County, to kill him for his lineage.
According to Frank, which seems to be true looking at his victims' reputation and as Maximilian von Katzenelnbogen and many of his relatives' behavior, the Frankenstein Family carries in them evil, and many of them focus on dead-reanimation and crazy surgery.
- The Frankenstein Family was inspired by the works of 18th century novelist Mary Shelley. The family's Frankish origins were developed by writer Jean-Marc Lofficier.
- Throughout the years the family name has been alternately known as von Frankenstein as well as Frankenstein.
- Konrad Dippel (sometimes spelled Conrad) was an actual alchemist who lived at Castle Frankenstein during the late 17th century. Frankenstein author Mary Shelley visited Dippel's estate on Lake Geneva in 1814.
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