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How opium-fueled orgies gave birth to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

With a body stitched together from dead men, Frankenstein’s monster is a hellish nightmare that has echoed down the years.

Yet few know that English author Mary Shelley dreamt up her creature while a teenager caught up in tangled limbs of a different kind — among opium-fuelled orgies.

The then Mary Godwin was an aspiring 19-year-old writer when she stayed in a rambling Swiss villa in the summer of 1816 with a gang of raunchy revelers, including two of England’s foremost romantic poets.

This debauched duo were Mary’s lover and soon-to-be husband Percy Shelley — five years her elder — and his sex-maniac pal Lord Byron.

Also along for the mayhem, were Byron’s personal doctor, John Polidori and Mary’s pregnant stepsister, Claire Clairmont. Claire was pregnant by Byron and had slept with Percy while he courted Mary — and she in turn was an obsession of the lusty Dr. Polidori. So a proper love tangle… read more >

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