Earth Science Helped Make Frankenstein Frightening


How Earth Inspired a MONSTER. First panel. It all started in 1815 with a huge volcanic eruption in Indonesia. A volcano rumbles before exploding with a KABOOM! The volcano says, "I helped make a monster? OOPSY DAISY!" Second panel. The volcano spewed very small particles into the stratosphere, which spread around the world causing cold and stormy weather. The aerosols spreading in the atmosphere say, "No way! Tiny aerosols like us couldn't possibly make a monster." Third panel. Because of the dreary weather, four writers chose to be indoors during their Swiss vacation. The four writers, three men and one woman, huddle under a red umbrella to escape the rain. The woman says, "This weather is FRIGHTFUL!" One of the men says, "Let's go inside and see who can write the best SCARY STORY!" Fourth panel. The others wrote, but one writer couldn't think of anything scary until, in the middle of the night.... The woman writer sits in front of a window with lightning and thunder outside, thinking up a green monster with stitches in its head and bolts in its neck. Final panel. Mary Shelley wrote the story she imagined in the stormy night. She called it FRANKENSTEIN! Mary Shelley sits at a desk writing, "...the wind was unfavorable and the rain fell in torrents." Meanwhile, her green monster collects the pages she has already written and states, "Egads! This is SPOOKY!" Cartoon written and illustrated by L. S. Gardiner at the UCAR Center for Science Education

The year that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, 1816, is called the Year Without a Summer because the aerosols in the atmosphere caused temporary cooling worldwide. There were many impacts of this event. Crops failed, people went hungry, and many people migrated to find better conditions.