The mad scientist is a staple of horror books and films, summoning up evil from vats of smoking potions and jolts of new-fangled electricity.
But writers and directors didn't have to make up the mad scientist to suit their fictional storylines. There are plenty of real-life examples to borrow from.
Here are scientists who mixed real science with something far more sinister - and came up with some pretty horrific results.
Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov
In the early 20th century, Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov revolutionised the field of artificial insemination. Ivanov's experiments with hybrids resulted in such biological wonders as zeedonks (zebra and donkey), zubrons (wisent and cow), an antelope-cow, a mouse-rat, a mouse-guinea pig, and a guinea pig-rabbit.
He then decided that the same principles could surely be applied to humans and apes. The Russian government bankrolled his plan to create a species of hard-as-nails ape men. Several female chimpanzees were inseminated with human sperm. None got pregnant, so Ivanov planned to repeat the experiment the other way round - impregnating humans with ape sperm. Happily for the women who volunteered to give birth to the human-ape hybrids, Ivanov fell out of favour before the new experiment could take place.
Johann Conrad Dippel
Johann Dippel was born in 1673 in what was - at the time - a little known castle in central Germany called Castle Frankenstein. And yes, he may well have been one of the inspirations for Mary Shelley's monstrous creation.
Dippel was, at first, a controversial theologian who believed in the dissolution of the established church. But his theological scepticism lead him onto dodgy scientific ground, first with alchemy (turning base metals into gold) and then anatomy. It's certainly true that Dippel experimented on dead animals. It's rumoured that he also took to grave robbing and practising anatomy on real cadavers. Through his dabblings Dippel claimed to have discovered the elixir of life and a way to exorcise demons from human souls.
He was accused of 'keeping company with the Devil' but whether - as folklore suggests - Dippel was run out of town by angry townsfolk is impossible to confirm.
Aldini, born in 1762, was another of the scientists who may or may not have inspired Mary Shelley's infamous Dr Frankenstein. Aldini did sensible things, like experimenting with illuminations for lighthouses, before setting out on the road to mad science.
Most famously, Aldini toured Europe making bodies move by applying jolts of electricity to limbs. His performance at the College of Surgeons in London in 1803 was well remembered by all who saw it, many of whom assumed at first that Aldini had raised hanged criminal George Foster from the dead. The murderer's face twitched and moved, his mouth and eyes opened, and his limbs flailed around - to the point where a number of citizens called for Foster to be hanged all over again.
American scientist Harry Harlow's maternal deprivation studies on baby monkeys may have yielded some useful information, but the monkeys paid a heavy price.
Essentially, Harlow took baby monkeys from their mothers and used machines to raise them. Later, he invented what was termed the 'pit of despair', a place where baby monkeys were left alone in the pitch dark for up to a year after birth. Without exception, the monkeys emerged psychotic and severely disturbed. It's fair to say that, interesting though some of the results were, Harlow's monkey torture would be considered highly unethical today.
By the end of his life (Nikola Tesla died in 1943) he was obsessed by the number three, to the point where he'd walk round a building three times before entering and demand three napkins with his evening meal.
In his prime, Tesla was a highly successful electrical engineer who played a large part in creating the power systems we still use today. But by the time the '3' thing kicked in, he was claiming the ability to produce sci-fi death rays and aircraft that worked without wings, fuel or an engine.
Maybe his eccentricity was partly the result of sleep deprivation. He once spent 83 uninterrupted hours working in his lab.
Sidney Gottlieb was a lucky American scientists who happened to be around during the height of the Cold War, which meant he could get away with pretty much anything in the name of homeland security.
In Gottlieb's case, 'anything' meant coming up with wacky plans to poison Cuban leader Fidel Castro so his beard fell out, and to spray his TV studio with LSD.
He became particularly famous for experiments in mind control using LSD. The intention was to use "techniques that would crush the human psyche to the point that it would admit anything." To see if LSD would do it, Gottlieb went around spiking the drinks of low lives and hookers with the drug and observing the results. Many of the unwitting subjects suffered severe and lasting psychiatric damage.
José Manuel Rodriguez Delgado
José Manuel Rodriguez Delgado spent the 1970s inventing and perfecting something called a stimoceiver - a brain implant that could pick up radio waves emitted by a wireless transmitter. And what the stimoceiver allowed Dr Delgado to do was control minds.
At first he stuck with cats, but later moved on to monkeys and then humans. He found that he could stimulate feelings of elation, concentration and relaxation using radio signals alone.
His most famous experiment involved a bull. In a nutshell, Delgado stepped into a bullring with a bull that had earlier been implanted with a stimoceiver. When the bull charged at him, he pressed a button on his remote control and stopped the bull in its tracks.
Sergei S Bryukhonenko
The Stalin-era Soviet scientist Sergei Bryukhonenko did valuable work on the development of open-heart surgery, and invented a primitive heart and lung machine called the autojektor.
But he proved the autojektor worked in the most gruesome way. In 1928 he hooked up the severed head of a dog to an autojektor in front of a live audience. Much to the audience's disgust, the poor animal flinched when it heard a loud noise and actually ate a piece of cheese, which then popped out of its open oesophageal tube.
When dabbling in the basics of rocket science, Jack Parsons was pure science. When he invoked the spirit of the Greek God Pan before every test launch, he was pure mad.
Parsons was a follower of British mystic Aleister Crowley (also known as The Great Beast) and would dance in a pagan fashion to celebrate scientific breakthroughs. Later, he gave L Ron Hubbard a large sum of money that Hubbard used to lay the cornerstones of Scientology. Parsons made some major discoveries in the field of rocket fuels in the 1940s, but was killed in his home lab by an explosion of mercury fulminate.
So what does all this prove? Well, nothing really, but it does give some credence to the old saying that genius and madness are simply two sides of the same coin.
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