Frankenstein Castle
Fear factor in Darmstadt

Surely many of you have heard of the story of Frankenstein. A scientist who wants to bend the forces of nature and creates a monster. The novel is called "Frankenstein or Modern Prometheus" and was written by Mary Shelley. Did you know that the science city of Darmstadt has a direct connection to this story?

Published: 28th October, 2022

The Legend of Frankenstein

"Frankenstein or Modern Prometheus”
"Frankenstein or Modern Prometheus”

There is a real Frankenstein Castle and is it located on the outskirts of Darmstadt. Among the many castes of the region, this particular one was always drowned in legends and myths.

One of the famous legends speaks about Johann Conrad Dippel – an inhabitant of the Castle born in 1673. He was a physician, alchemist and theologian and triggered lots of rumours due to the experiments he was making (pretty much in Dr Frankenstein's style). He also claimed to discover the Elixir of Life.

M.A. Data and Discourse Studies

Of course, it is difficult to prove that Mary Shelley's piece was directly inspired by this extravagant Dr Dipper from Castle Frankenstein. However, what we know for a fact is that the Author has travelled along the Rhine and visited the Castle.

Portrait TU Darmstadt Ambassador Masha
Picture: Britta Hüning

From the Author herself, we also know that she was impacted by rich mysterious folklore from Germany.

From a preface written by Mary Shelley, author of the novel "Frankenstein; or Modern Prometheus” (1817)

“We… occasionally amused ourselves with some German stories of ghosts which happened to fall into our hands. These tales excited in us a playful desire of imagination. Two other friends … and myself agreed to write each a story, founded on some super-natural occurrence … The following tale is the only one which has been completed.”

No surprise that Shelley also made her Frankenstein create his monster in Germany.

The history of the Frankenstein Castle

M.A. Applied Linguistics

The exact date when the castle was built is not known. In most sources, however, the year 1240 can be traced.

#studentsofTUdarmstadt, Ambassador Agata, sonniger Tag, Selfie-Spot, Logo der TU Darmstadt, Athene, geblümte Bluse. // #studentsofTUdarmstadt, Ambassador Agata, sunny day, selfie spot, logo of TU Darmstadt, Athen, floral blouse.
Picture: Juan Aleman
The Tower of the Castle
The Tower of the Castle

The castle, which lies at an altitude of 370 meters, was first mentioned in a carter from 1252 speaking about Konrad II Reiz von Breuberg and his wife Elisabeth von Weiterstadt. The couple gave their beginning to the noble family Frankenstein –- the landgraves of Hessen-Darmstadt.

Despite the expansion and modernisation of the castle in the 16th century, it was sold to landgrave Ludwig VI of Hessen-Darmstadt. The latter took no care of the castle, which served as a home for invalids and a place of refuge during Louis XIV's wars of conquest until the 18th century.

Stories about treasures buried there also contributed to the slow destruction of the fortress. Parts of the building, such as bricks or wooden stairs, were sold and farmers used the castle as a quarry.

In the mid-19th century, Grand Duke Ludwig III made an attempt to renovate the fortress, which resulted in new floors being built that did not exist before.

It was not until the 1960s when the fortress became popular with tourists that work began on building a viewing platform and a restaurant. This was opened in 1970 and is still a good place to take a break while hiking or visiting the castle.

The castle Frankenstein is now famous for hosting a big Halloween party, which was founded by US soldiers in the 1970s.

This story is only a part of the rich history of Darmstadt. Surprisingly underlining the curiosity for natural sciences and solving the mysteries of the world.

Make sure to check our study programmes in natural sciences and start your search of the Philosopher's stone!

#studentsofTudarmstadt, Ambassador Agata, Karo 5, University Campus city centre, TU shop // #studentsofTudarmstadt, Ambassador Agata, Karo 5, Universitätscampus Stadtmitte, TU shop
Picture: Stefan Elges


Hi! I'm Agata and I'm studying Applied Linguistics with a focus on German as a foreign language. After studying German in Poland, I decided to do my Master's degree in Germany. The beautiful city, closeness to nature and the good reputation convinced me to choose the TU Darmstadt.

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Portrait TU Darmstadt Ambassador Masha
Picture: Britta Hüning


Hey! My name is Masha and I’m doing my master’s in Data and Discourse Studies. It always takes long to explain what exactly I am studying. My program is a kaleidoscope of disciplines and methods, which are weirdly and fruitfully intertwined together. For me it is a fusion of hobby and profession: languages, history, programming, philosophy! I love it how we mix approaches trying to gain this voluminous image of our world.

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