Top 10 Mad Scientists in History

1Vladimir Demikhov: The Two-Headed Dog Surgeon

On 1954, soviet surgeon Vladimir Demikhov, revealed his masterpiece to the world: a two-headed dog. The head of a puppy had been grafted onto the neck of an adult German shepherd. The second head would lap at milk, even though it did not need nourishment — and though the milk then dribbled down the neck from its disconnected oesophagus. Although both animals soon died because of tissue rejection, that did not stop Demikhov from creating 19 more over the next 15 years. See a video of the surgery.

2Stubbins Ffirth: The Yellow Fever Vomit-Drinking Doctor

During the 1800s, a doctor training in Philadelphia, Stubbins Ffirth, formed the hypothesis that yellow fever was not an infectious disease, and proceeded to test it on himself. He first poured infected vomit into open wounds, then drank the vomit. He did not fall ill, but not because yellow fever is not infectious: it was later discovered that it must be injected directly into the bloodstream, typically through the bite of a mosquito.

3Josef Mengele: The Angel of Death

Joseph Mengele gained notoriety chiefly for being one of the SS physicians who supervised the selection of arriving transports of prisoners, determining who was to be killed and who was to become a forced laborer, and for performing human experiments on camp inmates, amongst whom Mengele was known as the “Angel of Death.”

At Auschwitz, Mengele did a number of twin studies. After the experiment was over, these twins were usually murdered and their bodies dissected. He supervised an operation by which two Gypsy children were sewn together to create conjoined twins; the hands of the children became badly infected where the veins had been resected.Mengele was almost fanatical about drawing blood from twins, mostly identical twins. He is reported to have bled some to death this way

Auschwitz prisoner Alex Dekel has said: “I have never accepted the fact that Mengele himself believed he was doing serious work — not from the slipshod way he went about it. He was only exercising his power. Mengele ran a butcher shop — major surgeries were performed without anesthesia. Once, I witnessed a stomach operation — Mengele was removing pieces from the stomach, but without any anesthetic. Another time, it was a heart that was removed, again, without anesthesia. It was horrifying. Mengele was a doctor who became mad because of the power he was given. Nobody ever questioned him — why did this one die? Why did that one perish? The patients did not count. He professed to do what he did in the name of science, but it was a madness on his part”.

4Johann Conrad Dippel: The original Frankenstein

Johann Conrad Dippel was such a mad scientist that he was actually born in castle Frankenstein in 1673, a place near near Darmstadt, Germany.He is said to be the model for Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein”, though that idea remains controversial.

After studying theology, philosophy and alchemy, he created an animal oil made of bones, blood and various other animal products, known as Dippel’s Oil which was supposed to be the equivalent to the alchemists’ dream of the “elixir of life.”It is said that some of his work on anatomy involved boiling various body parts in large vats to make some kind of mad man stew, and that he also tried his hand at moving the soul from one corpse to another, possibly with a funnel, a hose and a lot of lubricant.

5Giovanni Aldini: The Corpse Electrocutioner

Aldini was the nephew of Luigi Galvani. His uncle essentially discovered the concept of galvanism, when experimenting with electrical currents on frog legs. Aldini took those experiments further. Aldini conducted his experiments on corpses.

In front of an audience, he conducted an experiment on a hung murderer, George Forster. He applied conducting rods to the man’s rectum, whereby the dean man began to punch the air, and his legs began to kick and flinch. Rods applied to the face made it clench and quiver. The left eye popped open. Several people present feared the man had come back to life, and had he actually sprung forth, he would have to be re-executed. One individual was so horrified, that shortly upon leaving the spectacle, he reportedly died.

6Sergei Bruyukhonenko: The Dog Decapitator

Way before Vladimir Demikhov, Bruyukhonenko’s mad experiments on dogs led to the development of open-heart procedures. He developed a crude machine called the autojektor (a heart and lung machine). By using this primitive machine, Bryukhonenko kept the heads of severed dogs alive. In 1928, he displayed one of the heads in front of an audience. To prove it was real, he banged a hammer on the table. The head flinched. When a light was shone in its eyes, the eyes blinked. And when it was fed a piece of cheese, the remnants promptly popped out of the esophageal tube, much to the displeasure of disgusted viewers.

7Andrew Ure: The Scottish Butcher

Andrew Ure, despite his many accomplishments as a Scottish doctor, was more famously known for four experiments conducted on Matthew Clydesdale on November 4, 1818. The first experiment involved an incision in the nape of the neck. Part of the vertebra was removed. An incision was then made in the left hip. Then a cut was made in the heel. Two rods connected to a battery were placed in the neck and hip, which caused great, uncontrollable convulsions. The 2nd rod was then placed into the heel, whereby the left leg kicked with such force, that it nearly knocked over an assistant. The 2nd experiment made the diaphragm of Forster’s chest rise and lower, as if he were breathing again.

Ure had reported that had Forster’s blood not been drained, or his neck broken from the hanging, he was sure he could bring him back to life. The 3rd experiment showed the extraordinary facial expressions exhibited when Ure made an incision in Forster’s forehead. The rod was inserted, and Forster’s face began to show emotions of anger, horror, despair, anguish, and hideous, contorted smiles. The expressions scared viewers so badly, that one doctor who was known to have a strong stomach, passed out on the spot. The final experiment had people believing that Forster was indeed alive. A cut was made into the forefinger. Once the rod was inserted, Forster began to raise his hand and point to people in the audience. Needless to say, many were horrified.

8Shiro Ishii: Dr. Pure Evil

Ishii was a microbiologist and the lieutenant general of Unit 731, a biological warfare unit of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. He was born in the former Shibayama Village of Sanbu District in Chiba Prefecture, and studied medicine at Kyoto Imperial University. In 1932, he began his preliminary experiments in biological warfare as a secret project for the Japanese military. In 1936, Unit 731 was formed. Ishii built a huge compound — more than 150 buildings over six square kilometers — outside the city of Harbin, China.

Some of the numerous atrocities committed by Ishii and others under his command in Unit 731 include: vivisection of living people (including pregnant women who were impregnated by the doctors), prisoners had limbs amputated and reattached to other parts of their body, some prisoners had parts of their bodies frozen and thawed to study the resulting untreated gangrene. Humans were also used as living test cases for grenades and flame throwers. Prisoners were injected with inoculations of disease, disguised as vaccinations, to study their effects. To study the effects of untreated venereal diseases, male and female prisoners were deliberately infected with syphilis and gonorrhea via rape, then studied. Having been granted immunity by the American Occupation Authorities at the end of the war, Ishii never spent any time in jail for his crimes and died at the age of 67 of throat cancer.

9Kevin Warwick: The First Human Cyborg

Kevin Warwick is a British scientist and professor of cybernetics with such a fascination with for robots, that he’s endeavoring to be the first man ever to become a cyborg.

On 1998, a simple RFID transmitter was implanted beneath Warwick’s skin, and used to control doors, lights, heaters, and other computer-controlled devices based on his proximity. The main purpose of this experiment was said to be to test the limits of what the body would accept, and how easy it would be to receive a meaningful signal from the chip.

On 2002, a more complex neural interface was implanted on his nervous system, getting access to his nervous signals. The experiment proved so successful, that the signal produced was detailed enough for a robot arm to mimic the actions of Warwick’s own arm.

Later, a highly publicised extension to the experiment, in which a simpler array was implanted into Warwick’s wife—with the aim of creating a form of telepathy or empathy using the Internet to communicate the signal from afar—was also successful, resulting in the first purely electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans. His experiments are still on.

10John Lilly: The Sensory Deprivation Tank creator

To find out what would happen if the brain was cut off from all external stimuli, scientist John Lilly built the first sensory deprivation tank in 1954. Floating in warm water for hours in complete darkness and silence, Lilly began to experience vivid fantasies. “These are too personal to relate publicly,” he reported later. The hallucinations of his test subjects were similarly difficult to categorize scientifically. This was one reason why his research did not take off.

Lilly later gave up scientific research and founded the firm Samadhi Tanks, which manufactured tanks for domestic use. On 1980 Lilly’s work was the model for the film “Altered States”. Having became something of a New Age guru, he died in 2001.