Tennessee Ghost Stories: Franklin’s Frankenstein
Tales abound about the spirits from the Civil War that allegedly reside in the old Williamson County Courthouse in Franklin, Tennessee.
But, did you know that before the courthouse was built, the property was home to a small building that belonged to Dr. Ferdinand Stith? Like many other medical professionals in the early 19th century, Dr. Stith became obsessed with galvanism after reading Mary Shelley’s novel, “Frankenstein”. Could a dead man be resurrected with electricity? Dr. Stith was hell-bent on finding out!
In 1842 Dr. Stith made a deal with an inmate who was scheduled to be executed. For a small amount of money and the assurances that he might be brought back to life, the dead man walking agreed to sell his remains to the doctor. What did he have to lose?
After the execution Dr. Stith brought the remains back to his office and placed the former prisoner on a table. The town doctor placed a primitive apparatus made of leather and metal on the former prisoner’s head. Dr. Stith hooked up a battery to the metal around the cadaver’s temples and flipped a switch that sent electricity surging through the recently-deceased body.
Initially, the former inmate’s muscles began to twitch. As Dr. Stith increased the voltage, the cadaver opened his eyes and began to flail around the table. However, despite the dead man’s movements, the wanna be mad scientist was unable to restart the heart of the executed prisoner.
So the next time you are walking through the Franklin Square and you look over at the courthouse, just remember. Not only are there ghosts in the historic building, there almost was a Frankenstein’s monster too!
If you’d like to learn more about the ghost stories about the Williamson County Courthouse please check out my book Southern Ghost Stories: Franklin, Tennessee. If you are a member of Kindle Unlimited you can read the book for free!