Interview with Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster
by Joe Randolph
After a year of searching and many stories, I am able to meet with the man who inspired one of the greatest horror stories of all time. He is iconic. From the early 1800s until now, his story has terrified and thrilled 100s of millions. He has lived a long and fantastic life. Much more of our time together will be published later this year. For now, these are the notes from our first interview. Please forgive the annotations.
Last October, I met in Dubuque, Idaho, with the man who was once called Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. He was born in the late 1700s and later followed some of the stories told by Mary Shelley. He claims to have talked with her on the subject.
We meet in the Le Feve coffee shop. Halloween is a couple of weeks away, and I am drinking a Cappuccino at the table. This is the first time I will meet with him. I am apprehensive. It is a busy place. After a series of interviews, I will come to believe that this man is who he claims to be. I believe others, credible people, who say he is indeed Frankenstein’s monster.
I sit facing the window, and a man so tall that I cannot see his head as he passes the window opens the door and enters. He is well over 7 feet tall. He is wearing sunglasses and looks to be wearing a little light-skin-colored makeup and an expensive wig. I can see his neck and hands are scarred. He is a massive man. He has a large chest, hands, head, and body. When we talk, he does not remove his glasses. I will find later that he has 2 different colored eyes. He speaks in an accent that is part Russian, part Swedish, and part Inuit. If you listen to the tone, you can hear some English from long ago.
Randolph: I want to clarify first that you no longer like to be referred to as Dr. Frankenstein’s monster or as Frankenstein. What name do you go by? (At the time of this interview, I was still skeptical of his identity).
DFM: My name now is Diderik Falkvard Mansson. I have never gone by Dr. Frankenstein’s monster or the monster, and certainly not Frankenstein. It is silly that the whole world would get hung up in such a way.
Randolph: It is a fact that you are the legendary person from Mary Shelley’s well-received and well-read book, correct?
DFM: It is true that Ms. Shelley, that lovely young lady, did, base her book upon accounts of my origination, (pause) assembly.
Randolph: Her account, taken from the forward of her book, states (I read this to him)
“Many and long were the conversations between Lord Byron and Shelley, to which I was a devout but nearly silent listener. During one of these, various philosophical doctrines were discussed, among others, the nature of the principle of life and whether there was any probability of its ever being discovered and communicated. They talked of the experiments of Dr. Darwin (I speak not of what the Doctor did, or said that he did, but, as more to my purpose, of what was then spoken of as having been done by him,) who preserved a piece of vermicelli in a glass case, till by some extraordinary means it began to move with voluntary motion. Not thus, after all, would life be given. A corpse could be re-animated; galvanism had given token of such things: the parts of a creature might be manufactured, brought together, and endued with vital warmth.
DFM: The only thing that is true about that introduction, and indeed the whole book, is that Byron and the Shelleys were friends. Dr. Frankenstein was a good friend of Byron. She might have heard the story of Darwin’s reanimation. Still, I know she heard more about my account before she finished writing her book.
Randolph: What makes you know that?
DFM: I visited her. It was at the request of Byron himself. He told me a young, refined lady was writing about Dr. Frankenstein’s accounts and that I should call on her. I do have yellowish eyes. (He has a somewhat charming grin). She was not judgmental about my scars or my disposition. She was fascinated by the idea that I had been dead.
Randolph: Then it is true that people have been afraid of you?
DFM: Oh, very much so. They were terrified of me, in fact, for many years. You have to remember that anyone who looked like me in Europe at the time was put away, so to speak. They were locked in some away place, moved into sanitariums, or outright killed. I am very different. I am very large, of course, because Frankenstein had the issue of vascular connections and nerve fibers. I suppose. I was told this, at least.
Randolph: How much of Shelley’s account is accurate?
DFM: Not very much. I did hide in a family’s barn for a while. I did run away. I did want a bride, but none of it played out like it played out in the novel. As I was saying, people were so terrified at the beginning that I had to hide, and I went North shortly after speaking to Mrs. Shelley. I went North, away from people, in search of isolation, but after almost 30 years, I ended up finding a family.
Randolph: A family? You found people who took you in?
DFM: Ja (he has a long pause). I spent some time in the icy cold of the North. You must understand I have feeble circulation, so the cold is bitter. Still, it gave me the only advantage at the time: the ability to disguise myself behind layers of thick clothing, hoods, scarves, and even full face masks. These things made a life for me possible.
Eventually, I lived on what I perceived to be a peninsula of ice for a long while. I made a home of ice and snow and was able to live alone, working out an existence by catching fish and seals. I found that I could even handle the occasional Polar Bear. The strength Dr. Frankenstein put in my arms is like iron. You wouldn’t believe it. I can still pick up about 700 kilos up over my head. (He raises his arms, gesturing like he is holding something up over his head. He grins). I’m unsure if I am immortal, but I have not aged a day since I first awoke from (pause) and was reborn.
Randolph: Are you saying that you cannot die?
DFM: I was dead. To do it again would be very repetitive. I have been shot, beaten, hit by a train once, and frozen just about solid once. That is when I met the family I was speaking of.
Randolph: You met them above the arctic circle?
DFM: I met them on Imaqliq.
Randolph: I don’t think I’m familiar (he motions to me).
DFM: Diomede Island is what the Americans call it. It is in the Bering Strait. As I said, I thought I lived on a peninsula. As it turns out one summer, that peninsula of ice became an island. I didn’t even know it at first. Then I could feel the movement of the waves under my feet. I went when I felt that great shifting. I very quickly knew that I was drifting away from shore. I looked for a way back, but by the time I reached the edge of a pretty large island, I realized I was many miles away from the mainland. I drifted for weeks. At one point, I tried to go on with the life I had all along, but large cracks formed in the ice. You could see them everywhere underfoot. They would go like lightning.
As they formed soon, they would widen, and my island would decrease in size. After (he pauses thinking) a month, maybe even two, I was down to an island the size of, I don’t know, a city block or something like that.
One night a large storm came, and I thought I would finally end my simple and somewhat controversial second life. The storm capsized my small iceberg, and I went into the water. It was blackness. I had resided myself to death. It was like those movies you see, “end scene.” (He slaps his hands together. He laughs). Most men would have died of exposure to that water within minutes. I woke up on Imaqliq what I believe to be the following summer. I don’t know, but I believe I went into the water for about a year. It was the summer of 1890 when I woke up.
Randolph: Did someone find you?
DFM: Ja, the Yupik found me. I found them. At the time, I ended up on the island. They were considered part of Russia, what would be the Chukotsky district. I was in a wooden fenced area next to a cabin when I woke up. The temperature must have risen above freezing for the first time in months. I was in such pain and agony. It was awful. My fingers would not move, my hands, my toes, one elbow, and one shoulder. I shivered and shivered. I could get to my feet and reach the cabin door, where I knocked. I remember the door opening, a young girl coming out, and nothing again. (He makes quotations with his fingers) End scene. (Laughs very loud. Then quiets himself).
I woke up after that completely warm, maybe a couple of days later, in a bed being cared for by a girl named Ahnah and her father, Aipaloovik. He was an older man, and she was a young girl, and after many years there, they became my family (he pauses again).
Randolph: What happened to them?
DFM: After WWII, Russia moved them off the island into Siberia. I did not go with them. (He is overcome by emotion for a minute. I will not describe this in any detail). I hid from them. I knew how the people were from the mainland. We had met many of them, and more than a few times, their disgust at the sight of me put Ahnah and Aipaloovik in danger. I stayed clear of any soldier from the Russian army and any military officer. I did not want to risk the safety of my family. Of course, by the time they came to remove everyone from the island, it was just Ahnah. Aipaloovik had died years before that.
Randolph: I’m sorry for this. Do you still live there?
DFM: Only the Russian military lives there now. I moved away after that. After some doing, I now live on a small island by Vaasa in Sweden. Replot is the island’s name. I moved there in 1960 or so.
Randolph: How did you get there?
DFM: By airplane, of course. How else besides the way of the iceberg does someone make it from the Bering Strait to Sweden (he laughs)?
Randolph: What did you think of the movie? (I say this because we have passed the time when the classic 1933 Frankenstein movie was made. I’m still skeptical).
DFM: Which one? (Sarcastically, but stops me before I can answer). The original was so horrible and even full of fiction. It was a horrendous mess, but people find a likeness between me and the movie for some reason. People pointed and ran from me when I first reached Sweden, Stockholm. Once, I heard a young man remark that I looked much like Frankenstein. I never saw any resemblance; the only way I am anything like that movie is because I was once dead. I now live, and in size and namesake. Also, I have a grayish hue (he holds up his hand to me). My head is not flat, and I have no bolts. (He laughs).
Randolph: Do you have family there?
DFM: I have Ewa, my wife.
Randolph: You have a wife?
DFM: Ja, the times are much more progressive. People have understood scars for many years. It started improving in the 60s, and people were afraid to look at you for too long. They are even more polite. It’s much better than before. My wife is very beautiful.
Randolph: Do you have children? (I interject this. He eyes me.)
DFM: No children. I am not capable of having children. This might have been one of the side effects of Dr. Frankenstein’s procedure, or it might have just been something that happened to me in a past life. (He smiles).
Randolph: How long have you been married?
DFM: Ewa and I have been together for 15 years. We have been married for 12. Ewa is always upset when I forget. I do it often. I have always been forgetful, another side effect. ( a pause)
Randolph: What do you do for a living?
DFM: I work in internet security. As it turns out, I am much better with computers than I am with people. Ewa is always telling me this. I started working with computers as early as 1970. I was so intrigued by them. I felt almost like them at first. The first computer I saw was nothing more than a giant calculator, but I was very good at the coding. I think that whatever Dr. Frankenstein did to me, it kept my brain very young.
Randolph: What do you mean?
DFM: Like a child, I am very good at learning languages. I can absorb them. Ewa tells me that I see the world like a child sometimes and have a failing memory. It’s bizarre. Computers came to me very quickly. I helped found 4 internet companies from Sweden. I do not want to disclose the ones I still hold shares in.
Randolph: I’ve been told that you are very wealthy.
DFM: I do not have Bill Gates money, but I do ok. (He grins).
At this point, he has to go. He is telling me he is late for a meeting and that it has been nice speaking with me. He says I can walk with him. Walking down the street, we pass a Halloween shop. In the window, there is a cutout of the Frankenstein movie monster.
Randolph: Do you feel Iconic? Millions of people dress up like that every Halloween, and it was inspired partly by your story.
DFM: At one time, long ago, it’s how I thought of myself. Now it doesn’t even occur to me anymore. I have a great life right now. I’m going to a meeting with IBM, and my wife is shopping and will meet me later at the hotel. Besides (he points to the face in the window), that’s outdated. It’s 2023. No one cares if you look like a monster. It’s on the inside that counts. (He walks over to a limo sitting idle in the street. As he opens his door, he yells back to me). It never hurts anyone to have a few 100 million in the bank. (laughs)
We have several more meetings later. All of the details will be released in a new novel coming soon.