It was a dark and stormy night. It was, truly, that evening in June 1816 on the shores of Lake Geneva at the Villa Diodati. It was there that a ghost story–writing contest was had. The participants? Lord Byron, Byron’s physician, Polidori, Percy Shelley and his love, Mary Shelley, not yet nineteen years of age. Over the roar of a fire and pattering rain, they read German ghost stories and discussed the works of Erasmus Darwin, an English physician who was rumored to have animated dead matter.