The Plan To Reanimate George Washington’s Corpse

death-george-washingtonLauren Davis on io9 discusses U.S. Capitol designer William Thornton’s half-baked plan to bring George Washington back from the dead. Thornton’s idea was not enacted, but who knows what the future holds — in the decades to come, George Washington’s cadaver and Hitler’s brain may yet sit in a cafe somewhere sharing a conversation:

George Washington may have been America’s first president, but was he nearly America’s first zombie-in-chief? If William Thornton, physician and designer of the US Capitol, had had his way, Washington’s body would have been subjected a scientific experiment designed to bring the deceased former president back to life.

Washington’s body was not buried immediately after his death. The president may not have feared death, but he did fear being buried alive. Before he died, he commanded his secretary, Tobias Lear, to make sure that he would not be entombed less than three days after he died. In accordance with Washington’s wishes, his body was put on ice until it could be moved to the family vault.

That’s where the story gets a little strange. The morning after Washington died, his step-granddaughter Elizabeth Law arrived with a family friend, William Thornton. History best remembers Thornton as the architect who created the original design for the Capitol building, but he was also a trained physician, having studied at the University of Edinburgh. Although he did not practice medicine for much of his life, Thornton always had a keen interest in the workings of the human body, and he suggested a novel method for resurrecting the fallen warrior …

Read More from Lauren Davis on io9

14 Comments on "The Plan To Reanimate George Washington’s Corpse"

  1. I wonder if HP Lovecraft was aware of this bit of early US history. It would be amusing to find that Herbert West, Reanimator had some basis in historic fact. 

    • Liam_McGonagle | Jan 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm |

      Given the charisma levels of some of the front runners, I’d say the DNC and RNC ended up accomplishing the same thing by the back door:  Undead status is now a prerequisite for the nomination.

  2. Vstarman21 | Jan 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

    The three days is a Rosicrucian concept:

    Preservation period after death
    The Rosicrucian method for caring of the dead requires a “post-mortem interval”, or preservation period, of the body (3 1/2 days – 84 hours), for life review purpose (in a pacific death; not in a sudden impact such as: shock, accident, catastrophe, heart attack or suicide), before cremation or any other way of body disposal [9].

    They believed that you can feel pain for three days after death, so if someone starts cutting on you, you’ll feel it. 

  3. Anarchy Pony | Jan 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm |

    Maybe the Randroids should try and reanimate Ayn, so we can put her down like the zombie she always was.

    • James Hurly | Jan 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm |

      Zombie? You are a true moron. Ms. Rand was one of the most brilliant humans to ever walk the planet and nearly everything she warned about is coming true right now. You are totally clueless.

      • Mr Willow | Jan 31, 2012 at 4:15 pm |

         Ms. Rand was one of the most brilliant humans to ever walk the planet 

        And with his credibility lying smashed on the floor, he slinked off into the shadows. . . 

        Her ‘brilliance’ can only be derived from a predisposition filled to the brim with narcissism and self-righteousness, entertaining a belief that all men are islands surrounded by a sea of stupid, useless individuals who are no more than tools to further one own’s agenda and to achieve personal happiness and ‘success’ is to devalue or reject any sense of compassion, or notion of coöperation. 

      • Anarchy Pony | Jan 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm |

        Rand was a pro fascist me firster piece of psychotic, entitled trash. And so are all of her self righteous little acolytes. 

        • UnionJackJamesBond | Feb 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm |

          Like I said, she’s literally just the Right Wing version of you. Very little difference, except both fail to understand how a country works and how to keep our race from falling off the face of the earth.

      • Scottyj001 | Jan 31, 2012 at 6:34 pm |

        I thought “Anthem” was a fantastic book. I enjoyed it so much I went out and bought “For the New Intellectual” – that was where the adoration ended. Ms. Rand came across completely devoid of human emotion (heart) and determined to subjugate compassion to rationality at all costs – a “Randroid.”

      • Rand was a lunatic and so are her followers. Good day to you sir.

    • UnionJackJamesBond | Feb 24, 2012 at 6:27 pm |

      Your attacking Ayn Rand yet your name is Anarchy Pony? *TACTICAL FACEPALM ENGAGED!* You do realize that Ayn Rand was just the Right Wing side of what you believe in, or have you never bothered to research her?

  4. I imagine Georgie boy would take one look around, say “Fuck this shit!” and immediately de-reanimate himself in disgust.

  5. Problem is, if we reanimated George Warshington first thing that’d happen is he’d be whisked away & waterboarded until we got to the bottom of that cherry tree thing.  It was on private property, you know.

  6. DeepCough | Feb 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm |

    I’ll take Zombie George Washington over any candidate in politics today.

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