Doctor Serge Samuel Abrahamovitch Voronoff "It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn; and whether it was the outwards substance of things, or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of man that occupied me, stil my enquiries were directed to the metaphysical, or in its highest sense, the physical secrets of the world."~Dr. Frankenstein's Confession, Mary Shelley; 1818
Dr. Serge Voronoff grafted testicle and ovary glands from chimpanzees into elderly men and women during the 20s and 30s. He was my grandmother’s uncle, which makes me his great-grand-nephew. In the last year my research on the internet has revealed a massive amount of information regarding the doctor’s research and global fame. I am compelled to collect this information and that may be because of my direct ancestry. In the reading of his books and hearing my father’s childhood remembrance of his mother’s stories, my intimacy with his ideas and purpose has increased. The Story of Dr. Voronoff is an actually true tale that brushes faintly against the cautionary story of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster.
It is intriguing, amusing, and horrifying.
THe more I have discovered about my grandmother's uncle, the more I have felt compelled to share the story. As I read in the introduction to Frankenstein, Mary Shelley had a vision of 'the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside a thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phatasm of a man stretched out and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion..." Shelley was haunted by this edge-of-dream vision and wished to exorcise it from her awareness when suddenly she thought:
"I have found it! What terrified me will terrify others..." So she began writing the story.
In many reflected ways, there is something that parallels my purpose in collecting all of this information. For there is something sinister in the act of animal experimentation, and while S.V. certainly had good intentions, it is difficult not to imagine the pain inflicted on the monkeys at his farm/clinic at Chateau Grimaldi near Menton France.
One year ago, I discovered S.V.'s wikipedia biography, and something inside me was lit, an unquenchable fire; a lust for information. Somehow, as I dig like an archaeologist through the layers of reference and association, I learn bits and pieces of myself, why I am inclined in certain directions towards certain passions in the arts, literature, mythology, the occult, archaeology, religion, faith, alchemy, mystic-metaphysics, science, mathematice, space-time travel and beyond into future interdimensional portal wave patterns. there is so much i don't know but there is an urgency in all this learning. Perhaps this is done only for my own personal growth, meditations on my ancestry. But I feel certain that this story is worth telling, for it consistently disturbs and intrigues.
This story baffles, amuses, and triggers...My great desire is to find others who share these interests and wish to take action in the world for the good of humanity. I plan to keep this online journal as a record of my discoveries and detail my thoughts as I progress deeper into the labyrinthine catacombs of a trail of ideas and events left for me by my great-grand-uncle.
Ultimately this research project will lead me to visit France and Russia to retrace the story of this man and my own family. Much history has been lost due to first the Bolshevik Revolution in Red October 1917, and then during Hitler's War and the Jewish Holocaust.
On this site you will find links to International media articles, photographs from the international media and the family collection, transcriptions from original published material, and other strange facts and tidbits as they emerge in my ongoing online research.
Somehow, soon, I intend to begin submitting proposals to local newspapers like the Willamette Week and Mercury to share this story. I may know more than anyone else about S.V. now and I don't know what that makes me other than an obsessed family relation, but perhaps there is someone out there who find it interesting if not amusing... like any good horror story, there is hope and fear in the unknown, the darkened corners of scientific research.
As a painter, I have experimented in a large variety of mediums, and know what it is like to sieze upon an idea or technique and carry it through as many different levels as possible to discover the hidden gems of visual knowledge that await, buried in the silent process of our minds.
As an archaeologist, I dig holes and explore layers of time to discover artifacts of cultural significance, evidence of human occupation, from modern times to prehistory. this work has lead me to many profound illuminations regarding the creative process. Whether it is painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, performance, or publishing online text, my work continues to evolve in an upward direction, forward through a perpetual wanderlust that rewards in experience.