Weird History: One Doctor Wanted to Bring George Washington Back From the Dead

George Washington, the first President of the United States, died on December 14, 1799, after a serious throat infection. But did you know that one doctor wasn’t ready to accept the fact that Washington was dead and wanted to try and bring him back to life?

After receiving news about Washington’s illness, his friend Dr. William Thornton headed to Mount Vernon with the intention of treating him. Unfortunately, Thornton arrived too late and found that the President already died.

Instead of joining the nation in mourning of its first President, Thornton made a shocking proposal: he would try and bring Washington back from the dead.

Thornton is best known for designing the United States Capitol building, but he was also a reputable physician. Learning medicine in some of the best schools in Europe, he was familiar with blood transfusion and believed the procedure could help resurrect Washington.

Thornton’s plan, which he later described in his journal and which is available in the Library of Congress, was to “thaw” Washington’s frozen body in cold water before warming it with blankets to “put into activity the minute blood vessels”. Next, he would “inflate” the lungs with air to “produce an artificial respiration” before beginning a blood transfusion using the blood of a lamb.

“He died by the loss of blood and the want of air. Restore these with the heat that had subsequently been deducted, and as the organization was in every respect perfect, there was no doubt in my mind that his restoration was possible,” Thornton concluded.

Thornton never got the opportunity to attempt the resurrection, as George Washington’s family objected. Washington was buried on December 18, 1799, at his Mount Vernon estate.

Was Isaac Newton’s Theory of Gravitation Inspired By an Apple Falling From a Tree?

Even people who are not interested in science are familiar with the story of an apple falling from a tree, which inspired famous English...

Should William Shakespeare’s Authorship of His Plays and Sonnets Be Questioned?

William Shakespeare wrote 39 plays, 154 sonnets, and three narrative poems over the course of his life. However, some believe that Shakespeare didn’t actually...

Let’s Take a Look at the French Revolution

The French Revolution, which began in 1789, is one of the most significant events in modern history. It marked a break from the historical...