So you're going to a costume party in a bad neighborhood. You want to be safe, but you don't want to break out of your historical character. Take this quick tutorial on how to make a jar, invented in the 1700s, that stores up enough static electricity to disable, or even kill someone.
Before scientists figured out electric motors, batteries were first used in chemistry experiments and primitive medical research. From his enjoyable book, The Battery, Henry Schlesinger describes the real-life Dr. Frankenstein who inspired Mary Shelley's classic horror story: