Benjamin Franklin was one of America’s founding fathers. He was an outstanding politician, author, scientist, civic leader, inventor, and diplomat. Americans and many people around the world look up to him for his contributions not only in politics, but in science and many other fields. While Franklin appeared to be an outstanding role model and hero, several facts about his private life demostrate that he was just like the rest – imperfect and with dark secrets.
Skeletons in Franklin’s basement
Benjamin Franklin lived in London for almost twenty years prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He stayed in a house at 36 Craven Street until 1776. In 1998, during construction work on 36 Craven to make Franklin’s former residence a museum, over 1200 pieces of human and animal bone were discovered beneath the garden. The museum team invited Dr. Simon Hillson and colleagues from the London’s Institute of Archaeology at University College London to study the bones. The team found that the bones were over 200 years old. While it may appear that Franklin was involved in a mass murder, it turned out that the fragments were the remnants of an anatomy school run out of the house by William Hewson who was the son-in-law of Franklin’s landlady.
Naked “air baths”
To prevent sickness, Franklin took frequent “air baths” wherein he would open the windows of his home and sit in front of them completely naked. Franklin believed that during cold weather, people caught the common cold — not because of low temperatures, but because they were often cooped up in close quarters which made it easier for germs to worsen.
The Hellfire Club
One of Franklin’s friends in the high society of London was Sir Francis Dashwood, allegedly the creator of the Order of the Friars of St. Francis of Wycombe or the Hellfire Club. Franklin was believed to be a member of this club which was an organization of “persons of quality” who wanted to take part in salacious acts. Franklin had been known for his insatiable sexual appetite, making him a prime candidate for the hellfire club’s exclusive meetings.