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Dr John Polidori was a British physician, one of the best in Edinburgh, and author during the early 19th century.

While serving as a physician for his friend Lord Byron at the Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva in Switzerland in June 1816, Byron challenged Polidori, Percy Shelley and Mary Shelley to a competition to see which of them could write the best ghost story. Polidori's short story The Vampyre and Mary Shelley's science based horror novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus both came to be written as a result of the competition. Polidori was one of the first human authors to write about vampires.

Following the arrival of a seriously wounded Eighth Doctor at the Villa Diodati and his apparent death shortly thereafter, Byron suggested conducting an experiment to determine whether the "corpse" could be reanimated by lightning. While both Mary and Polidori strongly objected, Byron performed the experiment with Percy's assistance.

A younger version of the Eighth Doctor, who arrived after his future self had been revived by the lightning, told Polidori that he loved The Vampyre, which he had yet to write. (AUDIO: Mary's Story)