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Related: medicine

The Agnew Clinic (1889) - Thomas Eakins

Ambroise Paré (1510-1590)

Artificial leg by Ambroise Paré (1510-1590)
image sourced here.

Artificial hand by Ambroise Paré (1510-1590)
image sourced here.

Ambroise Paré (1510-1590) was a French surgeon, the official royal surgeon for kings Henry II, Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III, and a leader in surgical techniques, especially the treatment of wounds. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambroise_Pare [May 2005]

see also: medicine


18th century French illustration of trepanation
image sourced here. [Apr 2005]

Eccentric Lives, Peculiar Notions () - John Michell [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Product Description:
The passionately misguided individuals profiled in this entertaining book form an unforgettable portrait of human imagination run wild.

Never has so much energy been poured into such oddly misbegotten ideas, inventions, enterprises and movements. The 22 individuals and groups described here with wit and understanding represent the widest range of true eccentricity. Lady Blount believes that the earth is flat; Cyrus Teed, that it is a hollow shell with us on the inside; Baron de Guldenstubbe that statues write him letters. Nesta Webster devotes her life to exposing international conspiracies; John Carden to pestering one young lady. Geoffrey Pyke invents a giant battleship made of ice; and Amanda Feilding and Joey Mellen live in peace and prosperity after drilling holes in their heads. The peculiarities of their beliefs are surpassed only by the boundless enthusiasm with which they defend them, and their stories are all here, told in John Michell's lively prose and accompanied by historic photographs and drawings. --via Amazon.com

In a chapter of his book, Eccentric Lives & Peculiar Notions, John Michell describes a British group which advocates self-trepanation, that is, the drilling of a hole in the skull to allow the brain access to more space and oxygen. The chapter is called "The People With Holes in their Heads".

According to Michell, the Dutch doctor Bart Huges (sometimes written as "Bart Hughes") pioneered the idea of trepanation. Huges' 1962 monograph, Homo Sapiens Correctus, is cited by most advocates of self-trepanation. Among other arguments, he contends that since children have a higher state of consciousness, and children's skulls are not fully closed, that one can return to an earlier, childlike state of consciousness by self-trepanation. Further, by allowing the brain to freely pulsate, Huges argues that a number of benefits will accrue.

Michell quotes a book called Bore Hole written by Joseph (Joey) Mellen. At the time the passage below was written, Joey and his partner, Amanda Feilding, had made two previous attempts at trepanning Joey. The second attempt ended up placing Joey in the hospital, where he was scolded severely and sent for psychiatric evaluation. After he returned home, Joey decided to try again. Joey describes his third attempt at self-trepanation:

After some time there was an ominous sounding schlurp and the sound of bubbling. I drew the trepan out and the gurgling continued. It sounded like air bubbles running under the skull as they were pressed out. I looked at the trepan and there was a bit of bone in it. At last!

There is an active advocacy group for the self-trepanation procedure, the International Trepanation Advocacy Group. Their webpage [1] (http://www.trepan.com) includes MRI images of trepanned brains. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-surgery#Self-trepanation [Apr 2005]

Hole in the Head:
Early in 1965, I heard of someone who had drilled a hole in his head to get a permanently high {sic}. I put it down as another crankish idea and didn't think much about it. Later that year I went to Ibiza, looking for mescalin or LSD. I knew a few people who had taken acid and said it was even greater than mescalin [...] -- Joe Mellen, Other Scenes magazine, November 1970

  • http://www.noah.org/trepan/hole_in_the_head.html
  • http://www.noah.org/trepan/photos

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