Note: Be sure to follow this gem with my step-by-step trepanation instructions.
Trepane Yourself for Enlightenment
The Greeks did it. The Romans did it. The Egyptians did it. Ancient Peruvians and the Neolithic French (as far back as 10,000 years ago!) did it. What--pray tell--am I talking about?!
Synonymous with TREPHINATION, trepanation has been around for thousands of years. In the strictest sense of the word, "to trepane" is nothing more than opening a hole in the skull, usually for medical purposes. But we're interested in the more spirited experiments with skull digging.
In the Cuzco region of Peru, more than 9,000 trepanned skulls have been unearthed, many dating back to the first millennia before Christ. In one Paracas Indian site south of Lima, more than 10,000 well-preserved bodies have been found, with more than 6 percent of the skulls showing evidence of having been trepanned. That's a lot of drilling for a fairly primitive culture. Of course, these holes were PROBABLY made in the interest of medical experimentation. The society's doctors likely rounded up the slaves (or working class, or whatever they had at the time) and opened up their skulls to see what would happen.
In the 19th century, 120 prehistoric skulls were found across European archeological sites. Of these, 40 had manmade cranial breaches! Coincidence? Maybe. Mere injuries? Maybe. But take a look at the skull presented by Paul Broca in the 1800's (below). The opening in this skull is unquestionably MANMADE, evidenced from the cross-hatched incisions. It was also Broca's opinion that the opening was made while the individual was ALIVE and that there were no fractures or injuries to require this trepanation. Ah ha! Proof of voluntary trepanation? May be, buster.
In brief, it seems that EVERYBODY WAS OPENING UP THEIR FUCKING SKULLS! Why, you ask? There are 3 theories. 1: to treat depressed skulls fractures (a medical procedure); 2: to treat headaches, convulsions and mental disorders (in the Middle Ages, holes were drilled in skulls to let demons out; see p. 21 for the rigs]); or 3: those who survived trepanation were endowed with special mental powers. That's where my money is, momma. Just ask Joey Mellen and Amanda Fielding. They're a couple in England who drilled holes in their heads and claim to have never been happier.
In 1962, the Dutch doctor Bart Hughes put forth a radical new idea. He observed children and adolescents and determined that as we grow older, we lose touch with a childish intuition and perception that is dependent on the volume of blood flowing to the brain. He reckoned that infants have the most desirable view of life, since their skulls are essentially wide open and the brain is free to pump as much blood as their little hearts permit. As we age, our skulls slowly harden and gravity thereby restricts the blood flow over our gray matter. He said that an individual can temporarily adjust this situation through a number of methods, such as jumping form a hot bath into a cold one, standing on your head, or the use of drugs. But Dr. Bart was looking for something a little more permanent, so he cut a small hole in his skull with an electric drill. HE NEVER FELT BETTER! Dr. Bart was thrown into a Dutch asylum after he publicly praised the benefits of trepanation.
In 1965, Joey Mellen met Dr. Bart and became entranced by the idea of enlightenment through trepanation. Shortly, Joey himself was ready to put a hole in his own skull. One weekend, apartment-sitting for Amanda Fielding, who was away for the weekend with Dr. Bart, he made up his mind and bought a manually-operated trepan (probably similar in fashion to those from the Middle Ages), a bunch of hypodermic needles, a local anesthetic, and tabs of LSD. On his first attempt, it was impossible to get a groove started. So he called Dr. Bart, who agreed to return and help Joey. But Doc' Bart was refused entry at the British border.
Amanda took Bart's place to give Joey a hand. She took the trepan and got the saw-teeth started; Joey then cranked the saw, after dosing with LSD again. Things went smoothly for hours--the hole was coming along nicely. Then Joey collapsed. Ambulances were summoned, and the doctors at the hospital were horrified by the home-surgery. The psychiatrists were called in and so on...they let him out with warnings of instant death, etc.
But Joey ain't no slouch. His third attempt was a success. Here, in his own words, is the moment of truth:
"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! On closer inspection I saw that the disc of bone was much deeper on one side than on the other. Obviously the trepan had not been straight and had gone through at one point only, then the piece of bone had snapped off and come out. I was reluctant to start drilling again for fear of damaging the brain membranes with the deeper part while I was cutting through the rest or of breaking off a splinter. If only I had an electric drill it would have been so much simpler. Amanda was sure I was through. There seemed no other explanation for the schlurping noises. I decided to call it a day. At the time I thought that any hole would do, no matter what size. I bandaged up my head and cleared away the mess." from Bore Hole (publisher, etc., unknown)
Though he writes that Amanda was sure he was through, Joey wasn't certain. He couldn't be sure that the euphoria he felt was from the hole, or from the cessation of drilling, So in the Spring of 1970, with Amanda away in American, Joey took his fourth shot at his skull. Using an electric drill, Joey worked for an hour and a half until the drill burned out. The next day, with a borrowed drill from a neighbor, he took crack number 5. Again, in his own words:
time I was not in any doubt. The drill head went at least an inch deep
through the hole. A great gush of blood followed my withdrawal of the
drill. In the mirror, I could see the blood in the hole rising and falling
with the pulsation of the brain."
Amanda and Joey live happily in Chelsea, have a child, own an art gallery, and lecture on the benefits of trepanation. I wrote them a letter a month or so ago and have yet to get a response. It is possible, of course, that this information is pure shit, but I'd like to imagine otherwise. When I get a response--if I get a response--you'll be reading it here. Watch this space.
Want more information? Click here for ste-by-step trepanation instructions.
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