Today, trepanation, or drilling a hole in the head, is commonly used to release the pressure of swelling inside the skull.
Throughout history, it's been used to treat epilepsy, migraines, mood disorders and pretty much any other head condition that seemed to surgeons of the time as if it could be improved by seeing the light of day. But even more interesting than holding someone down and punching a hole through his/her skull is doing it yourself.
In the autobiographical book Bore Hole, Joey Mellen describes his attempts at self-trepanation. Attempts numbers one and two are unsuccessful, resulting in hospital visits and psychiatric evaluations, but no hole.
He writes the following of his third attempt: "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!"
Later, Mellen filmed the self-trepanation of his girlfriend, Amanda Feilding, for a film they called Heartbeat in the Brain.
Note: While it certainly sounds fun, most doctors recommend against self-trepanation.
You know you want it. You want it. You got to, got to have it. It's Brain Candy: Science, Paradoxes, Puzzles, Logic and Illogic to Nourish Your Neurons! And it's hot off the presses as of August 3rd.
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