Date: Wed, 30 Aug 95 15:43:58 EST
From: Terry Colvin 
Reply to: GENERALLYWEIRD Distribution List
     
Subject: Trepanning


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Subject: 
Author:  FringeWare Daily  at smtp
Date:    29/8/1995 9:07 PM
>>
>>  THE PEOPLE WITH HOLES IN THEIR HEADS  
>>  Amanda Fielding lives in a charming flat looking over London's 
>>  river with her companion, Joey Mellen, and their infant son,
>>  Rock.  She is a successful painter, and she and Joey have an art 
>>  gallery in a fashionable street of the King's Road.  Another of 
>>  her talents is for politics.  At the last two General Elections 
>>  she stood for Parliament in Chelsea, more than doubling her vote 
>>  on the second occasion from 49 to 139.  It does not sound much,
>>  but the cause for which she stands is unfamiliar and lacks obvious 
>>  appeal. Fielding and her voters demand that trepanning operations 
>>  be made freely available on the National Health.  Trepanation
>>  means cutting a hole in your skull. 
>> 
>>  The founder of the trepanation movement is a Dutch savant, Dr. 
>>  Bart Hughes. In 1962 he made a discovery which his followers 
>>  proclaim as the most significant in modern times.  One's state 
>>  and degree of consciousness, he realized, are related to the
>>  volume of blood in the brain.  According to his theory of evolution, 
>> the adoption of an upright stance brought certain benefits to the
>>  human race, but it caused the flow of blood through the head to be 
>>  limited by gravity, thus reducing the range of human consciousness. 
>>  Certain parts of the brain ceased or reduced their functions while 
>>  others, particularly those parts relating to speech and reasoning, 
>>  became emphasized in compensation.  One can redress the balance by 
>>  a number of methods, such as standing on one's head, jumping from 
>>  a hot bath into a cold one, or the use of drugs; but the wider
>>  consciousness thus obtained is only temporary.  Bart Hughes shared 
>>  the common goal of mystics and poets in all ages: he wanted to
>>  achieve permanently the higher level of vision, which he associated 
>>  with an increased volume of blood in the capillaries of the brain. 
>> 
>>  The higher state of mind he sought was that of childhood.  Babies 
>>  are born with skulls unsealed, and it is not until one is an adult 
>>  that the bony carapace is formed which completely encloses the
>>  membranes surrounding the brain and inhibits their pulsations in
>>  response to heartbeats.  In consequence, the adult loses touch with 
>>  the dreams, imagination and intense perceptions of the child.  His 
>>  mental balance becomes upset by egoism and neuroses.  To cure these 
>>  problems, first in himself and then for the whole world, Dr. Hughes 
>>  returned his cranium to something like the condition of infancy by 
>>  cutting out a small disc of bone with an electric drill.
>>  Experiencing immediate beneficial effects from this operation, he 
>>  began preaching to anyone who would listen to the doctrine of
>>  trepanation.  By liberating his brain from its total imprisonment 
>>  in his skull, he claimed to have restored its pulsations, increased 
>>  the volume of blood in it and acquired a more complete, satisfying 
>>  state of consciousness than grown-up people normally enjoy.  The
>>  medical and legal authorities reacted to Hughes's discovery with 
>>  horror and rewarded him with a spell in a Dutch lunatic asylum. 
>> 
>>    Joseph Mellen met Bart Hughes in 1965 in Ibiza and quickly became 
>>  his leading, or rather one and only, disciple.  Years later he wrote 
>>  a book called _Bore Hole_, the contents of which are summarized in 
>>  its opening sentence: 'This is the story of how I came to drill a
>>  hole in my skull to get permanently high.'  . . . (a few paragraphs 
>>  detail Joseph Mellen's early experiments with LSD, and how he finds 
>>  out about Bart Hughes.) The time came when Joey felt he had preached 
>>  enough and that he now had to act.  He did not agree with
>>  Holingshead that the third eye was merely a figure of speech, 
>>  believing in its physical attainment through self-trepanation.
>>  Support for this can be found in archaeology.  Skulls of ancient
>>  people all over the world give evidence that their owners were skill 
>>  fully trepanned during their lifetimes, and many of these appear to 
>>  have been of noble or priestly castes.  The medical practice of
>>  trepanation was continued up to the present century in treatment of 
>>  madness, the hole in the skull being seen as a way of relieving
>>  pressure on the brain or letting out the devils that possessed it. 
>>  By his scientific explanation of the reasons for the operation, Bart 
>>  Hughes had removed it from the area of superstition, and Joey Mellen 
>>  proposed to be the second person to perform it on himself in the
>>  interest of enlightenment.
>> 
>>    Bart had become a close friend of Amanda Fielding, and they went 
>>  off to Amsterdam together while Joey took care of Amanda's flat. 
>>  This was the opportunity he had been waiting for to bore a hole in 
>>  his head.
>> 
>>    The most gripping passages in _Bore Hole_ describe his various
>>  attempts to complete the operation.  They are also extremely gruesome, 
>>  and those who lack medical curiosity would do well to read no further. 
>>  Yet to those who might contemplate trepanation for and by themselves, 
>>  Joey's experiences are a salutary warning.  It should be emphasized
>>  that neither he, Bart nor Amanda has ever recommended people to
>>  follow their example by performing their own operations.  For years
>>  they have been looking for doctors who would understand their theories 
>>  and would agree to trepan volunteer patients as a form of therapy.
>>  Strangely enough, not one member of the medical profession has been 
>>  converted.
>> 
>>    In a surgical store Joey found a trepan instrument, a kind of auger 
>>  or cork-screw designed to be worked by hand.  It was much cheaper and, 
>>  Joey felt, more sensitive than an electric drill.  Its main feature was 
>>  a metal spike, surrounded by a ring of saw-teeth.  The spike was meant 
>>  to be driven into the skull, holding the trepan steady until the
>>  revolving saw made a groove, after which it could be retracted.  If all 
>>  went well, the saw-band should remove a disc of bone and expose the
>>  brain.
>> 
>>    Joey's first attempt at self-trepanation was a fiasco.  He had no prev- 
>>  ious medical experience, and the needles he had bought for administering 
>>  a local anesthetic to the crown of his head proved to be too thin and
>>  crumpled up or broke.  Next day he obtained some stouter needles, took 
>>  a tab of LSD to steady his nerves and set to in earnest.  First he made 
>>  an incision to the bone, and then applied the trepan to his bared skull. 
>>  But the first part of the operation, driving the spike into the bone,
>>  was impossible to accomplish.
>> 
>>    Joey described it as like trying to uncork a bottle from the inside. 
>>  He realized he needed help and telephoned Bart in Amsterdam, who
>>  promised he would come over and assist at the next operation.  This 
>>  plan was frustrated by the Home Office, which listed Dr. Hughes as an 
>>  undesirable visitor to Britain and barred his entry.
>> 
>>    Amanda agreed to take his place.  Soon after her return to London she 
>>  helped Joey reopen the wound in his head and, by pressing the trepan
>>  with all her might against his skull, managed to get the spike to take 
>>  hold and the saw-teeth to bite.  Joey then took over at cranking the 
>>  saw. Once again he had swallowed some LSD.  After a long period of
>>  sawing, just as he was about to break through, he suddenly fainted.
>>  Amanda called an ambulance and he was taken to hospital, where horrified 
>>  doctors told him that he was lucky to be alive and that if he had
>>  drilled a fraction of an inch further he would have killed himself. 
>> 
>>    The psychiatrists took a particular interest in his case, and a group 
>>  of them arranged to examine him.  Before this could be done, he had to 
>>  appear in court on a charge of possessing a small amount of cannabis. 
>>  The magistrate demanded another psychiatrist's report and demanded him 
>>  for a week in prison.
>> 
>>    There followed a period of embarrassment as the rumor went round
>>  London that Joey Mellen had trepanned himself, whereas in fact he had
>>  failed to do so. As soon as possible, therefore, he prepared for a third 
>>  attempt.
>> 
>>     Proceeding as before, but now with the benefit of experience, he soon 
>>  found the groove from the previous operation and began to saw through
>>  the sliver of bone separating him from enlightenment or, as the doctors 
>>  had predicted, instant death.  What followed is best quoted from _Bore 
>>  Hole_.
>> 
>>    '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.'  There was still doubt in his mind as to whether 
>>  he had really broken through and, if so, whether the hole was big enough 
>>  to restore pulsation to his brain. The operation had left him with a
>>  feeling of wellbeing, but he realized that it could simply be from
>>  relief at having ended it.  To put the matter beyond doubt, he decided 
>>  to bore another hole at a new spot just above the hairline, this time 
>>  using an electric drill.  In the spring of 1970, Amanda was in America
>>  and Joey did the operation alone.  He applied the drill to his forehead, 
>>  but after half and hour's work the electric cable burnt out.  Once again 
>>  he was frustrated.  An engineer in the flat below him was able to repair 
>>  the instrument and next day he set out to finish the job. 'This 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.'
>> 
>>    The result was all he had hoped for.  During the next four hours he 
>>  felt his spirits rising higher until he reached a state of freedom and 
>>  serenity which he claims, has been with him ever since.  For some time 
>>  now he had been sharing a flat with Amanda, and when she came back from 
>>  America she immediately noticed the change in him.  This encouraged her 
>>  to join him on the mental plane by doing her own trepanation. The
>>  operation was carefully recorded.  She had obtained a cine-camera, and 
>>  Joey stood by, filming, as she attacked her head with an electric drill. 
>>  The film shows her carefully at work, dressed in a blood-spattered white 
>>  robe.  She shaves her head, makes an incision in her head with a scalpel 
>>  and calmly starts drilling.  Blood spurts as she penetrates the skull. 
>>  She lays aside the drill and with a triumphant smile advances towards
>>  Joey and the camera.
>> 
>>     Ever since, Joey and Amanda have lived and worked together in
>>  harmony. From the business of buying old prints to color and resell, 
>>  they have progressed to ownership of the Pigeonhole Gallery and seem 
>>  reasonably prosperous.  They have also started a family.  There is
>>  nothing apparently abnormal about them, and many of their old friends 
>>  agree in finding them even more pleasant and contented since their
>>  operations.  There is plenty of leisure in their lives, mingled with the 
>>  kind of activities they most enjoy.  These of course include talking and 
>>  writing about trepanation.  They have lectured widely in Europe and
>>  America to groups of doctors and other interested people, showing the 
>>  film of Amanda's self-operation, entitled _Heartbeat in the Brain_.  It 
>>  is generally received with awe, the sight of blood often causing people
>>  to faint.  At one showing in London a film critic described the audience 
>>  'dropping off their seats one by one like ripe plums'.  Yet it was not 
>>  designed to be gruesome. The soundtrack is of soothing music, and the
>>  surgical scenes alternate with some delightful motion studies of 
>>  Amanda's pet pigeon, Birdie, as a symbol of peace and wisdom." 
> 

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