You need to drill a hole in your head like you need a hole in the head


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You need to drill a hole in your head like you need a hole in the head

I need some holes in my head, but I don’t think I need extra ones.





“Egon, this reminds me of the time you tried to drill a hole through your head. Remember that?”
“That would have worked if you hadn’t stopped me.”


“The Emperor of the South Sea is known as Change. The Emperor of the North Sea is called Dramatic. The Emperor of the Centre is called Chaos. Change and Dramatic used to meet every so often in the region of Chaos. Chaos always treated them kindly and virtuously. Change and Dramatic wanted to repay him, and said, ‘Everyone has seven orifices so they can see, hear, eat, and breathe. Chaos does not have these. Let us bore some holes into him.’ Each day they bored a hole into Chaos… but on the seventh day Chaos died.” - Zhuang Zhou (Chuang Tzu)


BBC Radio 4 had a half-hour documentary on some of these trepanation enthusiasts a couple of weeks ago. I think it maybe didn’t do enough to sell just how reckless, stupid, and dangerous these people are (I think that was largely taken as a given not needing to be said), but you certainly get a sense for how they’d like to talk about themselves.




Once upon a time I worked on the team for the archeological museum exhibition “Schädelkult” (Cult of the Skull). We had several exhibits showing neolithic trepanation. The fascinating thing is that 80% of the participants/patients/victims survived the ordeal. We had a skull with multiple fully healed trepanations. Two methods were used: scraping (ouch) and drilling with flint blades. It’s theorized that the probably freshly created flint blades are basically sterile and therefore mitigated the chance of infections.


Ah, a reason to mention Wire :wink: In the song ‘A Madman’s Honey’ there’s a line that goes:

Master cut the stone out
My name is Lubert Das

which is as clear as mud unless you know that this is a reference to a Hieronymus Bosch painting of a trepanning


You need to drill a hole in your head like you need a hole in the head

If you don’t, how do you get good reception on signals from God?

And now the countdown begins to the inevitable Goop headline:

“You Won’t Believe the Benefits of Trepanation! Buy the platinum-plated Goop Drill Kit Now.”



Ah good, the PI scene. But no love for Frankenhooker?


What? No mention of Bart Huges? The dutch medical student who tried it himself in '65?

from wikipedia:
Using a foot-operated electric dentist drill, Huges drilled a hole in his skull on 6 January 1965.[3] He also published “Trepanation: A Cure for Psychosis”, in which he expanded upon his theory, and an autobiography, The Book With The Hole, in 1972.


Hughes believed that, when mankind began to walk upright, our brains drained of blood and that trepanation allowed the blood to better flow in and out of the brain, causing a permanent “high”.

Well, he’s kind of right, but for the wrong reason. Human beings are, in fact, permanently high. I can’t find it now, but the nitrogen in the atmosphere gives us a low-grade narcotic effect, and that your reflexes are something like 9% faster when breathing pure oxygen.


You need access to attach the antenna cable.


I guess that treatment is one possible reason for Neolithic trepination- but given the lack of evidence it could be anything else. Zombification - punishment- impairing enemies. Or the always popular- religious ritual.


There’s a nice piece at Bioephemera, surveying the whole Northern Renaissance tradition of “cutting out the stone of folly” paintings (starting with Bosch). There is some uncertainty whether the trepanation-inspired mock operations ever actually occurred, or were just an allegory.