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Metaphysically Inclined Index
mEinah Astrology Pages | mEinah Odyssey Pages
July 20, 1998
How many of you have actually said, "I need (something) like I need a
hole in the head!"? Well, after reading this article, you MIGHT feel
like you need a hole in the head!
Peter Halvorson has an about 1 cm-wide hole in his head. He was suffering
from depression and decided to drill this hole above his forehead, near
where his hairline would be if he still had a hairline, believing this
hole would bring him permanent happiness.
Trepanation, by the way, is an ancient procedure that involves the
removal of a chunk of one's skull. The skin heals but the procedure
leaves a visual depression on one's dome.
Halvorson expounds on his belief in the medical basis of trepanation --
talking about pulsation, cerebral metabolism and brain blood volume --
however, he advises against self-trepanation today.
Trepanation or trephination, Halvorson says, gives him more energy, more
focus, more drive. He says doctors told him his testosterone level is
about that of a man in his 20s.
Halvorson estimates there are several dozen others all with their own
holes in the head, scattered about the globe. And that there are others
who want to be a part of this hole-ier/holyier/wholier(?)-than-thou club.
Halvorson presides over the International Trepanation Advocacy Group,
formed last year to provide information on the Internet, and calling for
medical research into this "creepy" subject.
Like other seekers of the 'hippie' era of the late 60s - early 70s,
Halvorson was a Yoga-practising College dropout who sought perception,
"highs" and nirvana in gurus or drugs -- always looking for the quick fix.
Halvorson says trepanation is NOT a trend. He believes he is the only
person in the USA to have performed the procedure for the purpose of
enlightenment. The other 'trepanned' individuals reside mainly in Europe,
including a former teacher of US President, Bill Clinton during his
Oxford days. Lord James Neidpath, former professor at Oxford, who taught
international relations, is now a real-estate agent.
Like tattoos, body piercing and scarification, trepanation is an old idea.
Trepanners fancy they've found a simple solution to modern problems,
like how to combat depression and lethargy.
Like the trepanners of centuries ago, Halvorson and other trepanners of
today, are trying to let the demons out of their head. Some are after
The word "trepan" comes from the Greek trypanon, meaning "a borer".
According to John Verano, (one of the foremost scholars on the subject)
a professor of anthropology at Tulane University, trepanation is
considered the oldest surgical practice, still performed medically
worldwide and ceremonially by some African tribes today. A trepanned
skull found recently in France was estimated to be about 7,000 years old.
Trepanned skulls, many of which have several holes a few centimeters wide,
are frequently excavated by archaeologists -- indicating that the
trepanations were successful and the patients survived.
Superstition aside, trepanations were also performed to relieve pressure
on the brain caused by injuries. Some experts believe the 'hole-in-the-head'
was intended to cure ailments from headaches and epilepsy to insanity.
Medical trepanations are still done today, to relieve pressure on the
brain but the bone is usually replaced.
Bart Huges, a Dutch research librarian, is widely regarded as the father
of the present day, modern trepanation movement. Experiments with LSD
and other drugs convinced Huges that consciousness is related to the
volume of blood in the brain or what he called "brainbloodvolume".
Hoping to increase his brain pulsation and blood volume, he trepanned
himself and wrote the book, 'Trepanation: The Cure For Psychosis.'
Huges suggests that gravity and age conspire to rob adults of the
creativity and energy of a child. The fontanel -- the "soft spot" -- of a
baby's skull allows the brain to pulsate with great amplitude and one
can actually see the fontanel rising and falling with the heartbeat.
Huges further suggests that pulsation decreases as we grow older and
gravity saps more blood from the head. So trepanation is said to reverse
this loss of blood volume and provides the feelings one gets from
standing on one's head for 10 minutes or from sustained aerobic activity.
(Hey, I get the desired effect by lying upside down on my sofa!)
Another Oxford dropout, Mellen, now a London publisher and art dealer,
recounted his own messy trepanation exercise in his book 'Bore Hole'.
His companion, Amanda Fielding, also an Oxford dropout, performed her
own trepanation that resulted in her book 'Heartbeat In The Brain'.
Mellen says "You remain the same personality, with the same hang-ups,
character defects, etc, but we all have our neurotic bag we carry around.
I think trepanation, by increasing the brainbloodvolume, lessens the
I'm NOT advocating trepanation for I think the risks, which include
blood clots, brain injuries and infections leading to meningitis or
death far outweigh any unproven benefits, but if you MUST trepan, please
find a doctor to do the operation or make sure to use a drill that stops
cutting once it hits membrane, to avoid brain damage.
According to doctors and scientists, blood flow and not blood volume,
is related to brain function. Thus, the removal of bone from the skull
might help increase blood flow in a diseased or damaged brain but in a
normal brain, a trepanation would do nothing.
Even if increased blood flow were attainable, brain function would not
increase, says the Chief of the Laboratory of Cerebral Metabolism at
the US National Institute of Mental Health, Louis Sokoloff.
He says brain function decreases with age and an increase in metabolism
as a result of increased blood flow, even if that were possible, would
not reverse the process.
If the trepanned folks do feel changes, say the experts, it is probably
the result of the placebo effect -- "Anything given with a powerful
message might work for someone eager to believe in it."
Sure takes the hippie zeal for 'mind expansion' literally, doesn't it?
Reminds me of the lobotomy that was forced upon the actress Frances
Farmer, to remove aggressive and otherwise considered 'anti-social'
behavior. Frances went on to forgive her parents for subjecting her to
unspeakable and unbearable suffering. To the extent, she even looked
after them in their old age while she worked on her writing career.
In Europe, Verano says, there has long been an association of trepanation
with the liberation of evil spirits. When I link this with the
'Heavenly Gates' theory (that, that is the entry point of some 'chi',
some 'life forces') and with the Pineal Gland theory (that, that is the
seat of the soul), it kinda makes some sense.
Still, it only makes sense if the person is "efawed" (that is, disturbed
or possessed by evil forces that have managed to penetrate the personality).
When I think of electrical intervention treatment practised by modern
Psychiatry, I think of how this helps in the electrical intervention of
messed up vibrations in a disturbed person.
I imagine the 'hole-in-the-head' will transform the aura in some way.
I hear that Buddhist and Hindu scriptures mention trepanation. Since I
don't have the time to conduct research into this area, I request readers
to send me such information if they have come across any, in the spirit
of sharing. Let's get interactive, people!
Until the next bolt (of lightning) then ...
Please read related write-ups:
To Trepan or Not: September 13, 2000
Trepanation -- What Should Be The Final Word: May 29, 2001
Trepanation -- Some Words on The Final Word: June 21, 2001
A Cure For Psychosis?: Aug. 19, 2001
© Copyright Mei Nah Khoo
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