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Have you ever wanted to do something crazy?
Like fly off a mountain with a squirrel suit on, or denounce all of your earthly belongings and walk across the country. Or how about drill a hole in your skull, just for the hell of it?
To be more precise, the hole in the head stuff is called trepanation–also referred to as trepanning, trephination, and burr holes–and apparently it isn’t without reason or historical backing. Instead, trepanation in the modern circuit is an elective (and sometimes self-inflicted) procedure enacted under the auspices that it will award the subject a sense of increased creative consciousness, awareness, energy, and overall psychological well-being. The belief is that it will essentially get them really fucking high, and keep them that way forever.
The battle for legalizing of mind-altering substances has been long and trying. Psychedelic drugs, though they have been linked to life-changing epiphanies, and–more recently, with the practice of microdosing gaining popularity–increased focus and productivity, were outlawed back the 1960s. These ostensibly drastic chemical measures of self-exploration have for years been pushed to the fringe of culture, and demonized as dangerous and reckless.
Trepanation, on the other hand, is not a substance. It is not a drug that an individual ingests. Rather, it is a practice which allegedly permanently alters the state of mind of those who embark on it. The act is simple: cut a hole in your skull, intensifying your brain’s exposure to oxygen, and allowing it more room for its natural pulsations. This freedom is said to allow a natural high to develop and be maintained in the body in perpetuity.
One of the theories behind the practice is to attempt to return to the “high bloodbrainvolume [sic]” that we are all born with. Trepanation enthusiasts insist that babies, born with a soft spot on their heads called the fontenel, have the right idea. Once that soft-spot hardens, they say, we lose room for our brains to breathe.
Because everybody knows that babies are always super high.
But seriously, adulthood is accompanied by a certain sobering quality. Trepanation fans argue that this process begins as our fontanels disappear, and that the problem only worsens as we become toddlers, because standing upright allows gravity to pull valuable blood from our developing brains, beginning an unfortunate lifelong brain-drain.
By re-opening that hole, Trepanationguide.com says; “You’ll ascend to the child’s plane of acute consciousness from which you disembarked to enter the lowly malaise of adulthood.”
These advocates maintain that it facilitates blood flow and improves brain function; changes that become increasingly important in the evolving fast-paced world in which we live.
The same procedure, of creating bore-holes, is used by neuroscientists to relieve pressure after traumatic brain injury and swelling. However, as of yet it lacks the official endorsement of medical professionals and brain specialists as a voluntary recreational endeavor.
International Trepanation Advocacy Group (ITAG) posits the hypothesis yet acknowledges that it is in direct contrast to the opinion of archaeologists, neuroscientists, and anthropologists who with “nearly complete unanimity those professions consider trepanation to be some inexplicably superstitious and outdated practice for which there is no justification in the modern world.”
Trepanationguide.com floats the theory that, for these medical professionals, “There seems to be a deliberate intent amongst them not to see, maybe even a conspiracy, that there is a benefit to making a hole in the skull bone.”
Another persuasive argument trepanners employ is that the legitimacy of the procedure can be founded in its ancient roots, being that it dates back to the Neolithic period. It’s both shocking and true that evidence of the practice not only spans extraordinary chunks of time, yet also appeared in various cultural hubs around the globe. Artifacts and human remains in China, Europe, Mesoamerica have all pointed to the fact that trepanation was
But, come on guys, if our ancestors jumped off a bridge, would you do it too? There are plenty of things that folks used to do back in the day that we as a society have come to deem as inappropriate, or unsafe. In fact, most of the things considered commonplace in the old days, now in retrospect seem downright terrible; like slavery, foot-binding, and, gladiator battles, to name a few.
However, there are those in the modern day who have trepanned and continue to promote its efficacy.
Joe Mellen author of his memoir on the topic, Bore Hole, attempted auto-trepanation not once, not twice, but three times before successfully breaking through his head and creating his very own third eye. The final try, which proved to be successful, was done with an electric drill–while the previous failed two were attempted using an archaic manual hand trepan. Mellen said the device resembled a cork screw, with sharp metal teeth at the bottom.
When Mellen finally successfully broke through, he knew. “It’s really obvious when you get all the way through the skull.” Mellen told Vice in an interview. “I noticed after about an hour I started to feel a lightness, like a weight had been lifted off me.”
For Mellen, that feeling grew, and persisted. He successfully trepanned in 1970, and today, at age 76, believes wholeheartedly that it’s something everybody could benefit from.
However, if you’re squeamish about blood, you might want to steer clear. Cutting a hole in your own head can get messy.
Disclaimer: BTRtoday does not endorse this practice in any way.