Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I've always been fascinated by the case of Phineas Gage. One day in 1848, he was working on a railroad in Vermont. There was an accidental explosion. An iron bar shot through the air - and passed directly through Gage's head, entering the skull beneath his left eye. His left frontal lobe was pierced, but the wound healed and Gage would resume a more or less normal life. He would live another 12 years - though his friends claimed he was never the same as before the accident. No wonder. Gage's skull is on display at Harvard's medical school, but not much else is known about him. But as this article explains, a post-accident photograph (a daguerreotype, actually) that appears to show Gage (and the iron rod!) has recently surfaced. And, you know, I don't think he looks too bad.