I was recently reminded that tongue splits are now in their 15th year. Here’s my tongue split, done (according to the time stamp on the photos), August 13th, 1997, which was the 4th known tongue split if memory serves. A guy in Italy was done by his dentist in 1996/1997, and then Erik Sprague/The Lizardman tracked down a doctor in Albany and was the first to get the procedure done by him using an argon Laser. I was (I believe) the third — Tom Brazda took these pictures when he came to visit me in Philly. It is The Lizardman who I credit with having launched this movement, even though he was technically not the “first”. After me I believe the doctor did about ten more people (Erik would know better as he referred many of them) and then stopped when the media attention started and he got worried about losing his license. At about the same time, although not as publicly, Dustin, split her own tongue slowly using the tie-off method. This procedure was slow and painful, and most people who attempted it gave up before finishing. Things moved very slowly over the next year, with a few people quietly attempting different procedures — for example, Tim Cridland (the Torture King) gave himself a short split by scalpelling back bit by bit, as the initial Italian mod enthusiast had done.
After that, “renegade practitioners” started testing the waters, for example Todd Bertrang did the procedure with a scalpel and Patrick Bartholomew doing it with his cautery tool, proving it could be done by a bodmod practitioner outside of a doctor’s office, and then Pandora’s box was open. BME’s tongue splitting gallery, which is dated and the most comprehensive history anywhere on this subject, show only a tiny number of tongue splits in 1998. But then more in 1999, and in 2000 the procedure was spreading quickly with more and more practitioners adding it to their repetoire as experience proved that you weren’t going to kill your clients! By 2001, virtually every single BME update saw new tongue splitting pictures added to the galleries.
As of when I write this post, I believe there are six or seven people who can claim to be in the “15 year club” — that said, you never know what went on behind closed doors, unpublished. By the end of the year that number is at most twenty, and I doubt it’s even that high. But by the end of 2000? The number starting to roll in is HUGE, and tongue splitting has come of age. And maybe most importantly, of all body modifications, tongue splits are one of the only where I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single regret.