Interview by Bryan Henderson (aka Crow) of Modified Mind
The medical community argues against it . . . media has used it as a shock story . . . but it's a procedure that has been around for ages, and some people believe it to be effective: trepanation. The desire to increase one's conciousness permanently has led some brave people to undergo this procedure. This is the story of one such brave individual . . .

NOTE: If you'd like to ask questions, the individual interviewed here can be contacted via this BBS forum.

Diary Entry: 03-22-00

This weekend I had a hole drilled through my skull. I read that this increased oneís consciousness permanently. I read about the supposed de-conditioning properties. I read about more parts of the brain working simultaneously as there would be more blood up there to help this happen. The arguments for it all seemed to be quite lengthy, quite detailed, thought out and researched, and very intelligent. The arguments against it were based solely on the opinion that it is Ďcrazyí and talk like, "Whatís more conscious than conscious?". I heard from an acquaintance on telephone that she was glad she had done it, felt more mental energy, and had days of brilliance. I came to believe that the key to a permanent consciousness increase was a hole in the skull, to restore the full brain pulsation of infancy. After several months of research, discussion, speculation, watching surgical videos and trepanation documentaries, and even an actual viewing of a trepanation, I decided I certainly did want to be trepanned, and sought a way to do it.

My girlfriend and I met a friend at the airport and took him out to dinner first, and then went home to discuss how things would go. We made a list of some things we needed that we didnít have yet. List in hand, we went out over the next two days to home medical supply stores, hardware stores, to autoclave our bits and get smocks, to a pharmacy, and some hobby shops. We picked up the drill, the gloves, sterile gauze, sheets of plastic, sodium chloride, hypodermic syringes, sterile wipes, irrigation syringe, etc. etc. After acquiring all that we needed, we set up my best friendís bedroom as the operating room and prepared to perform the operation. After talking about it at length, two of my friends who were to be present during the operation were expressing extreme apprehension due to the overall lack of experience, and one of them was really concerned that a suture was necessary and none of us were equipped or knowledgeable enough to do a good one. Not suturing could potentially cause a rather hefty amount of scarring and possibly complicate the healing process. Since we were both hesitant to proceed without my friendsí, and since they were scaring us a bit, we didnít do it that night.

I awoke the next morning still very much wanting to move forward with the operation. I thought to myself, "The key to more consciousness is sitting in the next room over. How can I know this and not unlock the door?" I explained my sincere desire to my girlfriend, and though she was still apprehensive, she agreed to try to be there for me if it was really what I wanted to do.

We had coated every wall of a room in plastic sheeting, had a placement tray ready (a sterilized tray to set the instruments on), had the drill sterilized and ready to go, autoclaved bits set out, etc and proceeded to trepan me. One person was to do the drilling and another was to help by passing instruments, turning the drill off and on, by holding a light in the right place at the right time, and by irrigating the wound every so often. (Irrigating is rinsing, with Sodium Chloride in this case, the blood away so the doctor can see what he/she is cutting) All was finally ready to go.

Everyone put on smocks and masks and entered the room. I had already shaved the cutting area (and two or three inches around it in every direction) with a razor and washed it w/nutri-biotic soap (kills many germs and combined with the sterile wipes we used wouldíve even killed TB). I put on a shower cap (that had been washed with sterile wipes) and cut a square hole in it where the cutting and drilling would be done. I made the blood rush up to my head by choking myself so we could see the veins, and using a sterile pen we marked the major veins so they would be more noticeable and avoidable. We drew up 1cc of a Lidocaine/Epinephrine mix and injected it all around the area to be cut. This was done to numb my skin and nerves for the incision (the Lidocaine) and to constrict all the blood vessels in the area to decrease bleeding since head wounds bleed a lot (the Epinephrine). We waited a few minutes for the numbing action to occur, and then proceeded. My friend, using a sterile scalpel, pushed the blade in all the way to my skull and made the incision in the shape of a half-circle a little bit bigger than a nickelís size in diameter. The plan was to pull that flap back and tape it down while drilling. We just thought itíd peel away from the skull like chicken skin or something, but it did actually adhere to the skull though, so one person held the tip of the flap with forceps and another cut away the adhering tissue from below and pulled the flap back. It laid back on itís own and did not require tape. Then one person irrigated, the other applied pressure with sterile gauze, dripped a few drops of the Epinephrine on a few of the bleeder veins, and the bleeding quickly subsided to a workable level. Then we turned on the drill to speed 4.

We were using a flex-shaft Dremmel with a ball burr and a flame-shaped burr. The process would turn the bone and marrow to dust which would be rinsed away as we went, down to the meninges, at which point the brain would be pulsating visibly as our sign of success. We began drilling and the sound was resonating extremely loud through my skull. He was calm as was I, and one of was very noticeably uncomfortable, but not about to pass out or anything. We drilled and rinsed, drilled and rinsed, occasionally wiping with sterile gauze to keep it very visible. The first layer of skull was through in about 20 minutes, the marrow in about another 20 to 30, and it took about an hour to get through the final layer because of more concern then.

We slowed the drill speed to 2 or 3 and began with extreme caution, the final layer of skull between me and full pulsation. I was feeling no pain and was doing fine. The person drilling for me was sitting Indian style on the floor with my head in his lap for more control (plastic over everything including his lap, and wiped with medical hard-surface disinfectant wipes from the medical supply stores). A friend asked me to follow his finger and tested my eyes for focus, twitches, etc. He said I seemed to be fine and normal.

As it got closer, we drilled more and more slowly. At one point he hit what we thought might be meninges because it squirted a bit of blood but quickly subsided. We were still doing OK. It was just a bone vessel and we knew that it might happen once or twice more. Luckily it did not. We drilled more and more, slow and careful and eventually saw what we were fairly certain was meninges. As he said he was seeing it, I felt a shivering tingle of energy up my back and up the back of my neck. We told him how to probe to be sure.

He turned one of the bits over and tapped around in the hole. Most of it went click click, because it was hitting bone still, but one part did not make sound. He had made it through to the meninges! I saw a video of this moment, and yes, you can see the brain pulsating!

Now we just had to widen the hole. As it was being widened I felt another shiver in the same way. Minutes later, they were sure the hole could be opened no more before risking cutting scalp with the drill, so we were done. Then I sat up and had it sutured and discussed what to watch for during healing. We discussed how to clean and not to clean too much till it was healed. The follow-up cleansing has been minimal to be certain, but enough to do the trick. We are still using Sodium Chloride to clean it.

I was overjoyed. I would attribute most of the joy at being done with the whole affair, as it was months in the coming, and it was about a 3 Ĺ hour procedure overall. I immediately went to the bathroom after, Ďcause Iíd been holding it in the whole time, and then went to my place to hang out, chill, and feel the effects. The room seemed taken on an intense clarity and I was able to pay attention to my thoughts and the world around a little more simultaneously. I thought at the time that by having multiple parts of the brain starting to work a little more simultaneously, since they would have enough blood to do so, it was enabling a different faster thought process and more quickly assimilating somatic sensations my perceptions of them. I thatís what was giving a clearer picture. That night I was fairly blissed and weirded out, glad to be alive and well, and out of the hospital. My major fear, even more so than a mistake happening, was that I might have to rush to the hospital and they mightíve committed me if I told them how the hole got there. All went smoothly though, and I was successfully trepanned! I went to bed about 5 hours later with a bandage on my head. I paid very close attention to the sensations of the veins in my head and neck. They were pulsing in an effort to establish a new equilibrium between the cerebral spinal fluid and the brain blood volume. I had achieved a return to full pulsation, rallied together with several good friends to safely pull off an ancient medical procedure, in my own home. Much like the many millions of tribes before us, we worked together to get what was needed to do the deed and do it well. I fell into a contented series of dreams. I awoke the next morning feeling even better, and still in great spirits. I attributed the growing pleasure sensations to two things: it may take varying degrees of time from body to body for the Cerebro-spinal Fluid /Brain Blood Volume ratio to readjust itself, and that once all these dormant parts of the brain start to get blood, it may take a while for them to Ďwake upí. I mean, blood goes to parts of the brain when they are stimulated, and now there is more blood up there sitting, but it still may gradually be happening that those new parts are being stimulated and gradually my brain is getting all those stiffened gears in motion.

I had read that it increased dream memory recall, and so far this has proven to be true. I have remembered my dreams in some detail every morning since. Iíve also read however, that if you smoke marijuana regularly, and suddenly stop, that you begin to remember your dreams more. I stopped smoking so I could be clear on the trepanning effect. I have mostly noticed a general increase in mental energy and alertness. I havenít been drinking coffee every morning like I used to. I just wake up, and moments later I am ready to go and in good spirits. I have continued to notice an increase in clarity of thoughts, more rapid thought processes in general, and a higher degree of focus. Everything has taken on a new glow of sorts, and I feel great. I have also noticed an increase in sensitivity to somatic sensation of all kinds. I generally feel more alive, more awake, closer to the now.

Iíve not had a moment to ponder intense intellectual or philosophical matters, as my friend is still in town and hanging out has mostly consisted of going from one place to another, but I will keep notes of everything I notice. I believe it will take quite some time for all the changes that this will cause to actually happen and make themselves noticeable. For now, it is a mild trip, a permanent one. I will give it a weekís time to see which effects remain, and which may be placebo. At present, I am glad I did it, and look forward to the rest of this life, with all eyes open.

For those who don't know much about trepanation, can you please explain the procedure and it's believed benefits?

Trepanation is the act of drilling, cutting, or scraping a hole into the skull. It is the oldest surgery known to man and has been used to treat head injuries, brain tumors, chronic headaches, insanity, and most recently, touted as a cure for chronic depression and/or chronic fatigue syndrome. It has been theorized that by cutting a hole into the skull and leaving it open permanently, you would allow a permanent increase in brain blood volume, or that the brain would adjust itself to a new equilibrium, a new 'brain blood volume to cerebro-spinal fluid' ratio. The idea is that by re-opening the skull you would allow more blood to flow to the brain, on a permanent basis, and that you would restore the brain pulsation level to that of infancy, when the skull had not yet sealed itself shut and forced much of the brain blood out of the head. The increased blood to the brain would mean more oxygen to the brain, and the theory is that it would again function at the levels of youth. The recent resurgence of interest in trepanation, largely due to websites on the internet and the continuing popularity of body modifications of all kinds, has been largely due to the idea that trepanation brings with it a permanent high. Smoking pot, drinking caffeine, dropping acid, all these things, along with any other effect they have, increase blood to the brain. Many think that this would restore the energy level and mental stamina of youth, that having more blood to the brain would make more of it work and enable to function at a higher level.

What thoughts were running through your mind as you underwent the procedure?

As it happened, the main thought was the sanitary state of my opened skull. We had prepared ourselves as much as possible and then some, so I wasn't really too worried really, but that was the thought that never left my mind. I did think, if a mistake is made, if we penetrate the meninges and CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) begins to flow out of my head, we would have to rush me to the emergency room? I thought to myself how to remain as calm as possible if that occurred so that I could convince the doctors that I am a sane healthy man and not to have me committed. I was honestly more concerned of getting caught doing it than any other thing. I was afraid of legal repercussions of any kind. My thoughts were also on the physical sensations of course. I was focusing more and more on inner feelings and sensations than anything going on in the room or otherwise. I was paying as close attention as possible to any feelings of blood flow through my neck and my head. Was I feeling any different yet? Was I feeling more energy? It was hard to tell. Of course I was excited. Of course I was feeling like I had never felt before. "Man this is loud," was a continuous thought as well. A flex-shaft dremmel to the skull creates quite a loud noise.

Did the friend who performed this procedure have any medical background?

No. They had cut and pierced themselves and others and had experience with implants and things along those lines.

Did you try to seek out someone with prior trepanning experience to perform the procedure, or was your friend the immediate choice?

I met someone who had trepanned himself but quickly realized he was more lucky than he was prepared and intelligent. I didn't believe him and still don't that he actually did it himself. He didn't know anything about autoclaves, sterility, what kind of tools to use or anything. My friends and I were much more prepared, educated, and safe about it. I didn't try to find a doctor for all the obvious reasons (cost, trust, opinion, etc) but mostly because I think even if I found a doctor, they bother me. I hate vested interests like the medical industry is so prone to.

What made you decide you could trust this friend with such a procedure, both in the physical performing of it and the acceptance of something that is sometimes considered as being insane?

I go with my feelings about trust, and I felt absolutely certain I could trust this person and their intentions. As for ability, it seemed, after seeing them done and reading about them and having used the tool on drier harder bone, that it would be harder to be careful and slow than to be smart enough to pull it off. The procedure itself is not very complicated. Keeping it clean and knowing how to, and being comfortable around blood and the opened body are the major factors. My friend seemed perfectly suited in all those ways. As for the acceptance level, the plan was that we would take turns trepanning each other, me one day, my friend the next. After mine was done and it was the long ordeal it was, and that I was so high from it at the time, I told my friend I wasn't very comfortable doing it and that perhaps it'd be best to wait and see how mine 'held up' or whatnot.

So, did your friend ever undergo the procedure, or has he followed on your opinion and opted not to be trepanned?

I believe it's still being seeked actively, but since I never became comfortable with the idea of performing one while he was here, and he doesn't live near me, he may have it done elsewhere. I believe he is still seeking it.

Diary Entry: 04-06-00

I have paid considerable attention over the past 19 days to my state of mind since the trepanation. I am generally in a better mood and this is holding true especially in the morning, when I had been notoriously grumpy, and through total caffeine lack. At the state of (caffeine) addiction I was in, itís amazing I didnít get even a headache, but I havenít been made grumpy by it at all either.

I have also noticed a seeming increase in attention span. This has been one of the most enjoyable aspects, because I hadnít expected or necessarily desired it, nor did I notice how short my attention span was prior to the trepanning. I am surprised daily by my ability to hear, and actually listen, to all of what anyone is saying to me at any given moment. It has increased my understanding of what is said because of that Iím sure. This has also been very noticeable and applicable to musical situations. I can hear and pay attention to not only the rhythms being created, but also am now more attentive to tonal qualities and chord progressions and whatnot. Not that I hadnít heard these things and paid attention to them before, but I hardly noticed or paid attention to them while I was playing. Iíve mostly centered on the rhythms and trusted the rest to work itself out.

Somatic sensations of all sorts are little more noticeable, that is to say, I feel a little more sensitive to sensory input of all kinds. This is mild to be certain, but also quite real. I am surprised at the amount of sensation I am registering at any given moment. Probably most noticeable is the sense of touch. I have been much more fascinated with textures since the trepanning.

Probably the most beneficial effect though, has been the increase in stamina and rapidity of thought processes. Not only do I falter less along the lines of not completing entire thoughts, but also I do not procrastinate without reason or because of laziness any longer. When I think I want to do something now, I just do it. I had maintained a lot of personal laziness prior to this, and it has been a big help in getting things done that would previously have continued to be put off. I donít walk into rooms and think, "What was I coming in here for?" and I think then do.

I have been remembering my dreams much more regularly. Actually, there was only one day I woke up and couldnít recall my dream, and it was after a night of quite a lot of alcohol. I still smoke pot, though not as much and not as habitually. When I do smoke it, the sensation is a little different. I definitely donít get nearly as fatigued, and because of the increased attention span and sensitivity to somatic sensations, the buzz is more mild but more enjoyable and functional.

I am aware that some of these effects may be partially suggestive being that I endured what could be considered a traumatic experience. The power of suggestion is tremendous, and may certainly be taken into account when considering many things, but I hope Iíve not experienced anything that could have been entirely a product of suggestion. There were, for the first four days or so, several physical sensations that moved throughout my entire body, both pleasant, and so strange as to have concerned me. Sensations and experiences I certainly cannot attribute to suggestion.

I will continue to monitor myself, and see what sustains and what does not. All in all, I feel better than I did, and the pleasantness has been continual. Even in the depths of a recent 2 Ĺ day cold, I felt mentally clear, alert, and fairly pleased anyway. Trepanation has certainly not been nearly as intense as I had imagined it might be. I will be prepared to admit to myself, and even more importantly to my friends, if I think we have been fooled.

What originally inspired you to look into trepanation?

I was inspired to consider trepanation at first by hearing of it through a few friends who took interest in it for reports they were working on and through a desire to decrease regular headaches. Upon closer investigation, I found out about all of the other speculated benefits of going through this procedure. Out of all the writings I found available, all the reports, articles, websites, interviews, etc that I could find were two-sided of course, but only the arguments in favor contained anything that seemed like intelligent statements. There would be someone who had been trepanned raving about how great it was, or someone interested who was intelligently theorizing at great length, about how pleasant the effect would be and why. Then there would be the opponents. They would generally be doctors and medical practitioners and psychologists. They would say it was placebo, that the theories made no sense, that it was insane to consider, but would not argue against it nearly as well as the proponents had. This made me think that perhaps they were against it because it did indeed work. I thought that perhaps vested interests were keeping it down as they do with natural birth control & any other thing that can be easily performed without their professional and very expensive help. I was made even more curious when I began to theorize a relation between the mental control techniques of modern day philosophers such as Timothy Leary, Robert Wilson, Christopher Hyatt, and the idea of blood to the brain giving it even more energy. I theorized that trepanation could be used to these ends, to enable more mental ability and enjoyment of life. I began to be curious enough to look into just how possible it would be to do this or to find someone to do it for me.

Diary Entry: 04-12-00

Well, itís now been 23 days since the trepanning. I still feel very rejuvenated. Iím sure I will eventually be used to it, and it will have been fully assimilated into the way I live, and perhaps then the effects will be far less noticeable. For now, they are still quite noticeable. There is a very pronounced awareness of the processes of the body. I am much more sensitive to various tiny movements of matter in the body. I have a lot more energy. Some mornings, I feel like a chugged a coffee even though I didnít.

The healing process hasnít been nearly as horrible as I was told to expect. I was told that due to the severe amount of tissue damage (attributed mostly to the cutting away of the tissue that adhered the skin to the head) there mightíve been some serious itching up there when that part began to heal itself. Maybe Iím jumping the gun here and that itchy part just hasnít happened yet. I canít be certain. What I know, is that so far there have been a few tingling sensations, and an occasional itch, and the hematoma. The hematoma that formed has felt very strange at times. Itís a sort of liquid-like substance, and I noticed it most intensely Monday when I jogged for the first time since the operation. When it first formed, it was a fairly decent sized lump under the scalp. Looked like Iíd been hit on the head with a baseball bat. It shrunk very quickly though, and is almost gone now, but not quite. Anyway, when I started jogging Monday, I could feel the watery substance moving around under my skin. It kind of tickled in a really unusual way. It moved a little bit backward that day, and it has been shrinking away gradually each day. Iím guessing it must be absorbing into the meninges or wherever it came from.

I have still not walked into a room and forgotten what I was going in there for. I am still remembering my dreams every morning (which I am actually attributing mostly if not entirely to the fact that I am smoking a lot less pot). Still most noticeable is the increased stamina. It is hard to explain exactly the effect this has had, because it is largely mental. One thing that has been very pleasant, that I will very likely tend to take for granted after Iím accustomed to it again, is the general enhancement of mood. I used to use a particular metaphor when describing my moodiness. Keep in mind this is only metaphorical. I donít hear voices or think there are little men in my head. I have always been extremely moody. I wouldnít go so far as to say I was chronically depressed or clinically experiencing mood swings, but I was very moody. It would usually come on for no apparent reason. The metaphor I used to describe the odd experience was that there was a little man in my head. The little man would sit there by a switch. The switch only went two ways, happy, and depressed. The little man could throw the switch at any random moment, and this would cause a very sudden depression, or a very sudden joy. I would be feeling very low, and then for no apparent reason be practically giggling with joy. That would feel good, but when conversely, Iíd be feeling rather well and I would all of a sudden be so depressed I almost wanted to die, it was pretty hellish. My girlfriend would have to unbearably be around this, and it was not a rare occurrence by any means. This hasnít yet happened again since the trepanning.

I really enjoy the increased attention span, which is applicable to 100% of every situation I am ever part of. Itís heightened my enjoyment of conversations, music, etc. I also am very much enjoying the increased sense of self-control combined with greater stamina and clarity.

Diary Entry: 04-19-00

I have come to the frustrating conclusion that the trepanation has had no lasting effect. I mean, the effects were subtle the whole time anyway and they appear to have worn off. I have considered that very likely it was a combination of two things. One, the blood most certainly did rush up to those unused parts of the brain pretty intensely and very regularly for the first few weeks while I was healing, and very likely drawn back out of those areas now. Two, I was more attentive to every sensation and all somatic input because I was just being very attentive consciously in an attempt to notice the effects. Since I paid more attention to everything, it was all a little more intense, yes. As much I hate to realize it, I believed what I wanted to believe.

On the most honest level, I so very much desired to find that there was a little more to the perceptions of life than I had previously known, that I was willing to take a big risk to find out for sure. I donít feel any major differences in my perception now than before the trepanning. I am no longer trying as hard to pay attention to any differences and subsequently am no longer feeling them. Trepanation has no more physiological effect than any other trauma. I believe it is possible to so thoroughly convince yourself you feel different that you will, but I donít believe there is any pronounced or otherwise verifiable physiological improvement. I have been trepanned and restored to full pulsation and it has ultimately meant nothing more than I am brave enough to have done it. I enjoyed life more afterward because of the simple fact that it was still happening and I didnít kill myself. This kind of renewed vigor could be created by any survival of a possibly near-death experience. I conclude it does not do what many hope it will.

Based on your diary entries, you suddenly came to a change of opinion on the results of your trepanning experience. What caused the seemingly sudden change of opinion?

It was seemingly sudden mostly because I didn't write down much between those last two entries. I started doubting it when I realized that there was nothing happening that couldn't be attributed to either the fact that I was paying extremely close attention to every feeling in my body and process in my head and/or pure placebo effects. It also happened as some of the initial feelings I reported waned and disappeared altogether. Some initial weirdness was very intense. I was experiencing the sensation of thinking multiple things at once, and seeing and hearing what was going on around me, and was being able to pay attention to and focus on all of those things pretty simultaneously. I could talk to someone and both hear & understand all their statements even while I was thinking about something else. That was a new feeling for me. Usually if I don't pay close attention to someone, their 'volume' gets turned down in comparison to my thoughts, or I sometimes miss parts of what they said. I was feeling similar to someone on an acid trip in that all my sensory impressions were more clear. Touching and textures were more intense, I could focus on various parts of sounds more, I was thinking very quickly and not losing track of my thoughts. I was remembering all of my dreams. My moodiness seemed to have gone away completely. I wasn't feeling grumpy every morning until my first coffee. As these sorts of things happened less and less until eventually I was pretty much back to normal, I realized it was all placebo. I feel the need now to speak about this because it's not being mentioned by anyone who's actually experienced it, that it is not a physiological phenomenon. I don't think it is a physiological phenomenon at all.

Do you now believe you've come to regret the trepanation experience, or do you think it has possibly benefited you in a way other than those believed to be the physical result of the procedure?

I wanted to do this, and I was able to do it, and lived through it remaining in full health, so no, I don't regret having done it. I would say however that it was not worth the risks overall nor were the results nearly as pronounced as I had hoped it would be. I do feel that I got in touch with my thought processes and more in touch with all my senses in general, by maintaining such a focus on them all that time. That taught me the level of focus that is possible for me at this time. I'm thankful for that. It also drove home how things that seem impossible to do aren't always as impossible as we are often told, and that my friends were trustworthy and willing enough to help me accomplish just such a feat. As much as I have said that I don't think it caused much physiological change, there have been some lasting effects worth mentioning, both mental and physical. One thing that I have continued to enjoy is the seeming elimination of the bipolar emotional instability I experienced before trepanning. I haven't gone into one of those long unprovoked depressions that I was prone to before. I am also still not walking into rooms wondering what I went in there for, and so believe that by focusing on that for so long right after the trepanning that I have largely improved the ability to keep my line of thought clear till it's end. The strangest things to me have been a few recurring physical happenings. The first sounds silly I know, but I no longer get headaches from eating cold food or drinking cold drink, no matter how much I take in. I can no longer, it seems, get brain freeze headaches. I think this may be because my brain temperature is higher than what it was with less blood. The other and strangest has occasionally been so pronounced and strange that it can kind of scare me sometimes. I smoke marijuana, and when I smoke a lot of it, I feel strange sensations now. Sometimes it feels like my whole head and face are swelling with blood, that my skin can feel it filling up my head, moving through me to my head and filling it up to capacity. If that wasn't strange enough, I swear that I can feel heat in my head now when I drink a lot of coffee. I seem to feel the heat of my blood moving through different parts of my head. It's not at all similar to anything I've ever felt before. I also, and this is the scary one, feel 'flashes' of heat in my head when I smoke a lot of marijuana. I can feel an area quite suddenly get a burst of heat. The first time it happened, I was driving, and what scared me more than the heat was that I even heard a squirt sound accompany it, from inside my head. I still feel these heat flash sensations, but I haven't heard a squirt like that since then. I have not experienced any kind of pain or any impairment of any kind whatsoever.

Would you recommend or warn against an individual undergoing this procedure?

I would, at this time, warn against undergoing this procedure, mostly to anyone who was considering this as a way to alleviate chronic depression. If someone underwent this hoping it would be a panacea for all of their troubles and then it wasn't, that might just push them off the edge. I would also warn against doing this for the most obvious reason that hardly anyone is going to be able to pull it off properly and safely. You don't see interviews with hundreds of self-trepanned people because they don't exist. Because it is not easy and you can certainly cause serious damage by doing it incorrectly, or by doing it without having done a certain amount of research or by knowing those who have some sort of experience in these kind of strange areas. My main concern now is that it would become an underground craze and that a great many people whom I would love to meet or get to know or experience would damage their brains and their lives trying to attain an experience that isn't really there anyway. One that is perhaps not what many speculate it could be. I feel that the Amsterdam clique who started the first wave of interest in trepanning are doing it again and that they believe what they want to. I am trying not to fool myself or anyone else about this.

When I take in much caffeine or THC, I feel flashes of heat from within my head. They happen in different parts of my head each time, always on top, but never by the hole itself. The first time it happened, when I was in a car with a friend, pulling a big bong hit, I started to feel the heat in my head and I heard a squirt sound inside my head. At first, I silently panicked (what's the past tense of panic?). I thought to myself, "Am I having a hemorrhage in the brain or something? Is the sensation about to get more intense in general? Am I OK?", but then it passed and I was fine. I still feel the heat in the head sensations now, very regularly, and sometimes now even when not smoking pot or drinking coffee. I've not heard a squirt like that again since then though.

On my belief that it is not necessarily a physiological phenomena: I do think trepanation causes lasting and permanent pleasurable effects, but I don't think they are caused by more blood being in your brain. I think it definitely does increase the brain blood volume, but I don't think that causes the pleasurable mental side effects. I think that by undergoing an intense physical process, while focusing extremely intently on your sensory impressions, that you can become quite aware of every sensation and every stimulus that you usually would miss or overlook.

There is an intense joy and renewed vigor that comes just from living through it. Time and again you hear how those that live through a near-death experience are re-awakened to the ability to appreciate life again, like a child. You are happy that you are still alive at all, and along with that the days are cherished and exciting again. You get to keep living them!

In closing, I'd like to admit that due to the fact that there are these physical sensations, and the curiosity that everyone who's done this at a much older age than myself has raved about how much younger and more vital they feel, I can't say there's no lingering doubt about the worth of a pulsating brain. It will be interesting to see how I am in the long run. I have heard accounts of older persons who were trepanned to cure some problem or after a car accident or whatnot, and people have noticed that these certain older people are still more active, vital, and generally happy than their peers of the same age. Maybe 30 years from now when my friends start slowing down, getting up later, and losing their vitality, I will still be an exuberant young-acting man. We shall see.

For now, I am happy to be alive, very alive, and am simply expressing my doubts, and the honest facts, the other message about trepanation that is: this may or may not be what you are looking for, and you may be able to achieve the same effect through any carefully planned very intentional physical ritual. It should be called a ritual with magical intent. The intention to renew and recharge your perception of life, your energy, and your consciousness.

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