A 2002 article from FHM, a British men’s lifestyle monthly publishing from 1985 to 20016.

Like a hole in your head?
Trepanation lets the light shine in.


Everyone wants inner peace, mental clarity, and increased energy, so why aren’t more people drilling holes in their heads?

This is the issue confronted by the International Trepanation Advocacy Group (ITAG), a Pennsylvania-based organization which not only advocates trepanation (i.e. ripping yourself a new head-hole) but also packages tours to sunny Mexico where doctors tend to be more open to experimental surgery. Trepanationists believe that opening a hole in the skull relieves the pressure that diminishes the quality of brain functioning.

Pete Halvorson, director of ITAG, didn’t have the luxury of a Mexican clinic. He did it himself, back in ’72, with a foot-operated drill. Once his skull was perforated, he recalls a “warming” sensation. “I could hear a gurgling,” he says, “and I could feel the shifting of volume in the brain water.” He believes trepanation freed him from long-term depression.

But before you plunge the Makita into your brain, please note that trepanation only involves removing a small circlet of skull, no noodling with the noodle. Once the scalp’s stitched up, you’ll end up with a forehead dimple similar to that darling soft spot you had as a baby, a little “breathing room” for all the extra blood that’ll be flooding your brain with oxygen, nutrients and enlightenment.

Drilling for inner peace was first promoted in 1962 by Bart Huges, a Dutch medical student, who’d recently been booted from school for advocating marijuana. Huges went on to find a more “natural” high via electric drill. His partner, Amanda Feilding, followed suite, documenting the procedure in an arty home-movie, featuring gouts of blood, a starry-eyed patient and gratuitous shots of pigeons. Joe Mellen, who filmed the operation also took to the drill and penned groovy trepanation ballads recorded by singer Julie Felix. Even the Beatles nearly got in on the act — John was said to be ready, Paul the wet blanket.

But trepanation is not just for acid-dropping freaks. Thanks to ITAG, even folks from Mormon country are doing it these days. Salt Lake City resident Betty Lyons lost her cranial virginity in Mexico back in 2000 and highly recommends it. “Get the money anyway that you can and get to the clinic in Mexico ASAP,” she says.

We suggest asking Grandma. 


I remember the drilling which took about 15 minutes and felt like I had a helicopter in my head. — Lily Bridge 

After some time there was an ominous sounding schlurp and the sound of bubbling. I drew the trepan out and the gurgling continued. It sounded like air bubbles running under the skull as they were pressed out. I looked at the trepan and there was a bit of bone in it. At last!  — Joe Mellen from his autobiographical Bore Hole 

It took 20 minutes! Easier than going to the dentist! — Chris Emery