Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Clintons, Scientology, and Drug-Smuggling

The Clintons, Scientology, and Drug-Smuggling

By Tim Cridland ©2016

 The best way to view American politics is rival crime-families fighting for control of an empire. Publicity, they fight over issues that, although important to people, do not change the nature of the game. Beneath the surface they use every trick in the book, including temporary alliances and back-stabbing, to gain and control power.

 This had never been more evident than in this upcoming election, which threatens to shatter the false binary party system. The candidates for both major parties are so atrocious that people who hate Tweedle-Dumb are desperately trying to shame you into voting for Tweedle-Dumb... because, after all, if you do not Tweedle-Dumber might win.

 Almost flying under the radar, which is a very appropriate metaphor, a movie is in production about a 1980s scandal involving drug-running, and murder; among other things. Originally to be called Mena, after the small Arkansas town that was an unlikely hub for these nefarious activities, it is now set to be released in late 2017.

 The release date is good news for Hillary Clinton, as she will likely already be elected before its debut. Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas at the time of the activities at Mena, and was alerted to them. At the very least he is guilty of looking the other way. Some researchers think he is guilty of a lot more than that.

 Hillary and Bill work closely together -- you could even say they are in bed together -- even though it likely they sleep in separate beds. Their marriage, now more than ever, seems to be a business arrangement. Like it or not, the scandals of the previous Clinton Administration are Hillary's scandals as well. Even back then, it was known that Hillary wore the pants-suit.

 The really big scandals never make the mainstream media because they implicate people on both "sides" of overt politics. Mena is the classic example. It started with the Reagan/Bush administration and helped boast the Clintons political power on their climb to the presidency.

 Journalists Sally Denton and Roger Morris, in an article that had been cleared to appear in The Washington Post in January 1995, wrote:

"Mena, from 1981 to 1985, was indeed one of the centers for international smuggling traffic. According to official l.R.S. and D.E.A. calculations, sworn court testimony, and other corroborative records, the traffic amounted to thousands of kilos of cocaine and heroin and literally hundreds of millions of dollars in drug profits. According to a 1986 letter from the Louisiana attorney general to then U.S. attorney general Edwin Meese, Seal 'smuggled between $3 billion and $5 billion of drugs into the U.S.'"

Regarding Bill Clinton's knowledge they wrote:

"Clinton has acknowledged learning officially about Mena only in April 1988, though a state police investigation had been in progress for several years. As the state's chief executive, Clinton often claimed to be fully abreast of such inquiries. In his one public statement on the matter as governor, in September 1991 he spoke of that investigation finding 'linkages to the federal government,' and 'all kinds of questions about whether he [Seal] had any links to the C.l.A.... and if that backed into the Iran-Contra deal.'"

"But then Clinton did not offer further support for any inquiry, 'despite the fact,' as Bill Plante and Michael Singer of CBS News have written, 'that a Republican administration was apparently sponsoring a Contra-aid operation in his state and protecting a smuggling ring that flew tons of cocaine through Arkansas.'"

Read the full article, The Crimes of Mena, here:

 The pivotal character in the Mena scandal was pilot Adier "Barry" Seal, whose "stranger than fiction" life story has been floating around for decades. He worked with South American drug cartels, the CIA, and was linked to people suspected of involvement in the JFK assassination. Seal was murdered by sub-machine gun wielding assailants in 1986.

  Much of what we know about Seal can be credited to independent muckraking journalist Daniel Hopsticker, whose hard to find book Barry and the Boys is still the best source of biographical information on Seal's enigmatic life.

 Seal's life story seems the stuff of spy thrillers, so it is appropriate that Tom Cruise, who is known for his Mission Impossible movies, is playing the part of Seal in the in post-production movie Mena, now retitled as American Made.

 Seal's story, or at least a version of it, has had the Hollywood treatment once before. The made for TV movie Doublecrossed (1991) had Dennis Hopper playing the part.

 However, this is the first time that the Barry Seal story has hit the big screen with an A list actor. That the filming is happening at the same time as the presidential election and with the original title clearly referencing events in the political background of one of the candidates it understandable that some will not be pleased, to say the least.

 Scientology and Mena

 It is well known that Tom Cruise is a member of the Church of Scientology. So high profile, in fact, that he is considered an ambassador of Scientology.

 It may surprise some to learn that the Church of Scientology investigated the Mena, Arkansas scandal long before Cruise was picked to play the part of a Seal.

 The Church of Scientology has published Freedom magazine since 1968. The CoS had a policy of investigating those who investigated them and some of this can be seen this magazine. The magazine was, and may still be, anti-drug, anti-psychiatry, anti-IRS, among other things. With the finances and resources of the CoS behind it, Freedom became, at least at one time, one of the best regularly published magazines focusing on investigative reporting of government corruption and misdeeds. It published research by researchers and authors such as Jim Marrs, Fletcher Prouty and Jim Garrison. So of course, Freedom investigated Mena.

[It should be noted that Freedom magazine is not what it once was, as it now mostly counters and responds to negative reports on Scientology in media, with far less investigation into government corruption.]

 The Freedom magazine website states:

"From 1989 to the present, FREEDOM has published an ongoing series of articles, entitled 'The Drugging of America,' which have exposed reports of drug smuggling, money laundering and other illegal activities centered around Mena, Arkansas. This series was prepared with the help of local, state and federal law enforcement officials, as well as members of the news media in Arkansas and elsewhere."

"In the series, FREEDOM has presented accounts of how, in the 1980s, Mena became a base for an international, multibillion-dollar cocaine transport operation. As described in the series, corrupt U.S. government officials were allegedly involved in covering up the illegalities, which included special aircraft modifications so drugs could be flown into the United States and weapons transported out."


 It seems unlikely that the Church of Scientology would not have shared its research on Mena with Cruise. Cruise has shown knowledge of research of another Church of Scientology linked group, the anti-psychiatric Citizens Commission on Human Rights, as demonstrated in a discussion on a talk show in 2005, for which he was criticized.

Tragedy on the Set

On 11 September 2015, a plane carry crew members filming Mena crashed, killing two people and leaving another severely injured.

 The plane purportedly crashed due to bad weather and Cruise was not on board. He was said to be in a helicopter that had flown through the same area a mere 10 minutes before the plane went down.

 As of yet, the incident has gotten little attention from the anti-Clinton conspiracy crowd, which is odd, considering that there has been a Clinton Death List circulating for decades.

 Death lists have been attached to conspiracy theories since first-generation JFK assassination researcher Penn Jones began to circulate a list of suspicious deaths of witnesses. Since death-lists of UFO researches, SDI scientists, Mothman witnesses, and all manner of scientists involved in clandestine research have circulated, inevitable ending up on the Internet.

 All of the lists have many listings that are tangentially connected to the subject, things which seem suspicious but could just as easily be coincidental -- and a few strange and deeply suspicious deaths.

 The Clinton Death List is back in circulation, with listings being added as election day draws closer. Even Wikileaks founder Julian Assange implied that the murder of Democrat National Committee staffer Seth Rich was connected to the leaking of DNC emails.

 The deaths of the people on the plane would seem to be candidates for inclusion on the list. Especially considering the list is saturated with names connected to Mena. One of the earliest listing, the 1987 death of two teenage boys whose bodies were found on some railroad tracks, is said to be the result of a "wrong place, wrong time" witnessing of a Mena drug-drop and reads like a scene from Breaking Bad.

 Also consider that one could easily jump to the conclusion that the plane crash was the result of sabotage, and that Cruise may have been the intended target, or at least it was a warning to Cruise.

On The Other Hand

It could have easily have been an accident or mistake, but it seems that the deaths inadvertently revealed the background of some of the people who are involved in the Mena movie.

 Daniel Hopsticker, author of Barry and the Boys, noted "Both men who died in the crash of a twin-engine plane in Colombia... on the shoot for Tom Cruise’s new 'Mena' movie have backgrounds more like those of spies, spooks, drug movers or clandestine agents than pilots on a film shoot."

  This even leaked out a little bit into the mainstream media. The british paper Guardian said that one of the victims "...was founder and president of the Los Angeles-based Helinet Technologies, a company providing aerial surveillance technology to law enforcement."

For Hopsticker's post on the crash, click on this link:

 And there is the possibility that the Seal/Mena story may get spun in a way to soften the connections to the Clintons, as a political move by the Church of Scientology in exchange for some future influence.

 It would not be the first time that Scientology has been suspected of using its movie star members to influence the Clintons.

 The 1998 movie adaptation of the book, Primary Colors, stared Scientology celebrity John Travolta as John Stanton -- a thinly disguised parody of Bill Clinton.

 The satirical novel caused a stir when it was released anonymously in 1996. It was an obvious fictionalized account of Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign, with details so accurate there was speculation that it was written by an insider. It was eventually revealed that its author was weekly news magazine columnist Joe Klein, although he had previously denied this.

 [Conspiratorial minded readers take note: Klein's Wikipedia page says he is "...currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations..."]

  There were rumors that Travolta had met with Clinton and had promised to tone down his portrayal of "Stanton" in exchange for Clinton promising to use his influence to help the Church of Scientology's status in Germany, where it was, and still is, having problems being recognized as a religion.

 This even made it into Time magazine. In the 16 March 1998 issue, with John Travolta on the cover, Richard Corliss wrote:

"There were whispers that after a White House conversation with Travolta, Clinton put pressure on Germany to soften its stance toward the Church of Scientology, of which the actor is an outspoken adherent, and that in return Travolta portrayed Stanton more sympathetically.  ...the actor has warm memories of the chat, in which he says Clinton spoke of an old roommate who had been a Scientologist."

(Read the full article here:

 So if it happened with one Clinton, it can happen with another. There are reports that Cruise has already been using his celebrity status to help Scientology in Germany.

 In 2002, BBC reported "...Cruise has been lobbying officials in Germany over the country's strong stance against Scientology." This was in the middle of a promotional tour for the movie Vanilla Sky.

 According to former high-ranking Scientologist Marky Rathburn, in 2003 Cruise used the influence of then former president Clinton to help Scientology in the United Kingdom. On a German TV show, Rathburn said "I witnessed the phone call. I was there when Tom Cruise made the phone call to Bill Clinton and spoke about contacting Blair to help the church with its charity status in the UK..."

[Be aware that as an estranged Scientologist, Rathburn is extremely biased, making him either a great source or an awful source, depending on who you talk to. The CoS has put up a "smear" website, as they do with many of their critics, to show him to be unreliable.]

 It is further reported that Cruise and Clinton met several times preceding this, including at the homes of Steven Spielberg and David Geffen.

A simple Internet search will find a Getty Image photo of Cruise and Hillary Clinton together at her 53rd birthday party.

 It is fact that Cruise knows the Clintons. It is a evident that Scientology will use its celebrity members' connections for help in international affairs. It is not much of a leap to suggest that Cruise would make a deal with Hillary Clinton to keep focus away from the Clintons connections to the Mena scandal.

 As the election draws nearer, this may already be happening. News reports say the movie's release has been delayed -- until after the election. More telling is that the name has been changed, from Mena - which would put the Arkansas connection in the foreground - to the ambiguous title American Made.

 Daniel Hopsicker has already said that the Mena movie will obscure the facts of the case, saying "...anyone hoping for a public airing of the CIA’s involvement in the drug trade will be bitterly disappointed."  And it seems that, along with the connections to the likes of George H. W. Bush, the Clintons role in the affair will be concealed as well.

 People who are pro-Hillary Clinton, for whatever reason, will dismiss all of this as right-wing conspiracy rantings. Conspiracy theories are things to be dismissed, say Clinton supports... unless it is a conspiracy against the Clintons, then it's true.

 Hillary Clinton famously said, in a 1998 interview, that the Clintons  where victims of a "...vast right-wing conspiracy...."

 Before this, the White House had already commissioned a document, with research assistant provided by the Democratic National Committee, detailing the conspiracy theory.
 The 1995 internal memo, known as the Communications Stream of Conspiracy Commerce document, reads like a photocopied 1990s conspiracy 'zine.

 But the conspiracy conspiracy surrounding the Clintons was not so simple. Although many of the researchers advancing Clinton conspiracies were biased, as they are today, this does not mean that the information they dug up was wrong. Kenneth Star, who was investigating the Clintons, subpoenaed everyone and their brother in the Lewinsky case - which was really a case about perjury - his inquiry into the death of Hillary Clinton's close associate Vince Foster - a case with allegations of murder - was quickly closed. And some right-wing sources where defending the Clintons.

 The Lyndon LaRouche organization, which some considered fascist, and itself a purveyor of conspiracy allegations, regularly defended the Clinton White House in the pages of its publications The New Federalist and Executive Intelligence Review.

 The LaRouche organization went so far as to accuse British journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - author of many Clinton scandal stories -  who was also singled-out by the Clinton "Conspiracy Commerce" memo, of being a "British intelligence agent."

 And all this after having published, just a few years previously, several articles linking Clinton to the Mena case.

  As Hillary's campaign gets closer to election day, the rumors and theories will continue.
If she wins the election, which seems likely, expect the "communication stream" to flow even faster. Recently Hillary affirmed her belief in the conspiracy against her, saying "At this point it's probably not correct to say it's a conspiracy because it's out in the open...  It's real, and we're going to beat it."

 There are indications that one conspiracy author, Roger Stone, will gladly weave conspiracy theories, no matter how shaky the sources, as long as the right people are paying him.  I expect that there are many who already think I am part of the conspiracy for writing this.

 But the evidence shows, no matter which angle of the political spectrum you look at from, the Clinton presidency was as scandal ridden and corrupt as the Nixon years. Remember that Hillary has already spent eight years in the White House. If she wins the election, The Clinton Gang will be able to dominate the White House for as long as The Bush Crime Family, and possibly longer.

 There are those - both people who are against Trump and people who are for Trump - who will think I am pro-Trump. So I am ending with this link to an interview with Daniel Hopsticker, on David Emory's radios show, which lays out Trump's mobbed-up connections - something that the mainstream media ignores so they can concentrate on his Twitter posts.

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Sources for More Information

Barry Seal

Communication Stream Conspiracy

Clinton Conspiracies

Train Deaths

Plane Crash


Barry and the Boys by Daniel Hopsicket

Compromised by Terry Reed

Dark Alliance by Gary Webb

Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb by Nick Schou

All quotations and images used in this post are intended to be within the Fair Use Act for purposes of commentary and criticism

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Serpent Handling Believers

In the late 1990s Stuart Sweezy, publisher of Amok Books, asked me to write some book reviews for a project that would eventually be published as Amok Fifth Dispatch.

 As I remember, it was supposed to be published by a major book publisher but this was not to be.  The massive book was published by Amok in 1999. It was a listing of esoteric and forbidden books, all reviewed by underground celebrities and eccentrics.

 Publisher Sweezy knew me from a photocopied fanzine, dedicated to weirdology, that published in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Amok has recently put some of the reviews from Fifth Dispatch on a website.

"...more encyclopedic in scope, the Amok Fifth Dispatch opened up its ranks to a wide-ranging group of “oddball bibliophiles” (as director John Waters termed them) to contribute reviews and became a true sourcebook rather than a mail order book catalog. From a pioneering industrial music provocateur to a Fortean carnie sideshow performer, from an esteemed Science Fiction writer to a bondage porn director among many others, each of the Amok Fifth Dispatch contributors brought his or her own distinctive perspective and voice to the job of reviewing these intriguing and often obscure works. In recognition of this in 2000, the Amok Fifth Dispatch was nominated for Best Non-Fiction Title in the Firecracker Alternative Book Awards."

Cover of OTDE 8. Artwork by Madame Talbot
My listing reads "Tim Cridland is the publisher of Off The Deep End, a zine devoted to strange ideas, conspiracy theories, weird science, flying saucers and unorthodox notions. He is best known as a sideshow and stage performer under the name Zamora, the Torture King."

Below is one of my reviews from Amok Fifth Dispatch.

Serpent-Handling Believers by Thomas Burton
Publisher: University of Tennessee (1993)
Paperback: 208 pages Illustrated

A history of the snake-handling churches of Tennessee which is both academic and insightful, containing 178 photos of people handling snakes and drinking poison.

 There is a general tendency to view the Southern snake-handlers as simple-minded or insane. Such a condescending attitude is, thankfully, absent from this book. Author Thomas Burton seems to have a liking for the subjects of his study, and reports that one of the reasons he stays in contact with them is that “they are good friends. They are strong, courageous, ethical people… I am proud of their friendship.”

 Whenever a snake-handler dies of a snake bite, it makes the papers. This helps create the impression that snake-handlers are crazy people who drop dead whenever they perform their insane ritual. This book makes clear that although a practitioner will drop dead now and then, snake-handlers generally are bitten again and again with little or no effect. Even more amazing is their ability to consume poison. It is tempting to dismiss snake-handlers by speculating that they milk the snakes of their venom and switch the jars of strychnine with plain water. Every investigation that I am aware of shows that this is not so.
 The snake-handlers take Mark 16:17-18 (and some other Bible verses) literally. They believe that the best way to show their faith is to handle deadly snakes and drink poisons. Also described are their fire-handling abilities, which are completely different from New Age-style firewalks. They have an obsession for filling Coke bottles with kerosene, stuffing a rag in the end and lighting it on fire. This potential Molotov cocktail is then held under the chin and other parts of the body. Removing hot coals from a furnace with the bare hands is not an unknown occurrence.

 Particularly interesting is the section of biographical essays of various snake-handlers. These accounts could be dismissed as the product of someone’s imagination if it weren’t for the fact that the author has done such a thorough job of documenting everything in the book.

 Snake-handlers are as close as the United States gets to a home-grown mystic order (excluding Native Americans, of course). Although only briefly mentioned in the book, parallels to certain Sufi dervish groups are noticeable. There is an emphasis on good behavior (adab in Sufi terms), a disconnection from a “main” or central church body, a transference of powers of immunity (what the snake-handlers call “anointment”), dancing and rhythmic moments that turn into a trancelike state while accompanied by music played on the instruments of the common folk.

 The appendixes include an electroencephalograph test on an “anointed” person and a technical report on the music used during snake-handling services. The list of references is extensive and complete. TC


You can find more of my reviews from Amok Fifth Dispatch at the link below. Only a few of my reviews are on the site. Hopefully the site will be enlarged in the near future.

See the full site here:

Friday, February 26, 2016

Hole in the Head Gang

Hole In The Head Gang 
(c) 1993, 2016.

I wrote the following article in 1993. At the time it was one of few sources of information about self-trepanning.  Trepanning means making a hole in the skull of a living person.

 I was published in a Canadian Body-Piercing/Modern Primitives fanzine. This was a time when self-published zines were printed on the office photo-copier on the sly and the Internet was just beginning. This article lived on on the pre-Internet computer BBS system and then on the Internet were it can still be found.  Strangely, the editor of the Canadian zine posted this claiming she was the copyright holder. Nope. This is mine.  I republish it here pretty much as it was written, with the exception of a few spelling corrections and some additional information afterwards.

 I am obligated to say that I do not advocate anyone drilling a hole in their own skull even though in some parts of this article it appears that I do.

Trepananation display at The Science Museum in London. Items are from the Wellcome Collection.

By Timothy Colin Cridland

What's the next big thing in body modification?  Remember when you got that funny hair cut, that tattoo or face piercing? Remember thinking- what will my mom say when she sees this? Well, she'll wish it was just a mohawk when you come home after trepanning yourself at the rave last night.

What is trepanation? Well, you may have seen National Geographic Special showing skulls that have been found with holes chiseled out of them. The narrator of whatever science show you may be watching inevitably points out that some of the skulls show signs of multiple operations with evidence of healing in between them, showing that this was a survivable operation, even with the primitive medical techniques that must have been used. Some would have you believe that these operations could only have been performed with the aid of a technology provided by space-beings; this is the claim of Eric Von Daniken in one of the Chariots of the Gods films.

 In my research into the world of weirdness, I came across references to acts of self-trepanation that had been performed in the 20th Century. This form of body altering is so extreme that I figured the exploits of these people would be well- known to more knowledgeable "Modern Primitives". When I finally got to meet a man who is considered one of the most learned body modifiers in the US, I had to ask him what he knew about this. To my surprise, he knew almost nothing about it. In fact, I ended up sending him information on this. In Seattle, when I told a major figure in the body altering scene that I located someone who had located a hole in their head with an electric drill, he asked me if they were in a mental hospital. I told him they ran an art gallery.

 Here is the story, in a nutshell. The founder of modern trepanation is a Dutch man by the name of Dr. Bart Hughes. In 1962 he became convinced that one’s degree and state of consciousness is controlled by the volume of blood in the brain. Humans have been robbed of a high range of consciousness because we began to walk upright, putting the heart below the brain. This state of affairs could be corrected by standing on one’s head, jumping from hot water into cold water, or taking various drugs. He noted that when we are born, our heads are unsealed. We have all heard of the "soft spot" on top of a baby's head.

 He became convinced that the way to gain back the state of imagination and perception that one experiences as a child was to open a hole in the now-sealed adult skull. He did this to himself with an electric drill. This must have been the first intentional trepanation in hundreds of years. I do not have any account of the specifics of this operation, but it could not have been too bad because he immediately began preaching the benefits of his new state of consciousness, achieved, he claimed, by restoring the natural pulsations of the brain in response to the heart beat. It is said that this did land him in the loony bin in Holland.

 Joseph Mellen met Bart Hughes in Abase in 1965 and became a convert to his teachings of trepanation and also his doctrine of "brainbloodvolume", that, in order to avoid a bad LSD trip, one should take sugar with your dose. Or drill a hole in the skull.  Mellen gave lectures on the importance of Brainbloodvolume and sent out an open letter to LSD dealers about advice that they should give their customers on how to take acid. In London Mellen met a well-known eccentric named Michael Holingshead, who had given Timothy Leary his first acid trip. Holingshead had assumed his name in reference to the mystical third eye. Mellen told Holingshead about Bart Hughes and his discoveries, but Holingshead seemed to prefer to have the third eye be only symbolic and wasn't too keen on having a real hole in his skull, but was won over on the sugar part of it.

 Here I am reminded of the book The Third Eye by L. Lobsang Rampa. In it the author claimed to have been initiated into a Tibetan monastery. Part of the initiation consisted of having a hole drilled into his skull and a splinter of wood inserted into the brain to activate the third eye. Alas, the author turned out not to be a Tibetan, but an Englishman by the name of Cyril Henry Hoskins. He showed no sign of trepanation, making it almost certain his whole account was fraudulent.

 In 1966 money was raised to bring Bart Hughes to London. He was housed in a Chelsea flat. Bart and Joey gave lectures around London, riding the popularity of LSD. The Sunday press caught wind of Mellen and Hughes' teachings and called for them to be thrown out of the country. Julie Felix, a well-known English folk-singer, was more impressed. She recorded songs about the joys of trepanation and Brainbloodvolume, composed by Mellen himself.

 Joey decided to take the trepanation plunge. Bart had become friends with Amanda Feilding who was sharing an apartment with Mellen. One day, when Amanda had traveled to Amsterdam to spend some time with Hughes, Joey decided it was time to do it. Joey went to a surgical store and bought a trepan instrument, kind of like a big corkscrew, designed to be worked by hand. A spike was meant to be driven into the skull to hold the instrument steady, while the revolving saw made a circle around it, removing a circle of bone much like a glass-cutter removes a disc of glass.
 After getting the right needles to administer local anesthesia, Joey took some LSD and tried to trepannate himself. He could not do it. After baring the skull, he was unable to drive the spike in. He phoned Hughes in Amsterdam for help. He tried to return to London to assist in the next operation, but was not allowed into England, being listed as an undesirable. Amanda came in his place. With her help, the spike was driven into Mellen's skull. Mellen turned the crank on the saw. Just as he was about to break through, he fainted. He was taken to a hospital, where he was told if he had gone a fraction of an inch further he would be dead.

 After spending a week on jail on unrelated marijuana possession charges, and getting the attention of a group of psychiatrists, Joey was ready to try the operation for a third time. With Amanda present, he followed the old groove, trying to break through the thin layer of bone that was left. Proving the Doctors wrong, when he broke through he found not death but "An ominous sounding schlurp and the sound of bubbling." Upon withdrawing the trepan, there was a piece of bone in it, but it was apparent that the cut had been uneven, and that part of the bone had snapped off. "At the time I thought that any hole would do, no matter what size. I bandaged my head and cleared away the mess."

In the spring of 1970, to make sure the hole was of sufficient size, he decided to make another one, this time with an electric drill. Amanda was not in town, so he did it alone. He selected a spot above the hairline and applied the drill. After half an hour, the drill burned out. He had it repaired, and tried again the next day. "This time there was no doubt. The drill went at least an inch deep through the hole. A great gush of blood followed my withdrawal of the drill. In the mirror I could see the blood in the hole rising and falling with the pulsation of the brain."

 He claimed that the operation that the operation had produced the desired effects. He claimed that he had achieved the permanent high that he had sought for so long.

 When Amanda returned, she immediately noticed the change in Joey and was apparently so impressed that she decided to drill a hole in her skull with an electric drill as well.

 This time the operation was recorded on film. Joey operated the camera while Amanda trepannated herself. She shaves her hair, makes an incision in the scalp with a scalpel, and drills through the skull, causing blood to flow.

 After breaking through, Amanda experienced a slow change of consciousness. "Over the next four hours I had a kind of feeling like the tide coming in, a soft flowing feeling. ... the ego had stopped talking". As to how it feels today Amanda has said, "It's not an ecstatic feeling at all, but it's very slight rise in the level of the floor of the psyche to the floor of childhood." and "If one puts the adult norm of consciousness at zero and the LSD users at one hundred, then the childhood level and that attained by trepanation is thirty, and the level of cannabis is around fifty to sixty."

 Joey Mellen wrote a book about his experiences, entitled Bore Hole. The film was edited with together the films of Amanda's pet pigeon (to represent peace and wisdom) and music was added. It was released under the title Heart Beat in the Brain, and was played in lectures that they gave around Europe and the US. Many attending these lectures were known to faint when the film was shown. Amanda has written a pamphlet on the subject, titled Blood and Consciousness and has run for Parliament twice on the platform of trepanation for natural health. She admits, however, that she did this in order to publicize trepanation and did not expect to win. To this day Amanda and Joey run the Pigeon Hole Gallery in Chelsea, UK. Yes, they are alive and healthy.

That is the story of the modern pioneers of trepanation. Is it still going on today? According to Amanda there are others, but not many. They have a hard time having Doctors giving them any public support, for the obvious reason that it might endanger their practice. But I can see a day, not far away, where all the kids at the rave, high on LSD and sugary Smart Drinks, will have inserted candles in their trepanation holes just like that one guy you always see at the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum. It would look really neat.

 When researching trepanation, I am always reminded of the bad guy from the David Cronenberg film Scanners. In the movie, he is said to have trepanated himself with an electric drill "to let the voices out". If we are to believe Hughes, Mellen and Feilding, it is not voices, but the ego that get out through that hole.

This article is actually incomplete. Most everything I have read on self-trepanation has been a rewrite of the chapter People with holes in their heads from the book Eccentric Lives and Peculiar Notions by John Michell. This article also relies heavily on that excellent source, but the additional information taken from a recent issue of Fortean Times, which included an interview with Amanda Feilding, as well as an outstanding article on trepanation. Information on self-trepanation seems very hard to get. Recently, I was given the phone number of Ms. Feilding. By the time this article is printed I probably will be in England, where I plan to conduct my own interview, hopefully answering the many questions that are still lingering in my mind. An update of this article will be published in the near future.


I did find and interview Amanda Feilding in London. The interview was published in AMOK Journal Sensurround Edition (1995). Part of my interest in publicizing the history of modern day self-trepanation was to see if it would create a revival. There were news reports suggesting that there was a resurgence of sorts but it never became anywhere as popular as other body modifications. Amanda Feildings film of her self-trepanation was finally re-released as part of a 1998 documentary A Hole in The Head. As I am writing this (Feb. 2016) a British publisher has just re-issued Joey Mellens Bore Hole.
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