Weird Wikipedia Wednesday: Trepanning

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Trepanning

“In ancient times, holes were drilled into a person who was behaving in what was considered an abnormal way to let out what they believed were evil spirits. Evidence of trepanation has been found in prehistoric human remains from Neolithic times onward. Cave paintings indicate that people believed the practice would cure epileptic seizures, migraines, and mental disorders. The bone that was trepanned was kept by the prehistoric people and may have been worn as a charm to keep evil spirits away. Evidence also suggests that trepanation was primitive emergency surgery after head wounds to remove shattered bits of bone from a fractured skull and clean out the blood that often pools under the skull after a blow to the head. Such injuries were typical for primitive weaponry such as slings and war clubs. There is some contemporary use of the term. In modern eye surgery, a trephine instrument is used in corneal transplant surgery. The procedure of drilling a hole through a fingernail or toenail is also known as trephination. It is performed by a physician or surgeon to relieve the pain associated with a subungual hematoma (blood under the nail); a small amount of blood is expressed through the hole and the pain associated with the pressure is partially alleviated.”

Weeping tears of wax

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This candle and its holder are made by The Jacks.  You can find it and more here at their website.

The image of an inanimate object crying (or bleeding) is familiar in religious contexts.  For instance, there are plenty of tales of statues of the Virgin Mary weeping, sometimes with tears of chrism or blood.  This typically evokes feelings of reverence and awe.  However, there is a larger genre of inanimate objects acting in human ways that can evoke some other emotions as well.  There is the whimsical, exemplified by Pixar movies such as Toy Story and Cars.  And then there is the terrifying, as we can see in movies like Child’s Play and Christine. This skull crying tears of wax is amusing, and also in a way unsettling.  Maybe it’s because we secretly wish, and secretly fear, that inanimate objects are actually alive.