Phineas Gage is a standard – and over-used – meme in neuroscience writing. Having a change of personality but surviving as an otherwise normal human after a horrific 1848 accident when a loose tamping rod from railway explosive operations entered his lower left cheek and exited the top of his cranium. Standard because lots of “normal” brain-mind functions are routinely studied by comparison with natural or accidental abnormalities – the “Lesion Literature“. Normal isn’t usually this gruesome.
Before today however, I’d never heard of the equally gruesome Gregor Baci case who sometime around the 1550’s had a chivalric lance in through his right eye and out the back of his head and survived at least a year. Records and medical speculations are doubtful at this remove, but he was noted and written about too.
(Hat tip @TimandraHarkness on Twitter.)