How long is a severed head conscious for? The question has troubled students of the human body for centuries and generated countless, possibly mythical stories. History of medicine blog The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice has finally looked through the records to find out which of the accounts are based in blood-curdling fact.
A common tale involves someone trying to test the idea during the French revolution by taking a severed head directly after it has fallen from the guillotine and asking questions, with the unfortunate victim communicating via blinks until it loses consciousness.
We’ve covered exactly such a story previously on Mind Hacks, but historian of medicine Lindsey Fitzharris thought it sounded a bit too much like a tall tale and decided to find out if anything like this had ever actually happened.
She ended up on a wonderfully macabre journey through the science of consciousness after decapitation, involving everything from electrocuting…
View original post 127 more words