Humans have been trying to break into their skulls since there were humans and skulls, and we were still at it in the 1930s. After studying under an Italian doctor, Dr Walter Freeman returned to the States to perfect what he had learned overseas: the lobotomy. Armed with an ice pick and a hammer, Freeman traveled across America in his “lobotomobile”, claiming his procedure cured everything from schizophrenia to headaches. But often his patients could no long live independently or lost the ability to speak or walk. Also discussed are the stories of Howard Dully, 12 year-old lobotomy patient, and Henry Molcuson.

CORRECTION: It seems the term “lobotomobile” was never used by Freeman; a biographer coined the phrase in the 1980s.

What is a lobotomy?

History of lobotomies

Howard Dully on NPR

Losing Their Minds (article)

Trepanning

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