Saturday, December 16, 2023

The Downfall of Phineas Gage

 Kierstin Harmon

On October 8th, 2021 an author named Katie Serena posted “THE SHOCKING STORY OF PHINEAS GAGE, The Railroad Worker Who Survived A Spike Through His Skull” this article talks about how Phineas Gage was just a young man who was very good at his job and always knew what to do and how to do it. Phineas was born in New Hampshire, and he was also raised there. By the time Gage was 25 he had become an incredibly talented blasting foreman that worked for railroad companies. Gage had been doing his job for years, so he was familiar with what he was doing, and he felt confident about it. Blasting rocks back in 1848 was risky, but Gage took the risk every day because he was experienced and skilled at the task. Gage was using his Iron tamping rod to pack the explosives powder into the hole and as he was packing it, the powder detonated sending the rod flying upward. When the rod came down it penetrated right through his left cheek and tore through his brain and exited through his skull before sending him 80 feet away. After all of this, Gage still lived, he laid there for a while, but he was conscious. Eventually he got up and started walking, everyone was helping him and making sur he was okay, they could not believe that he was even conscious. Phineas of course had to be seen by doctors so they could treat him.

This picture shows how the iron rod was positioned in Phineas Gage head. Gage was paralyzed on the left side of his face. He suffered a lot of different injuries from the iron rod going through his skull, most of his brain was destroyed. Gage was not able to return to his old position due to his personality changed, he was basically half brain dead. He had no personality and forgot a lot of things; he didn’t really talk much and did not really think much. Gage was now broken, disconnected, and impatient, said Mr. Harlow. Mr. Gage could not use the right side of his face, and he was blind in his right eye. Mr. Gage was going through a lot, but he was able to live his life and he kept going. 

  In this video the youtuber SciShow Psych basically speaks about all the different stories people write about Phineas Gage. He says that most people where making things up because there was not a lot of information about how long gage lived and that his symptoms were not that terrible. You really must read the articles and stories because a lot of them aren’t true. He talks about how people put made up things onto their stories just to catch the reader’s attention.

Work Cited:

Damasio, Hanna, et al. "The return of Phineas Gage: clues about the brain from the skull of a famous patient." Science, vol. 264, no. 5162, 20 May 1994, pp. 1102+. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 3 Nov. 2023.

Phineas Gage, The Man Behind History's Most Famous Brain Injury (

Further Research:

Shelley, Bhaskara. "Footprints of phineas gage: Historical beginnings on the origins of brain and behavior and the birth of cerebral localizationism." Archives of Medicine and Health Sciences, vol. 4, no. 2, July-Dec. 2016, p. 280. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 3 Nov. 2023.

Van Horn, John Darrell, et al. "Mapping Connectivity Damage in the Case of Phineas Gage." PLoS ONE, vol. 7, no. 5, 16 May 2012, p. e37454. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 3 Nov. 2023.

Hodges, John. "An Odd Kind of Fame: Stories of Phineas Gage." Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, vol. 71, no. 1, July 2001, p. 136. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 3 Nov. 2023.

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