Phineas Gage

Phineas Gage / Unknown Photographer A case of changed personality: Phineas Gage was a young Vermont railroad worker who in 1848 had a terrible accident. An explosion caused a heavy iron rod to pierce his brain in the front area. Amazingly, he was still alive, walking and talking minutes after the accident, and he recovered. Gage eventually worked as a stableman in New Hampshire, a farmhand in San Francisco, and a stagecoach driver in Chile. Every place he lived he brought a souvenir: the 3 ½ foot iron rod that almost killed him.

If Gage's outward appearance was his old self (he did lose one eye), his personality was thoroughly new. Before, he was a smart, well-balanced fellow, a good businessman. After his accident he was fitful, profane, and stubborn. "Gage," his doctor famously wrote, "is no longer Gage."

Are you different?