Friday, September 4, 2009

Phineas Gage: Newly Discovered Picture

Recently, a picture believed to be that of Phineas Gage holding the tapping iron which pierced his skull has surfaced. For thirty years Jack and Beverley Wilgus have own the photograph not knowing its significance. The possibility of the shot being of Gage came out when they placed it on Flickr, a picture sharing website. The couple have written an article, "Face to Face with Phineas Gage", for the July 2009 issue of the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences ( or go to

Newspaper and blog accounts of the photograph can be found at:

LA Times Website,0,6843461.story

The Boston Globe Website

The New York Times Website

Advanced in the History of Psychology Blog

The Neurophilosophy section of the Science Blogs

The September 2008 issue of The Psychologist from the British Psychological Society, includes an article which deputes many of the common beliefs of Gage's story at

A special thanks to Tack Chace, Shrewsbury High School, Shrewsbury MA, whose initial posting on the AP Psychology Electronic Discussion Group provided the impetus for this posting.

1 comment:

Matthew L Lena (Boston) said...

The direct link to Malcolm Macmillan's 2008 article in The Psychologist, "Phineas Gage: Unravelling the Myth" (last item listed above) is here .

As a researcher on Gage for many years, I can also recommend (no kidding) the Wikipedia article, which includes the full-size portrait. (Its owners have authorized its use e.g. for teaching without any permissions being obtained, though they ask that the image be attributed where used -- click on the portrait to learn more.)