Knitting needle in the brain causes memory loss – Fact or Fiction?

Recently I posted some preview pages titled Mij, an excerpt from The Imperial Son, The King’s Sacrifice, Book Two in The Khekarian Series (due out in a few months published July 2013). In it, a thirteen year-old girl, captured by Khekarian Forces, is being threatened with torture.

Lieutenant Jy’shon-Tahn, the Khekarian torturer, explains graphically how a knitting needle type of tool can be used and what mayhem it causes when pushed up a person’s nostril, through the bone and into the deeper, more primitive brain.

It’s scary stuff and Mij is suitably scared.

Is the Khekarian bluffing? Is Lieutenant Jy’shon-Tahn telling the truth here? Is this fact or fiction?

More to the point, did the author get it wrong? :O

Actually, it’s fact.


I read a fascinating account some years ago about the effects of brain injury. A man had been accidentally spiked in just such a manner, his friend lunging at him in play with an epee, a thin duelling sword. His memory deteriorated in just the way Jy’shon-Tahn explains it, remaining sharp and clear in every detail right up to that moment, all after that being lost.

I’m quite certain the Khekarian Lieutenant is right when he tells Mij that there would as likely be other results, messy results, but this result exists, too, and therefore is technically feasible.

So, in modern times, we understand that memory lies on the surface of the brain, but that does not rule out deeper areas. Recently there has been speculation that memory also resides in other organs and not just our brains. The point is, new information pops up, triggering more questions and, if we are not afraid to explore, more answers.

The brain is complex and, like many things in our wonderful Universe, it continues to tantalize us with its secrets. There’s a lot we don’t know about many things. We, as Humankind have always thought ourselves smarter and more advanced than we actually are, and history is full of scientific and not-so-scientific claims that we “now” have all the answers (pick a subject, pick an era – up to and including modern times).

Fortunately for us, the claimants to certainty are soon swept aside and we continue to explore and learn more. Science advances through rigorous questioning and testing, including that which is considered known and accepted. The “facts” we have today will change again tomorrow.

On the subject of the human brain, Emerson M. Pugh stated it best when he said, “If the brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn’t.”

As for torture – Well, I just found an interesting example of something different that the Khekarians could put to good use.


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