Phrenology - Too Weird for the Book
One initial sidebar I wrote for the book was just strange. The pumpkin was the "Skull Pumpkin". The design was neat, the how-to portion was good but I needed a sidebar. I decided to write something about Phrenology. It was eventually replaced by a much cooler sidebar about "What your pumpkin shape says about you."
Sidebar – Phrenology
Phrenology is the theory that you can determine much about a person (character, personality traits, etc.) on the basis of the shape of their head. Phrenology was developed in the 1800’s. At the time a phrenologist would read the bumps on your head much the same way that a palm reader reads your palm.
While this may sound like pseudo-science to us, phrenology had its moment in the sun. Before phrenologist, most people did not understand that the brain is the organ of the mind. Also phrenologist are credited with the belief that certain parts of the brain have specific functions.
Phrenology had its sour moments as well. Racist groups including the Nazis and even the KKK tried to use phrenology as ways to prove that one race was superior to others. Like most pseudoscience it wasn’t hard for these hate groups to alter the results of “studies” so that they could make a biased viewpoint sound somewhat scientific.
Prenology died out in the early 20th century. Too many real cases existed of people that did not match their phrenology profile.
The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices owns a device called the Psycograph. It is an antique phrenology machine that measures your head in 32 places. If you are ever in St. Paul, Minnesota, the museum is part of the Science Museum there.