Sunday, Sept. 11 — CAVENDISH — “Horrible accident. Phineas P. Gage, a foreman on the Rutland Railroads at Cavendish, was preparing for a blast on Wednesday, when the powder exploded, carrying through his head an iron instrument, an inch and a fourth in circumference, and three feet and eight inches in length. The iron entered on the side of his face, shattering the upper jaw, and passing back of the left eye, and out the top of his head. Singularly enough, he was alive at 2 p.m. the next afternoon, in full possession of his reason, and free from pain.” That was how the Boston Courier and the Boston Daily Journal described Cavendish’s famous accident that occurred on Sept. 13, 1848.
On Oct. 3, 1848, a letter by A. Angier of Cavendish appeared in the Christian Reflector and Christian Watchman. Describing the accident in more detail, it ends with the following comments, “Altogether, it is one of the strangest occurrences on record, and will form a subject of inquiry for the learned physiologist. We live in an eventful era, but if a man can have thirteen pounds of iron in the shape of a pointed bar, thrown entirely through his head, carrying with it a quantity of the brain, and yet live and have his senses, we may well exclaim, what next?”
On Sunday, Sept. 11, the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) will be exploring the “what next” at their annual Phineas Gage Walk and Talk. The “talk” portion begins at the CHS Museum (Route 131, 1955 Main St. ) at 2 p.m. This will be followed by the walk to the site of the accident, 3/4 of a mile from the museum. For more info call 802-226-7807.