Fun_People Archive
22 Sep
Caution: Thinking may be hazardous...

Date: Thu, 22 Sep 94 12:56:22 PDT
To: Fun_People
Subject: Caution: Thinking may be hazardous...

[Four months ago I received copies of this from no less than six different
people (obviously the Fun_People are a highly literate bunch), but, for some
reason, I didn't send it on.  For that matter, I really don't know what's
making me send it on now...  -psl]

Forwarded-by: Chris LaFournaise <>
Forwarded-by: <>
Forwarded-by: John Robinson <>
Forwarded-by: bostic@vangogh.CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: Claude Ginsburg <>
Forwarded-by: (Patti Smolian)

From: the WEEKLY WORLD NEWS, May 24, 1994


Doctors are blaming a rare electrical imbalance in the brain for the bizarre
death of a chess player whose head literally exploded in the middle of a
championship game!

No one else was hurt in the fatal explosion but four players and three
officials at the Moscow Candidate Masters' Chess Championships were sprayed
with blood and brain matter when Nikolai Titov's head suddenly blew apart.
Experts say he suffered from a condition called Hyper-Cerebral Electrosis
or HCE.

"He was deep in concentration with his eyes focused on the board," says
Titov's opponent, Vladimir Dobrynin.  "All of a sudden his hands flew to
his temples and he screamed in pain.  Everyone looked up from their games,
startled by the noise.  Then, as if someone had put a bomb in his cranium,
his head popped like a firecracker."

Incredibly, Titiov's is not the first case in which a person's head has
spontaneously exploded.  Five people are known to have died of HCE in the last
25 years.  The most recent death occurred just three years ago in 1991, when
European psychic Barbara Nicole's skull burst.  Miss Nicole's story was
reported by newspapers worldwide, including WWN.  "HCE is an extremely rare
physical imbalance," said Dr. Anatoly Martinenko, famed neurologist and expert
on the human brain who did the autopsy on the brilliant chess expert.  "It is
a condition in which the circuits of the brain become overloaded by the body's
own electricity.  The explosions happen during periods of intense mental
activity when lots of current is surging through the brain.
Victims  are highly intelligent people with great powers of concentration.
Both Miss Nicole and Mr. Titov were intense people who tended to keep those
cerebral circuits overloaded.  In a way it could be said they were literally
too smart for their own good."

Although Dr. Martinenko says there are probably many undiagnosed cases,
he hastens to add that very few people will die from HCE.  "Most people who
have it will never know.  At this point, medical science still doesn't
know much about HCE.  And since fatalities are so rare it will probably
be years before research money becomes available."

In the meantime, the doctor urges people to take it easy and not think too
hard for long periods of time.  "Take frequent relaxation breaks when you're
doing things that take lots of mental focus," he recommends.

(As a public service, WWN added a sidebar titled HOW TO TELL IF YOUR

Although HCE is very rare, it can kill.  Dr. Martinenko says knowing you
have the condition can greatly improve your odds of surviving it.  A "yes"
answer to any three of the following seven questions could mean that you
have HCE:

1.  Does your head sometimes ache when you think too hard?  (Head pain can
indicate overloaded brain circuits.)

2.  Do you ever hear a faint ringing or humming sound in your ears? (It
could be the sound of electricity in the skull cavity.)

3.  Do you sometimes find yourself unable to get a thought out of your
(This is a possible sign of too much electrical activity in the
cerebral cortex.)

4.  Do you spend more than five hours a day reading, balancing your checkbook,
or other thoughtful activity? (A common symptom of HCE is a tendency to
over-use the brain.)

5.  When you get angry or frustrated do you feel pressure in your
(Friends of people who died of HCE say the victims often complained of head
pressure in times of strong emotion.)

6.  Do you ever overeat on ice cream, doughnuts and other sweets?  (A craving
for sugar is typical of people with too much electrical pressure in the

7.  Do you tend to analyze yourself too much?  (HCE sufferers are often
introspective, "over-thinking" their lives.)

[=] © 1994 Peter Langston []