History and Information on Phrenology Part 3

About the antiquated science of phrenology, followers of the head bump science and a do it yourself guide.



The writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, and Harriet Beecher Stowe were liberally sprinkled with phrenological descriptions. Phrenologists foretold Ulysses S. Grant's presidency. Queen Victoria's children were given phrenological examinations at her request. Bismarck wrote phrenological analyses of fellow statesmen. The pioneer anthropologist Dr. Samuel Morton was a phrenologist. Journalist Horace Greeley seriously suggested that all railroad drivers be chosen by their skulls. Social reformer Amelia Bloomer also believed in phrenology.

Do It Yourself

The phrenological method of reading character begins with the identification of a person's temperament, which is motive, vital, or mental. The motive type is indicated by large bones, long face, and overall angularity and toughness of the body. These people love power, have lots of energy, and are ambitious, dependable, and self-reliant. Those of the vital temperament, usually indicated by roundness of figure and features, are of lively mind and personality, but are also unreliable, impulsive lovers of good living who too often go to extremes. The mental types have large heads with high, broad foreheads and fine, delicate features. These people are marked by refinement, imagination, and intensity.

All else being equal, that is, no illness or accident being involved or other extenuating circumstances, the size of an organ indicates its power and amount of activity. A hollow in the skull in the area of benevolence, for instance, would cause a low, retreating forehead and would indicate meanness and cruelty; a swelling would indicate love of humanity and would give the forehead height and width.

A major task is to find the dominant faculty in the dominant temperament so as to ascertain what organ in that person is the prime mover and then to establish its relationship and control over other prominent organs. To help in this task, some of the most influential faculties are briefly outlined below.

1. Eventuality, or memory. Lies just above the eyebrows and is the organ of memory. Developed, this would indicate the ability to name dates and places and remember relationships in time.

2. Causality. When developed, this gives the contours of the upper forehead great fullness. This faculty gives the ability to understand the purpose of things and leads to adaptability and originality of thought.

3. Veneration. Situated at the crown of the head; produces a tendency to worship a supreme being. Spiritual leaders are well developed here.

4. Conscientiousness. Directly above the opening of the ear, just below the crown. Width here indicates a respect for "doing the right thing." This faculty is a moral guardian over the others; when deficient, it usually indicates an erratic or amoral nature.

5. Firmness. Just behind the crown of the head. This faculty controls perseverance. Overdeveloped, it causes obstinacy.

6. Self-esteem. At the top back of the head; gives a backward lift to the crown when well developed. Normally it is responsible for self-confidence and dignity; overdeveloped, it means snobbishness and love of power. A flat head here indicates gross lack of confidence.

7. Destructiveness. Directly above the ear. When small it produces a concavity in that region and indicates a nature unable to overcome obstacles; overdeveloped, it indicates cruelty.

8. Amativeness. Located at the base of the skull; when developed it creates a fullness behind the ears. This is the faculty of sexual desire. When overactive it leads to bad health and unsound mind; when underactive it makes a person antisocial.

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