His Blood was a Powerful Snakebite Serum

By Anupum Pant


Trust me, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke. Bill Haast, born in the year 1910 was one very interesting person. He was a man who was immune to the bites of some of the world’s most dangerous snakes like cobras, vipers (and others). He was the only person to have survived 3 king cobra bites. He even survived the bite from a blue krait (the snake died). Not just that. His blood was treated as a powerful snakebite serum. He also saved countless lives simply donating his blood. Was it a superpower of some sort?

Did you know? Venom and Poison are not the same things.


Maybe you could call it that. But, the superpower did not happen spontaneously. He did it to himself. He turned himself into a human experiment (at the cost of his life) to attain this level of resistance to snake venom.

His secret: Bill Hast, bitten by snakes more than 170 times, in his time, was a man who was bitten by poisonous snakes more times than any other living man. But those were mostly accidents that happened when he handled snakes during his career with snakes, a career that lasted more than 60 years. He built antibodies in his blood by voluntarily injecting snake venom every week since 1948! When he started doing this to himself, he did not know if he’d survive.

However, the man went on to hit 100 years of healthy life. Look at how he moves around at the age of 88. (Certainly not as agile as the 86-year-old gymnast – the super grandma. No one beats that!). He died on June 15, 2010.

His job: His real occupation was to collect venom to make anti-venom serums. He owned about 10,000 snakes. He collected the venom by repeating the process thousands of time (at the same time he was kind to the snakes). For drug companies in the year 1990, he was the source for 36,000 samples of venom.

Did you know? There is a Wasp that turns a cockroach into a zombie with its venom!

The other side of it

Of course the superpower came with a cost. In the video, you can see how had gnarled, he had lost the use of couple of muscles in his hand and had scars all over. He did it all with good intentions in mind, not for the money. Bill Haast, certainly was a legend.

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Ancient Brain Surgery 1000 Years Ago

By Anupum Pant

With specialized equipment and several other complications, we think we’ve come far with brain surgery. Today, brain surgery is supposed to be a modern advancement that enables us to treat obscure anomalies associated with the human brain. Of course we’ve advanced a lot, but there is no way we can reject the advancements in brain surgery attained during ancient times – Ancient brain surgery.

Trepanation: About 1000 years ago, ancient surgeons were already drilling through the human skulls; exposing the brain. Early Peru doctors were practicing a process called trepanation to treat a variety of brain related ailments.

The Story

Just a few days back, a research team led by UC Santa Barbara’s bioarchaeologist Danielle Kurin, excavated 32 skulls which illustrated that some sort of brain surgery was done on these Peruvian individuals back then. According to them, the skulls unearthed, had been drilled to treat swollen brains, or  of a neurological, spiritual or psychosomatic illnesses.

Around 1000 years ago, when a Peruvian empire was collapsing, on various skull, drilling and cutting methods were being employed to deal with challenges like violence, disease and depravation. This trend is seen as somewhat similar to how IED’s are driving exploration of prosthetic technology in the military now.  Exactly as guessed, not all of these ancient brain surgery procedures were successful, some of them did fail. But that is not the point.

According to Daniel Kurin talking about one of these 32 unearthed skull samples:

In one example, each hole is drilled a little deeper than the last. So you can imagine a guy in his prehistoric Peruvian medical school practicing with his hand drill to know how many times he needs to turn it to nimbly and accurately penetrate the thickness of a skull.

As noted by the lead researcher, a great amount of skill and practice was involved in these procedures. It is incredible to note that surgeons back then were using modern medical educational practices – using dead bodies to study physical sicknesses.

It wasn’t torture

Finally, if you’d argue that it could be a way to torture prisoners, scientists have something to disprove that theory too. What they were doing was not a way to torture people. They’ve found solid proofs that the skulls of individuals that were being drilled, were actually sick and were being operated upon by using proper operating procedures – like shaving hair before operating.