Life’s great mysteries: SOLVED

The past 24 hours have been incredibly enlightening, for I have come to know the answers to three of life’s greatest mysteries.

Like many before me, I’ve spent years haunted by my own inability to resolve these mysteries. I’ve wasted countless nights, thrashing in my bed, wrestling with my own logic and reasoning. Cascading thoughts, flipping, flicking, like the pages of a tumbling book…

Now, by some inexplicable stroke of fate, all three answers have descended at once. And because I’m nice, I’m going to share them with you. For free!

But be prepared – once you know the answers, you open the door to a whole new level of mysteries, such as: what’s the meaning of all this? And – a personal favourite – why me? (please leave your answers in the comment section below).

MYSTERY ONE: Snake v Crocodile.

If a snake and a crocodile got into a fight, who would win?

This scene actually played out at Lake Moondarra in north-west Queensland this week.

Warning: Things are about to get freaky – NOT for the squeamish.


ABC (Tiffany Corlis)
ABC (Tiffany Corlis)


ABC (Tiffany Corlis)
ABC (Tiffany Corlis)


ABC (Marvin Muller)
ABC (Marvin Muller)


ABC (Marvin Muller)
ABC (Marvin Muller)

Yeah that’s right – Mr Snake didn’t just kill Mr Crocodile. He goddamn ate him too.

MYSTERY TWO: Could I survive if an iron rod pierced my brain?

I stumbled across the answer whilst strolling leisurely through internet-land.

In short, yes. But you might end up a bit weird.

Meet Phineas Gage:


"The American Crowbar Case" 1823–1860
“The American Crowbar Case”

Gosh his story is fascinating. Here’s what went down.

As a young lad of 25, Gage was working on the railroads in Vermont. He was using an iron rod to pack explosive powder into a hole… when BAM! He accidentally detonated the powder and the force of the blast threw the rod straight into his face. Oops.

The bar entered his left cheek, went through his brain and exited though the back of his skull. Apparently, the rod then landed 25 metres away.


Digital reconstruction. Courtesy: Ratiu et al
Digital reconstruction.
Courtesy: Ratiu et al


The amazing thing is that within minutes Gage was walking around and talking. He was, however, a little bit worse for wear, as the onsite physician Doctor Edward Williams pointed out:

“Mr. G. got up and vomited; the effort of vomiting pressed out about half a teacupful of the brain, which fell upon the floor.”

Not a delightful thing to witness, I would imagine.

Anyway, he recovered within months and returned to a normal life.

Well, a somewhat normal life.

Gage was fundamentally different. Various texts describe him as surly, aggressive, drunkard.

This excerpt is from the Bulletin of the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1868:

‘He is fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint of advice when it conflicts with his desires, at times pertinaciously obstinent, yet capricious and vacillating, devising many plans of future operation, which are no sooner arranged than they are abandoned in turn for others appearing more feasible. In this regard, his mind was radically changed, so decidedly that his friends and acquaintances said he was “no longer Gage.”’

To this day, experts are still unsure of exactly what happened to Gage’s brain, how he managed to survive and function.

Eventually, the accident did kill Gage, but it took a while. Thirteen years to be exact. He suffered epileptic convulsions and died from complications caused by that.

Gage's skull and tamping iron on display at Warren Anatomical Museum. The pole was 1m long  and tapered to a maximum diameter of about 3cm. It weighed 6kg.
Gage’s skull and rod on display at Warren Anatomical Museum.
The pole was 1m long, 3cm wide and 6kg heavy


MYSTERY THREE: Is change possible?

See Mystery Two.

In short, yes. But it requires an iron rod through your brain and the results might not be desirable.

BONUS MYSTERY FOUR: Does the full moon affect humans?

I always believed the moon made humans act crazy, drink more, take risks, go into labor etc. But the truth is it has no impact at all.

SHOW ME THE PROOF, I hear you ask. Well, Dr Karl says so. So there.

“A better theory to explain it all is selective recall. It’s a busy night, and you look out the window to see that rare animal, the full Moon. You put two and two together to make five, and assume that the full Moon made your night busy.”

No one in their right mind would question Dr Karl.


So there ya go. The answer to a few of life’s mysteries. Sleep easy. You’re welcome.

The thing is though, more and more of these mysterious mysteries keep popping up. Where is evolution taking us? Do aliens exist? What is vegemite really made of?

I can only hope that the next 24 hours will be equally enlightening as the last.

I’ll get back to you.


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