Rom Houben is the victim of a horrific car crash that, since 1983, has left Houben completely paralyzed. Doctors described the man to be in a “vegetative state” until in 2006, then a brain examination revealed a high level of neurological activity. Soon thereafter doctors explained how Houben has experienced “locked-in-syndrome” where his functional brain has been literally trapped in a completely dysfunctional body for twenty three years before the truth was discovered. Many doctors believe that Houben was probably initially in comatose then slowly regained mental function. Houben, however, seems to say otherwise. He has described, in detail, decades of being completely aware of his surroundings, yet not being able to signal to anyone in any way that he was conscious.
Then comes the million dollar question; How did Houben finally tell his story without the ability to move in any way?
And that is where the story begins to fall apart. Houben told his story by looking at a keyboard and then someone would type the letter he was looking at. Videos show, though, that often times the typist would continue writing even when Houben was not looking at the keyboard. Scientists are quickly pointing out flaws in this unlikely story. The distinction between who is actually communicating, the typist or Houben, is unclear. To add to the skepticism, numerous cases like this have been reported for numerous years, all of which have been largely discredited.
I remain unrealistically optimistic about this story. Though it is clear that evidence is weak and the story appears to be too good to be true, I can only hope that Houben really is the mind behind the commentary. After all, I would not want to make the mistake of believing that Houbel is brain dead for over twenty years, and then potentially claim his words are just part of a big hoax.
Posted by Matt Grazewski (10)