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Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: H.P. Lovecraft and the Lurking Poison of Evil

By Dan Olmsted

You may never have heard of him, but H.P. Lovecraft was one of the most widely admired and influential writers of supernatural horror fiction in American history. He was indisputably the creepiest:

“We followed the local death-notices like ghouls, for our specimens demanded particular qualities. What we wanted were corpses interred soon after death and without artificial preservation; preferably free from malforming disease, and certainly with all organs present. Accident victims were our best hope.”

Eek! Ick! No more!

I was reminded of Lovecraft last week after mentioning AOA Contributing Editor Teresa’s Conrick’s amazing find -- an article by a Danish doctor titled, “Is General Paresis [GPI] Dependent Upon Previous Treatment With Mercury?”

Check it out. To treat syphilis, patients in the late 18th and early 19th centuries had been getting 400 treatments with mercury ointment, not to mention the injections. The idea was to prevent GPI, the worst outcome of the disease and invariably fatal after a period of wild insanity and declining physical stamina. But when the use of mercury stopped, GPI – which came on an average of 15 years after the initial infection -- fell off the cliff.

Pointing to half a millennium of malpractice, Mark Blaxill and I proposed this theory in our 2010 book, The Age of Autism. The idea was that using mercury to treat syphilis created rather than prevented GPI, the worst form of the disease. And a lot of the people who were caregivers and exposed to the mercury treatments themselves – nurses, domestic help, daughters living at home who helped their ailing parents -- went on to develop mercury-induced illnesses, like hysteria, that were also misdiagnosed.

I’ve read Lovecraft for years – a guilty pleasure up there with my Forensic Files obsession I admitted to a couple of weeks ago – so I was amazed recently when everything – syphilis, mercury treatment, GPI “Asperger’s,” the caregiver effect – came together in the surpassingly strange world  of H.P. Lovecraft. The light went on from reading a bio of him. (Oh, and he was a horrible racist to the point of nutty obsession.)

Born into New England aristocracy in 1890, his privileged and sheltered world came crashing down in 1893 when his father, Winfield, on a trip to Chicago, suffered "some kind of attack or seizure," according to his biographer, S.T. Joshi.

The father ended up in an asylum in Providence, where he died in 1898. "It is now clear that Winfield was suffering from syphilis," Joshi writes. "In all likelihood, he had contracted it from a prostitute in his late twenties, long before he and Susie [his wife] were married."

Joshi speculates "this whole series of events must have been traumatic for Lovecraft and, especially, for his mother." While H.P. (born 1890) showed early gifts -- "A precocious boy, Lovecraft was a rapid talker at the age of two and could recite Mother Goose poems from the tabletop" - he was too high strung to succeed in school by day, and plagued many nights by ghastly dreams. He later suffered a complete mental breakdown, and has been subject to speculation, given his misanthropic and bizarrely obsessive personality, that he might have had what we now call Asperger's disorder.

I wouldn’t pin Asperger’s on him without a lot more evidence, but the idea that he might have been mercury poisoned and showed some of the same symptoms of other mercury poisoned kids is not out of the realm of possibility in my mind. In fact, it’s well within it.

Lovecraft’s mother also fared poorly. Her health failed in 1919, capped by an epic nervous breakdown from which, like her husband, she never recovered. She was hospitalized that year and died in 1921.

All this makes good Freudian sense as a family drama that shaped the life and work of a brilliant but very dark mind. But as someone who has studied the natural history of such illnesses for many years, I see all the signs of unrecognized toxic injury leading to outcomes that are never understood for what they are.


When Winfred Lovecraft collapsed in Chicago in 1893, his syphilis infection, contracted years earlier, had clearly progressed to GPI. And GPI is caused, as we've postulated, by long years of treatment with mercury.

The paper Teresa Conrick found was from 1938 by Povl Heiberg, M.D., Copenhagen's Deputy Medical Officer, titled "Is General Paresis [GPI] Dependent Upon Previous Treatment With Mercury?" 

Heiberg noticed that as arsenic and other substances replaced mercury as a treatment for syphilis in the early 20th century, GPI cases declined dramatically:

 “The working hypothesis which explains best the form of this curve with its gradual rise followed by a rather abrupt fall, apparently headed for the zero level, is the hypothesis about the causal significance of the mercury therapy to the development of general paresis. About 1870 the use of mercurial ointment for intermittent and protracted treatment became more common in Copenhagen, and later this was the prevailing form of treatment through a considerable length of time. Since 1924, however, mercurial ointment has been replaced almost entirely by other remedies."

"Intermittent mercurial treatment" was recommended for up to 10 years "to avoid the development of general paresis." That’s a whole lotta mercury: Heiberg cites "the case history of a male patient recorded by a Copenhagen specialist of high repute. The antisyphilitic tratment was instituted shortly after the infection was contracted, and it was continued through 9 years. Mercurial inunction (rubbing on the skin) was employed in seances (80-50-60-60-35-60-50), making a total of 395 inunctions. Most likely, each inunction consisted of 3 g. of mercurial ointment (33%). His wife went through a similar intermittent and protracted treatment."

If that was the case with Winfield Lovecraft -- and it was the standard of care at the time, especially for those with the income to afford "good" medical treatment -- it could also have been for his wife, Susie, too. Or she may have administered his treatment and also absorbed an ungodly amount of mercury. The question really becomes, how could their only child NOT have been exposed to mercury one way or the other -- in the womb, via breast-feeding, through skin-to-skin or household contact?

This fits with a theory we lay out in our book chapter "The Age of Hysteria." There we proposed, apparently for the first time, that many of Freud's early cases of "hysteria" -- the ones that shaped his epochal psychodynamic theory of behavior -- were actually the result of exposure to mercury in the home or workplace. Freud himself noted that most of his severe patients were either nurses -- where medicinal mercury would have been ever-present in the late 1800s -- or had fathers who suffered with general paraylsis of the insane.

"Now a strikingly high [italics in original] percentage of patients I have treated psychoanalytically come of fathers who have suffered from tabes [neurological complications of syphilis] or general paralysis [GPI]. In consequence of the novelty of my method, I see only the severest cases," he wrote.

Freud's oversight would haunt the history of psychiatry to the present day, and likely the psyche of H.P. Lovecraft as well. Freud’s landmark book, Studies on Hysteria, was published in 1893, the same year Winfield Lovecraft collapsed.

As I noted, H.P. was something of a hyperlexic savant, remarkably verbal at age 2, writing stories as a child, penning an astonishing 80,000 letters, reinventing the horror genre in the shape of his own nightmares. Another of my hypotheses is that savant qualities can be an outcome of mercury exposure, that in rerouting the normal development and operations of the brain, it is not surprising that special gifts, obsessions, aptitudes, phobias might emerge. 

I also can't help noticing Lovecraft's extraordinary dreams. Many of Freud's patients, of course, had dreams they recalled in vivid detail that became a basis, once "interpreted," for resolving psychodynamic conflicts. A classic case of Freud's was the Wolf-Man, whose dream of seven white wolves in a tree outside his window became, in Freud's mind, a window into his infancy and its traumas (including witnessing the primal scene) that carried directly into adulthood. That, dear reader, is gibberish, because sometimes a white wolf in a tree is just a wolf in a tree. The Wolf-Man, as we've shown, was unquestionably mercury-poisoned by treatment for abdominal problems, a fact Freud blew right past in his obsession with family dynamics as the root of mental illness.

Freud made his worldwide reputation with "The Interpretation of Dreams," published in 1899 – many of them probably mercury induced.  As for Lovecraft, "he experienced horrible nightmares in which bizarre creatures he called 'night-gaunts' would plague him. He described these creatures as 'black, lean, rubbery things with bared, barbed tails, bat-wings, and no faces at all.' They would clutch him by the stomach and carry him off on nameless voyages and the boy would frequently wake up screaming. Dreams and nightmares of this sort, some of them highly detailed and full of bizarre imagery, afflicted Lovecraft throughout his life, and several of them served as the basis of his weird tales."

Once again, I suspect, the half-dead oozing corpse of mercury has slithered out of its evil crypt and grabbed another innocent in its fetid talons. Lovecraft can’t be the only one. In the near future I plan to talk about others, including the brilliant but doomed poet Sylvia Plath.


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism



Dr. Kostoff,
Thanks so much for posting the studies.

Ronald Kostoff


"have you come across literature connecting EMF exposure during pregnancy and neural tube defects?"

I have appended a few records, which consist of an article title, followed by a conclusion in quotes. To get the full Abstract, insert the title into Pubmed. Put it in quotes in Google, and you may be lucky enough to retrieve the full article, if Open Access.

This is a sensitive topic. I suspect you'll find as many articles linking EMF exposure during pregnancy to neural defects in humans as you will linking the MMR vaccine to autism. We have no idea about what necessary research wasn't even sponsored because the funding organizations didn't want to know the results; or, if funded, wasn't published; or, if published, wasn't distorted; or, if not distorted by data manipulation, was incomplete because combined effects were not taken into account. Most of the papers on this topic are (typically) animals exposed to EMF in isolation. But, that's not how human beings live. As our EMF paper showed, combined effects greatly expand the number of diseases in which EMF plays a contributing role. So, what you see below is the smallest tip of a major iceberg!

Evaluation of the effects of mobile phones on the neural tube development of chick embryos
("Electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones caused developmental delay in chick embryos in early period. This finding suggests that the use of mobile phones by pregnant women may pose risks.")

Light and electron microscope studies of effects of 50 Hz electromagnetic fields on preincubated chick embryo
("We conclude that EMFs affect the brain, especially the Telencephalon and eye of preincubated-exposed chick embryo at the morphological and cellular level, nuclei are the most affected part, and our data agrees with "Ubeda's windows effects" of EMFs on preincubated chick embryos")

Risk of birth defects by parental occupational exposure to 50 Hz electromagnetic fields: a population based study
("Maternal exposure was associated with increased risks of spina bifida (p=0.04).....Paternal exposure was associated with increased risks of anencephaly (p=0.01).....The present study gives an indication of an association between selected disorders of the central nervous system and parental exposure to 50 Hz magnetic fields.")

The effect of pulsed and sinusoidal magnetic fields on the morphology of developing chick embryos
("This robust result indicates that weak EMFs can induce morphological abnormalities in developing chick embryos.....We hypothesize that the genetic composition of the breeding stock determines the susceptibility of any given flock to EMF-induced abnormalities and therefore could represent a confounding factor in studies of EMF-induced bioeffects in chick embryos.")

Sensory integration is general paralysis

NYC's first supermodel attempted suicide with mercury chloride pills...lived but wound up in an insane asylum.

Guess all these dots are pointing to the fact that what we call sensory integration disorder is just a mild'ish form of paralysis from mercury containing vaccines?

My vaccine injured daughter who's normal by outward appearance and behavior can sit on a TV remote and not feel it. When she was under 10, her tolerance for pain was so high and she didn't seem to feel cold despite freezing temps outside. And I don't think she's alone. I remember temps in the 20s in the mid 2000's and the middle school kids would be in shorts and flip flops at the busstop. No one was huddled over or shivering, or anxiously waiting for the heated bus to arrive. It was as though it was 70 degrees.

If sensory integration disorder is in the general paralysis due to thimerosal family, then doesn't severe autism look and sound alot like GPI?

So very tragic. Doctors, MDs, reasonable people please connect the dots and let's help those who are affected and end this tragedy.


Dr. Kostoff,
In your travels, have you come across literature connecting EMF exposure during pregnancy and neural tube defects? Many years ago there were online references to this but I can no longer find them (I think they were removed.)

Ronald Kostoff

Teresa Conrick,

"One thing that I am wondering about is the passing of the Microbiome from one generation to the next that also sets up this vulnerability."

There is inadequacy in examining not only long-term safety of myriad substances/exposures, but also transgenerational impacts including impacts that skip generations. I suspect there are many stakeholders who do not want to know those effects.

In Medline, there is a MeSH term (category) called Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects. I have used this category numerous times in identifying foundational causes, but I suspect its limited contents are the tip of a much larger iceberg. I have extracted a few titles in this category from Pubmed (the publically-available version of Medline), and they are appended. I haven't read the Abstracts associated with these titles, but the titles themselves are suggestive of an adverse effect.

The Impact of Extremes in Outdoor Temperature and Sunshine Exposure on Birth Weight.
[In utero exposure to di-n-butyl phthalate induces testicular cell apoptosis and vacuolization in the pubertal male rat offspring].
Antenatal counseling against passive smoking may improve birth weight for gestational age.
Previous Exposure to Anesthesia and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A Puerto Rican Population-Based Sibling Cohort Study.
[Influence of smoking on pregnency course and fetal development].
[Effects of active and passive smoking during pregnancy on the development of gestational hypertension and fetal hypotrophy].
Prenatal Cocaine Exposure and Cardiometabolic Disease Risk Factors in 18- to 20-Year-Old African Americans.
Maternal testosterone exposure increases anxiety-like behavior and impacts the limbic system in the offspring.
Letter to the Editor: DDT Exposure In Utero and Breast Cancer.
Maternal Mild Thyroid Insufficiency and Risk of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence-based Medicine Viewpoint.
Antibiotic use in Pregnancy may be Associated with Childhood Obesity.
Outdoor air pollution exposures and micronuclei frequencies in lymphocytes from pregnant women and newborns in Crete, Greece (Rhea cohort).
Association of prenatal exposure to maternal smoking and postnatal exposure to household smoking with dental caries in 3-year-old Japanese children.
Prenatal glucocorticoid exposure programs adrenal PNMT expression and adult hypertension.
Assessing Adverse Effects of Aroclor 1254 on Perinatally Exposed Rat Offspring.
Association between Prenatal Environmental Factors and Child Autism: A Case Control Study in Tianjin, China.
Acetaminophen In Pregnancy May Not Be As Safe As Previously Thought.
Early life exposure to ambient air pollution and childhood asthma in China.
Baclofen and pregnancy: birth defects and withdrawal symptoms.
Association Between Prenatal Acetaminophen Exposure and Future Risk of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children.
Prenatal and acute cocaine exposure affects neural responses and habituation to visual stimuli.
Sex-specific differences in fetal growth in newborns exposed prenatally to traffic-related air pollution in the PELAGIE mother-child cohort (Brittany, France).
[Valproic acid responsible for low IQ].
Exposure to bisphenol A during pregnancy and child neuropsychological development in the INMA-Sabadell cohort.
In utero/lactational and adult exposures to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) show differential effects on craniofacial development and growth in rats.
Fetal exposure to dietary carcinogens and risk of childhood cancer: what the NewGeneris project tells us.
Prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons/aromatics, BDNF and child development.
[Cognitive impairments in persons exposed to radiation during the period of prenatal development].
Persistent Interneuronopathy in the Prefrontal Cortex of Young Adult Offspring Exposed to Ethanol In Utero.
Calcium Channel Blocker Exposure in Late Pregnancy and the Risk of Neonatal Seizures.
The Role of Epigenetics in the Latent Effects of Early Life Exposure to Obesogenic Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.
Air Pollution and Neuropsychological Development: A Review of the Latest Evidence.
Life-Long Implications of Developmental Exposure to Environmental Stressors: New Perspectives.
Prenatal exposure to persistent organochlorine pollutants is associated with high insulin levels in 5-year-old girls.
Perinatal and Childhood Exposure to Cadmium, Manganese, and Metal Mixtures and Effects on Cognition and Behavior: A Review of Recent Literature.
Neurodevelopment of children prenatally exposed to selective reuptake inhibitor antidepressants: Toronto sibling study.
Prenatal ethanol exposure induces the osteoarthritis-like phenotype in female adult offspring rats with a post-weaning high-fat diet and its intrauterine programming mechanisms of cholesterol metabolism.
Exposure to cooking fuels and birth weight in Lanzhou, China: a birth cohort study.
Associations between exposure to ambient benzene and PM(2.5) during pregnancy and the risk of selected birth defects in offspring.
Prenatal ethanol exposure-induced adrenal developmental abnormality of male offspring rats and its possible intrauterine programming mechanisms.
Maternal Mild Thyroid Hormone Insufficiency in Early Pregnancy and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms in Children.
Neonatal streptozotocin-induced diabetes in mothers promotes metabolic programming of adipose tissue in male rat offspring.
A maternal high salt diet disturbs cardiac and vascular function of offspring.
Perinatal exposure to chlordecone and infant growth.
Association between prenatal exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers and young children's neurodevelopment in China.
Phthalate exposure and childrens neurodevelopment: A systematic review.
Home pesticide exposures and risk of childhood leukemia: Findings from the childhood leukemia international consortium.
Prenatal Lead Exposure Modifies the Impact of Maternal Self-Esteem on Children's Inattention Behavior.
Prenatal exposure to the phytoestrogen daidzein resulted in persistent changes in ovarian surface epithelial cell height, folliculogenesis, and estrus phase length in adult Sprague-Dawley rat offspring.
Prenatal fluoxetine exposure affects cytokine and behavioral response to an immune challenge.
Prenatal exposure to lipopolysaccharide results in myocardial fibrosis in rat offspring.
Chronic hypoxia in pregnancy affected vascular tone of renal interlobar arteries in the offspring.
Maternal immune activation increases seizure susceptibility in juvenile rat offspring.
Congenital anomalies in children exposed to antithyroid drugs in-utero: a meta-analysis of cohort studies.
Thyroid and growth hormone concentrations in 8-year-old children exposed in utero to dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls.
Air toxics and birth defects: a Bayesian hierarchical approach to evaluate multiple pollutants and spina bifida.
The Epigenetic Effects of Prenatal Cadmium Exposure.
SSRI antidepressants in utero: pulmonary hypertension.
Maternal salt and fat intake causes hypertension and sustained endothelial dysfunction in fetal, weanling and adult male resistance vessels.
[The combined effect of lead and zinc on the embryonic development of laboratory rats].
In utero exposure to methotrexate and risk of congenital malformations.
Early prenatal exposure to LPS results in anxiety- and depression-related behaviors in adulthood.
Perinatal methylmercury exposure perturbs the expression of Plp1 and Cnp splice variants in cerebellum of rat pups.
Long-term pathological consequences of prenatal infection: beyond brain disorders.
The effect of prenatal methamphetamine exposure on recognition memory in adult rats.
Neurobehavioural effects of exposure to fluoride in the earliest stages of rat development.
Prenatal dexamethasone-induced programmed hypertension and renal programming.
Prenatal exposure to aflatoxin B1: developmental, behavioral, and reproductive alterations in male rats.
Reduced prefrontal dopaminergic activity in valproic acid-treated mouse autism model.
Neurodevelopmental delay in children exposed in utero to hyperemesis gravidarum.
Prenatal dietary load of Maillard reaction products combined with postnatal Coca-Cola drinking affects metabolic status of female Wistar rats.
Prenatal antidepressant exposure associated with CYP2E1 DNA methylation change in neonates.
Long-term health effects of early life exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE)-contaminated drinking water: a retrospective cohort study.
Maternal lifestyle characteristics during pregnancy, and the risk of obesity in the offspring: a study of 5,125 children.
Developmental exposure to ethanol increases the neuronal vulnerability to oxygen-glucose deprivation in cerebellar granule cell cultures.
Prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure, antioxidant levels and behavioral development of children ages 6-9.
Prenatal drug exposure affects neonatal brain functional connectivity.
The Effects of High-Fat Diet Exposure In Utero on the Obesogenic and Diabetogenic Traits Through Epigenetic Changes in Adiponectin and Leptin Gene Expression for Multiple Generations in Female Mice.
In Utero exposure to low-dose alcohol induces reprogramming of mammary development and tumor risk in MMTV-erbB-2 transgenic mice.
A hypothesis about how early developmental methylmercury exposure disrupts behavior in adulthood.
Prenatal exposure to methyl mercury from fish consumption and polyunsaturated fatty acids: associations with child development at 20 mo of age in an observational study in the Republic of Seychelles.
Associations between prenatal and recent postnatal methylmercury exposure and auditory function at age 19 years in the Seychelles Child Development Study.
Associations among exposure to methylmercury, reduced Reelin expression, and gender in the cerebellum of developing mice.
Maternal mercury exposure, season of conception and adverse birth outcomes in an urban immigrant community in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Prenatal organochlorine and methylmercury exposure and memory and learning in school-age children in communities near the New Bedford Harbor Superfund site, Massachusetts.
Assessment of neurotoxic effects and brain region distribution in rat offspring prenatally co-exposed to low doses of BDE-99 and methylmercury.
Associations of prenatal maternal blood mercury concentrations with early and mid-childhood blood pressure: a prospective study.
The neurological effects of prenatal and postnatal exposure to mercury need to include ethylmercury.
Impacts of prenatal exposures to polychlorinated biphenyls, methylmercury, and lead on intellectual ability of 42-month-old children in Japan.
Prenatal exposure to the brominated flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) impairs measures of sustained attention and increases age-related morbidity in the Long-Evans rat.
Gestational exposure to yellow fever vaccine at different developmental stages induces behavioral alterations in the progeny.
Birth defects among infants born to women who received anthrax vaccine in pregnancy.

 Teresa Conrick

Hi Dan,

Great article and thanks for the mention. Not only did I find that article, and you know all this, but some readers may not know that I also found out then that my Grandfather died of GPI. It is amazing that syphilis left alone without mercury could have run it's course but with mercury, a horrible and worse disease was unleashed. He died after being institutionalized for over 10 years. This study then might have ramifications for my family and my daughter who has a diagnosis of autism.

Substitute GPI for Acrodynia.....

"Mercury contained in vaccines (as a preservative under the tradename Merthiolate, but more commonly known as thiomersal/thimerosal), dental amalgams (silver fillings), seafood, and the atmosphere is argued to be the primary set of sources of Hg exposure for infants both in utero and in their early years (Austin 2008). However, not all children exposed to such sources of Hg develop an ASD, suggesting, as was the case with pink disease, that a hypersensitivity to the adverse effects of Hg needs to be present in addition to the Hg exposure for the condition to manifest. Therefore, the Hg–autism hypothesis is, in reality, a two-part hypothesis that states that Hg exposure combined with a genetic/physiological sensitivity to Hg or a predisposition to impaired Hg excretion capacity leads to a chronic elevation of Hg in the brain and body (Bernard et al. 2001). The purpose of the present study was to test the Hg–autism hypothesis. If the hypothesis is indeed correct, and a sensitivity to Hg is heritable (genetic), the prevalence of ASD among the descendants of a cohort confirmed as having a hypersensitivity to Hg (pink disease survivors) should be higher than a comparable general population prevalence.... ....As is shown in Table 3, the elevated risk for an ASD among pink disease grandchildren was significant...The results showed the prevalence rate of ASD among the grandchildren of pink disease survivors (1 in 25) to be significantly higher than the comparable general population prevalence rate (1 in 160)....The prevalence of ASD was found to be significantly higher among the grandchildren of pink disease survivors in comparison to the general population, providing support for the hypothesis that Hg sensitivity may be a heritable/genetic risk factor for ASD. Furthermore, an examination of the prevalence rates of a group of non-ASD clinical conditions (ADHD, epilepsy, Fragile X syndrome, and Down syndrome) among the pink disease descendants and the general population indicates there is not a general elevated risk for disease among this cohort, but rather a specific risk for ASD."

One thing that I am wondering about is the passing of the Microbiome from one generation to the next that also sets up this vulnerability.


What Laura Hayes said!

Cherry Misra

To visitor, You would recognize the symptom of mercury poisoning called "night terror" if you had ever experienced it. In night terrors the person sees in his dream a terrifying being coming to get him and wakes up in terror, but is paralyzed for about 20 minutes, which is awful because he feels that he cannot escape the being. I think it is important to distinguish between night terror and "nightmare" as they are quite different.
To Dan- It is very disturbing to note that till today the medical world has still not realized that GPI is due to mercury poisoning. You have to ask yourself- Is that what is going to happen with autism? with Alzheimers? Are they going to keep the secret going for another 100 years? People arguing endlessly about whether these are due to lack of vitamin D or too much sugar in the diet or glyphosate disrupting the microbiome. (These are , of course important topic for discussion, but not the basic cause of autism
What is needed is for medical science to take the next great step forward into the realm of the impact of metals on the human body. I wish that doctors could realize how much happier they would be if they could actually cure and prevent the many many disorders and symptoms caused by metals. And dont forget the poor dentists, being poisoned slowly and gently by their daily efforts on behalf their patients, till they collapse with a heart attack or commit suicide from depression. Let's keep going after this topic.
In my opinion, the step forward into understanding metals has much in common with the advent of microbiology in medicine. People had to change their earlier modes of thinking about disease cause. They had to accept that terrible and fatal disorders could be caused by something so small that we cannot see it.
Most people I know, even doctors and scientists, will dismiss mercury theory out of hand. How absurd to think that one metal, that has been used so much, could cause so many disparate disorders ! As a result they refuse to study about mercury. Ostrich-like they refuse to listen to or read what the PhD's in biochemistry tell us about mercury or other metals. We need to think how we can tackle this situation. I cant help but think that there must be an achilles heel here to turn the situation around.

Maurine Meleck

Very interesting indeed. Cannot wait until you write about Sylvia Plath as I have read everything she has ever written and everything ever written about her. Thanks for this information.


Here is the article you wrote (forgot the link)


Thanks Dan, In further trying to see a connection with mercury and HMGB1 I came across something you wrote in 2007 I had not read before. It was interesting to see that my search uncovered some of things you had detailed then. At this point mercury, in certain form, seems to block a form of HMGB1 which was not what I was expecting. I think there is something more to it though and possibly involves a point where HMGB1 may be released or formed due to mercury.
Here is the article you wrote. Very good, thank you.

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

Dan, and Teresa, thank you for finding and providing a link to the paper by Povl Heiberg. Mercury, like many other pharmaceutical or poisonous substances disrupts aerobic metabolism in the metabolically most active system of the brain. This is the auditory pathway. Auditory hallucinations are prominent in psychotic disorders and during the course of GPI as well.

I will continue to point out evidence provided first by SS Kety in 1962, and L Sokoloff in 1981. Both papers are (like the paper by Heiberg) free online via PubMed. I will continue to point out the reports by K Oyanagi et al. (1989) and F Musiek (1999). There are many more, on the effects of lead, herbicides, pesticides, and pharmaceutical substances.

How the brain is affected is most important. Early damage of the auditory system will disrupt maturation of the language areas of the cerebral cortex. The auditory system is susceptible to damage from prenatal exposures, infections, resuscitation problems at birth, and the obscene number of vaccinations mandated by arrogant medical authorities.

[1] Kety SS. Regional neurochemistry and its application to brain function. Bull N Y Acad Med. 1962 Dec;38:799-812.
[2] Sokoloff L. Localization of functional activity in the central nervous system by measurement of glucose utilization with radioactive deoxyglucose. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1981;1(1):7-36.
[3] Oyanagi K, Ohama E, Ikuta F. The auditory system in methyl mercurial intoxication: a neuropathological investigation on 14 autopsy cases in Niigata, Japan. Acta Neuropathol. 1989;77(6):561-8.
[4] Musiek FE, Hanlon DP. Neuroaudiological effects in a case of fatal dimethylmercury poisoning. Ear Hear. 1999 Jun;20(3):271-5.

Gary Ogden

Dan: Fine piece of writing, and sleuthing. Looking forward to Sylvia Plath, and wondering if there is any connection in her babyhood to Elizabeth Peabody Trevett, or the center where she worked. I've been doing a great deal of thinking about the state of medicine today, and especially reading Dr. Malcolm Kendrick's blog, and others, the work of Dr. John Ioannidis, and everything here, can't help but conclude that it still does more harm than good, as it has for centuries, but that it is worse now than before. Yes, infant and child mortality have fallen dramatically in the past century, but the state of health of those children seems to have become far worse in my lifetime, and that of adults not much better. Can't help but think of John D. Rockefeller and his legacy of better health through chemistry. The good news is that the rain gods continue to bless California.


Linda1 wrote "I think it might be that highly intelligent people are for some reason more susceptible to mercury poisoning or maybe less able to excrete it." I've wondered the same thing, not just with mercury but with regards to environmental toxins in general. I have no evidence at this time, but tt's something that's worth looking into at least. It may be that those with more energy going to the brain tend to have less left for such things as detoxification pathways. As humans, our brains already take up a lot more of our bodily resources than most other animals, and we've given up other features such as strength, speed etc. compared to most other similarly sized animals. It would make a lot of sense if individuals who tend to be more "in their heads" also often don't detoxify poisons as easily.


What a story! I couldn't bear to read any more.

Dan Olmsted

Hi Visitor,

I think ethyl mercury, the organic form that was used in fungicides, lumber preservatives and vaccines starting in 1930, triggered the first clear-cut cases of autism. mercury of all kinds,whether elemental, inorganic or organic, can do lots of harm. i'm speculating that love craft's family was full of mercury ointment -- elemental mercury -- and shots that included mercuric chloride, an inorganic form. i wouldn't expect the elemental and inorganic kind to cause full-syndrome autism -- ethyl mercury gets trapped in the brain and is uniquely dangerous to a developing infant -- but since mercury is so toxic in any form, it could do damage that would in retrospect shares features with autism. -- dan


We all some times remember our dreams of course.
Research, shows that if we are awaken while dreaming them or soon after we can remember them.

But a child that every night wakes suddenly and in terror is not normal.


Editor Teresa Conrick’s find truly is amazing - “Is General Paresis [GPI] Dependent Upon Previous Treatment With Mercury?”

Posthumous Nobel Prize in Medicine to the Danish Doctor.

And I'm certain in my lifetime I will see Dan and Mark honored for their work to end the age of autism.

Thank you for continuing to do the best job in the world of covering the autism epidemic.


I read my first Lovecraft story as an impressionable kid more than 60 years ago. It was called "The Dreams in the Witch House" and although I quickly devoured the rest of the author's ouevre, no other HPL story ever had as deep an impact on me as that one. I wondered over and over what kind of mind could come up with such an idea.

Now I know. Thanks for sharing.


"Another of my hypotheses is that savant qualities can be an outcome of mercury exposure, that in rerouting the normal development and operations of the brain, it is not surprising that special gifts, obsessions, aptitudes, phobias might emerge. "

I think it might be that highly intelligent people are for some reason more susceptible to mercury poisoning or maybe less able to excrete it.


I remember a lot of dreams quite well and don't find this a pure sign of disturbance at all, though mercury could distort dream function. One question that keeps occurring is about the reason for the divergence of effects in mercury exposure. The mercury given for syphilis is different than Thimerosal and that would seem to be a starting point to try to understand the dilemma. Dan, you seem to clearly connect Thimerosal to Autism and for the origin of the condition. Autism did not arise from the type of mercury used for syphilis. Can you explain why the mercury given for syphilis did not cause at least some Autism if mercury is the/a main factor? Is it because it was given to adults and not children or simply the biology effected and the toxicity of different forms?

Joy B

Sylvia Plath went nuts after being prescribed the precursor to Prozac, no? Well, after quitting it cold turkey that is. And after her poor brain had been many times electrocuted already.

While the impoverished surely didn't have it very good medically for most of the "modern" era, it could be argued that the elite had it even worse, with these experimental preparations and treatments where money was no object throughout the remainder of the life of the poor patient.

Now that the medical system has been "socialized", the poor are "benefitting" more than ever.

Grace Green

Thank you, Dan, for this fascinating description - it all helps to put things into context. One small detail, I wonder why the boy's "night-gaunts" grabbed him by the stomach. Might he have been suffering from "autistic" GI pain, and his unconscious mind created a nightmare to explain it? Just a little interpretation of my own!


I don't think a healthy person is suppose to remember their dreams at all.

If a person is waking up right in the middle of the dream cycle and remembering their dreams.

I wonder if anyone has done some serious studies on seizure activity during the period of deep sleep?

Laura Hayes

Fascinating, Dan. And an excellent example of how wrong and off-track medicine and those who practice/administer it can be...for decades on end...despite mountains of evidence that expose they are wrong.

Thankful for your ever-inquisitive mind, excellent writing skills, and dedication to exposing the horrors of mercury for humans. You put mainstream media "journalists" to shame and expose them for their willful ignorance and/or sold-out selves.

Your contribution to discovering and exposing the iatrogenic causes of "Autism" and so many other illnesses and disorders now plaguing children and people of all ages is immense, Dan. What a difference you have made in the world!

Ronald Kostoff

Somewhat off-topic. The following URL ( summarizes a large animal study showing the promotion of cancer by non-ionizing EMF radiation. It is an outstanding example of the synergistic effects of EMFs, a topic on which I published (1) and am updating in another article presently. Equally interesting is the historical context that the moderator of the site, Dr. Louis Slesin, provides for the results. One could substitute 'vaccines' for 'non-ionizing radiation', and the article would sound very familiar.

The newsletter, Microwave News, is the AoA of the non-ionizing radiation world sans reader comments. If one wants to truly understand the sordid history of the cover-up of non-ionizing radiation damage, reading back issues of Microwave News would be a valuable starting point.

1. Kostoff RN, Lau CGY. Combined biological and health effects of electromagnetic fields and other agents in the published literature. Technological Forecasting & Social Change. 80:7. 1331-1349. 2013.

John Stone


Nice commentary. When I read the Interpretation of Dreams probably more than forty years ago it already struck me that it was more like a work of the occult (even Gothic) than science. It would be hard to over-estimate the intellectual prestige of Siegmund Freud even in the 1970s, but he should really be regarded as a sinister twist in the history of pretty much defunct ideas: his theorising had no control and it took over countless lives with its unsubstantiated claims of false memory.

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