An accident with a tamping iron made Phineas Gage history’s most famous brain-injury survivor.
Jack and Beverly Wilgus, collectors of vintage photographs, no longer recall how they came by the 19th-century daguerreotype of a disfigured yet still-handsome man. It was at least 30 years ago. The photograph offered no clues as to where or precisely when it had been taken, who the man was or why he was holding a tapered rod. But the Wilguses speculated that the rod might be a harpoon, and the man’s closed eye and scarred brow the result of an encounter with a whale.
So over the years, as the picture res