Our Blessed Lady of the Cerebellum

marymri_t6001Thank God for Vaughn at Mind Hacks. Or should I say, Graça à Nossa Senhora (that’s Thanks to Our Lady for those of you scratching your heads)… He brings to our attention this brain image which shows Our Lady of the Cerebellum in his posting Immaculate perception.

According to the original story, we learn that in 2002, Pamela Latrimore underwent an MRI that, in the eyes of some, imaged the Virgin Mary where most of us have a cerebellum (although, that would explain if she was having some motor control problems…). The original story, Do you see the Virgin Mary in this brain scan?, appeared in the TCPalm, Florida’s Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches’ news leader.

As the story reports:

Latrimore, a 42-year-old wife and mother without insurance, hadn’t ever really looked at the results of a 2002 MRI scan of her brain. So she didn’t know what her Catholic sister-in-law was talking about a few weeks ago when she said, “Oh my gosh, Pam, you have Mother Mary in your head.”

This story would be unmitigated fun, a chance to spin out all sorts of jokes about which parts of the brain ‘light up’ when we see a pattern of the Holy Mary in our brain images, except for the fact that, if you read a bit further in the TCPalm, you learn why Ms. Latrimore was getting brain scans in the first place, and perhaps why she and her relatives are searching for signs of any divine intervention.

She [Latrimore] prays for strength for her 23-year-old daughter and health for her family, many of whom — like her — are sick with a variety of serious ailments that seem to stem from a childhood in Jacksonville, Ark., a place where Agent Orange was manufactured and which has been investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Some Jacksonville residents were exposed to dioxin, a toxin that can cause a variety of illnesses, including cancer, asthma and liver problems.

Latrimore has had cervical cancer. She suffers from fibroidmyalgia, asthma, seizures, liver problems, ulcers and a variety of other ailments. She feels she is dying.

Latrimore does not have insurance, she was denied disability, and her husband is out of work. The medical bills have piled up — according to the story, she doesn’t know the total but suspects that they are now more than $100,000 that she does not have. And she’s apparently been diagnosed with an additional lung problem.

So this is a health care system without a safety net: take your brain scan, which was probably done looking for the cause of your seizures, and, if you’re lucky, it won’t just be used to diagnose your problem, but might get you a bit of money on eBay to pay for your mounting bills. After all, a toasted cheese sandwich with the Virgin Mary took in $28,000 a few years ago.

The listing on eBay for the Mary MRI can be found here. Reading the listing is heart-breaking, not only because of the woman’s own suffering, but also because of her account of how the manufacture of dioxin and Agent Orange has affected health in her community. She writes that she is putting the image up for auction, not only to raise money for her healthcare, but also to attract greater attention to the problem of environmental poisoning in her area of Florida.

A bit of background research quickly pulled up a story in The Nation, ‘Agent Orange’s Forgotten Victims’ from 1988, and other information on the manufacture, storage and dumping of toxic chemicals in Jacksonville, Arkansas, an area that eventually was declared Vertac/Hercules Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site. As Peter Montague writes online at Rachel’s Hazardous Waste News #311: ‘The Vertac site was used for manufacture of DDT, aldrin, dieldrin, toxaphene and the chemical warfare defoliants 2,4-D, Silvex, 2,4,5-T, and Agent Orange.’

In 1986, Vertac declared bankruptcy and left the site to the people of Arkansas to sort out. As The New York Times wrote (here for a more recent story on Jacksonville’s Vertac-generated woes):

Vertac abandoned the plant leaving behind roughly 30,000 barrels of chemical wastes, along with acres of contaminated soil, tanks filled with toxic materials, and miles of poisonous piping. The EPA [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] considers the site one of the country’s worst hazardous waste sites, not only because of [the] extent of the contamination but also because the plant is only a few blocks from a day care center, a hospital, and hundreds of houses. (this passage quoted in Montague)

I won’t go into all the grim details, the political wrangling and community outrage around an incineration project, except to say that, well, they details are damn grim even though some researchers dispute the data on the human toxicity of dioxin (I wonder who funds those scientists?). The National Toxicology Program’s most recent discussion of 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-Dioxin (TCDD) is pretty damning (For a pdf of the section on dioxin in the 2005 Report on Carcinogens, Eleventh edition, click here). For more specific information on the Vertac Superfund site, you can check out Scorecard’s site on it.

In other words, I hope that some good bids come into eBay for the image of Our Lady of the Cerebellum. If you’re in the market, I’ll do what I can at Neuroanthropology to make sure it’s the most famous MRI ever taken…

h/t: Graça ao Vaughn for bringing us the lead on this one.

Published by


Trained as a cultural anthropologist at the University of Chicago, I have gone on to do fieldwork in Brazil and the United States. I have written one book, Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art (Oxford, 2005). I have also co-authored and co-edited several, including, with Dr. Daniel Lende, The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology (MIT, 2012), and with Dr. Melissa Fisher, Frontiers of Capital: Ethnographic Reflections on the New Economy (Duke, 2006). My research interests include neuroanthropology, psychological anthropology, sport, dance, human rights, neuroscience, phenomenology, economic anthropology, and just about anything else that catches my attention.

48 thoughts on “Our Blessed Lady of the Cerebellum

  1. I can not thank you enough for your true reporting you have done on this.The newspaper that did the first the story.Did not focus enough on Jacksonville Arkansas.
    And it is not the town here in Florida I live that has the problem.And it was my step daughter that pointed the image out to me.
    It is very hard to accept that if our government wants it hushed,it is.I feel safer now that you posted this.As people might not understand,but people just vanish that make waves.I know this because I had a visit years ago when I first made waves after being put on the registry.It was at my job when I was off.And a military person came to my job.My friend waited on them.He ordered coffee and she explained I was off and why he needed to see me.He took a few drinks of the coffee he ordered and told her “just tell her I was here”.He had full bars on his military uniform.From my understanding more than she had ever seem and no name tag on.That scared me and I faded again in the background.
    People have been writing me on ebay from Jacksonville Arkansas telling me thank you.That no one will listen to them.And who all has died in their family.And how sick they are.
    They also say thanks to you for doing the homework and getting the light out there again.
    The answer for who did the study there in Jacksonville.Who headed it and ran it.A CONVICTED FELON!!!THAT”S RIGHT.We were doomed to begin with.I thought it was illegal to kill off a town.Wouldnt that be a war crime,and I thought every person in the United States had protection for clean air,and drinking water.They do and can sue if they don’t,EXCEPT IF YOU LIVE IN JACKSONVILLE ARKANSAS.
    One lawsuit was won against them.It happened to be the daughter of the manager of Vertac.Go figure.I am glad she won ,I just feel confused about it.
    Again thank you for your contribution to helping save US CITIZENS THAT HAVE BEEN FORGOTTEN!!!!!!!!!!!And God Bless you and your family.And the entire staff there.
    Sincerely Pamela Latrimore

  2. This Blog reminds me the reason I like bloging so much, the interaction is very important with readers and you guys have it right. Looks great too, will be back for more posts, David the mover.

  3. Pingback: Madonna | Neurotyk
  4. Thank you ‘Neuroanthropology’ for this report.

    For those shopping at E-bay, let it be known: News about this matter are spreading rapidly !

    We too will do what ever we can – through our network and websites – to make sure that this will be the most famous MRI ever taken !

    Today we will ask thousands of our entertainment industry friends, partners and affiliates to please spread and repost the news about this story.

    Happy E-bay shopping to all ! God bless Pamela Latrimore, ‘Neuroanthropology’ and all those helping out with this Heavenly mission !

    Finn Film Entertainment

  5. Nice picture to the wall and for sure, it is rare and amazing. As an amateur photographer I’m just dreaming this kind of shots :).

    Somebody gets good picture from Ebay.

    All the best for Pamela Latrimore. The ways of our God are unknown.

  6. This is an amazing story ! I believe it is only a matter of time, that we all will be seeing this written into a motion picture. The price of the MRI will be going skyrocketing up when the news about the film making process will first come out.

    What concerns me, is that where in the world will we ever be able to find actresses even closely as beautiful – in and out – as the true life characters currently living up this story, i.e. Pamela Latrimore and Aspen Lea ? That is simply absolutely impossible task to accomplish !

    My prayers are with Ms. Latrimore and Aspen Lea – I love you both !

  7. I am not sure exactly who posted response 14.Or if it was word’s from the president himself.No God did not make this mistake ,we mere mortal’s made this mistake.
    My question, can I be provided medical care?My prayer’s are for a whole town.How are you going to help me.
    Sincerely One Small Voice!
    Merry Christmas

  8. It is too bad that the bidding time is ending … or is it ? A MySpace site was opened for the Blessed Lady now too ! The word is going out there … and the picture is becoming more famous as we speak !

  9. Thank you Neuroanthropology for publishing this story. Please continue reporting news about this issue.

    Thank you Pamela Latrimore and others, who have drawn our attention to this highly important matter !

    Members of our network will be closely monitoring all developments surrounding the handling of this case – providing full support for those victimized !

  10. Where do I find it on e-bay?Definitely want to bid on it.What a shame since this was to help get medical treatment.Good thing we don’t know who the person is that didn’t pay.That would be worth publishing,what a jerk.I have been looking all over e-bay.If anyone knows how it is listed.Please post here!

  11. Hi sorry for all your problems but do not feel alone.
    I have alot of medical problems also. I have lived in Jacksonville on and off since 1971. The government back about 15 years ago did a survey about the plant and medical history. I remember them calling me. But did you also know that Jacksonville has one of the highest cases of diabetics and cancer patients in the us?

    well need to go take care


  12. Yes I realized that,I have a family member with type 1 diabetic,and my my dad had lung cancer,so they removed a lung,a year later he had brain cancer and they removed that area of the brain.And a year later he had a very rare cancer that effects all the nerve endings in your body.If you touched him it was as is someone was stabbing him.You could not even brush the hair on his arm.Many doctor’s flew in from all over.This cancer was so rare no cure,and doctors try to evaluate anyone that get’s this.He died a horrible painful death.And I will NEVER FORGET that image in my head.It really pisses me off that this is happening every day in Jacksonville.A place I grew up and loved.Hopefully people hear these stories and someone help’s.I goggled Jacksonville Arkansas Dioxin.And searched images last night.And it shows a baby born.And what these chemical’s do to babies.I can not get the image out of my head.And all the parent’s that are alone dealing with the death.And the image of their baby.That i’m sure was never expected when they found out they were pregnant.AMERICA THERE IS A TOWN IN JACKSONVILLE ARKANSAS THAT NEED’S YOUR HELP.THEY NEED DOCTOR’S TRAINED IN MULTIPLE MEDICAL ISSUES WITH THESE CHEMICAL’S.THEY NEED TO KNOW THAT CERTAIN DRUGS CAN NOT BE USED BECAUSE THEY CAN NOT BE MIXED WITH THE CHEMICAL’S IN OUR FATTY TISSUES.THIS MAKES US SICKER,THEY NEED A LIST OF THESE DRUG’S SO THEY DON’T JUST BLINDLY HARM THEMSELVES,OR THEIR FAMILY MEMBER’S!!THEY NEED A FREE COUNSELING PLACE PROVIDED BY OUR GOVERNMENT.WE NEVER HAD A CHOICE OR WERE EVEN TOLD ABOUT THE PROBLEM TILL YEAR’S LATER!!!THEY NEED YOUR VOICE BECAUSE THEIR VOICE HAS NEVER MATTERED!!!!CALL YOUR CONGRESS MEN,WRITE THE PRESIDENT,HELP ME TO FORM A NON-PROFIT WHERE THEY KNOW “WE THE PEOPLE”DO CARE.
    Sorry Cheryl this just makes me so upset.I am sorry about your medical problem’s.I am praying for you and everyone there!Happy New Year! Pamela

  13. We can rest assured that God will assist those seeking for justice, whether for just one person or for entire town ! This mission of Pamela Latrimore seems like one that would qualify for heavenly assistance. I wish prosperous and happy new year, 2009, for Ms. Latrimore !

  14. I did some research on Dioxin outbreaks last year, especially in Times Beach. The chemical is incredibly nasty with life long effects for generations. Not to mention, our own and lovely, Dow Chemical Company was largely responsible for the chemical being exposed to the residents of Times Beach. It’s not a happy story, and I am saddened to hear that so many people are still effected by the chemical production. Unfortunately, our government and major chemical companies should be paying for their medical expenses rather than having this poor lady sell her MRI on ebay.

    1. They want us to just die,they do not want to help.Look at all the people involved.And then you know it’s a battle that can never be won.God Bless you for your time to leave a comment.

  15. Yes – Dow Chemical Company, and others responsible … it is just about the time for you to face justice! What an awesome case for a great law firm to build reputation, and to help a lot of people!

    1. Our law firms can not fight the government.Oh unless you are the manager of Vertacs daughter.The first to win a suit for damages for medical.Hmmm,so shouldnt everyone else be able to piggyback off that?????

  16. I don’t know much about the story, but it’s amazing how camera captured this image, this can be beneficial to the bearer if that saint is really making and working on miracles for her/his healing.

  17. What is going on with this story now – what is the latest ? Is the picture going to be sold on E-bay again soon, as the rumor goes – if not, who owns it now ? We have a possible buyer for it !!

    Is a movie already on a drawing board about this matter ? There’s material here for an outstanding feature film !

    Fantastic things about this are, that the movie can be based on true and really exciting events; and that the movie can help bring justice to a lot of people.

    1. I can be contacted thru this sight.There is also a second image that was never shown.It is as wonderful as the first.Will possibly put on ebay soon.

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