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The Phantom haunts the CT scanner.

In a previous post, I mentioned how cool it was that “The Curse of Dimensionality” is actually a legitimate phrase used in computer science. You know what else is a cool and entirely legitimate phrase? Nothing can prepare you:

X-ray Phantom

That sounds incredibly creepy. It sounds like an alien menace out of the best kind of terrible mid-’80s sci-fi. Just say it out loud: “X-ray Phantom.” A creature built from photons which can pass through anything less substantial than ten centimeters of lead and can burn the skin from your flesh if it touches you. 

But if there are any radiologists reading this, then you already know what an X-ray phantom is. And you already know that it’s creepy enough without any sci-fi embellishment whatsoever. People of a nervous disposition, don’t look down:

A creepy skinless x-ray phantom.

(Source)

An X-ray phantom is a model designed to match, as closely as possible, the structure and density profile of the human body. Since X-ray phantoms are standardized, if you put one in a CAT scanner and get a different picture than you expected, you know it’s a problem with your scanner, not the subject. Plus, I imagine they’re very helpful for radiology students, since they let them practice scanning things without irradiating actual people for no reason, which is a pretty rude thing to do.

But I can’t think about how useful X-ray phantoms are. I can only think about how fucking creepy they are:

An x-ray phantom of a human chest.

(Source)

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a kind of RealDoll vibe from this one. Except it looks less like a RealDoll and more like one of those horrifying budget sex-dolls you see if you wander into the wrong side of the Internet. You know, the kind that consist of a disembodied silicone pelvis with nothing but genitalia. Except I wouldn’t recommend using an X-ray phantom as a budget sex doll, because according to the seller of that last one, the bastard costs 18,900 Euros. Dear oh dear.

But the horrifying perverse vibe I get from that X-ray phantom is nothing, nothing at all, a drop in the bucket, an atom in a star, compared to the horrifying perverse vibe I get from our last phantom. Children and people with weak constitutions, do not look down:

Image

(Source)

This is an X-ray phantom used in dentistry. But I cannot look at this phantom without first bursting into laughter and then running screaming from the room. I know without a doubt that senior dental X-ray technicians, when they’re working with the trainees, leave this suitcase sitting in the corner without comment, and then, suddenly open it and fold the head out and slam it on the table to see if they can make somebody in the audience pee in their pants.

What I want to know is: who looked at this thing and didn’t think “That’s the creepiest thing since that My Little Pony sex doll”? (Google that if you dare.) It looks like The Giant from Twin Peaks having the best orgasm of his life. Whether that orgasm is related to the creepy rubber phallic thing (which is apparently for holding X-ray film) I don’t know. And I don’t really want to know. But one of the other pictures on the distributor’s website pretty much closes the case on this one:

Image

There are no words.

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