Ectrodactyly (Split Hand-Split Foot Malformation)

Ectrodactylyl or Split Hand-Split Foot Malformation (SHFM) is one of the EEC (Ectrodactylyl, Ectodermal Dysplasia, Cleft) syndromes of genetic disorders. Ectrodactylyl, also known as split hand-split foot syndrome, is expressed by a central cleft in the hands and/or feet in the place of the middle digit. Remaining digits may be missing or fused together. This creates a claw-like appentage which led to disorder's previous name, Lobster Claw Syndrome, which has fallen out of favor in recent years.

Although Ectrodactylyl can occur as a spontaneous mutation in utero, it is often an inherited trait. Children of those affected with the syndrome have a 50% chance of having it. The most evident example of how ectrodactyly can run if families is evident in the family of Grady Stiles Jr., better known by his stage name The Lobster Boy.

Grady Stiles Jr. was born into the 4th generation of a long line of family members afflicted with ectrodactyly, which is now 7 generations deep. Known as a violent alcoholic Stiles was convicted of 3rd degree murder for killing his daughter's fiance on the day before their wedding. He never served a day for the murder but instead received 15 years probation. It was determined that was not equipped to care for his special needs and locking him up would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

However, Grady Stiles didn't get away with murder for long. After drying up for some time after the trial, he remarried his first wife. Eventually he would return to his alcoholic, abusive ways. Fearing for their lives, his wife and step-son conspired to have him murdered, paying a neighbor $1500 to kill him. All three of them were convicted.

The Stiles Family Geneology

  • William Stiles 1805-1888
  • Jacob Stiles 1843-1932
  • Elisha Stiles 1880-1935
  • Grady Stiles Sr. 1912-1988
  • Grady Stiles Jr. 1937-1992
  • Grady Stiles III and Cathy Stiles
  •                                  Misty 

Other Notable Entertainers (Real or fictional) With Ectrodactyly

Bree Walker





Disability-rights activist and former California News Anchor, Bree Walker has ectrodactyly. She also has two children that have ectrodactyly.


Evan Peters as Jimmy Darling 

Evan Peters as Jimmy Darling 

There is a Lobster Boy character featured on American Horror Story 4 - Freak Show. The character, named Jimmy Darling and is portrayed by the actor Evan Peters. 

Danny Devito's Penguin on Batman Forever had ectrodactyly...and other issues


Benny from Total Recall

And maybe the most extreme depiction of ectrodactyly in film was in the movie Total Recall. Who can forget the Taxi driving, Mars resident, Benny. He had "five kids to feed"! Or did he?

Pareidolia, That Thing Has a Face (I Saw Bob Marley In a Tree)

Pareidolia - Is the perceiving  faces or patterns where none really exist. 

Rorschach Black Cats

Rorschach Black Cats

Without pareidolia Rorschach Tests use this phenomena to evaluate the subjects psychological state of mind, by evaluating the subjects perceptions of  insignificant blotches.


birds with happy face






The Pareidolia Game we have all played - Finding shapes in clouds.


We see a lot of faces by looking up. There is the face on surface of Mars and of course the Man in the Moon which spurred these monstrosities. 

I always saw faces in things, too many things. I like to think that it was because I had such a vivid imagination. Probably it had more to do with me being a excessively paranoid and anxious. The faces I saw were rarely happy, they were usually horrified, anguished or mad.

Most faces that I see are renditions of Edvard Munch's The Scream. If it's not a completely accurate depiction of the painting the feeling is definitely there.  Then there was the biggest culprit in scaring the living daylights out of me during my childhood, the wood panels! 

Once I saw the pattern in the wood I couldn't un-see it. And the worst part is how the patterns repeat so they were always there and always watching, from all angles. It became a tortured game of hide-and-seek. Sometimes I'd inadvertently find another scary face hiding behind a table or the couch. It was an exercise in self control not to look for them even though they were watching you, watching you, watching you.

So my experience with facial pareidolia has not been stellar but  it is positive for most people. Many see religious and spiritual figures and take this as a sign to the faithful.

Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese
Jesus Christ

So while the rest of the world is seeing the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich...

(although I think it looks more like Greta Garbo)


...or Jesus Christ on a piece of toast...

...or the Mother Teresa Sticky Bun...

...I saw Bob Marley in a tree.

Yes that's right! As an adult, I've learned to ignore the faces and block the mental game of looking for them. But every now an then I see one that is too awesome to ignore.

While traveling in Costa Rica my friend showed me a picture he took of a tree.  He said he thought the tree was cool and that's wh he took it. I took one look and immediately saw Bob Marley. The colors of the lichen and moss covered tree made it perfect. 

Tell me what you think?


Water: Dehydration Prevention and Water Trivia

I drank about 7 liters of water today.  It has been heating up down here in Florida so that's normal, I guess.  Here are some facts about this polar molecule.   (And make sure your pets have plenty of water during this hot, hot season.)

water splash

How water is used in your body:

  • Water leaves the stomach five minutes after consumption.
  • Water is used to transport oxygen and nutrition throughout the cells of the body.
  • Water removes the waste from the body.  (Hopefully not in liquid form.)
  • Hot water stimulates the immune system.  (Drink your tea.)
  • Water regulates the temperature of the body.
  • Water cushions our body joints. (More reasons to hydrate on the treadmill and/or elliptical.)
  • Human brains are 75% water.
  • Human bones are 25% water.

Ways to deal with dehydration:

Bottle of water
Bottle of water
  • Drink plenty of fluids on heavy risk days
    • Dry
    • Hot
    • Windy
  • Caffeine is a diuretic. Do no consume too many caffeinated beverages on hot days. (Or do what I do and add plenty of ice.)
  • Remember if you feel thirsty you body has already lost over 1% of its total water. You are already dehydrated.
  • Excessive thirst and/or dehydration may be a sign of something more serious, such as diabetes.  Get checked out by a doctor.

Water Trivia:

  • Roughly 66% of an adult's body is made up of water
  • A healthy person can drink as much as three gallons of water a day.  (My goal is 2 gallons.)
  • You will consume about 20,000 gallons of water in your lifetime.
  • Water intoxication is most likely to occur during periods of intense athletic performance.
  • Water intoxication occurs when water dilutes the sodium level in the bloodstream and causes an imbalance of water in the brain.

Water Myths:


Of all the water on the earth, humans can safely use 10% for drinking water.


Of all the water on the earth less than 1% can be used for drinking water.


water faucet
water faucet

A person can live for one month without food, but only two weeks without water.


A person can only live one week without water.