A boy who was desperate to “power up” after watching “Transformers” started drinking gasoline in emulation of the mechanical heroes of the film, suffering permanent brain damage as a result.
The boy, a 14-year-old schoolboy living in China’s Sichuan area, apparently enjoyed good grades and was good with machines, perhaps explaining his fascination with Transformers.
His parents running a shop selling lighters, he found himself with ready access to lighter fluid, which he began covertly snuffing, in spite of being caught several times. Soon he progressed to filching gasoline in bottles and using the vapours to get high with.
All this apparently took its toll on his cognitive faculties, and soon he hatched upon a scheme based on his viewing of Transformers. Seeing that his mechanical heroes gained power from fuel, he too resolved to try this, and began stealing fuel in mineral water bottles, which he would drink habitually.
Eventually his theft came to light, and he was taken to see a doctor, where it was discovered that he could no longer perform simple sums and appeared to have developed a severe mental disability.
Doctors found him to have become addicted to gasoline, the lead content of which entered his body, causing brain damage. He was subsequently hospitalised in order to curb his addiction.
When asked why he imbibed the fuel, he said only “Because I wanted to power up.”