The Reality Show
August 23, 2013 6:02 PM   Subscribe

Schizophrenics used to see demons and spirits. Now they talk about actors and hidden cameras – and make a lot of sense. Clinical psychiatry papers rarely make much of a splash in the wider media, but it seems appropriate that a paper entitled ‘The Truman Show Delusion: Psychosis in the Global Village’, published in the May 2012 issue of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, should have caused a global sensation. Its authors, the brothers Joel and Ian Gold, presented a striking series of cases in which individuals had become convinced that they were secretly being filmed for a reality TV show.
posted by Telf (48 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
 
Here's a similar culturally specific expression of delusion. Cotard syndrome involves a delusion in which patients assert that they are dead. In only very recent years, it has become common for individuals with the Cotard delusion to claim that they are vampires.
posted by painquale at 6:12 PM on August 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


Nah, that's just the NSA.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:21 PM on August 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


How are people surprised by this? Delusions are created in the victim's mind, from their experiences and beliefs. Which comes from their cultures.

There is that old saying, "just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you." Well, the converse is true too: "just because they are spying on you doesn't mean you aren't paranoid."
posted by gjc at 6:21 PM on August 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


When my friend who is suffering from paranoid psychosis tells me about his delusions, it's very interesting to me how they clearly relate to specific major concerns in his life. For example, all academics I know worry on some level that they are a fraud. He believes that one of the government agents persecuting him has been recruiting other academics to collect evidence of all the mistakes he has made in his research and that they are mailing them to the university ethics board.

It doesn't surprise me that on a more general level, psychiatric disorders present in a way that draws on contemporary cultural issues (like secret filming and privacy issues right now.)
posted by lollusc at 6:25 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I always wondered about this sort of thing...what did they think was happening in the days before radio and communists?

There is that old saying, "just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you."

As the (sadly, not quite) immortal David Foster Wallace put it in Infinite Jest: "Yes, I'm paranoid--but am I paranoid enough?"
posted by nevercalm at 6:26 PM on August 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


In only very recent years, it has become common for individuals with the Cotard delusion to claim that they are vampires.

By "very recent years" I assume we are talking about well over 50.
posted by DU at 6:31 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


By the early 20th century, many found themselves gripped by the conviction that some hidden operator was tormenting them with advanced technology.

TIL that bluetooth and printers have been driving people mad for a century.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:31 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


when i was a kid, our parish priest gave a sermon on the idea that god was making a tv show of everything we did in our lives and would show it when we died

this was in the mid 60s
posted by pyramid termite at 6:40 PM on August 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't forget that the process of going crazy does make people spy on you.

My friend came down with schizophrenia and felt that military intelligence was after him (he was in the National Guard) - and indeed, at some point he did get arrested by what was basically military intelligence at one of his National Guard meetings and involuntarily committed (strangely enough, he just walked out one day and they never bothered to get him again - just as well, I didn't feel the place was helping him at all, even though he was batshit crazy by that time, and he did manage to seem to make a go of it after that, if in an impaired fashion...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:54 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


This post reminded me that I'm due for a Truman Show rewatch. Thanks, MetaFilter! You've determined my evening!
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:59 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


what did they think was happening in the days before radio and communists?

Sorry I can't find the link, but there was an article some years back about the timing of space ships/flying saucers in fiction and their appearance as elements or themes in various delusions, the implication being that the 20th C. rise in UFO sightings corresponds to their popularity in fiction. Before that, gnomes, elves, angels and demons, and a host of other celestial visitors.

My father was an Anglican minister. One of the paintings we had on the wall when I was a kid is of the pleasant ivy-covered wall of an English country church (I'd say it's early 20th C). Only years later as an adult was I able to see that there's a large and watchful eye carefully hidden in the ivy. This is exactly the kind of thing that could make mentally unstable people start asking the wrong kind of questions.
posted by sneebler at 7:08 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


TIL that bluetooth and printers have been driving people mad for a century.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:31 PM on August 23


Foci! We've traced the call! It's coming from inside your head!

I'm still struggling to form a distinction between schizophrenics and folks with Bluetooth ear-dongles. I assume, since I'm only hearing half of the conversation, that the Bluetooth folks are sane and not just ranting at ghosts, but I dunno, sometimes.

(Recent grocery store scene: "Yeah, I'm in the frozen food section. Yeah, I'm looking at peas. Whaddya want: peas, peas and carrots, or peas and those squishy pearl onions? Ha ha! Well, they don't have that! I'm getting mixed veg!" Let's assume that this fellow actually had his SO on the phone. Is it sane to narrate your life to a remote presence, real or imagined, and argue with it, rather than be secure in your own perception and judgement?)

I'm tempted, sometimes, to just put on a Bluetooth headset and wander around a shopping mall, talking angrily to imaginary people. My own little, one-act Improv Everywhere.
posted by SPrintF at 7:08 PM on August 23, 2013 [23 favorites]


Today, they are more likely to identify a protagonist who, like Jim Carrey’s Truman Burbank, genuinely has stumbled onto a carefully orchestrated secret of which those around him are blandly unaware.

But that's not what happens in the movie, right? Everyone's aware except Truman.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:11 PM on August 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


what did they think was happening in the days before radio and communists?

Witches.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:21 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Paranoia is often based on real enemies, or uses theoretical frameworks in extreme cases, because it's a lot easier to function that way, to get verbal support and avoid real help. People will casually agree with them, wish them well, urge them on, etc. This is a huge deal to them. Truman went through a very realistic paranoid phase when he met his father, whose death was the source of Truman's guilt, and who came back to encourage him to escape perhaps; but nobody was allowed to inform him without disappearing, so it was an existential journey instead.
posted by Brian B. at 7:27 PM on August 23, 2013


Cf. "little people", "sidh", UFOs, &c. Schreber's "Memoirs Of My Nervous Illness" is the "Popular Delusions and the Madness Of Crowds" re. schizophrenia that you ought to have read by now.

Great post, BTW.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 7:42 PM on August 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Thanks for the post. I remember when this made the rounds in '06 and '08, but this is the first time I've seen more than a single-page article outside of a psychiatry journal.

Similarly, the old trope about someone thinking they're Napoleon is not just a sitcom staple, but a delusion that's shifted over time to include contemporary celebrities and fictional characters. Matrix references abound in the hospital at the turn of the century and, even while entangled in my own particular delusions, I had no trouble taking such references as real. One of my room-mates at the time was obsessed with getting to Seattle, because that's where "Trinity" was and I believed him as a matter of fact*. I personally have no problem with jokes about crazy people hearing voices, because virtually every attempt to depict psychosis in mass media fails at conveying how vivid, real, and exquisite/horrible it truly is. Even sane, it's not hard to imagine someone would want to make a show like that.

And so I don't feel like a dick for mentioning someone else's delusion I will add this juicy little tidbit: I didn't once believe I WAS Robin Williams, but rather that an Illuminati-esque group related to the Walt Disney Company had transplanted the psychic signature OF Robin Williams into MY body (it's right there in the name!) in order to re-energize him for, oh, I don't know, the filming ofDeath To Smoochy? Which, hello? is a Warner Brothers picture for god's sake. Furthermore, I subsequently experienced a shared delusion where SEVERAL OTHER PEOPLE BELIEVED THIS. Even at its worst the brain is pretty much the greatest thing ever.
posted by Lorin at 7:43 PM on August 23, 2013 [29 favorites]


I didn't once believe I WAS Robin Williams, but rather that an Illuminati-esque group related to the Walt Disney Company had transplanted the psychic signature OF Robin Williams into MY body (it's right there in the name!) in order to re-energize him for, oh, I don't know, the filming ofDeath To Smoochy?

I would pay to see that movie, Lorin.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:03 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


> virtually every attempt to depict psychosis in mass media fails at conveying how vivid, real, and exquisite/horrible it truly is.

Amen.

We knew my friend was having troubles, but one day he walked up right up to me and held up five fingers. "What is it, John?" "There are five CIA agents in your house."

I looked at him, and I didn't even say, "You're joking." I realized that I was staring at someone who had simply gone crazy....
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:09 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's more than a little suspicious this would come out now, just before my big season cliffhanger.
posted by General Tonic at 8:25 PM on August 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


I realized that I was staring at someone who had simply gone crazy.

Not to pick on you, but as someone who's had two people in my life who've become delusional, I'm not fond of the phrase "gone crazy." It implies a point of no return, and both those people have return to normal.

One of the odd things about mental illness, is that like physical illness, it can be treated, or even go away on its own. The problem is, people with mental illnesses can be treated as though they are permanently "crazy" and that can interfere with getting proper treatment.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:25 PM on August 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


Thanks for the reminder, I probably lean on the word crazy a little too hard. Just because it doesn't bother me doesn't mean it's appropriate. I stand by my passive aggressive call-out of zippy one-liners about mental illness though.
posted by Lorin at 8:32 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would pay to see that movie, Lorin.

That's more than people did for Death To Smoochy.
posted by maryr at 8:39 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would pay to see that movie, Lorin.

Me too, on the condition that John Malkovich plays Lorin.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:21 PM on August 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Definitely remember a time in my life, pretty far into university where a number of my friends were getting stressed out by quarter life crises, thesis, finals, and far too many recreational drugs. Saw more than a few people slip into rough mental episodes.

My absolute most terrifying memories revolve around that moment when you start to realize just how ill one of your friends has become. CheeseDigestsAll's point about the term "crazy" is spot on. I remember one of my best friends looking me in the eyes and saying, "I fear I've become completely mad." The permanency of that statement still freaks me out.

It's amazing how good your brain is at building up theories, shoring up arguments and ignoring contrary evidence.

Lorin's point, "Even at its worst the brain is pretty much the greatest thing ever." is exactly right.
posted by Telf at 10:38 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


How are people surprised by this?

I agree with your sentiments. But truth be told, to a LOT of people, mental illness is close to sorcery. When things like this come out, it makes it absolutely clear that nature AND nurture are rather influential.

And then they realize that yeah, maybe going to Jerusalem would incite some poor soul into actually believing he was Jesus. Its not that the spirit touched him.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:59 PM on August 23, 2013


painquale: " Cotard syndrome involves a delusion in which patients assert that they are dead. In only very recent years, it has become common for individuals with the Cotard delusion to claim that they are vampires."

Give them a year or three, and they'll start drawing attention to their sparkling.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:10 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm tempted, sometimes, to just put on a Bluetooth headset and wander around a shopping mall, talking angrily to imaginary people. My own little, one-act Improv Everywhere.

I have seen this many times. The monologue captures my attention, and I look for the phone or Bluetooth device -which turns out to be obviously fake or not present at all- so I keep listening as is expected of me. What I hear is most often sad, desperate confusion and displacement. I hope that's not the source of your temptation.
posted by current occupation: at 11:29 PM on August 23, 2013


The worst paranoia of all is when you're afraid scared to death of the very people whose job is to help you. I had that for awhile, way back when. I've no idea why it happened or why it went away.
posted by Goofyy at 12:24 AM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just stopping by to recommend Mike Jay's book The Air Loom Gang, which I found fascinating.
posted by Prince Lazy I at 12:45 AM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lorin's point, "Even at its worst the brain is pretty much the greatest thing ever." is exactly right.

I had a co-worker that suffered a schizoid break. Part of the work was oriented to social justice and the lead up was him bringing up an idea for this campaign project he'd like to do. I won't go into specific details because of privacy. It was related to bringing about world wide peace. It started small, seemed a bit odd, but this was during the first years of Iraq and Afghanistan so thinking about peace and war and being concerned about what was going to happen didn't seem out of place. Over the weeks leading up to the break his campaign idea became more elaborate and something he started talking about all the time. At about the time that we all began getting concerned and realizing that something more was going on then just someone giving a shit about things and trying to do something about it, he suffered a complete break and was hospitalized.

For whatever reasons, the guy seemed to really trust and liked me. I liked him too, he was a good person. His girlfriend came in one day and asked if I'd be able to see him as it was something he really needed. She was awesome, so supportive of what had happened and had a good handle on what was going on. I agreed and went to the hospital for a visit.

On the first visit he showed me around his new home and was happy to introduce me to new friends. Just that experience was great for me because the hospital was not like had imagined (tv and movie influence). We then sat in the lounge for a chat. He said he wanted to talk to me because he knew I would understand. He talked about what was going on. What he was worried about. And yes it entered into the delusional, but every delusion was based in something quite real and areas of concern in the realm of social justice. It was a great, and quite bizarre for me, conversation. I knew enough about the illness that it wasn't the place or time to challenge what was real and what wasn't. I just chatted without confirming or discounting.

I visited him regularly and at the point where he was still experiencing his delusions but started to know that he was experiencing them he gave me his journal. He said, I know that I am ill and this must be weird for you but I want you to look at this because you'll understand. I took it and told him I would definitely look at it for him. When I did it took my breath away. It was amazing and yes obviously a creation of delusion but at the same time utterly beautiful. It's hard to describe. It was full of writing and pictures and on first look didn't seem to make cohesive or logical sense but as I read through it I was able to see that it had it's own set of logic. It was also incredibly heartbreaking. It came out of his sense of empathy and compassion with what was going on in the world. It read like a mind who cared so much and just lost it because he couldn't take it anymore. I could easily see how and why the campaign idea he had came about and why it became so important to him. I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

Over many months he got better and as a weekly visitor I saw the process first hand. My workplace was wonderful and full of aware and caring people so as soon as he was able he returned even though for lack of better term he wasn't quite 'right.' We became part of his healing process and he was very open about what was going on with him and what he needed. It was during this time that his whole 'Jalli would understand' came clearer. If he had a problem explaining what was happening he would ask me to explain it to people and told my co-workers that if they had concerns over his behavior or state of mind to talk to me about it. He said it was important to have support as he needed to be aware if as he described it 'was slipping back in' and for 'obvious reasons, ha ha, he wasn't always the best person to be aware of it happening.' What I found absolutely amazing about this was that even when he was full on into his delusional world something knew what he needed and would need to get better in order to return to what he was doing before. His work was incredibly important to him and needed that connection.


The whole thing was an incredible experience. Personally I learned so much about this type of illness and how people who have it deal with it. I still have that journal, packed away in a memory box. He wouldn't take it back after he was better. He said that he knew it might sound weird but he recalls at the time he gave it to me that he thought of it as a gift and thought that it should remain a gift. He's right. I do consider it a gift from someone I consider to be quite incredible.

The brain is indeed one of the greatest things ever, even at it's worst. That journal I have is a physical record of how amazing it can be.
posted by Jalliah at 1:04 AM on August 24, 2013 [62 favorites]


Jalliah, that's absolutely fascinating.

I'm curious at what point you thought your friend's legitimate concerns about war and social justice, and his plan of action to foster peace, tripped over into delusion? Did his ideas take on the appearance of grandiose conspiracy theory? Were they simply too fanciful to work?
posted by dontjumplarry at 3:13 AM on August 24, 2013


What Tausk is best known for is killing himself.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:46 AM on August 24, 2013


Don't forget that the process of going crazy does make people spy on you.

What's he building in there?
posted by rongorongo at 5:18 AM on August 24, 2013


National Schizophrenia Agency
posted by telstar at 5:32 AM on August 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm curious at what point you thought your friend's legitimate concerns about war and social justice, and his plan of action to foster peace, tripped over into delusion? Did his ideas take on the appearance of grandiose conspiracy theory? Were they simply too fanciful to work?

Too fanciful. His plan consisted of what we took as a symbolic action that people around the world would take part it in. This wasn't anything out of the ordinary for activist movements. Initially it wasn't really a super bad idea. Then it evolved into everyone around the world performed the same action at the same time. He started focusing on minute details and it became all he would talk about no matter what we were discussing. Everything we did or talked about in our meetings would bring him to say something about his campaign idea. Right around the time he had the total break it became clear to us that in his mind it wasn't a symbolic action he was talking about. He really and truly believed that if enough people around the world did this one thing at the same time peace would happen. He had found the big answer to the problem. His journal was full of elaborate plans and details of why this would work.

He also suffered from paranoid type delusions. TV and radio sent secret messages to make the population do things. This was arranged by George Bush and company and things like license plates were codes from the resistance. I found the tv ones quite fascinating because he wasn't wrong in terms of propaganda and the like being used on TV to persuade people of things. Same with commercials and the marketing of products. His delusions just stepped it up into actual voices and words he was hearing. He was actually quite spot on to what was going on with the government and media were doing to persuade people that going to Iraq was something they had to do. The delusions just took that to quite a new level with a lot of over the top conspiracy. Again the thing was he wasn't really wrong. The seeds were all quite real.

While he was in the hospital I found out that the initial cracks appeared right after 9/11. He had had a mild freak out which doctors had apparently diagnosed as a nervous anxiety episode.
posted by Jalliah at 5:39 AM on August 24, 2013 [9 favorites]



I forgot to say. We didn't hear about the paranoid stuff, like the tv talking to him. He kept that to himself until after he was in the hospital so I don't know how long that was going on before it. If he had talked about that stuff we would have clued in pretty quick to what was going on.

Interestingly after he came back to work one of the things we did was turn off any radio, tv or music when he was in the office at his request. He was well enough to know that what he heard wasn't real. He would still occasionally hear things and worrying about whether he would caused stress. A few times we when we were out and about he would share what he heard or saw if we passed by a tv. He knew it wasn't real but he would still experience it. He had a great sense of humor about the whole thing which I think was good. I can't imagine what a struggle it would be dealing with that.
posted by Jalliah at 5:54 AM on August 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Good story Jalliah, and nice that you could be part of a "happy" ending. I have a few friends who've suffered from mental illness that didn't come out to the other side.
posted by nowhere man at 7:26 AM on August 24, 2013


Another subject was actually working on a reality TV series but came to believe that his fellow crew members were secretly filming him, and was constantly expecting the This-Is-Your-Life moment when the cameras would flip and reveal that he was the true star of the show.

Whoa.

But another data point on how what you soak your brain in colors everything about your reality - when I first started working on web sites back in the 90s, everything was coded by hand and pretty tedious work just to make A page (not a site; a page).

And I remember, after doing this kind of work (often at night, as it had little to nothing to do with my day job back then and was just something I was doing for fun) going to sleep and having dreams that involved sexual kinks being satisfied, changed, or eliminated by simple changes in the HTML. What HTML? Where? That was the hazy part.

Even more potentially troubling - I'd drive around and think (not believing I could really do this, just daydreaming about the idea) about changing the color of objects around me by changing their color tag.

I think all of this was fatigue/dreaming, etc., not mental illness, but it's always impressed me how thin the line is between "normal" brain function and "mentally ill" brain function.

That and the fact that when I first watched "A Beautiful Mind," I was completely taken in by the delusion. I thought he was on to something. I realize that was the intent, but ... it didn't help that I'd, coincidentally, read heavily about steganography before watching the movie.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:33 AM on August 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


On the subject of seeing people talking to themselves, one thing that may not be super clear is its totally possible to hallucinate and converse with what seem in every way to be actual people. The easiest way to describe a break is in the context of psychedelic drugs, but that's misleading because unlike the free-floating, disconnected narrative of a psychedelic experience, delusions establish their own warped structure and continuity. (It took me several years to realize that the CSIS [Canadian equivalent of the CIA] outpost next to the hospital was in fact an elementary school.) This persistence, as mentioned above, makes it easy for the brain to latch onto the seed of an idea and grow elaborate conspiracies by ignoring anything that doesn't fit. I know all this is tangential to the Golds' research, but I don't doubt my experience would have taken on distinctly different qualities had I consumed more media in the late 90s. Recognizing shades of my own experiences in the idea of the Truman Show delusion is a genuine comfort, knowing it is possible to give them context beyond being a bunch of stuff that didn't really happen. I realize that's kinda what psychiatry is, but as a layperson the field can be rather opaque and as a patient it's too complicated a relationship to see objectively.
posted by Lorin at 9:08 AM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


what did they think was happening in the days before radio and communists?

Witches.


Up to a point; then Freemasons, Illuminists and the other side from oneself of the Catholic/Protestant unpleasantries.
posted by acb at 9:17 AM on August 24, 2013


My schizoaffective ex believed that videos and movies (some of which have been mentioned upthread) contained hidden messages telling him he was a simulated agent and that this whole world was virtual. He was a sort of AI messiah figure, come to separate the bots from the real people, and save them. Yet he hated humans and just as often wanted to kill them, especially women. Ultimately, he wanted to kill himself to escape the aging process and return to the dimension from whence he came. This was interspersed with rants at how bad a designer God was, how he would have done it so much better had he been in charge, and how much more intelligent he was than other people (me, especially, toward the end). He justified all this by the fact that he had vivid dreams that he thought were actual experiences in other dimensions. He was also highly intelligent and highly functional in many ways, and he could discuss these ideas extremely convincingly.

I believe the theory that delusions are extensions of problems and personality traits that pre-exist the delusion. Had my ex not been delusional, he still would have been arrogant and verbally abusive. He simply would have been one more conceited person who looked down on people more emotional and less logical and successful than himself. He still would have been impatient, had anger management problems, and been bitter toward women. He still would have felt alienated and frustrated by the fact that he believes 99% of people can't keep up with him mentally when it comes to logical problem-solving. In a way, it seemed like his delusions buffered him from the pain of all those other things. I think it's important to not discount the protective power of delusionality.
posted by Rainflower at 10:20 AM on August 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've seen an increasing number of psychotic patients over the past couple of years where a primary symptom was that they couldn't distinguish between pseudosocial apps such as Facebook or Twitter and eusocial reality. This of course afflicts many people to some degree, but these people had become so decompensated they were dangers to themselves or others or simply unable to eat/cloth/feed themselves. In one notably case, the only thing the person could say in response to any question for several days was "I am Facebook". I had another person who could not stop "Tosh.0" from stunning them utterly into catatonia... an outcome again that was superficially undifferentiable from a mere intensification of its apparent goal of delivering inert-yet-conscious eyeballs to advertisers.

I did have one person who told me they were under satellite surveillance by "The NSF". I asked "Do you mean the NSA?" They gave me a withering look: "No, the National *Science* Foundation". That, of course, should have been obvious.

Active psychosis relies on a dysregulation and deharmonisation of so much of the interlinked salience networks created by our neurocircuitry. So it's no surprise that so many of the symptoms can resemble technologies such as TV and radio that were invented and convergently evolved along paths designed for maximal salience: On the Origin of the "Influencing Machine" in Schizophrenia.
posted by meehawl at 11:42 AM on August 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


I am told of one patient in the late 90s who claimed to _be_ the millenium bug
posted by memebake at 5:15 PM on August 24, 2013


No discussion of this phenomenon is complete without mentioning Mike Corley, who believes an intimidation campaign by MI5 has newreaders watching him and commenting on things that happen in his home. Mr Corley was an early adopter of the internet and has had a website since at least 1996, the current url is http://www.mi5.com. He was well known on usenet for many years, although is less well known now. In 2007 an Opera was written and performed based on his usenet posts.
posted by memebake at 5:35 PM on August 24, 2013


I had a few coincidental occurrences happen over a few days (one was my GF and I were hiking and we came across a turtle, and I made the comment, "I hope we see a turtle every 1/4 mile"--we then saw 4 more turtles every 1/4mile before arriving back at the car--oh, and the third turtle actually had the number 3 written on it).

After 4-5 of these coincidences over, I told my annoyed (and probably starting to worry GF) that I'd somehow prove to her that I was a god or something--who could manipulate reality--by midnight that night. I forgot about the promise/bad joke within 5 minutes. That night, We went to see a movie, but it was sold out--HOWEVER, if we waited until 11pm (or 11:15 or 11:30 or something) we could see a movie that neither of us had heard of: DARK CITY. We saw it.

Just as the movie explained that reality is being manipulated I looked at my watch and it was 11:59pm--I showed my girlfriend (who'd forgotten the promise as well): she was not amused and made me agree not to mention or prove that I was a god ever again.

Ironically she dumped me me for being the devil: after moving to Atlanta and joining a cult (the International Church of Christ?), they told her I was the devil trying to deceive her, etc.
posted by whatgorilla at 6:26 PM on August 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I remember in one of my psychopathology classes, we saw a video featuring an outreach group that's been distributing bagged lunches to NYC's deinstitutionalized, homeless, and schizophrenic, in an effort to help establish trust with repeated offerings, and, ultimately, to coax the individuals to visit an out-patient care facility.

Which means there are people in white vans who are regularly hunting for, surveilling, and preparing sandwiches for schizophrenics.
posted by bxyldy at 7:07 PM on August 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think I was driven a bit mad by the Iraq war and simultaneously discovering the Internet for the first time (I had been in a humanities graduate school program during the '90s). I didn't have hallucinations or delusions, unless you regard as delusional the belief that Republicans and the Bush administration were a force of destruction. But I stumbled across some doozies.

I can't find it now, but at one Washington, DC protest of the Iraq War, around 2003, some of the protesters blogged about being pursued by a large dragonfly with "camera eyes" that was recording their movements. They had probably seen a real dragonfly in the Washington, DC riverine summer humidity. Tech at that time wasn't really up to that yet. Now, though...
posted by bad grammar at 7:27 PM on August 24, 2013


« Older NSA paying internet companies millions for PRISM   |   Sylvain Sylvain's "Rampage of Songs" Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments