Because I don’t want to be working and you know what? I’m sure there’s a book in here somewhere.
There was a programme on TV this week called ‘Madness In The Fast Lane’*, which I caught on replay following a recommendation from a twitter fiend.
The show ran through the strange tale of Swedish twins Sabina and Ursula Eriksson. Back in 2008 they caused chaos on the M6 motorway, by running into oncoming traffic. Ursula was run over by an articulated wagon, and Sabina was hit by a car. In the following days as Ursula lay in hospital, Sabina was charged, jailed and released for assaulting a police officer. She then proceeded to stab to death a local man who had come to her aid when she was spotted walking at random down a road by his home. She fled the scene, and was picked up on CCTV by police who went to apprehend her and in an effort to escape she jumped off a 50ft bridge. She was arrested and taken into custardy after the leap caused her to break both her ankles and fracture her skull.
She was sentenced to 5 years in prison, because the defence argued she was mentally ill at the time of the incident. The judge however, was unable to sentence her to jail in a secure mental hospital for treatment as she was declared healthy at the time of the trial. Sabina has to this day never spoken a word about her actions over those few days. Experts have narrowed her mental state at the time of the attack down to one of two ‘illnesses’. The first being Bouffee Deliriante (short lived psychosis) the second, and preferred diagnosis being that of Folie a Deux (the folly of two).
Folie a deux is the simultaneous occurrence of symptoms of a mental disorder (as delusions) in two persons who are closely related (as siblings or man and wife). Or, as it was described on the show, ‘one person “infected” the other.’ Ursula was the ‘primary’ case who ‘infected’ Sabina when they became close again after a period of separation. Sabina became ‘better’ when she was separated from her twin, due to her hospitalisation following the incident on the motorway.Sabina is eligible for parole in 2011. It is unknown if further problems will occur if she reconnects with her sister once she is released, and this is what fascinates me and is what has set me off thinking.
We all suspect that there are unknown links between twins, but the idea that one person can ‘infect’ the other just by being in close proximity amazes me.
Just imagine, someone who was mentally ill being able to make you the same (albeit temporarily) in almost the same way that they could pass you the common cold.
Imagine, if they could do that to anyone, not just a sibling or someone close.
Imagine they could do it at will.
Imagine they could do that to you.
*it’s available on BBC iPlayer until the 17th August
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