Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: hallucinations

  • Going berserk

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Berserk: frenzied, furiously, or madly violent. – Oxford English Dictionary   Imaginative drawing of a berserker in a fur loincloth. From Den Skandinavska Nordens Historia (The Scandinavian North’s History) by Gustaf Henrik Mellin, published 1850. The British Library on Flickr via Norwegian Wikipedia. No known copyright restrictions. The word berserkr…

  • The Joker and his Frankenstein

    Snaiha Iyer NarayanIndia In recent decades, cinematic portrayals of medical conditions have garnered variant review. The Joker has been an iconic film in popular culture in part because of its portrayal of mental illness and depiction of societal stereotypes. An often disregarded facet in the character of the Joker lies in the realm of epigenetics.…

  • Culture frames the experience and response to psychotic delusions

    Colleen Donnelly Denver, Colorado, United States   Photo by Camila Quintero Franco on Unsplash Since the 1950s many people suffering from psychotic delusions have claimed that these were caused by contemporary technology such as electromagnetic and micro- waves or computer chips clandestinely planted during medical procedures or alien abductions. Such tightly held beliefs and anxieties…

  • Absinthe: The green fairy

    Nicolás Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain Figure 1. Green Muse. Albert Maignan. 1895. Via Wikimedia Commons “After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in…

  • Did Macbeth have syphilis?

    Eleanor J. Molloy Dublin, Ireland Introduction Syphilis was endemic in Elizabethan England and it was estimated that nearly 20% of the population of London were infected.1 The signs and symptoms were commonly known to the average person and would be potentially recognizable to the audience in Shakespeare’s plays. Shakespeare mentions syphilis more times than any…

  • Para site

    Sophia Wilson New Zealand   Photo by Camila Quintero Franco on Unsplash they burrow, gnaw and niggle I scratch, claw and wriggle they linger, lurk and loom I pick, and probe and groom they crawl, revolt, return I rip and pull and squirm they bite, prick, sting and tunnel under skin I battle, bawl, hand-wring…

  • Smetana, his music, his illness

    Bedřich (Frederic) Smetana was one of the major figures of nineteenth century European music. Regarded as the founder of the Czech national school of music, he composed The Bartered Bride opera and the symphonic poem “Má Vlast” (My Homeland) with its beloved Vlatava (The Moldau) melody. Like Ludwig van Beethoven, he composed exceptional music even…

  • Mental illness in art

    JMS PearceHull, England It is often said that creative art is linked to eccentricity, sometimes bordering on madness. Examples abound of great musicians, writers, and artists who at some time in their lives were deranged and often committed to institutions for mental illness. Some ended their lives in suicide. To what extent is art inspired…

  • Carroll’s Wonderland

    Yvonne Kusiima Kampala, Uganda   Alice experiences total-body macrosomatogonosia. Illustration by John Tenniel (1865) In 1865 the world was introduced to the novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. In the book, a young girl named Alice is feeling bored and drowsy while sitting on…

  • Haunted by a living spirit

    Bernardo NgSan Diego, California, United States Witchcraft has been present in the Mexican culture for centuries, both in and out of the context of disease, with witches practicing either white or black magic. The most nationally recognized site for witchcraft is the city of Catemaco, Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico. The white magic witches,…