Hallucinating fairy tales

Two cases of hallucinated fairy tales from the medical literature.

In this case [pdf] from The Bulletin of the Yamaguchi Medical School, a ballerina presents with magical hallucinations during an episode of psychosis:

…she felt as if she had become the heroine of “The Sleeping Beauty” and this feeling started manifesting itself in her daily behaviour.

She began to hear a voice coming from nowhere telling her that she was Cinderella. She had an experience in which upon seeing a pumpkin she ordered it to become a carriage and then saw a vivid image of a carriage like the one pictured in an illustration in the book.

She claimed that while practicing ballet, she did not feel that she was dancing by her own will, but instead felt as if she was a puppet controlled and manipulated by an unknown force.

In this case from Epilepsy and Behavior a 33-year-old woman experiences a magical cat when her visual cortex is stimulated during brain surgery:

At one parieto-occipital electrode, stimulation with a current of 15 mA elicited the hallucination of a colored creature, spontaneously identified as the leading character of the fairy tale the patient was reading aloud at that moment—a cat (Puss in Boots, by Charles Perrault; the text did not include pictures)…

According to her description, the cat emerged from the script she was holding in front of her, and then moved to the right side of her bed, that is, to her lower right visual hemifield. The cat was 10–20 cm high and flat, two-dimensional like a sheet of paper. It then rotated itself 90° so that its feet pointed toward her and its head was toward the right. When she tried to look at it more closely, it quickly moved to the right and behind her back—the faster she turned her head, the quicker…

Reading picture books depicting different characters while being stimulated (e.g., a penguin, a miller), she again hallucinated a cat at her right forearm, similar to the one she had seen before. “It is only a feeling of what I see. For me it looks like Puss in Boots because of the large hat…, for me it is just a…. It is difficult to explain.”

 

pdf of Cinderella case.
Link to locked article of Puss in Boots case.

2 Comments

  1. Pia Marjukka Laasone
    Posted April 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Dear Balletdancer,your knees and your body will have broblems,in my age 39yeas.Jazzbalet 4s so much better hobby,not enymore or discodancing training.With that rhythm and koordinationable.Aerobic was too easy.3Times a week joging about 22years.The last hobby waswadoryui karate kata 3minuts 3kiais you have use clean koordination and own rhythm.The Belt is southcantries toots.I have Green belt.Tomato with Pan Salt,Doctor Raimo Hiltunens patent,soya.B12vitamin,brothers protein.never hormons.Stupid to try to be like odd,weird crzy.Hello Rise and Shine wake up?

    • Annonymous
      Posted April 22, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Having actually been an international ballerina professionaly for 35 years (very long time in this biz), I have danced every Fairy Tale, Balanchine, Robbins, all over the world, etc. I am also a DSM serous nut. I still have nightmares about not being ready or prepared enough (bipolar comes in handy sometimes). I also have a rich, vivid imagination and wish I could be the Fairy Godmother at times and make the ills of reality banished from my kingdom!

      By the way, my 52 year old body looks like a teenager. Moral of story, do not sing if you have a voice like mine, but if you are built for ballet you may survive.


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