Psychotic visitors to the White House

In 1965, The American Journal of Psychiatry published a curious article on delusional people who had visited the White House in Washington DC, wanting to see the President.

The article reviewed the cases of 40 people admitted to the Washington D.C. General Hospital from 1960-1.

It also outlined 10 cases in more detail, this is number 6:

Case 6. A 44-year-old Negro woman “was invited” to see the President many times and prior to her trip wrote that she was finally coming. She hoped the President would stop the “gum chewing” in her head and would stop the police persecution that had caused her ears to flop and her body to go out of shape. She complained of policemen in her ears and riding up and down her nose. The patient was acutely psychotic and her stream of thought disorganized, but she claimed that she had first visited the governor of her home state and the Pentagon before trying to see the President. She refused to discuss previous hospitalization. Diagnosis: schizophrenic reaction, paranoid type.

The paper also contains some interesting speculation: “In 1960, when Mr. Eisenhower was President, only nine patients were admitted, but 32 were hospitalized in 1961, Mr. Kennedy’s inaugural year. This would suggest that some personal characteristic of the President was important.”

The study was actually based on similar research conducted more than 20 years before, on psychotic visitors to government offices in Washington DC.

Link to full text of ‘Psychotic visitors to the White House’.
Link to ‘Psychotic visitors to government offices in the national capital’.

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