Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Truman show

Remember the movie? Jim Carrey Tom Hanks is blissfully whisking around Seahaven Pleasantville, unaware that his every thought and move is being monitored, recorded, and produced as a television show?

I get some unusual mail. It normally comes handwritten, single spaced, in cursive, and is several pages long. As soon as my assistant opens the envelope, she knows it's one of those. These lengthy letters are usually a circuitous tale about some unintelligible form of mind control that the author has been subjected to by some individual or organization for no apparent reason. I suppose one or two letters of this type arrive each month. They are all different, but have some common themes of mysterious transmission of energy or implantation of devices in the author's head or home, the hearing of voices, surveillance through such household fixtures as the TV or toilet, having their mind read; bodily functions being inexplicably controlled remotely by others, and so forth.

One day I was in my office being interviewed by a Lincoln Journal Star reporter (who later became the Governor's spokesman), when I took a phone call from a woman who was suffering from this same type of delusion. The neighbors were beaming some kind of energy into her home. Her chief complaint was that this was causing her to have unanticipated bowel movements at inconvenient times. I asked her if she had told her personal physician about this issue (she had not), and gave her some encouragement to do so. I got his name, and offered to call for an appointment on her behalf. We chatted for about 5 minutes, and I could tell she felt better, and she promised to follow through with her doctor. I think the reporter was amazed and impressed

Last night, I received one via email. I pasted the text into a document, so I could do a word count. It is 10,682 words in 17 pages of single spaced text with nary a single paragraph break. The author is a 60 year old woman in Illinois. She has the usual symptoms: since a new neighbor moved into the townhouse next door a few years ago, he and his wife along with their criminal gang have somehow implanted both audio and visual monitoring devices in her skull:

"There is a gang in my neighborhood that consists of mostly males, and through some sort of (sophisticated) electronic, electro-field, ultrasound, satellite or some other method/application of surveillance has somehow tapped/set-up/hooked into me/my body and are intercranially stalking me 24/7365."
She has a rather unusual last name, and just out of curiosity I googled that. She shows up on a number of web forums. Apparently there are support groups for the intercranially stalked. Having heard the same basic delusion from diverse sources repeatedly during my entire career, I've always wondered how so many people have such similar delusions relating to plumbing fixtures, radio energy, dental work, and automobile mufflers.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, I used to work for a federal elected official and we'd get letters and phone calls like that on a regular basis.

PS Jim Carrey not Tom Hanks

Anonymous said...

oops...the Truman Show showed Jim Carrey and not Tom Hanks.

Anonymous said...

nice write up. thanks for the read.

Anonymous said...

Jim Carrey. Either way, creepy.

LoupGarou said...

Chief, sorry, but it wasn't Tom Hanks in the Truman Show. It was Jim Carrey.

Anonymous said...

The Truman show had Jim Carrey in it

JIM J said...

For once I have no idea what to think!

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong. But wasn't the Truman Show with Jim Carrey? I hope those same gangs aren't controlling your mind to. The radio waves are stronger downtown I have noticed.

Tom Casady said...

Tom Hanks? How did that get into my head? ;-)

Dusty said...

Also, Truman lived in Seahaven, not Pleasantville, the latter of which was the name of the black-and-white TV-suburbia town Tobey Maguire found himself living in and needing to turn everyone "colorful".

Seahaven, for what it's worth was the fictional name of Seaside, Florida, a real-life creepily perfect planned community.

Anonymous said...

Has Marlin been sending you mail again?

ARRRRG!!!! said...

For people like that I would recommend the aluminum foil beanie.

Here's an instructional web site.

Anonymous said...

"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get you".

I can't remember who said this. Anyone?

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

wow. And that's probably just the tip of the iceberg.

Anonymous said...

These kinds of hallucinations are reported throughout history (think "Joan of Arc"). The most common source perceived by the target in our current age is "the government" rather than "God." There was an interesting story on the topic in the Washington Post Magazine a couple of years ago.

Anonymous said...

Maybe a fear of the unknown is the reason for the fascinations. If you don't have some type of construction background, the trap in your toilet or the drain in your sink could appear menacing. Come to think of it, that could be how the sand people are getting into my house......

Anonymous said...

Ah Yes. The "foil hat" people. Where I work, one of these tortured souls left a 30-minute voice mail one weekend, telling us how a sorority was beaming satellite messages into her head and that we should try to close the sorority down. It went on and on and on.

My boss called the lady back and suggested the foil hat. I know that sounds sort of mean, but it seemed to placate her. I suspect she probably contacted Chief Casady as well.

Anonymous said...

I read about some Eric kid in Colorado that reportedly had some kind of complex alien communications device located in another part of his body. He was allegedly abducted by the aliens, there were cattle mutilations involved, and so forth. I don't think there was ever a police report written up, because the town's lone LEO wasn't very good at paperwork back then.

that's what she said...

Better call Mouldy and Skullar.....

Anonymous said...

I guess sometimes people just need a kind word from someone they feel is in control and could "fix" the situation, and all too commonly, it's the Police that get contacted. I suppose that our Officers could use the same tactic I use for my 3-year-old when she's scared of "monsters" or whatever other random thing.. a night light and a promise that her stuffed dog is a trained monster hunter who sleeps during the day and stays up all night to protect her. Maybe Officers should start issuing "alien hunters" to all of our overly concerned citizens. I'm sure many parents have boxes full of stuffed animals that they would gladly donate. :)

Jerry Ratcliffe said...

Imagine being so delusional that your mental health issues show up online when the Chief Googles you. Thats when you know a trip to the nut-and-gut doctor is required.

Anonymous said...

Regarding robbery A9-014841, is there a location for that incident?

Tom Casady said...

10:55-

The victim reports that he was walking along on a path with a McDonalds bag containing one burger. He is not certain where the path was upon which he was walking. Three men approached him, took the burger from his bag, and departed. He returned to McDonald's, form where he reported the $1 robbery.

Anonymous said...

Chief-
I've got two suspects for your robbery. Get a couple of photo line-ups ready and make sure you include Wimpy and the Hamburglar. :)

Anonymous said...

When I was an opinion editor at the Daily Nebraskan, we used to get similar stuff. They must feel that it's very important that news of their affliction get out to the proper authorities/the public.

Anonymous said...

Did you put out an APB for the Hamburglar?

Anonymous said...

Uh oh...it sounds like you may have a Hamburgler on the loose!

Anonymous said...

If you did not have that covert paramilitary/police helicopter buzzing the city maybe the paranoia will stop! ;)

Anonymous said...

Yes, The Truman Show originally starred Tom Hanks living in Pleasantville before that is the US and British Intel had a "retcon" ordered to redirect the failure outcomes of various tyrant governments being taken over by their own people. ..Yes, I really exist; I am indeed Mister Keal.. of "The Keal Show", such cannot get more real. These letters to the blogger of whom writes this page is in-fact receiving legitimate letters. They even went so far as to include manipulation of time and cloned 5 year younger quadruplets of me. --Keal