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Cotard’s Syndrome: When a Person Believes They are Dead



Psychiatrists call Cotard’s syndrome a delusion of grandeur turned inside out. The disease is a mania of self-denigration. Patients state that they are dead, decayed and are walking dead, or that they are criminals and murderers.

In scientific terms, Cotard’s syndrome or delusion is defined as a nihilistic, hypochondriac depressive delusion, combined with the ideas of vastness. Patients believe that they turned into walking dead, great criminals and other “dark lords.”

Those suffering from Cotard’s syndrome are characterized by denigrating themselves to the point of absurdity, and the size comparable with delusions of grandeur. For example, a person may claim that they poisoned the entire world with their poisonous breath or infected the entire world population with AIDS. Often, patients think that they are dead, and their existence is an illusion and that they are an empty shell.

Cotard’s syndrome is also called “delusional denial.” This was the name used by a French neurologist Cotard in 1880.

Patients may argue that they have no brain, heart or lungs. It also happens that “delusional denial” applies to the intellectual and moral qualities. Patients complain about the complete lack of intelligence, conscience and knowledge. Sometimes patients deny the existence of the external world; complain that the earth is empty, that living people have no souls and just empty shells, etc.

Despite the fact that these symptoms taken separately may appear to some as witty observations of the reality, people with Cotard’s syndrome experience real suffering.

It is not easy to feel like a walking dead for years. It is assumed that this mental illness is an extreme form of depression. Cotard’s syndrome occurs as a side effect of schizoaffective disorders and may accompany senile dementia and other brain malfunctions.

It is not known how common this condition is. Modern drugs successfully treat depression, and experts suspect that this state is exceedingly rare today. However, patients who feel that they are dead exist to this day.

Because of the pathological belief that they are dead, the patients may attempt suicide to get rid of the “useless shell” – their body. They die of starvation, assuming that they no longer need to eat, or pour acid on themselves to stop being a “walking dead”.

Recently, New Scientist magazine published a unique story of a man who considered himself dead for a decade. This case is surprising because the patient’s delusions of “dead brain” turned out to be true to some extent.

Ten years ago, Graham woke up and felt dead. For a long time before that Graham had suffered from a severe depression. He even tried to commit suicide by throwing an electric appliance into a bath filled with water.

That morning, Graham realized that during a suicide attempt he killed his brain. He reported that he felt that he simply did not have brain any longer. When hospitalized, he assured doctors that pills would not help because he had no brain as he burned it in the bathtub.

The doctors’ reasoning had little effect on Graham. They could not convince him that if he could speak, breathe, eat and move his body was alive and his brain actually worked. He said he was just annoyed with the doctors’ words because he did not know how he could say or do something without a brain.

Graham did show some signs of brain damage. For example, he assured that he has lost his sense of smell. However, theoretically it could have been another component of his depressive delusions. The man lost interest in the activities he previously enjoyed.

He did not want to see people as it made no sense to him. He did not enjoy anything. He used to love his car but then lost any interest in it. Even his bad habits lost their appeal, for example, Graham quit smoking. He no longer felt the taste of cigarettes or found this activity pleasant.

Doctors at the local hospital did not know what to do and sent Graham directly to two world-famous neurologists, Adam Zeman of the University of Exeter (UK), and Stephen Laureys from the University of Liege (Belgium).

The scientists were astonished to find out through positron emission tomography (PET) that in some way Graham was right. Metabolic activity in significant parts of the frontal and parietal regions of his brain was abnormally low, in fact, so low that it looked like a snapshot of a person in a vegetative state.

“I have been administering PET for 15 years and have never met a person who would be on his feet, able to communicate, but had this anomaly,” Laureys confessed.

In a sense, part of Graham’s brain was indeed nearly dead, the scientist added: “His brain worked as if he was under anesthesia or sleeping. As far as I know, this is quite a unique phenomenon for the brain of a person who is awake.”

His colleague Zeman who also worked with Graham believes that the reduced metabolism caused pathological changes in the patient’s perception of the world. Interestingly, the patient’s delirium in some way proved to be prophetic. “We still do not know very much about the mind,” Laureys said.

First the news of the results of the scan did not have any effect on Graham. He still felt dead, and considered any treatment of his “empty shell” a misery bordering on torture. He had to make peace with the fact that he would not be able to die for real

The man used to go to the cemetery, and the police would bring him back every time. According to Graham, he belonged with the dead. By that time his teeth were black because he refused to brush them. For some reason, he lost all the hair on his legs, and the doctors were not able to explain why.

Gradually, however, Graham’s condition improved. After the brain scan he was prescribed an appropriate treatment based on medication and psychotherapy. Before his brothers and a nurse had to look after him, but now he is able to live independently and cope with household chores on his own.

“I cannot say that I completely returned to normal, but now I feel much better,” he said. “I can run errands and leave the house.”

Graham added that he no longer believed that his brain was dead, but sometimes the world around him seemed strange. He is not afraid of death but feels lucky that he is still alive.

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“Cursed charity shop painting ruined my life”, says British woman




A British woman purchased a portrait of a young girl from a charity shop and now asserts that the picture is cursed, reports

Elliot-Brown, aged 36, spotted an artwork by an unfamiliar artist at
the Hastings Advice Representation Center in St Leonards-on-Sea, East
Sussex, a month ago.

Simultaneously, the seller cautioned Zoe
about the painting possibly being cursed, revealing that a prior
purchaser of the same artwork had returned it to the store with the
statement “it ruined my life.”

Out of curiosity, Zoe captured an
image of the painting on her smartphone and shared the photo with her
68-year-old mother, Jane Elliot-Brown. Her mother seemed to be entranced
by the painting.

she began urging Zoe to acquire the painting. Yielding to her mother’s
persuasion, Zoe paid £20 for the artwork. However, as soon as she
introduced it into her home, strange occurrences commenced taking place.

Zoe entered her home and positioned the painting in the living room,
their dog named Cilla leaped up and started growling at the artwork.
Cilla deliberately kept her distance, refraining from approaching the
picture. Subsequently, Zoe’s mother’s health took a sharp decline. She
began experiencing alternating spells of fever and chills, requiring her
to wear four sweaters to keep warm.

Concurrently, Zoe’s mother
seemed to be captivated by the painting. She continuously gazed at it
and even caressed the painted girl’s cheek. During the night, she heard
peculiar knocks emanating from the room where the picture hung, despite
the room being unoccupied.

Zoe managed to persuade her mother that
the painting held negative energy and was cursed. However, Jane
staunchly defended the painting, reluctant to part with it.

never seen my mother yearn for something so intensely. She was
entranced by it, but not in a positive manner. She guarded it. She
frequently gazed at it. She ran her fingers over the painted girl’s
cheeks and polished the surface, although the painting didn’t require

“Each time I mentioned disposing of the painting, she
became exceedingly irritable. It transformed into a sort of family
heirloom for her, something she began cherishing.”

“My mother
flatly refused to get rid of the painting. I think it’s a bit like the
magic power of the Lord of the Rings ring. It definitely works in an
attractive and charming way, it seems to pull you towards it.

“My mother became a bit like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings,” says Zoe.

herself says that it seems to her that the painted girl is very unhappy
and she stroked her to comfort her. She also does not attribute the
deterioration of her health to the purchase of the painting.

the same time, she admits that there were several cases when someone
seemed to knock on the door, and when she opened it, there was no one on
the threshold.

One day, Jane became so ill that she fainted right
in the bathroom. Zoe called 911, but her mother refused to go to the
hospital and was eventually left at home.

One morning, Zoe entered
the living room and saw her mother standing and stroking the painted
girl on her cheeks. And the mother could not remember how she ended up
in the living room and what she did at night.

was strange behavior, especially for my mom. She couldn’t remember
anything from what happened last night. My mom is still very weird and
distracted and doesn’t want to discuss it.”

And then something
even more frightening happened. Zoe and her friend Ben went for a walk
on a hill during a thunderstorm and suddenly saw a “creepy black figure”
that suddenly appeared in front of them.

They do not know if this
is related to the painting, but they immediately ran back in fear.
Deciding to get rid of the cursed painting, Zoey eventually took it and
took it to the same shop where she bought it.

And when she drove
up to the store, she saw that in one of the tires of the car, brand new,
someone stuck a screw. She gave the painting to the seller, but then
changed her mind and took it back.

didn’t want someone else to buy the painting and get hurt because of
it. Now Zoe wants to give the picture only to someone who understands
damn things.

Now the painting is kept in Zoya’s house in a box filled with sage (it is believed that sage helps against evil spirits).

She also hung sage in every corner of the house, although Zoya’s mother was very unhappy with this.

thought knowing my luck some idiot will go and get it and try and burn
it and I don’t really want to be left with the remainder of whatever the
hell has been going on. Technically I was the last owner. [I want it]
dealt with properly. […]”

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Wild man with a spear in his hand was spotted in the forests of Germany




A mysterious wild man, nicknamed by the locals “the wolf man”, was
photographed in the forested mountains of the Harz, in the center of
Germany. The man was completely naked and held a spear in his hand.

savage was accidentally noticed by two tourists who were walking
through the forest, not far from the city of Blankenburg in
Saxony-Anhalt, and examined the ruins of an old castle.

“When we
reached the caves in the sands, we saw this wolf-man. He stood high in
one of the caves and held in his hand a long wooden stick that looked
like a spear.

“He didn’t take his eyes off us, but he didn’t say
anything. He looked dirty and looked like a prehistoric man from the
Stone Age, like pictures in a history book,” Gina Weiss, 31, told Bild

to Weiss and her friend Toby, they observed this man for about ten
minutes. The naked man appeared to be in his forties and reportedly
these tourists were not the first to have seen him in the area.

It is assumed that he has been living in the forests near Blankenburg for about five years.

Authorities say they have received numerous reports of a person wearing a wolf’s skin or wolf costume over the past five years.

March 2023, a frightened eyewitness even called the police because he
thought that a wolfman running next to him wanted to attack him. In
other cases, people have seen how a savage is trying to make a fire or
building a hut out of branches for himself.

At the same time, it
is quite cold in this area in winter and it is not clear how this person
managed to survive here for several years.

According to Alexander
Beck, head of the local fire brigade, this savage clearly has the
skills to live in the wild and adapt to the changing seasons of the

Where this man came from is unknown. There are many theories, from the hermit to more mystical versions such as time portals.

However, there are those who believe that all this is just some kind of prank to scare tourists or some other purpose.

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