Graveyard Shift 15 Bizarre Psychological Cases From History That Left Scientists Speechless  

Lea Rose Emery
553.7k views 15 items Embed

There are some cases that doctors just can't get to the bottom of, including strange psychological conditions that have stumped psychiatrists and psychologists for many years. From puzzling mental illnesses, like schizophrenia, to the most bizarre deaths, doctors have faced cases so confounding that all they can do is throw their hands up.  

The truth is, much is still unknown about medicine and the human body. There are so many complications when it comes to the brain alone. This list explores the strangest cases that patients have brought to psychiatrists and psychologists. It's not just regular people, either - even celebrities suffer from bipolar disorder and various mental conditions. Read on to discover cases that are serious head scratchers. 

Kim Noble Has Over 20 Different Personalities


Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

Kim Noble may be her given name, but when you speak to her, you're most likely speaking to Patricia, her dominant personality. In this extreme case of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), or split personalities, Noble has been found to have over 20 different personalities, including a boy who only writes in Latin and an anorexic young woman. Though doctors can't understand it, they support Noble having custody of her child, concluding that none of the personalities are a threat. While Patricia may be the dominant personality, Noble bounces in between.  

"Sometimes, I can end up wearing five different outfits in one morning," Patricia told The Daily Mail. 'Normal for me is driving to the shops and returning home with my boot full of groceries I didn’t want,’ she writes. ‘It’s opening my wardrobe and discovering clothes I hadn’t bought, or taking delivery of pizzas I didn’t order." She seems to be coping with it and making some amazing art, but it's more than most people can wrap their minds around.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat


The Man Who Mistook His Wife F... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 15 Bizarre Psychological Cases From History That Left Scientists Speechless
Photo:  Amazon

In one of his most famous books, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (1985), Oliver Sacks describes the curious case of a man (whom Sacks dubs "Dr. P") with visual agnosia, the eponymous "man" who thought his wife was a head covering. The man could see; he just couldn't make sense of the objects in his visual field. It was "caused by damage to the brain’s occipital or parietal lobes." And Dr. P didn't just think his wife was a hat, either. He mistook fire hydrants for children and talked to knobs on furniture. Sacks likens the man's visual confusion to Mr. Magoo at one moment in his description of the situation.

Medicines Used To Treat King George III Probably Caused Or Worsened His Madness


Medicines Used To Treat King G... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 15 Bizarre Psychological Cases From History That Left Scientists Speechless
Photo: Matt From London/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

The madness of King George III is well known. The British King would go through periods of acting completely deranged in which he had to be restrained. He would speak for hours until he foamed at the mouth, with a fascinating and bombastic vocabulary. His doctors were utterly befuddled by his ailment. 

Interestingly, it was retrospectively diagnosed as a genetic defect called porphyria, but there was no solid evidence of this theory until 2005. Researchers found that there had been a high level of arsenic in King George's blood, which has been connected to setting off porphyria. It's likely that the medicines given to him contained arsenic, meaning that the very things that were supposed to be curing him were actually making his condition worse. 

Phineas Gage Survived A Tamping Iron That Speared His Skull


Phineas Gage Survived A Tampin... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 15 Bizarre Psychological Cases From History That Left Scientists Speechless
Photo: Jack and Beverly Wilgus/Wikimedia Commons

The famous case of Phineas Gage comes from Vermont. In 1948, an early detonation on a railway line shot his tamping iron into his face, through his brain, and right out of the top of his head. The fact that he survived should be mystery enough, but friends and family said his personality changed so completely that it was as though he was an entirely different person.

What was the cause? Some doctors thought that frontal brain damage led to a personality change, but recent research suggests that his right frontal cortex remained intact. So what led to the personality change?