The Strange Case Of The Eriksson Twins: Shared Psychosis, Reckless Endangerment, And Murder
Twins are said to share a bond that can defy scientific explanation. Some say that the connection forged in the womb allows twins to feel each other's pain, or even communicate via ESP. For Ursula and Sabina Eriksson, their bond took them on a bizarre trip - one that involved attempted suicide, superhuman strength, reality television, and even murder.
The Swedish Eriksson twins made headlines in 2008 after a series of strange events took place in the United Kingdom. The truly bizarre story and its aftermath has left authorities and physicians puzzled. What exactly happened that caused the twins to snap? Did they really experience a shared psychosis?
Ultimately, the only people who can know what happened to the Eriksson sisters are Ursula and Sabina themselves. But their strange case is darkly fascinating all the same.
Ursula And Sabina Headed To LondonPhoto: Glen Wallace / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
The Eriksson sisters' strange trip began in May of 2008, when Ursula - who had been living in the US at the time - decided to visit her twin sister, Sabina, in County Cork, Ireland. Within 24 hours of her arrival, the two took a ferry to Liverpool.
Upon arriving in the English port city, the twins paid a visit to the St. Anne Street Police Station to report concerns over Sabina's children, whom she had left with her partner back in Ireland. From there, the Eriksson sisters boarded a National Express coach to London, where their behavior would take a more erratic turn.
The Twins Were Stranded On The MotorwayPhoto: Paul Townsend / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Not long after the twins boarded the coach to London, Ursula and Sabina began acting strangely. Reportedly, the twins had refused to check their bags and became enraged when the bus staff attempted to take them from them. The bus stopped at a service station on the M6 in Staffordshire and the driver, who had been perturbed by their behavior, kicked the twins off.
Sabina and Ursula, now stranded, started walking the M6 motorway. The road is not designed for pedestrians, and concerned motorists began to notify the police.
TV Crews Arrived
After receiving calls about two women disrupting traffic and causing chaos on the M6, local authorities went to investigate. The particular group of police that responded had a film crew in tow who were shooting a reality television show called Motorway Cops, and with cameras in hand, they captured the bizarre events that unfolded.
Expecting to arrive at a scene of multiple fatalities, police were surprised to see the two women unharmed. As officers tried to calm the twins, Ursula suddenly darted into traffic, where she was struck by a large truck. Her sister Sabina followed her, and she was hit by a speeding sedan, somersaulting over the hood and windshield before landing in the third lane of traffic. Both women suffered multiple injuries.
Sabina Ran Back Into TrafficVideo: YouTube
As the Eriksson sisters lay on the asphalt of the M6, severely wounded from being struck by vehicles, police and paramedics scrambled to their aide. Ursula's legs were crushed, leaving her immobilized, and Sabina was unconscious for 15 minutes. But as the emergency responders attempted to help the twins, they became resistant. Sabina began screaming, "They're going to steal your organs!" and telling paramedics, "I recognize you - I know you're not real!"
Sabina suddenly displayed almost superhuman strength, rose to her feet, and punched a female patrol officer who attempted to restrain her. She then ran back into the middle of the motorway. Though it took several police officers and paramedics, Sabina was subdued shortly after.
A Case Of Folie à DeuxPhoto: marakma / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
The term folie à deux is used to describe a shared psychological disorder, wherein two people - typically related - experience a shared delusion. It's an extremely rare clinical disorder and is thought to be what may have occurred to the Eriksson sisters that day on the M6.
The twins were hospitalized in a mental facility following their apprehension, though doctors were unable to pinpoint the delusion, or the reason Ursula and Sabine continually leapt in front of traffic.
Ursula would spend three months in the psychiatric facility, while Sabina would be released back into society after a short stay - a decision that proved catastrophically short-sighted.
Sabina Slayed A ParamedicPhoto: Rept0n1x / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0
Just days after her arrest on May 17, 2008, Sabina was released by authorities. As she wandered the streets of Stoke-on-Trent, she encountered two men walking a dog and asked where she might find a Bed and Breakfast.
Glenn Hollinshead, a 54-year-old licensed paramedic, invited Sabina into his home for the evening. Back at Mr. Hollinshead's home, where his friend Peter Molloy was also visiting, Eriksson's behavior became increasingly bizarre. She offered the men cigarettes, but quickly snatched them from their mouths, claiming they were poisoned, and she routinely peered out the window, as though on the lookout for someone.
Molloy left his friend and his guest late that evening. The next day, Sabina, in a fit of unexplained rage, stabbed Hollinshead five times with a butcher knife, ending him.