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A State of Mind

Categories: Case Histories

By Andreas Melhorn, (c) 1999

I’m walking down the corridor. It’s pretty long and has a lot of doors on either side. And it looks like a hospital corridor. They don’t want it to look like that, but it still looks like a hallway in a hospital. I have to admit the look is not really obvious; it’s more like a feeling. For example, it’s not white or anything; we have a green carpet in it and light brown walls (green is said to have a soothing influence on people; that’s why they put a green carpet in the corridor). And there are pictures on the wall. Nice, colourful landscapes or gorgeous buildings from China or New York or moody paintings with no real motif, all behind clear plastic (no glass) with a thin black frame. Actually, I like the pictures. They cast an illusion into the hallway – an illusion of . . . I don’t know, exactly. It’s just nice.

But it still looks like a hospital corridor.

* * *

I really don’t know where to begin. I just have to start somewhere and the conversation I had with Carl in that corridor (about a week ago) is the beginning somehow. It was the moment when I decided that I had to try it. I also decided when I’d have to do it and how. Actually all that began much earlier – about two years earlier. Tomorrow, I will do my first real experiment and I want to write down everything so that other people can see how it all began. Probably, they can explain a few things that I don’t know. I know it’s important if it works, but I also know that chances are slim that it will work.

But I should really begin in the – well, in the beginning.

I met Carl in the corridor. There was nothing special about it. I meet him almost every day, but this time he suddenly talked to me.

“You hate me, don’t you,” he said, staring at his feet.

No, I don’t hate you.

I didn’t say that, I just thought it.

“You really hate me, don’t you,” he repeated, “or is there another reason that you never talk to me? Why don’t you ever speak to me, asshole? Huh? Not one damn word! Would you tell me that, please!” Now, he looked straight into my face.

He was right. I never talk to Carl. Every time I see him I think I’ll have to puke. I know: as soon as I open my mouth I will puke on him. He will be soaked, the nice green carpet will be soaked. It will simply stream out of my mouth and soak him. I couldn’t stand that – and I guess he neither. That’d be so embarrassing! Have you ever puked on somebody? In a plane? Or on a ship, because you were sea sick? It’s so horribly embarrassing! I could never do that and so I never open my mouth to talk to Carl.

I had stopped, surprised, when he first asked me if I hated him, but then I left him. I wouldn’t speak to him, not if I had to open my mouth to do it. He muttered a few more words and went away. When I reached the end of the corridor I had decided to try it.

I just realize that you still don’t know my name. I’m Brian. And maybe I should also tell you why I’m here. I am in this building because I killed two people: my mother and her husband.

* * *

The building I’m talking about is an Institute for the Criminal Insane. We’re all criminals here, mainly murderers and rapists, but also a few other guys, who are a danger to themselves and the world they are living in. Carl, for example, is both – I mean a murderer AND a rapist, only one victim for both, as you might expect. I guess that is exactly what makes me sick. I just hate this sex crime stuff, I hate it more than all other crimes, even more than my own. I know now that it was wrong what I did. Nobody will read this manuscript in the near future, so there is no need to write something that is not true. I won’t be able to get free because of a text like this. Actually I’m happy to be here and I don’t want to go. As long as I am here people are safe. Believe me, it is a horrible thing if you can’t trust your own mind, especially when you did things like I did.

This is exactly the reason for writing this text: I can’t trust my mind. The whole thing could just be an idea in my head. Probably it’s not real. Is it just an illusion? I can’t talk to anybody about it. When I first discovered it, I thought wasn’t real because I couldn’t repeat it. It was just a little bit of small talk I had with a patient here in the clinic and a dream.

You must excuse that there seems to be no order in my writings. I decided to follow my mind, while I’m writing. I decided to follow my thoughts – mixed and senseless as they might seem to be. It is all about my mind, after all, so this decision seems to be obvious to me. The text you are holding in your hands is supposed to be a scientific text, but unfortunately I am unable to write something like that. Once, I borrowed such a text from the library (it was something about Egypt, I think) and I didn’t understand a word. No, I am not able to do something like that. This text is some sort of diary, a “script of my mind” or something like that. Hopefully someone more intelligent than me can make use of these scribblings. But now I have to break my own rules. If I only told you my thoughts, you would never learn what it all is about. I’ll have to tell you now: I think that I am probably – perhaps, I mean, I really don’t know yet, but maybe – maybe I am a … telepath. I will see tomorrow. I will.

* * *

Let’s go back to that guy I was talking about. (You remember? It happened about two years ago and has something to do with telepathy.) His name was Peter and he was truly sick. He was a sadist. Tortured two men to death. When he arrived, he wasn’t allowed to talk to any of us. He was in the part of the building none of us wanted to go, the part where they lock you away. As I said, I really regret what I did, and so they asked me to have a little talk to Peter as part of his therapy. They didn’t tell me what he did, so that I could behave more “naturally.” (I have no idea, why the hell I’m supposed to speak more naturally, when I don’t know his actions; but I didn’t care – you learn not to care.) When Peter told me what he’d done – grinning – they took him away. We never met again, because two weeks later he killed himself by swallowing his tongue. They don’t want us to learn about these things, but of course there were rumours. There are always rumours.

We only talked for a few minutes, but we “connected,” if you know what I mean. All the time I seemed to know what he was thinking. When I think back, I am sure that I somehow really knew his thoughts. The same night I dreamed about him. In the dream he answered a question I was not able to ask before they ended our conversation: Why did he do it? In the dream he entered my room. A knock at the door woke me up – very unusual for a dream, as far as I know – he entered, stood under the lamp that shone with a green, sick light, looked into my eyes (in the light he seemed to be very ill – thin and weak – almost like a ghost), and said two sentences: “Because I like music. And their screams were like music to me, like the best symphony I’ve ever heard.”

All that proved nothing; it could have been chance. There was a feeling and a dream, that’s all. I decided not to tell anybody. I only would have gotten problems. Nobody would have believed me; they’d have said it was part of my schizophrenia. I had to wait and to watch. If it happened again I could tell them but not earlier. Not one minute earlier.

That was two years ago. I had to wait long before it happened again. And it did three weeks ago.

I will write more tomorrow after my meeting with Dr. Bernstein. I have to finish for today. Dinner in five minutes.

* * *

It worked! I can’t believe it, but it really worked! For God’s sake, I did it! I went into the session with Dr. Bernstein and I made him cry – I made him cry like a baby!!

The session started like they usually do when you change doctors. He is relatively new to our clinic – arrived about three months ago. We met for the first time in the hallway I already described. (You can meet a lot of people there. It’s our main corridor.)

The moment I saw him, I had once again this feeling of connection. He looked at me and seemed to recognize me. I mean, there would be nothing special about that. It’s possible that he really recognized me. Probably he had read about me. I guess, if I was new to a clinic I would read about the patients. No, the point is not that he seemed to know me, the point is that I also recognized him. I never met a Dr. Bernstein before but still he seemed to be familiar in a way I can’t describe. We looked at each other for a while and both of us had difficulty breaking eye contact.

I was excited – and I still am: another person like Peter and this time it was a full-fledged doctor! At first, I didn’t dare to think about it. This gave me the opportunity to prove whether I was able to send my thoughts into other people’s mind or if I was just a little bit madder than I seemed to be. I behaved like someone who suddenly learns that his last partner was HIV positive and doesn’t dare to take a test because he’s afraid of the truth. I did the same. I didn’t talk to anybody and I didn’t make any attempt to arrange a test of my abilities. I was afraid. Finally, it was my inability to talk to Carl that made me decide. Pehaps the test would help me to understand my own mind, perhaps it would prove that I am hopelessly insane.

It wasn’t complicated to convince Dr. Bernstein to make a few sessions with me. He also felt the connection between us.

And now it’s proved: I am able to create a telepathic link to some people.

I really can do it.

As I said, the session began as expected. Questions like how I feel and if I had any dreams or if there was something else I wanted to talk about. I didn’t try to explain why I wanted these sessions. That wasn’t necessary. I started right away describing the death scene of my mother and my stepfather, intending to inspire an emotion. I told him that I dreamed about it (a lie of course) but only said a few sentences aloud. Then I began to send thoughts and emotions. He began to cry when the “story” reached the scene in which the lead ripped a hole in my stepfather’s head, which means it didn’t take long.

As usual, the session was recorded. I told my “dream” aloud a few minutes later so the tape could also hear it. He didn’t stop crying – silent, only tears running out of his eyes, he waited for me to finish.

It’s not a surprise that the session wasn’t very long.

I am curious if he will say anything about it at our next session. Probably he won’t. He didn’t say anything today, I guess because of the recording. But sooner or later we’ll talk about it, I’m sure. And I’m looking forward to it.

* * *

Today I talked to another inmate. His name is Fred. He suffers from schizophrenia like I do (well, I’m schizophrenic with the tendency to act violently – just to let you know). You know, schizophrenia means voices in your head, it means you talk to walls or coffee machines, or it means all sorts of delusions. I never had these symptoms before I killed my mother. They came later when the madness became worse, a few weeks before they caught me. Now that I’m under medication the dreams have become much better. I don’t dream often anymore and the voices are silent for years (and I don’t act violently anymore, thank God).

Fred is suffering from delusions. The drugs can’t stop it completely, unfortunately. This afternoon, he asked me if I had met the black man. I expected another story about things that are only true in Fred’s mind, so I asked what he meant. This sort of conversation can be fun (kind of) – you can call me sick if you want, but to take a ride on a mad mind (via a conversation) can be a great experience, something you will probably never forget.

“Today, the black man was here and talked to a few people. Did you meet him?” he asked.

“Black man? You mean Satan?”

“Yes. Today, Satan was in the clinic. He had human form.”

He looked at me. I saw a lack of confidence in his eyes that made him look sad – a creature that was looking for help. He was begging me to believe him, to tell him that I also saw Satan in our nice hospital, that all this wasn’t just another illusion. There is something I do from time to time: I tell Fred that I believe him or that I also saw what he saw. As far as I know there is no help for Fred. His mind is too deranged to ever get in order again. (He was sent to us because he believed a rat was living in his wife. He tried to kill the rat with a drill.)

I waited for him to continue.

“He called himself Green. The BLACK man called himself Mr. Green.” He giggled shyly.

“And he talked to people? What did he say?”

“He didn’t say very much. But he had a demon with him, a succubus. I don’t know her name, but does a demon really need a name?” He giggled again; I don’t know why. “She talked.”

“Really? What did they talk about? Do you know?”

“Of course, I know!”

The expression on his face changed to the look of someone talking to a little child – but only for the better part of a second. Of course, he knew.

“They were looking for a renegade demon. They asked me, a few other patients and even some of the doctors ( – Fred refers to everybody, who is not a patient as a doctor, even the janitor – ) if we noticed something unusual. I mean, they didn’t ask directly but you could tell what they were looking for.”

Unfortunately, Fred wasn’t completely wrong. All that Satan and demon stuff was bullshit, of course, but there were two people in the clinic with the names of Steve Green and Sandra Atkinsen. They had something to do with the government – agents, whatever. I couldn’t find out. They talked to some people. They talked to Dr. Bernstein. Did he call them? Did he talk about our session? I really hope they were here for another reason. I don’t want to become a governmental experiment. Tomorrow, I will have to talk to Dr. Bernstein about it.

* * *

The last session was good. I made contact again. This time I could read some of his emotions. He was thinking about something that I said and was looking at me without focussing – you know, he stared through me. I began to concentrate on him and suddenly I could feel his emotions. He was a little bit anxious. I guess he noticed the contact and feared something similiar to the last session might happen, but this time I only watched. I didn’t feel much, though.

Before I did all that, I asked him about Mr. Green. He didn’t want to tell me anything about it. Fortunately, he was willing to tell me that it had nothing to do with the patients. When I made contact I suddenly knew that he wasn’t lying. That’s a relief.

* * *

I’m thinking about the future. What shall I do now? There is something going on in my head that is much more than just madness. I made a person cry just by thinking about sad things, I read the emotions of another person, I could tell that Dr. Bernstein didn’t lie. The problem is that it just works with some people – two people in two years. How can I find more? Should I do more experiments? Should I talk to somebody? Or should I just wait?

I didn’t sleep all night. The events of the last days were spinning about in my head. Hopefully I will calm down soon. I will stop all experiments until I’ve had some nights of rest. All this is too much for me. I will think about it later when I’m less tired.

* * *

What a horror! I didn’t sleep for three nights! Jesus! I feel dizzy and can’t concentrate. It’s really horrible. I lay in bed all night and thought about my murders. My mind couldn’t relax. I murdered them again and again. Again and again I took the gun, and again and again I screwed on the silencer that I bought illegally from a friend, and went to my drugged stepfather. He had to die first, I knew that. The drugs didn’t last long enough and so he was awake when I came into the room. When he saw the gun he began to tear at his handcuffs. He cried and tried to scream. I saw tears in his eyes. The cloth in his mouth almost suffocated him when he tried to speak and to beg. But only his eyes could beg for his life.

Hundreds and hundreds of times I lifted the gun after staring at him for a while and hundreds and hundreds of times I pulled the trigger. Again and again.

I didn’t want to do it, for God’s sake! It was my twisted mind that told me to do it. I really didn’t like to do it. I hated him – I admit it. But still I didn’t want to do it! I was sick, for fuck’s sake! I was sick!

* * *

Another night. What shall I do? For the first time I’m thinking about the consequences of my actions. I did things with my mind that were not natural, I did things to another man’s mind. Probably, I just read without changing anything, but I can’t be sure about that. What causes my insomnia?? I can’t even guess. I can’t describe how I feel. There are voices in my head again, whispering voices that I can’t understand. I perceive the world through a lens, which distorts everything I see. Dancing lights in front of my eyes. Things fall from my hands. I’m so tired (so TIRED) but it’s impossible to relax even for a second. The pictures won’t leave. I’ll write everything down. I’ll try to put everything on paper. Perhaps it will stay on the paper and won’t come back. I don’t think so, but I have to give it a try. They gave me drugs (stronger drugs than yesterday) and Dr. Bernstein who injected them personally promised it would knock out an elephant. But nothing happens. Nothing. I hate syringes! It was a rational decision to kill my mother. I had to reunite her with my father. I knew he suffered in his afterlife without her. And I knew she also suffered since he died. Rationality of a mad mind. I bought a gun and a silencer and drugs. They had to die physically separated. Her new husband had to die first so that his soul could flee unconnected to her. He looked a little bit like my father – that’s why she married him. Not because she loved him. If he died after her he could find my parents and disturb their love. His soul had to flee first or he would intrude. I drugged them (probably the same stuff I took yesterday. That’s nice.). Something in the wine. I faked a hangover. Oh no, thanks, no wine for me today. Then the handcuffs and gags. I put them in different rooms and then I drank half a liter of vodka. Without alcohol I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I loved my mother, I loved her so much that I killed her. But the drinking took too long and they were awake when I finally went upstairs. I still see the disbelief in the eyes of my mother. I saw it thousands of times last night. It is the same disbelief I have now. I still can’t believe that I did it – that I killed her. I destroyed her. My reasoning was wrong. Her death was absolutely senseless. The doctors say it’d be a big help if I was able to accept my actions (accept them as something – something wrong – that happened in the past with no effect on the future). Then they would probably be able to heal me. I can’t accept it, thus I will never be healed. Now you know. And I can sleep. Hopefully I can sleep now.

* * *

And yet another night. Nothing changed. You can die if you don’t sleep. But I won’t die of insomnia. I promise. I won’t. Dr. Bernstein was here, he looks after me. And he gave me more drugs. I tried to put everything in my head in order and probably, I have got an idea of what happened. I think I created a feedback of some sort. I sent him the memories of my murders and than I connected his mind again to read it. He was anxious and thought again about it and I received my memories back without noticing it. My own memories came back into my head. They are in my head more than once now and that kills me slowly. I’ve got enough drugs in my veins to kill a rhinoceros. It doesn’t help. I asked Dr. Bernsein to come back in an hour or so. He will do it. I’m still in my own bed but if there are no changes tonight they’ll have to take me to the hospital (another part of the building – we call it that way). I don’t want to go to the hospital. I hate it. They told me tomorrow, they’ll have to take me there.

I guess that’s okay. Tomorrow is okay.

I hope Dr. Bernstein will find the notes before anybody else does. I don’t want him to have any problems because of my notes. He helped me. The things that happened are not his fault. They are mine. He didn’t tell anybody about my abilities and I’m grateful for that. If he finds the notes first he can decide what to do with them.

I guess I’ll use the cord of the lamp. I can’t stand it any longer. I’m sorry but no scientist will have the opportunity to make any research on me. I’m really sorry.

Fortunately they didn’t take away the lamp. Thank God, I still have it.

Once more: I’m sorry for everything I have done. Everything. I really am.

* * *

Epilogue:

Dr. Bernstein was walking down the main corridor of the clinic in which one of his patients died a few days ago. Unfortunately, he was not able to avoid Dr. Stevenson, who was approaching him.

“Hi, Dr. Bernstein! How are you doing?”

Dr. Stevenson was a small man who tended to talk too loud. Dr. Bernstein did not like him and would really have preferred to leave, but this time it could have been too dangerous to annoy his colleague. It would have looked suspicious to run away.

“I’m fine, thanks.”

There was nothing Dr. Bernstein could do. Even a nervous look to his watch and tapping with his feet did not convince Stevenson to move on.

“That’s good. I just wanted to tell you, that I will help if necessary.” Stevenson explained, “We all know that it was a tragic accident and nothing more.” He stopped as if he was thinking about something. Then he continued.”May I ask you a question? When you took the job, did you know that the murderer of your cousin was here? You should have expected problems.”

That was impertinent!

“Oh dear, it really didn’t seem to be much of a problem, did it? He was just one patient among others. It was possible to avoid him.”

Another look on the watch, but Stevenson did not seem to be satisfied. He wanted more.

“But why did you accept the sessions then?”

“Because he asked me to do it! What would you have done? Would you have said ‘No’ and have left a man in need alone? I’m a doctor. I can’t do that. I really hated this man for a while, I have to admit it, but his actions weren’t his fault. It was his mental instability. I just had to help him.”

That was a mistake! He shouldn’t have told Stevenson that he hated the murderer – even if it was long ago. A fault – a stupid fault. He could sense how the mind of Dr. Stevenson worked. Just in this moment specific parts of the conversation were forgotten. But there was nothing he could do about it right now. It was too complicated to delete or change memories from a man’s mind, and usually it didn’t go undetected. He had to wait. Important things had to be done first.

He added: “I’m just happy that we have the recordings of our sessions. They show that I didn’t do anything to him.”

“Yes, that’s true. And if you had done anything with his drugs they’d notice in the autopsy. If you need any help you tell me, okay?”

“Thanks. I really appreciate this. Bye.”

“Bye.”

Finally Dr. Bernstein went to his office. Stevenson’s mind was so full of shit! God – and his fantasies! Really, he needed therapy more than most of his patients. Dr. Bernstein sat down and took the telephone. It had seemed to be so easy. He hadn’t planned to do anything like that, but then he had been overwhelmed by the memories of the murderer. He hadn’t been able to stand it. He’d broken out into tears. The next session Dr. Bernstein did it. The murderer was concentrating on the doctor’s mind and Dr. Bernstein destroyed his ability to sleep. It was so easy. It came so naturally.

And then he couldn’t stop what he had started, although he knew that it had become too dangerous. The first drugs couldn’t make the murderer sleep – not with the destruction Dr. Bernstein had caused in his head. All the doctor had to do was to keep the dose of the stronger drugs low.

And now they’d made the connection to his cousin. He looked almost like his relative, and one of the officers recognized him. The doctor should have expected that, he knew. He was in real danger now. Fortunately, he could destroy the journal of the murderer, but still there was the risk that the pathologists would detect that there was less drug in his blood than the doctor had prescribed.. Normal people would have slept with that dose easily but under these circumstances Dr. Bernstein was forced to officially prescribe more that he dared to give. One night of sleep would have destroyed the plan. The doctor already sensed a regeneration of the ability to sleep in the sick man and he wouldn’t have been able to have any more sessions with the murderer. Not after all that had happened.

Probably they wouldn’t discover anything, but Dr. Bernstein couldn’t take the risk. He dialed a number that was written on a piece of paper he took out of his jacket.

“Hello, Mr. Green? It’s Dr. Bernstein speaking. I thought again about your job offer. Your collegue told me that you would like to use me and my special abilities from time to time. Yes, of course I lied when I told you that I don’t have any special abilities, but you did know that already, didn’t you? You just couldn’t prove it… Yeah, I’m in. But first, you have to do me a favour…”

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