Since it has been so long since I added to this project I decided it might be easier to put all the posts in one so that new peeps can get caught up and old peeps can refresh the story in their minds. I promise that from now on I will write longer and will not take any extended breaks no matter what happens in my life. Mwah
June 11th, 2011
My dearest Emm,
If you are reading this it means I am either dead or beyond caring and you have accepted the terms of my bequest. I do so hope that you love this house as much as I have and do not come to regret the very necessary restrictions that living and working here brings. Enclosed is a flash drive with all my patient files and appointment books. You will see that at least three of these poor souls have been treated by both your great and your great, great-grandmother. And I have no doubt that one day you too will be writing a letter just like this to your granddaughter unless you prove to be even more of a workaholic than the rest of us and choose to accept a total commitment.
It’s completely up to you. I will confess that if I hadn’t wanted children so badly I would have been tempted. It is such an incredible opportunity for anyone in our field but you will weigh the pros and cons for yourself.
I have been able to clear things up for a couple of weeks but after that I’m afraid you will have to dive right in.
Best wishes for a full and rewarding life. I am at peace knowing that my patients are in your hands. Everything you need to know is in your hand. For God’s sake do not lose it or ever let it fall into anyone else’s hands. You will understand far better once you read the files.
Journal of E. Pinter
June 11th 2012
It is past 1 and I have been psyching myself up to see what Nan put on this travel stick. Frankly I am scared shitless and after finishing my residency in forensic psychiatry I have to admit it takes a lot to shake me. But I am terrified that what I am going to discover when I read through her files is that she was… what? Why can’t I say it? Because when I grew up I wanted to be just like her. She was the funniest, most sophisticated and brilliant person I have ever known and it will break my heart if when I go through her files I find that she had lost all that. Of course on the other hand she did have a wildly perverse sense of humor so it is possible that… she could be fucking with me. Well there’s only one way to find out.
June 18th 2012
Just after my last entry someone broke into the house. Well, that isn’t completely accurate because there were no signs of breaking in. The windows were all intact and the doors were locked? In fact I might not have noticed it at all if it hadn’t been for the missing meat.
Strange that someone would leave jewelry, electronics and cash in favor of a prime rib.
Which means what? Did Nan give someone a key? Maybe the answers are on the travel stick which I hopefully will have time to get to tonight. I didn’t realize how much stuff I had until I started to unpack.
June 19th 2012
I fell asleep in the office last night. I was just about to upload Nan’s travel stick when I was hit with such a wave of exhaustion that I could not keep my eyes open. I didn’t sleep right away though. I drifted in what must have been a semi-dream state because I found myself deeply absorbed in conversation with an exquisitely beautiful woman named… Damn I have forgotten her name. It started with an N I think… I suppose if it is important it will come back to me.
I do remember what we discussed because I kept wondering how I could find such grandiose lies so completely believable and I needed to remind myself that it was just a dream. For every myth and legend there is a psychiatric condition, things do not go bump in the night, people do.
July 9th 2012
It has been almost three weeks since I sat down to collect my thoughts. I could lie and say that I have been busy settling into my new home and finalizing all the bits of legal and practical minutiae involved in starting up a private practice but the truth is that I have had an incredible shock and it’s taken me this long to process everything. And if I’m going to be totally honest I will also have to admit that I wasn’t sure whether I wanted this on my computer at all. Part of me wanted to down a bottle of Glen Fiddich, smash that fucking travel stick into a million pieces and look through family albums until I could remember my grandmother as the woman who raised me and not as the woman she really was. But that wouldn’t have solved anything; it certainly wouldn’t have stopped them… in fact anything I might do to change my new set of circumstances would likely be in direct violation of my Hippocratic Oath.
I realize that I’m not making a whole lot of sense here. It’s because I’m stalling. It’s like as long as I don’t actually say it; I can pretend it’s not really true. On the other hand I may have had a psychotic break and this is all part of my delusion. Regardless I am committed now. So I guess I will start Nadia…
Three weeks ago I wrote about a dream where I was having an utterly fascinating conversation with the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. She was the color of white jade, and yes I do know how cheesy that sounds but there is really no other way to describe the translucence of her skin or how very, very white it was and yet with a tinge, an infinitesimal tinge of blush. Her hair was blue-black and seemed to move just a few seconds before she did. I have no idea what her eyes looked like because she would not allow me to look at them directly. Neither can I remember if she was tall, short, thin, obese… She was just a face. No. She is the face.
You see she is not a dream. She is…
Two nights later Nadia returned. This time I was wide awake. This time I heard the tapping at the window. And this time I could see that it was not a bird, or a branch. It was the woman of my dream. And yet how could it be, the room I was in was at least twenty-five feet from the ground? I had left no ladder. The branches that did reach the windows on this floor were not stout enough to bear anything heavier than a squirrel. How could there be that face so full of longing that I lost all reason and not only opened the window but bid her enter?
I do not remember how she came to be sitting in the chair across from my desk but there she was. I seem to have a vague impression of swirling black but surely I am not remembering things accurately. Or perhaps I am, this is all very new to me after all.
She asked me if I had, had a chance to look at her patient file since her last visit and I told her that in all honesty I had believed her last visit to be a dream.
This seemed to trouble her a great deal until I suggested that we start over as if this was our first appointment and we had never met and that as soon as we had finished our conversation I would indeed acquaint myself with her history.
She told me that her name was… I will just refer to her and any of the others by their first names only. Her name was Nadia. She had been a patient of my grandmother’s for over forty years. I wrote down a notation when she mentioned this because Nadia must have been somewhere in her late twenties. My grandmother was treating her for an eating disorder. She was bulimic. I asked her to tell me about herself. But she said that the details of her life were unimportant and that she needed me to hypnotize her like my grandmother had promised her I would or she would die. I explained to her as best I could that I did not practice hypnosis, that I did not believe in it as a permanent therapeutic solution but that I could refer her to someone if she wanted.
Nadia became hysterical. She threatened to lie out in the blazing sun until she was nothing but ashes if I wouldn’t help her. The only way I could calm her down was to tell her to come back the next night after I had familiarized myself with her case. She agreed and then stepped out of the window.
My heart was in my throat as I scanned the ground below. But there was nothing, not even on closer inspection with a flashlight, was there any sign of a broken body below my office window.
What was I feeling? Was I scared, anxious, hysterical? I was numb.
Somehow I managed to climb back up the stairs and throw the travel stick into my computer before I started shaking. Fortunately I also had the presence of mind to grab a glass and the bottle of single malt along the way because as soon as I started reading I needed a drink. Hell, I needed several.
August 16, 2012
It has taken me over a month to come to familiarize myself with my grandmother’s practice. The case files are staggering because she has been treating some of her patients for over sixty years. It is like inheriting parrots and in all likelihood unless I manage to pull off some psychiatric miracle, I too will be passing on ponderous notes amassed after another sixty years of treatment. However, I realize that I am still being frustratingly enigmatic so I have decided to share the pertinent portions of my grandmother’s files and all the other notes and instructions left me on that godforsaken piece of plastic. It is far, far easier than trying to explain in my own words what I have landed in. To be totally honest, there are times when I need to reread everything because I am still trying to grasp it all and I am living it.
May 3, 2011
From the Journal of Dr. Magdalene Currey
It is definite. I have a year at most. Is this enough time to put my practice in order before I die? That is really the only thing that concerns me. My only hope is Emm. I don’t know what I will do if she says no. I can’t even begin to imagine how I would explain my patients to anybody else. Even if I was believed would they be treated or studied? It would be a sin if they all just reverted. All those decades down the drain. I was so close with Nadia.
I have a good feeling about Emm though. I think she is looking for a change. The Ewing case really got to her. Understandably, but once the armor is chinked it’s only a matter of time before it cracks wide open. I think she would find my “monsters” quite refreshing after dealing with hers and she has always loved this house…
My “monsters” how do I tell them?
*It is important to note that I am leaving out any details that might make it easy to recognize the people in these files. Only the first names are used and I am not including any of the dates since some of them coincide with events well-known by the public from newspaper and other media accounts. E.P.
This patient was admitted to hospital and put under 24 hour observation by court order after being found this morning in High Park wandering naked drenched in blood. Patient claims to remember nothing past the beauty of the moon and his desire to enjoy it by partaking of a nocturnal stroll. He believes that he must have been attacked and robbed because he is a man of means and his clothing reflects that. Also he says he had a gold watch and an alligator wallet containing at least two hundred dollars which is an incredible amount of money to be walking around alone at night with. The police are searching the park for his clothes and any sign of an attack or possibly even a victim since the patient has no apparent wounds.
When asked his name and address the patient refused to give either until pressed and then he told us to call him Francois G……. He preferred to keep the rest to himself unless it became necessary for him to call his solicitor. He believed however that upon a few hours of observation that we would see him to be not only sane but perfectly harmless and release him even before the officers found evidence of his veracity.
He did however accept the “loan” of a hospital gown and bed where he slept like the dead for ten hours straight.
The police found the clothing Francois had described as wearing when he left the house. Unfortunately it was in tatters. They even found his wallet. The money however was missing as was the watch. In fact if the thieves had of realized the value of the wallet itself I’m sure they would have taken it too, whoever those thieves should happen to be.
The Officers found nothing to explain the blood.
Francois G displayed no aberrant behavior during the time we watched him and was released after the twenty-four hours had passed. We determined that the blood must have been come from his nose.
Francois G returned under similar conditions roughly a month after his initial visit. This time however he was found curled up with his head on the haunch of a deer. Again however he has no memory of how he ended up so. He is horrified at the idea that he killed and ate the deer since the evidence that he did so is irrefutable. He does not want to go home until we can tell him what is happening to him? He still will not tell us anything about himself and became completely hysterical when it was suggested that his family be notified of his whereabouts.
Since he can remember nothing our head of Psychiatry, Dr. Metz is going to hypnotize him and see if he can be made to recall his actions that way. In the meantime we have the patient sedated for fear that he may do harm to himself.
At four o’clock this afternoon Dr. Metz successfully put Francois G into a trance like state and was able to extract the following. “It is such a beautiful night. I feel to walk under the stars. I love to see the moon so voluptuous reflected in the pond with the swans circling in adoration like virginal devotees. I feel the air grow hot on my face. So hot that the sweat begins to run down my neck. I am burning. There is something so sensual about this night. I feel myself grow hard, first where it is expected and then all over. I am engorged. My entire body is so. I hear nothing but the sound of my heart. I am nothing but heartbeat and heat. Heartbeat and heat. Heartbeat and the sound of fabric tearing and … pain? Do I call this pain or ecstasy? It is agonizing and yet delicious. The bones in my body are splintering and reforming. My senses are so acute. I swear I can hear the sap drip off the leaf on that birch tree on the other side of the pond. I jump hearing thunder and then laugh when I realize it is two squirrels chasing each other up a tree. I cannot imagine what a thunder-storm would do to my ears.
I feel so good. I drop and roll in the grass like when I was a child. I roll and roll on my back and then for absolutely no reason at all I leap to my feet and run. The trees fly by in a blur and yet I hear and smell everything so clearly that I have no need of sight. Suddenly I catch a scent that sets my mouth to watering. I am ravenous. Eat. I must eat. I hear the pounding heart. Her eyes are so gentle, so brown like the earth. She is fast. She darts between the trees as rapid as a blink and if I were to blink I would lose her. But I do not and so in the end I leap upon her back and sink my teeth into the back of her neck and feed. Never have I tasted such tender meat, I cannot stop the saliva from flowing as I clamp my jaws around her beating heart.”
The rest of the session is impossible to record but to sum up I would ask the reader of these notes to imagine listening to a wild beast tearing apart it’s prey.
Dr. Metz concluded the session when the patient, still under hypnosis, fell asleep after finishing his grizzly meal.
Of course it is to be surmised that the “beating heart” belonged to the deer but there is a part of me that is not so sure. The patient made it sound so sexual, describing the prey’s eyes and the connection he makes with her emotionally that I cannot help but feel he is telling us about an encounter with a woman.
Dr. Metz believes Francois G to be suffering from a type of splintered psyche similar in nature to those including what used to be labeled lycanthropy, what we now call schizophrenia as coined by the great Eugen Blueler. He feels that the patients problems are sexual in nature and it is only in this wolf-beast delusion that he is able to accomplish climax. His fear is that Francois G will get increasingly violent as this wolf-beast personality gains more strength. He has decided to keep the patient here until it can be determined just how dangerous the patient is likely to become.
Upon being informed that he will not be released until further study can be made Francois G becomes quite belligerent. He insists that we release him immediately. Dr. Metz allows Francois to listen to the recording of himself under hypnosis. It is common procedure to allow patients to hear their sessions unless the Dr. feels the patient needs preparation to be able to contend with what has been revealed. In this instance Dr. Metz believed that the patient needed to be confronted with just how far he had lapsed from reality. He believed that only when the patient heard what we had would he understand the necessity of removing him from society.
Francois G however was not horrified that he had torn apart and devoured a living creature. Francois was delighted. He found it hilariously amusing and would not stop laughing until there were tears streaming down his face. I tried very hard to keep a neutral expression but evidently failed because looking at me also made him burst with laughter.
Then he stopped. He stopped so completely that it was like he was not in the room at all but on a radio that had been turned off. His face held absolutely no expression as he told Dr. Metz that he would like to contact his solicitor. The patient was informed that we did not have to fulfill such a request if the consulting psychiatrist believed the patient to be a danger to himself and or others. However if Francois would like us to contact his family in order for them to accept the responsibility of deciding whether they would prefer a more private facility we would be more than happy to do so. The patient tilted his head and looked at the Dr. with such loathing that I became increasingly frightened. The Doctor calmly held his gaze. His face and body language remaining perfectly neutral until finally the patient agreed to allow us to contact his father.
An hour after contacting the father’s place of business we were visited by an impeccably tailored solicitor who informed Dr. Metz the precariousness of his position if Francois G was not allowed to leave with him.
The patient was released into the custody of the family solicitor and this file is now closed.
It has been over twenty years since I last saw this patient and yet he has barely changed at all. He was a referral from a colleague who has decided to give up psychiatry. This is not as unusual as it may seem. Many psychiatrists have short-term careers as burn out is prevalent in the field especially those working with the criminally insane. I must admit at first to a certain amount of ambivalence in accepting any new patient since I still had some hospital shifts but my colleague was so desperate to see his patients settled before he closed his practice that I agreed to at least read the file.
It took me almost ten pages before I was feeling as if I had already encountered Frank G before. It took another five for me to realize that Frank G and Francois G, who had been one of my very first cases during my residency was the same person.
From the journal of Magdalene Currey April 3 19–
I am most disconcerted. So much so that I hardly know how to begin this entry or if indeed I should even try until I have spoken of the experience to Dr. Metz or someone more seasoned than I in this mostly unexplored field. But then a part of me is highly reticent… There are still so few women in psychiatry and those of us who have fought for our place are so highly scrutinized that it would not take much for any of us to be discredited, fairly or otherwise. So perhaps it is best if I keep this to myself for now, recording it here where I can study it with as much objectivity as I can muster. And I pray that in writing it the experience will lose some of its… intensity.
We have at the moment three patients that are suffering from “night terrors”. Dr. Metz has put them together in a separate ward during the evening hours so that their screams and flights will not disturb the other patients. It has for some time now been one of my duties to observe these three during the so called hour of the wolf when their symptoms are most acute. It has long been my custom to bring a pad large tablet of paper and draw these patients as they traverse whatever Hell they enter as soon as the lights are extinguished.
I stand with my face pressed against the window and my torch focused upon the sufferer. It’s dim circle forming a rather pathetic spotlight but it is enough. And that which I cannot see is supplemented by what I can hear and sometimes even smell.
Last night I followed my routine to the letter. I set up outside the room of Patient A. Patient A is a wife and mother who aside from this nocturnal affliction fit all the criteria set down for a diagnosis of high functioning. The other patients were much the same except for Patient B who was an invert and Patient C who had attempted suicide to rid herself of these nightly tortures.
I was just getting out my pencils when I heard furtive whispering coming from Patient C’s room. This was entirely new. I had heard all three of these patients have lengthy conversations with another or others unseen but never had the voices sounded different than the patients own. This time I could swear that one of the voices was male.
I was loath to shine my light in through the window in case it proved to be a disruption so I pressed my ear to the door and just listened.
At first I heard nothing but a somewhat lazy hissing sound, repetitive and somewhat seductive in it’s tone and rhythm. The longer I leaned against that door straining to catch even a single word the deeper I felt myself falling under it’s spell. The hall was becoming oppressively warm. It became necessary for me to undo three buttons on my blouse. Or perhaps I should remove it altogether after all I was alone. And I would stay alone unless I called… And there was no need for that since I was not in any danger.
I could feel the air against my naked flesh. It felt so good, so good.
The whispering had stopped. With a compulsion so strong it was impossible to resist, I pressed my body against the cool metal door and looked through the window directly into the a hunger so great it left me weak.
Too weak to stop myself from recklessly unlocking the door. His arms were strong and the moment I felt his breath on my skin the room spun.
I have not been able to get him out of my mind. I find it almost impossible to think of anything but my fervent wish that he be there again tonight.
Am I going mad? Have I become too sensitive to the souls I want so desperately to help? Or am I simply suffering from Residents Curse, exhaustion? It will soon be time for my rounds. I must try to drive him from my thoughts or else I will never sleep.