03 January 2019

3rd January 1964 - The Three Christs of Ypsilanti

On 3rd January 1964 Milton Rokeach's book The Three Christs of Ypsilanti was published.

In 1959, at Ypsilanti Hospital in Michigan, psychologist Milton Rokeach forced three patients to live together. Each was suffering from the delusion that they were Jesus Christ. Rokeach's idea was that when the patients were confronted with each other they could be cured. Rokeach also sent them letters that confronted their delusions. The book details their interactions with each other and with Rokeach and other patients. The three were quite different, and argued a lot at first, but by the end got along by not raising the subject of who was Christ. After the two years of the study their delusions had not significantly changed.

Leon is the youngest Christ, and in one extract Rokeach writes

11:47am Leon overhears two aides discussing paranoid schizophrenia. One says that it is a reaction to homosexuality and, furthermore, that everyone has some degree of paranoia. As soon as they leave, "Leon says to me: 'I disagree, sir. There are people who aren't insane, and I'm one of them. People who generalize are mentally ill.'

 The book was made into a film in 2017.

Thankyou to http://todayinpsychologyhistory.pbworks.com for the date.

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