Ganser Syndrome…

…is described as behaviour where one assumes the identity of authors of recently read books, or of characters in them, or of anything purchased or acquired containing abstract identity cues and clues.

[the December 1980 murder of John Lennon, ex-Beatle, provided a complete example of how this syndrome operates in the world; Mark David Chapman was a lone wolf ex-security guard who had read the “we all studied this book in high school” Catcher In the Rye and had “become” the central character Holden Caufield. In the book there is no mention of the need to go out and kill famous people, but “the catcher in the rye” has a function which is to save all the “lost” children who approach a cliff and who are going to fall off it. In his so-called defence to his murder charge, Chapman told the court that he was the catcher in the rye of this generation and refused to say any more, or to elaborate.]

(Ganser syndrome is a type of factitious disorder, a mental illness in which a person deliberately and consciously acts as if he or she has a physical or mental illness when he or she is not really sick. People with Ganser syndrome mimic behaviour that is typical of a mental illness, such as schizophrenia. Ganser syndrome is sometimes called “prison psychosis” because it was first observed in prisoners. People with factitious disorders act this way because of an inner need to be seen as ill or injured — not to achieve a clear benefit, such as financial gain. They are even willing to undergo painful or risky tests and operations in order to obtain the sympathy and special attention given to people who are truly ill. Factitious disorders are technically considered mental illnesses because they are associated with severe emotional difficulties. – WebMD)

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