Ben made a pathetic picture as he lay in his cell at the jail. He spoke
little to anyone, refused to eat, and slept fitfully.
A psychiatrist was called in to treat him. Bearded and wearing round,
wire-rimmed glasses, the man might have passed for Sigmund Freud himself.
"I'm Dr. Fraser," explained the psychiatrist. "I'm going to ask you a
number of questions and I'd like your cooperation in answering them. You
will talk to me, won't you?"
Ben nodded slowly but did not sit up from his recumbent position on the
"Good. I'm sure we can get along splendidly. You haven't been very
cooperative with the authorities here though. They've been unable to
provide me with any personal information about you. I don't even know
"Benael," was the lethargic reply.
"Your last name?"
"No, my first name. I don't have a last name."
"The psychiatrist looked dubious and took some notes on his pad. "Are
you from around here, Benael?"
"Where are you from?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"When were you born?"
"I don't remember."
"You look about twenty-five...."
"Think what you like."
Dr. Fraser sighed and added to his notes.
"Now, Benael, I'd like you to try to remember as far back in your life
as you can. What is the earliest event you can recall?"
"The very earliest?"
"Yes. Go right back to the beginning."
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth
was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep...."
"I mean, your
beginning," interrupted the psychiatrist.
"I tried to hit it as close as I could."
"Can you recall for me any of your early childhood?"
"I never had a childhood."
Dr. Fraser added to his notes. "Could you tell me about your parents?
Are they still alive?"
"My father is."
"When did your mother pass away?"
"She didn't pass away. I never had a mother."
"What sort of person is your father? Do you get along well with him?"
"He's quite authoritarian. I don't really think about what sort of
person he is. He just is. I never question him in any way. I get along
well with him. I'd be afraid to do otherwise."
"Does he know you're in jail?"
"I'm sure he knows."
"Has he made no effort to get you out?"
"Not yet. But he will. He did the last time."
"You've been in jail before?"
"One other time. It was during the Inquisition in Spain."
"Do you realize how long ago that was?"
"Four or five hundred years, I guess."
A profusion of notetaking.
"I once helped St. Peter break out of jail," added Ben. "That might be
of interest to you."
"No doubt St. Peter was quite grateful," said Dr. Fraser wryly.
"Mmm - he seemed a little confused actually. He didn't want to come at
first but I coaxed him."
The interview went on for most of an hour. The psychiatrist emerged
looking rather frustrated. He conferred with a clinical psychologist.
"He's not the most cooperative patient I've had. I think I've gotten all
I can out of him for now. See what you can do with a Rorschach test. We'll
try to put our findings together when you're done."
The psychologist came into Ben's cell with a set of ten cards in her hands.
Each card featured a bilaterally symmetrical ink blot, as though someone
slopped ink on one half and then folded the card so that the other half became
the mirror image. Some of the blots were colored. More were just black and
The psychologist explained that she wanted Ben to look at each card and tell
her what he saw in the blot.
The test took another hour. Afterward the two therapists got together.
Dr. Fraser asked the psycholgist to begin with her findings. She went
through the cards one by one.
"In the first card he said he saw 'a dark winged creature - something from
the depths of hell' to put it in his own words. He saw the blot as something
very sinister. A winged creature is a popular response for this card, but he
seemed abnormally agitated by it, suggesting that he's paranoid.
"In the center area of the blot he saw a human-like figure. When I asked
him if the figure was clothed or unclothed, he said it was wearing transparent
clothing. This suggests that he's preoccupied with seeing through the outer
aspects of people. When I asked him what sex the figure was, he said he
couldn't tell. This indicates a certain ambivalence toward sex on his part.
He also described the figure as being pulled about and having no voluntary
control over its actions. This points to schizoid tendencies.
"Now, card two. Here he saw two animals of some sort facing each other.
He went to the trouble of describing the texture of their skin, showing that
he must be a sensitive person. In general, his responses were idiosyncratic
and he often spoke about the 'genuine essence' of what he saw rather than
giving accurate descriptions. This shows a breakdown in his perception of
form, and a psychotic loss of contact with reality."
"I see his problem as basically being an unresolved Oedipus complex," said
the psychologist when she had finished reviewing the cards. "Because of his
consequent feelings of guilt, throughout his life he has had to maintain rigid
defense mechanisms against his drive impulses. He has an intense libido
fixation back in his early years. It has robbed him of psychical energy which
should have been used for development of constructive functions of the ego.
Since the ego is the part of his psyche that maintains contact with reality,
and has never developed properly, his ability to perceive reality has been
"Yes," agreed Dr. Fraser. "I can't recall ever having a patient who was so
severely out of contact with reality. His idea of reality is as far removed
from our own as... heaven is from earth, to use an expression. He's the victim
of severe delusions and megalomania. He has high aspirations which have no
foundation whatsoever in reality. The world is too harsh for him to tolerate
and life can only be made pleasant for him by escaping to his inner dream world
"He suffers from a delusion of immortality; he makes out that he has always
lived and will always live, as though the passage of centuries has no effect
upon him. The illusion of timelessness is a defense against maturation, against
walking with time to the finality of death. He has an infantile delusion of
living in eternity."
The two therapists discussed modes of treatment they might try. The process
of helping Ben get in touch with reality was under way.