Continuing my personal crusade to introduce everyone to great books, I am honored to have Michael R. Fletcher, author of Beyond Redemption, visit the blog for Part Three of his THE RULES OF A RESPONSIVE REALITY blogging tour. Here Michael will explain the madness and mayhem behind the world of Manifest Delusion; a place where insanity is the means to shape reality to your will!
RULES OF A RESPONSIVE REALITY – PART THREE
Types of Geisteskranken
In Part One I defined some basic terms such as Geisteskranken (crazy people capable of warping reality with their delusions) and the Sane folks who are only capable of shaping reality as a group. In Part Two I looked at the factors defining and limiting the powers of a Geisteskranken as well as how one becomes a Geisteskranken. If you haven’t read those yet, go give them a read.
In this post I’m going to look at the many and varied types of Geisteskranken and give a few examples as to how their powers (delusions) might manifest. What follows is hardly a definitive list; there are as many kinds of Geisteskranken as there are people. There is no reason two people’s Cotardism must manifest in exactly the same way.
All of these delusions are based on real/reported cases of unstable behaviour. That said, I have played with them (and how they manifest) to suit the stories. In some cases I have made use of out-dated psychiatric diagnoses because frankly they are cooler. In most cases I have included a link to the relevant wikipedia page on that delusion. It’s been a while since I put this together, so might see text lifted pretty much verbatim from wikipedia.
Only a small fraction of these appear in Beyond Redemption. I saved all kinds of madness for The Mirror’s Truth and The All Consuming.
Attonitatic: Hears two voices – one (on the left) says to do good things, the other (on the right) says to do evil.
Befallen: (Ekbom’s Syndrome): : Believe they are infested with parasites, bugs, or insects crawling on or under the skin. Just think about that and how it might manifest. Yummy!
Capgrast: (Caprgras Syndrome): Believe a relative or spouse has been replaced by an impostor (often demonic in nature).
Comorbidic: (Comorbidity): A person with multiple delusions that have reached the manifestation stage. Konig is a Comorbidic as he is a Gefahrgeist, Doppelgangist, and a developing Mirrorist. Comorbidity often marks the final days of a Geisteskranken as it signifies an increasingly decaying mental state.
Cotardist: (Cotard’s Syndrome): Believe they are rotting, missing internal organs, or dead.
Doppelgangist: (Syndrome of Subjective Doubles): Believe a double (called a Doppel) of themselves is carrying out independent actions. It is possible for a powerful Doppelgangist to manifest more than one Doppel. Doppels are aspects of the original person’s personality. Sometimes parts of themselves they hate, or manifestations of who they wish they were. Sometimes Doppels appear as exact copies of the original, while others can manifest as twisted versions or even look like completely different people—depending on the delusions of the insane. In outward appearance Doppelgangists and their Doppels can be mistaken for Mehrere as both manifest as multiple people. Mehrere, however, are true schizophrenics and suffer from multiple—and often completely different—personalities.
Dysmorphic: (Dysmorphic Syndrome): These folks are overly worried about a perceived defect in their physical features. They want to look different so badly their appearance actually changes. Due to their obsession, they are unable to see the changes and still think themselves defective. Many believe they are so unspeakably hideous they are unable to interact with others. This will eventually spiral out of control. Most Dysmorphics withdraw from society and end in suicide. Many become abnormally thin, muscled, large-breasted, or exaggerated specimens of physical perfection…in one area.
Gefahrgeist: (Sociopath): Sociopaths have limited ability to feel for the pain and suffering of others. They are driven by their need to achieve and rule in social circles.
Geisteskranken: (Delusionist): Reality is responsive to the beliefs of humanity. Under normal circumstances it requires large numbers of people—all believing the same thing—to affect change. The more people who believe something, the more real their belief becomes. Geisteskranken are capable of believing something so utterly and completely—are insane enough—to affect noticeable changes in reality all by themselves. Most are only mildly neurotic and can cause minor or subtle changes. The truly powerful are also that much more deranged.
Getrennt: (Depersonalization Disorder): Disconnected from one’s body, detached from own thoughts and feelings, or disconnected from reality. These folks often feel as if they live in a dream state (some will deny the reflection in a mirror is theirs, and can be confused with Mirrorists. Some have out-of-body experiences. Depression, low self-esteem, panic attacks, self harm, and extreme phobias often result. Some feel as though time is passing them by and they are not in the present. Getrennt are also often comorbidic and suffer from Unwirklichkeit (Derealization). Typically caused by: traumatic experiences including childhood abuse, accidents, natural disasters, war, torture, panic attacks and bad drug experiences. People who are diagnosed with depersonalization also experience an almost uncontrollable urge to question and think about the nature of reality and existence as well as other deeply philosophical questions. (from wikipedia).
Halluzinieren (AKA Halluzin): (Hallucinations): These folks are capable of manifesting hallucinations in one or more senses. Minor Halluzinieren might just cause people to smell whatever the Geisteskranken is thinking about. Powerful Halluzinieren can hallucinate in all five senses and twist local reality.
Hassebrand: (Pyromaniac): Set fires as an outlet for their repressed rage and loneliness.
Intermetic: (Syndrome of Intermetamorphosis): Believe people swap identities with each other while maintaining the same appearance. From wikipedia: The main symptoms consist of patients believing that they can see others change into someone else in both external appearance and internal personality. The disorder is usually comorbid with neurological disorders or mental disorders.
Inverse Square Law: (Inverse Square): The further one gets from a Geisteskranken, the weaker the effect of their delusions. Stand next to a Gefahrgeist, and you’ll soon be desperate to be their best friend. View that same Gefahrgeist from a safe distance, and you’ll see them for the manipulative arse they are. Hey, does that kinda sound like real life? Weird. As a Geisteskranken’s mental state decays—and their delusions gain in strength—the range of that power increases, but the inverse square law still applies. There are rare exceptions, where the Geisteskranken’s delusions pertain specifically to distant objects.
Kleptic: (Kleptomaniac): Are compelled to steal things (usually of little or no value). They are often not even aware they’ve committed the theft.
Körperidentität: (Body Integrity Disorder): Believe life would be so better as an amputee. The feeling is accompanied by the urge to amputate one or more healthy limbs, to actually follow through on those feelings.
Krankheit: (Somatoform Disorder): Believe they are always sick and or injured to the point that they are. Extreme cases believe they have lost bodily functions—they might become blind, deaf, numb, or paralysed due to their delusions. These folks are often comorbidic and Dysmorphic as well, believing a limb is particularly weak and withering.
Macropic: (Macropsia): Objects are perceived to be larger than they are…and so they become larger. This could apply to a person, limb, or object of any type. A spider can be seen to be the size of a house. Run! These folks are responsible for many of the world’s monsters. This is sometimes combined with Micropesia.
Mass Delusion: (Mass Delusion): Some Geisteskranken are capable of convincing the sane masses of all manner of craziness. Typically the stolid beliefs of the sane counteract the delusions of the insane. There are however exceptions to that rule. If a Geisteskranken gains enough followers they can effectively create a new normal. The beliefs of the Geisteskranken become the beliefs of their followers. This is particularly common with the smarter Slaver-type Gefahrgeist. Erbrechen Gedanke (Beyond Redemption) is a perfect example. In these cases, the belief of the masses actually supports the Geisteskranken increasing their ability to twist reality and the range of that ability.
Mehrere: (Schizophrenic): Are so sure they are more than one person…they actually are! The various people they become can have wildly varying physical and mental traits. The truly deranged can be an entire crowd of people; either one at a time, or all at once. Just as the maifestations of a Dopplegangist are called Doppels, the manifestations of a Mehrere’s split personality are called Fragments. In outward appearance Doppelgangists and their Doppels can be mistaken for Mehrere as both manifest as multiple people. Mehrere, however, are true schizophrenics and suffer from multiple—and often completely different—personalities.
Micropic: (Micropsia): Objects are perceived to be smaller than they are…and so they become smaller. This could apply to a person, limb, or object of any type. These folks can shrink you down to the size of an ant or turn your home into a doll-house. This is sometimes combined with Macropesia.
Mirrorist: (Catoptrophobia): Some believe the reflection in a mirror is someone other than themselves. Some Mirrorists believe their reflections know things, can see the future, or travel freely between different mirrors (useful for long distance communication). Others believe mirrors are portals to other worlds or dimensions. Some Mirrorists fear their reflections are trying to escape where others fear their reflections are trying to drag them into the mirror.
Narcisstic: (Narcissism): Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance and individuality. They crave attention and admiration and tend to be preoccupied by grandiose fantasies about themselves. They find interpersonal relationships difficult and tend to exploit others and lack empathy.
Phobic: (Phobia):: Anyone suffering a strong phobia. There are so many things worthy of fear it is impossible to guess at how each will manifest. Are you terrified of snakes? There’s probably one hiding in the toilet.
Somatoparaphrenic: (Somatoparaphrenia): Believe one or more limbs (sometimes an entire half of their body) belongs to someone else. Often this means they have no control over that limb. In extreme cases the limb develops a ‘mind of its own’ with its own agenda.
Synesthesia: (Synesthesia): is a disorder resulting in the sufferer experiencing an alternate sense as a result of the first sense. Ex: experiencing the sense of sight as the sense of taste.
Therianthrope: (Therianthropy):Believe they are possessed by (or sometimes were born with) animal spirits. Many believe they can transform partially (or completely) into their animal form.
Trichotillic: (Trichotillomania) A disorder resulting the urge to pull out hair (facial or otherwise). The ritual activity brings comfort to the afflicted.
Unwirklichkeit: (Derealization): The external world seems unreal, lacking spontaneity, depth, or emotional impact. This is most commonly a comorbidic disorder and occurs as a symptom of other disorders. This can manifest as something separating the Geisteskranken from the rest of reality. A wall of glass, thick fog, or gauzy veil are common manifestations of that separation. Sometimes the sufferer believes reality is actually just a particularly intricate play they are watching. If suffer one delusion, it’s probably this one. Shh. Don’t tell anyone.
Wahnist: (Schizophrenia):A Form of Schizophrenia (false beliefs): Includes: believing people can hear your thoughts, that you are famous, or (falsely) believing the Geborene are out to get you. But what happens when you believe your false beliefs so strongly they manifest? Are yo still crazy? Uh…yup.
Wendigast: (Wendigo Psychosis) :An insatiable craving for human flesh. Typically the person will become a demonic monster, but still recognizable from human origins. This is more common in the tribes to the far north where every winter starvation becomes an issue. In appearance they combine the emaciation of severe starvation—along with open sores—with demonic strength. They also stink of death and decay. Some turn into massive giants, growing in strength and size as they eat. These guys have nothing to do with Chuck Wendig. I have no idea if he eats human flesh.
Wütend: (Amok, or Militant Explosive Disorder): Periods of brooding followed by a berserker killing frenzy (usually armed with a sword or knife) against people or objects. Most Wütend are killed during their frenzy or commit suicide after, but the few who survive typically have no memory of the event.
Do you know of any fascinating and/or rare delusions I’ve missed? Drop them in the comments! I’ll research them and, who knows, maybe they’ll make the next book!
About the Author:
Michael R. Fletcher is a science fiction and fantasy author. His novel, Beyond Redemption, a work of dark fantasy and rampant delusion, was published by HARPER Voyager.
His début novel, 88, a cyberpunk tale about harvesting children for their brains, was released by Five Rivers Publishing in 2013. 88 is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and elsewhere.
The next two Manifest Delusions novels, THE ALL CONSUMING, and WHEN FAR-GONE DEAD RETURN are currently in various stages of editing while Michael tries to be the best husband and dad he can be.