Friday, February 11, 2011

The Three Christs of Ypsilanti

In the 1950's Michigan had a very well funded mental health institutions. Ethically speaking, it was not the best system in the world. A psychologist named Milton Rokeach working at the Ypsilanti Mental Health Insitution decided to take three delusional patients, all whom believed they were Christ reincarnated and place them into a room together. The idea, according to Rokeach, was to challenge each of the patients pathological delusions.
One of the strengths(?) of the experiment was that by definition there can only be one Christ. Each patient took turns calling the other one a false prophet and subsequently excommunicating them. As one could guess, none of the patients made any improvement on their mental faculties. In a later addition of the book, Rokeach admits that he did have no right manipulating the lives of his patients. Hey, it was the 50's, man.

Below is a link to the original article.

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