Tag Archives: Halloween

Bedlam Over Halloween

Before I start ranting, I have an update on the strange occurrences in my apartment.

After the box-tossing incident in the hall, I had another experience later on that night. My cats, who were on the bed, suddenly both turned, froze, and stared at the bathroom. I thought, “Oh no what now??”

The toilet flushed.

By itself.

Both cats, being brave little kitties, once again dove under the bed.  Times like these, I wish I had a dog.

Oh sure, it’s funny NOW, but think how you would feel when it’s late at night, you’re already tired and still a bit freaked out due to the weirdness of the past 2 days, and suddenly this happens!

It’s creepy from the get-go, seeing both cats freeze and stare like that. Because I know they are looking at something I can’t see.

I really hope it stays quiet now. But since I don’t know what it is or why it’s doing things, I am still somewhat unnerved. And while flushing a toilet is hardly menacing, it’s still weird.

This is not helping my health, either, as I am now having trouble sleeping (well, wouldn’t you??). My low-grade fever continues, though the stomach issues seem to have resolved for now. But I am glad that my doctor’s appointment is rapidly approaching. Maybe I can get some answers.

Feeling like crap AND feeling scared is not a good combination.

Anyway, on to the article…

bedlam: noun:  1.  (obsolete) Madman, lunatic  2. Popular name for the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem, London, circa 1529   3. A place, scene, or state of uproar and confusion
(Merriam-Webster online dictionary)

This article is not going to be amusing or funny, until the weird news part at the end.  But I hope it at least makes some people think.

I chose the word “bedlam” instead of “confusion”, “uproar”, or any other synonym, because this article is about the portrayal of people with mental illness (or developmental delays) through Halloween scenes and costumes.

The people who adhere to the concept that most people with mental illness or developmental delays are dangerous and scary are, to put it mildly, confused.

And I am in a uproar about it.

Yes, people who are mass murderers and serial killers are frightening – of course they are. No one disputes that. Someone in a haunted house attraction chasing people with a fake chainsaw is not offensive to me. But I am not writing about that.

According to “Serial Murder: Multidisciplinary Perspectives for Investigators” (U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, published results of symposium in San Antonio, Texas, August 29 – September 5, 2005), “as a group, serial killers suffer from a variety of personality disorders, including psychopathy, anti-social personality, and others.”

Personality disorders are mental illnesses, to be sure, but psychosis is not necessarily a part of their symptomology.

The report also states that serial killers do not meet the legal requirement for insanity, which is

“Mental illness of such a severe nature that the person cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality, cannot conduct his/her affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable compulsive behavior.” (The People’s Law Dictionary, Gerald and Kathleen Hill, 2002, as incorporated into the Law.com website)

So, it seems, clinically and legally, serial killers are not, on the whole, psychotic.  Consequently, to lump people with mental illnesses that feature psychosis (schizophrenia, for example) in the same group as serial killers is not accurate.

Yet this is exactly what is being done every time someone puts out a prop or dons a costume portraying a “crazy person”.

Part of the reason there is a perception amongst the public that serial killers are psychotic, in my opinion, is because people do not understand the difference between personality disorders and illnesses that feature hallucinations and delusions (like schizophrenia).  Another reason is the very human trait of trying to make sense out of nearly incomprehensible acts of horror, and…

~ We don’t understand why someone would do these horrible things, so it’s easier to just say “they’re crazy”.

~ We want to be able to identify someone who could do these horrible things, in order to arrest them or keep them from committing crimes in the first place.

Additonally, it makes for a more interesting news story or book if the killer did what he did because voices told him to or because he thought he was battling aliens.

Bigfoot and Plato and Witches, Oh My!

Note: I have added 2 more weekly sub-categories of “2014 News”, and those are “Science” and “Everything Else”. I felt I had to call it “Everything Else”, or I would have gone super-organized and made a LOT of other sub-categories like “Marijuana”, “Pennsylvania News”, “War”, “Terrorism”, “Freedom of Speech” and on and on and on.

And then Wednesday would come and I would either have too much to write (because I would have felt the need to write something in ALL sub-categories), or would have written so much that no one (myself included) would want to read it.

But, considering that this blog is supposed to not just be about me, but also about life in 2014 and beyond, I want to include stuff I think is important about the world-at-large. Thankfully for you, this will not include things like celebrity gossip or other vacuous subjects, unless:

Something has annoyed me and I can make fun of it, or…
Something has pissed me off and I can rant about it.

Because sometimes “vacuous” is also really irritating.

So, at the mention of “irritating”, here we go!

You recall BettyLou from last week’s entry called “Just Bring Cups”, that example of pettiness I have encountered way too many times in my life? Well, BettyLou has a daughter, whose name is probably something with the “ee” sound at the end (Tiffany, Bethany, Brittany, Destiny, Chasity – somehow I think people are spelling this wrong, Brandy, you get the idea).

Let me be clear. I know people who have (some of) these names, and I do not dislike them – ok, I might dislike some of them, but not because of their names. And, by the way, BettyLou is just a name I made up, as I can’t recall what the actual name was of the “Halloween Carnival Nemesis”. It’s just that, for some reason, these “ee” sounding names were very popular with parents of those born in the late 70s, early 80s.

Anyway…BettyLou’s little sweetheart has moved on from “just being a room mother” to “super-fantastic-is-my-hair-perfect-in-this-picture-BLOGGER”.

“Annoying” has gone viral.

Nothing spectacular in reporting that some people on the internet are annoying, as we all know that’s common. The thing that blows me away is how easily this particular type of annoying translates from your typical middle-class venues to the internet.

The “About Me” portions of the blogs are always the same:

“I am the proud wife of a very successful, handsome man who puts up with my nightly blogging (after everyone is bathed and tucked into bed, of course!) and loves me even when I spend a little too much at the grocery store (oops!). I also have 3 beautiful, talented children who, in addition to excelling at piano, ballet, and football, spend their winter vacations collecting canned food for the less fortunate (during our yearly Christmas treks to Aspen, after their junior championship ski competition).

I am also an avid coupon-clipper, president of the local chapter of “Craft-y Women” (our little craft group that makes AWESOME centerpieces for city council luncheons!), and organizer of the “Trunk or Treat” night every October 31 (All Hallow’s Eve is a Christian holiday, and we need to take it back!). The reason I am writing this blog, though, is because I love to cook! So many people have suggested that I write a recipe blog so, here it is!”

If the above (fictitious) example doesn’t make you ill, or make you shudder, or make you smirk, then why are you continuing to read this? You know where it’s going.

“Why are you picking on these people? Is it because of the ‘Halloween Carnival Incident’?”

Well, kind of. Although I did mention at the end of that article that, quite often, this holier-than-thou, snotty attitude that is all too common amongst certain types of people causes massive problems for them at some point. Sometimes they are so busy sticking it to “the Joneses” that their own life goes to hell in a handcart, and they end up seeing a therapist – like me.

And the minute they walk into my office, they become human. A human who is hurting gets help from me no matter what the reason is. So I don’t, as a rule, hate people like this.

Sometimes their kids learn by observing the detrimental effect this attitude has on others, and really make an effort to be “not-perfect” people like the rest of us slobs.

But more often than not they don’t have their world come crashing down on them, or have an epiphany – they just keep repeating the same patterns. Because not everyone falls off their high horses. It’s just a fact of life.