Nobles Used to Suffer from "The Glass Delusion" and Were Terrified of Breaking
Nobles Used to Suffer from “The Glass Delusion” and Were Terrified of Breaking

Nobles Used to Suffer from “The Glass Delusion” and Were Terrified of Breaking

D.G. Hewitt - November 25, 2019

Nobles Used to Suffer from “The Glass Delusion” and Were Terrified of Breaking
Would Princess Alexandra have a different kind of delusion if she lived today? Wikimedia Commons.

2. Reports of people suffering from the glass delusion have been found as recently as the 1960s

The most recent recorded case of glass delusion dates back to 1964. Again, it was uncovered by Professor Lameijin. Indeed, it was he who personally treated the patient. A young man showed the classic signs of suffering from a full-on glass delusion. Not only did he feel fragile, he also felt transparent. Speaking to the BBC, Lameijin revealed that the patient was using the delusion as a coping mechanism to keep his overbearing family at bay. With careful psychiatric help, he was able to make a full recovery.

Nobles Used to Suffer from “The Glass Delusion” and Were Terrified of Breaking
King Charles VI made the glass delusion famous, but scholars are still trying to really understand it. JSTOR.

1. Could the glass delusion – or something like it – be set for a comeback

Despite being one of the strangest episodes of 16th century European history, relatively little research has been done into quite what caused the glass delusion. Was it simple superstition? Were royals and other powerful men scared of the rising mob? Or were they scared of glass, a wondrous invention back then? Nobody can say for sure. However, according to some psychiatrists, the modern world could see an outbreak of a similar delusion. As one 2015 article in the respected Paris Review noted: “The glass delusion has powerful contemporary resonance in a society in which anxieties about fragility, transparency, and personal space are pertinent to many people’s experience of, and anxieties about, living in the modern world.”

 

Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources

“The Glass Delusion”, Eleanor Morgan, The Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL, December 2014.

“An odd kind of melancholy: reflections on the glass delusion in Europe.” Gill Speak, The History of Psychiatry, 1990.

“The Delusion That Made Nobles Think Their Bodies Were Made of Glass” Hadley Mears, History.com, December 2017.

“The ‘Glass Delusion’ Was The Most Popular Madness Of The Middle Ages.” Gizmodo, September 2014.

“The people who think they are made of glass.” BBC News, May 2015.

“Glass Delusions – Once a Common Form of Madness.” The Paris Review, May 2015.

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