We never felt thoroughly satisfied with the family history on account of the comparative ignorance of the parents, our only source of information, although they were honest enough people. All points in heredity seemed negative, nor could we learn that there had been anything significant in developmental conditions. The girl had only recently menstruated. Her people felt that of late her word was quite unreliable. She went as far as the 4th grade. On account of the short time in school in this country this was considered doing fairly well.
Ten months prior she had fallen off a street car; it was not known she was damaged seriously. A jury had given a verdict of several hundred dollars against the company, but on account of an appeal having been taken the case was still unsettled. Since the accident a number of fainting attacks had occurred and Georgia had lost one position on account of them, a place where she had worked for 2 years. She was said to have been quite healthy before the accident. Some 5 weeks before we saw her, the girl had become hysterical and announced that she had not menstruated the week before and the cause was that she had been raped. Her behavior was so peculiar in regard to this that her parents did not believe her statements and did nothing about it. The girl evidently was accustomed to telling falsehoods, although we could get no specific account of them. The parents were very anxious to avoid a scandal, for though they were poor they made much of their respectability .
Georgia was examined after a later reiteration of her charges; the physician said that she had not been raped. After we saw her the parents thought it was best to go to another physician with the young man who had become so interested. Once more the report was that there had been no rape, but it now appeared that there had been some manipulation of the parts. After this the case quieted down, but Georgia had run away again just before this second examination. When by our recommendation she was now placed in a convalescent home she repeated the same stories and announced that she was pregnant. Of course more trouble was created by this and a third examination had to be made to convince these good people who had been recently asked to interest themselves in her.
After her stay in the convalescent home Georgia returned to her parents, and, appearing to be recovered, went to work again. Her record for two years was unexpectedly satisfactory. When the above episode had blown over she regained control of herself, adapted herself to family conditions, and worked steadily. On one occasion her nervous symptoms have returned with much depression and again an attempt at suicide. She was now carefully studied in a hospital for signs of insanity, but again it was determined that she was not of unsound mind. She made a speedy recovery, adjusted herself once more to her surroundings, and after a few months became married. During the last year or so there has been no further trouble. A settlement of the law suit for injuries was made before her more recent period of depression. At the time of even her last attack we can learn of no more false accusations having been made. The family attitude about her has, all along, not been what it should have been to have gained the proper results, but the problem of poverty was always with them.
--------------------------------------------------------------- Mentality: Traumatic psychoneurosis. Case 24. Girl, age 16 years. Accident, with law suit following. General physical conditions: Anemia, poor nutrition, otitis media. Delinquencies: Mentality: Running away. Poor ability; Attempted suicide. temporary False accusations. aberration. ---------------------------------------------------------------
Summary: Case of a young man of 19, with already a long record of criminalism, who created much trouble for a court where a judge was keenly anxious to do justice. The fellow implicated himself in a sensational murder, but investigation proved this to be untrue. In other ways his word was found most unreliable. The question concerning his sanity could only be answered by stating that he was an aberrational type peculiarly inclined to criminalism, and therefore needed segregation, and that he was also given to pathological lying and self- accusation. From the legal and social standpoints it is important to note that the case represents a type, unquestionably abnormal, although the mental pathology could not be subsumed under the head of any one of the designated mental diseases.
The case of John B. was studied at the request of a judge who had continued the trial because of the manifest mental peculiarities of the defendant. We were told that his behavior varied much, that one day he would cry and apologize, and on another would show stupid bravado. As the judge stated, John had long been in disciplinary institutions and this had failed to do any good. The immediately peculiar features of the case were that while he was being held for vagrancy and robbery, John made a strong attempt to implicate himself in a murder case. In other words he was a self-accuser.
We found a strong young man of 19 years; weight 157 lbs., height 5 ft. 5 in. Very broad shouldered and deep chested, but slouchy attitude. Good color. Eyes bright. Varicocele. Somewhat defective vision in one eye. Well-shaped head--circumference 56.5, length 18.5 and breadth 16 cm. Thick, heavy voice. Appears dull and depressed, but energizes under encouragement. Other physical examination negative. Complains merely of headaches in left frontal region, but says he has had these only since last year when he was struck there by a beer bottle. Recently an excessive user of tobacco.