Sunhill Asylum, March 13th 1957

The subject received no patterned input from his eyes and ears, and as little as possible from his skin receptors, his entire body being immersed in a tank of saline kept at a constant temperature of 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Locked in total darkness, he was deprived the opportunity of any purposeful activity. All other bodily needs for food and fluid were administered intravenously. After just six hours in the tank, his mental activity began to go awry. The capacity to carry out complex mental tasks fell away, as did his alertness, orientation, memory and discrimination – all of which suffered critical deterioration.

After two days in the tank, the subject developed delusions, hallucinations and acute paranoia, accompanied by a constant mood of fearfulness. Normal brain function was completely impossible. After a week of isolation, the subject suffered a psychotic break. He had no care for his plight, but remained disorientated and confused. A 20cc injection of the drug was administered shortly after extraction from the tank, whereupon the subject became quite animated and demonstrated an urgent need for talk and companionship. That’s when I introduced his surrogate. Imprinting began three hours later when she administered a further dose in a bottle of warm milk.

W. Pontius, F.R.C.P. F.R.C.Psy.

Copyright © Nicholas Shea 2019.

Image credit: Detail from The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch.