The Nazi and the Psychiatrist book cover

I’m happy to announce that Mythology Entertainment — the production and writing talent behind such films as Shutter Island, Zodiac, The Amazing Spiderman and the upcoming White House Down — has optioned stage and screen rights to my forthcoming book The Nazi and the Psychiatrist. Psychiatrist Douglas M. Kelley, who spends months examining Nazi leader Hermann Göring in my forthcoming book…

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screen cap of YouTube Titticut Follies video

Several years ago I finally got the chance to watch a documentary that had been in my thoughts for a long time. It was Titicut Follies, which the renowned filmmaker Frederick Wiseman shot in Bridgewater State Hospital in Massachusetts in 1967. I had heard that Titicut Follies included gruesome and horrifying scenes of the abuse of mentally ill…

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Joseph Jastrow (Wikimedia Commons)

Years ago I read somewhere about an eminent experimental psychologist who suffered a mental breakdown, endured years of depression, and abandoned the laboratory to instead help lay people apply the ideas of modern psychology to their lives. Joseph Jastrow (Wikimedia Commons)  That man, I found out, was Joseph Jastrow (1863-1944), and I’ve written a post about his…

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Lou Gehrig

I recently wrote here on my thoughts about waiving considerations of privacy for medical patients who are long deceased and revealing their names and opening their medical records to journalists and the public. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has just published a fascinating article by Mike Kaszuba about a current controversy over the disposition of the medical records of the baseball star…

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Actor Lumsden Hare as the scheming hypnotist in Svengali, a 1931 film adaptation of Trilby

[In earlier posts that you’ll find here and here, I’ve written about my fascination with hypnotism and my interviews and encounters with hypnotists of various types. In this post, I continue the series by scratching the surface of hypnotism’s history and looking at its popular portrayal.] For centuries, hypnotism has suffered from an image problem. The pleasant experience…

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Josef Stalin

I recently read H.G. Wells’ novel The Invisible Man and came away impressed by the author’s artistry in entertainingly moving a story along while including a serious subplot about H.G. Wells the role of science in our society. Wells was active in a variety of left-leaning causes throughout his long literary career, and he made sure he crossed…

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Oscar Wilde, photographed in New York City in 1882. (U.S. Library of Congress)

Here I present an oldie — an article I wrote 25 years ago for Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine. It was one of my first attempts to write about history and has always remained among my favorite stories because of the unflappable character of Oscar Wilde. Note how the narrative approaches but skirts around Wilde’s homosexuality. Otherwise, I…

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William Heirens in 2004

I recently wrote a post in the Wonders & Marvels blog about the history of truth serum. I didn’t have space in that post to mention an interesting article from the February 1960 issue of Popular Science that gave some accounts of various truth serum drugs in use. I especially liked the magazine’s anecdote of Chicago criminal William Heirens, who police…

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gold

Gold has real medicinal value. It is used in implanted devices like pacemakers, and of course in dental work. Some people believe a controversial liquid suspension called colloidal gold may have uses in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and in the delivery of tiny amounts of medications. But of all the medical uses involving gold and…

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Carole Lombard

Last month I wrote about the FBI’s file on the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, a post that attracted many readers. Now I’m putting up my notes on the FBI’s file on the movie actress Carole Lombard, a contemporary of Wright’s who — owing to a mysterious airplane accident — enjoyed a much shorter life. Carole LombardName at…

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