Section 2: The Material

Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations

19. Stanley



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19. Stanley

During the summer of 1972 a small item of news appeared in many of our daily

newspapers over the country. It was an item that immediately engaged my attention.

Over the two short columns was printed this arresting headline:


The report, as I remember it, did not go into much detail about this unusual

event or give an adequate account of the young man’s methods of persuasion, of his

motives, or of just what impulses might have prompted the five girls to take such an

unusual and, one might even say, such an unnatural step. Among my first thoughts on

this accomplishment was that Stanley must surely have been the man who brought it

about. Who in the entire world but Stanley would have thought up such an exploit?

Who else would have had the inclination to carry it out? Though the news report did

not actually identify Stanley as the man involved, it brought back many memories of

him over the immediately preceding period of several years when I was trying to deal

with him and some of the complicated and unusual problems his behavior kept creating

for those concerned with him, and for himself.

Like a number of other patients presented in this book, he repeatedly showed

evidence of superior abilities and demonstrated over and over that he could succeed in

Studies, in business, in impressing and attracting other people, and in virtually anything

he might choose to undertake. And, similarly, he lost, or seemed to throw away, with

no sign of adequate motivation, everything he gained, and especially the things that he

claimed meant most of all to him. Unlike some of the other patients discussed, Stanley

had not


yet, when I last had news of him, served long terms in prison for felonies. Aside from

his more spectacular illegal activities, he would probably have spent a considerable time

in confinement because of his persistence in writing bad checks had it not been for the

intervention and the heavy financial sacrifices of his parents. He did not hesitate to

write a check, whether or not there were funds to cover it, whenever he felt he would

like to have additional money to squander on some caprice. Even when he was active at

work and making far more than enough money for his needs, he blithely continued in

this practice. It had been necessary also for his family to shield him from the usual

consequences of many and various other types of illegal and irresponsible behavior that

would otherwise have led to imprisonment. These statements appear in a letter from his


We don't have the money to pay these bills off. And we don't have the money to keep

paying big hospital bills, but something has got to be done with him... So, I don't know

what we're going to do... We are willing to go the last mile to do what we can for him

financially and with your help... If he would just stop charging he would not have to worry

about finances... He is arrogant and mean to me, his mother ... hateful to his little sister,

and fussy to everyone with whom he comes in contact... Please help us... Get him

straightened out... We do love him with all our hearts and we both cry and don't sleep

over his problems. We will do whatever you advise ... We love this boy with all our hearts

and it is just killing us ... All the things he does.

Typical of his behavior in high school is an incident that occurred while he was

making excellent grades and holding positions of leadership. With no notice or indirect

indication of restlessness, Stanley suddenly vanished from the scene. He failed one day

to appear at classes and did not show up at home that night. After he had been gone

for over two weeks, a period of great anxiety for his parents who had no way of

knowing whether he was living or dead, the police finally discovered him working

successfully in a large department store in Knoxville, Tennessee, approximately a

hundred and fifty miles away. He seemed quite unconcerned with the ordeal to which

he had subjected his parents. At college, and also during recent years, he has often run

up long-distance telephone bills, sometimes charging calls amounting to hundreds of

dollars to his parents. He has also run up similar bills charging to various other

telephones, some listed in the names of friends of the family, others in the names of

strangers who were truly astonished to find themselves heavily billed for numerous calls

to distant cities.

During his first year at the university he was accused by a girl he had recently met

of getting her pregnant after solemn promises of matrimony.


Before this trouble was settled by his family, at considerable expense, a similar

accusation was made by another girt in a different state. Later that year, during the

summer vacation he took a sudden notion to return for a brief visit to the university.

To set out without delay on the trip of approximately a hundred miles he casually stole a

truck that happened to be at hand. It was heavily loaded with dairy products. State

police pursued him, and in the chase he turned over the truck wrecking it and injuring a

companion he had persuaded to go along with him. The damages, including hospital

bills, cost his family several thousand dollars.

Despite his many antisocial and irresponsible acts in the past Stanley seemed at

times to settle down. On a number of these occasions his parents thought that he had

at last attained maturity and decided finally to use his abilities consistently in a

constructive pattern of living. In his mother's record we find this item:

Was for many months in high school active and well behaved in boy scouts. ... For a

while during last trimester of second year at college took major role in organizing and

leading group to promote Christian Life on the Campus.... Planned big programs, made

fine speeches, led in all the various activities.

While still in college, he showed his excellent persuasive abilities during one

summer vacation selling Bibles down in the Cajun country near the Gulf of Mexico.

During this time he was living with his first wife who eventually had to leave him

because of his tyrannical demands and his predilection for beating her up severely at the

slightest provocation. It is difficult to imagine conduct of this sort in one who

ordinarily gives the impression of a well-bred and considerate gentleman. The evidence

is strong, however, to support his first wife's claims. There is also evidence that

indicates he would lock the doors and force her to stay when she sought to escape

violence by returning to the protection of her parents. Sometimes officers of the law

had to be called by neighbors to obtain her release from his extreme abuse.

In discussing the first wife's accusations of such conduct as this, Stanley usually

brushed them aside as a typically feminine and somewhat ridiculous exaggeration of

some minor disagreement. When confronted with undeniable evidence to the contrary,

he admitted having taken mild physical measures to influence her, saying that he "just

couldn't stand her screaming and bawling," This habit of hers, he said, made him lose

his temper. When it was emphasized to him that her weeping and outcries did not

precede the beatings but occurred only after the beatings began, he showed very little

response. Apparently he felt that this crucial point was not sufficiently important


to argue about and seemed to dismiss it without further thought as something virtually

irrelevant, or at most a trifle.

Chiefly because of this physical maltreatment, the first wife left him on many

occasions. When with her and when separated, he easily obtained employment, usually

as a salesman. While he worked, his income was ample for any ordinary needs. During

one period of prosperity he was very successful selling small computers for household

use. He later added as a sideline the enthusiastic promotion and sale of waterbeds,

shortly after these were introduced and hailed as a stimulating erotic innovation. His

profits from these enterprises were for a while spectacular until he lost both jobs

through a combination of neglect and irresponsible conduct. On many other occasions

he worked with what seemed to be real enthusiasm for periods of varying lengths.

Then, without any particular reason, he would give up an excellent job at which he was

distinguishing himself. On other occasions he would have to leave the valuable position

to flee from prosecution for some legal offense.

Even while his first wife was living with him and his income ample, he usually ran

up heavy debts. When his mistreatment would force his wife to leave him or when he

would capriciously stop work, he often celebrated the occasion by a special splurge of

unnecessary expenditures. Sometimes he would go out merrily and buy on credit

several expensive suits and ample supplies of new shoes, shirts, and neckties. On one

such occasion he impulsively bought a motorcycle which he never got around to using.

Despite the fact that his parents have been faithful and active in succoring him and have

often been hard pressed in making restitution in his behalf, it remains difficult to see

how he has been able to continue for so long on so heedless and hazardous a course.

Notes made by his mother concerning one such episode follow:

Charged clothes for $650 one store in Atlanta.

Charged clothes for $400 one store in Greenville.

Charged clothes for $350 one store in Charlotte.

Charged clothes for $135 one store in Spartanburg.

Charged a ring in a jewelry store for $110.

Charged more clothes.

Charged two waterbeds for $225.

Gave about twenty-five bad checks, some of which his father made good. The others

are here and there and the law has some of them.

Stanley has proved himself a master over the years at misrepresentation in

situations where the truth would cause him difficulty or put him in a bad light. He has

also been scarcely less active and ingenious in the fabrication


of elaborate lies that seem to have had little or no chance of helping him gain any

material objective. Though his mother is living and has been active in trying to deliver

Stanley from the various troubles into which he plunges, he convinced his first wife that

she had died during his second year in high school. He often discussed with his wife

during the first years of their marriage his emotional reactions to this alleged loss and

sometimes dwelt at length on complex but purely imaginary problems that it brought

into his life. He succeeded in making her believe also that his father's present wife (his

actual mother) was not only his stepmother, but also the identical twin sister of the

mother who gave him birth. On at least one occasion he told a psychiatrist that when

he was about 10 years old his mother frequently had adulterous relations in his presence

with various men. When the plausibility of this claim was questioned, Stanley explained,

or seemed to feel that he explained, by saying, "It was because she knew she could trust

me with anything."

While separated from his wife for a period of several months, he went for a short

time with a divorcee not long out of her teens, who will here be designated as Marilyn.

During this brief courtship he convinced her that though he had once been married, his

wife and also his 2-year-old son had died. Actually they were at the time living in

another state with the wife's parents. Though not working at the time and in very heavy

debt, he picked out and ordered for Marilyn a diamond engagement ring. His mother in

her notes makes this comment:

He went to a jewelry store and had the man order a $6,000 ring, a diamond for a girl -

he is still married to Margaret - this was for a Marilyn. His father and I had never heard of

her. It just happened that I went into the jewelry store to return something for him and I

was told about the diamond. I cancelled it, of course.

At their first encounter, or soon after, he convinced Marilyn that he was deeply in

love with her and had every intention of marrying her. She had no way of knowing that

these intentions, if they ever existed, had greatly changed (or that Stanley's wife was still

living) until he came to her with what must have been one of the strangest, most

surprising and most inappropriate proposals ever made by man to woman.

He requested and persistently urged Marilyn to write a letter to his wife and in it

explain to her that Stanley's love for her (the wife) was strong and genuine and to

implore her to accept and welcome him back without further delay. I have inexpressible

respect for this young man's powers of persuasion and have often marveled at his

accomplishments in getting people, sometimes the most unlikely people, enlisted in

working with him to bring about his various and sometimes incompatible or absurd



Despite these extraordinary powers, Marilyn could not be induced to take the role that

he tried to press upon her, Though extremely shrewd in many ways, Stanley, in

discussing this matter, seemed to show some peculiar limitation of awareness, some

defect in sensibility, of a nature I cannot describe or clearly imagine. This often led him

into gross errors of judgment that even very stupid people would readily see and easily


The reactions Marilyn must have had to the unusual role he proposed and urged

upon her invite many questions. Putting further speculation about these reactions aside

for the moment, I asked Stanley if he did not think it might have seriously damaged the

cause he sought to further if Marilyn had written the letter to intercede for him. Surely,

I thought, it would occur to Stanley that such a letter from the other woman would

point out and emphasize his sexual infidelity during the separation.

"Oh, no," said Stanley, in tones of strong and almost indignant conviction. "My

wife knows I'd never be unfaithful to her."

He then went into some detail about her unassailable confidence in his sexual

loyalty. "Why," he said as if in real pride, "I promised her that if I ever did that with

another woman, I'd let her know about it right away."

I then brought up the point that he had given me plainly to understand that he

and Marilyn had been indulging in sexual relations freely and regularly up to the time

when he made his request for her intercession. Stanley seemed in no way dismayed.

"But my wife," he said confidently, "She doesn't know about that."

In this discussion, I thought at moments I sensed some points about Stanley's

inner being that I could never formulate adequately, even to myself. I did not, of

course, find it remarkable that such a man as he would be unfaithful to his wife, or that

he made and broke promises of the sort just mentioned. Something in his attitude

seemed to give fleeting and very imperfect hints of a difference far within that

distinguished him in a very special way from the usual or ordinary human being who is

unscrupulous and unconcerned about veracity or honor. When Stanley said, "My wife

knows I'd never be unfaithful," there was in his tone what seemed to be the very essence of

truth and sincerity. There was pride in his voice that seemed rooted in this essence. Could

it be that for the moment he lost awareness that he was lying? Perhaps even awareness

of what truth is? If so, I think this oversight might have occurred because to him it

mattered so little. Whether his sworn fidelity was real or not was apparently no more

than an academic question empty of substance. The only tangible issue was whether or

not it contributed toward gaining his ends. Whether the fidelity existed or his oath had

been honored was, for Stanley, a matter that could interest only a sophist who

concerned himself not with actualities, but with


mere verbalistic capers. With Stanley's attention focused on the real and important

issue, this bit of irrelevant sophistry may not have edged its way clearly into his


Though Stanley's parents sought treatment and help for him from psychiatrists

and other doctors and from counselors of various sorts, he himself seemed to feel no

need of this and only responded by brief simulations of cooperation in order to escape

some unpleasant consequence or to gain some egocentric end. On two or three

occasions he voluntarily entered psychiatric hospitals, apparently to impress his wife by

making her think he had at last realized he needed help and meant to change some of

his ways. These visits were brief and fruitless and seemed plainly designed to

manipulate domestic situations or to elicit new financial aid from his parents.

It is interesting to note that excessive drinking has not been a discernible factor in

this young man's career. Nor is there evidence to indicate that his behavior has been

significantly influenced by marijuana, amphetamines, LSD, heroin, or the other drugs

that have been so popular among those of his age group. His many notable and

sometimes puzzling exploits were apparently decided upon and carried off on his own,

without extraneous stimulation or chemical aid. In high school, and in college during

the late 1960's, he was often thrown with and sometimes almost surrounded by groups

of young people who went about in ragged blue jeans, with unkempt beards and long

dirty hair that seemed to offer a standing invitation to lice. With many of these young

men it was considered stylish and desirable to leave out their shirttails and, on formal

occasions, sometimes to come barefooted. Among these could be found many who

thought of themselves as radical activists defying the "establishment" and its laws, moral

codes, and conventions. In contrast, Stanley wore traditional clothes, remained cleanshaven

with neatly trimmed auburn hair. He seemed to have no special interest in

changing or challenging society, or in promoting rebellion. Verbally he expressed

allegiance to law and order and regularly identified himself with traditional virtues.

Let us note briefly a few examples of Stanley's typical power to convince and to

persuade. A year or two before his second wife had to leave him he had no difficulty in

getting a young women to turn over to him all her savings, which she had accumulated

by steady work over years and which she had been carefully guarding to give her two

young children some measure of security. She had clear knowledge of Stanley's

repeatedly demonstrated financial irresponsibility and, one would think, almost certain

knowledge of what would happen to her savings. More recently he succeeded in

arranging for admission to the hospital of a young woman with whom he had been

living for a few weeks. She was legally married to another man but


had left his bed and board. Stanley was able somehow to convince the ordinarily strict

and uncompromising authorities in charge of admission to this hospital that insurance

his employer carried on him would cover this lady in the same way as if she were indeed

his wife. She did not claim his name as her own or attempt to falsify otherwise her

name and status. When she was dismissed, the hospital was left with a large unpaid

account that is almost certain to withstand even the most heroic efforts at collection.

On another occasion, Stanley escaped the consequences of a felony charge by

serenely posing as an undercover agent working with the authorities against organized

pushers in the hard drug traffic. This ruse apparently worked well enough for him to

avoid arrest and to leave the state and eventually to take further intricate steps to escape

the legal consequences that would almost surely have been disastrous to the ordinary


His unusual ability to make conviction spring to life and continue to flourish

against adversity, and even obvious contradiction, emerges again in a somewhat

different area. An attractive and sensitive young woman whose early years had been

extremely unhappy and, perhaps, had given her a far greater than ordinary need for

genuine and unstinted love, seemed to find at last in Stanley what she had sought above

all else in life. She was separated from her husband and for a long time had been loved

dearly by another man who apparently offered her everything in his life without

qualification or demand for ordinary reciprocation. Stanley grossly mistreated this

appealing sexual partner who continued to live with him despite gross and flaunted

infidelity, severe and repeated beatings, and other unprovoked outrages. In attempting

to explain why she continued with him despite real fear that he might kill her, she said

that somehow he made her feel genuinely loved for the first time in her entire life.

This statement seemed at first to suggest that Stanley might possess remarkable

physical prowess and skill at sexual relations. It also might suggest that his partner was

masochistic and actually found some perverse satisfaction from being mistreated.

Continuing study of her reactions and her attitude gave increasing, and finally

convincing, evidence that in neither of these possibilities lay a likely explanation of her

loyalty. The more she discussed their physical activities in sexual relations, the more

Stanley's performance seemed unimaginative and his abilities at best ordinary. What she

thought he offered her was not primarily physical. It was, I believe, precisely what he

was almost infinitely incapable of offering, even in a small degree, but what he

apparently simulated with complete success, casually and without effort. It was, she

repeatedly said, the way be made her feel personally valued and cherished, deeply and

truly loved, rather than a remarkable sensuously erotic experience that bound her to

him. One can but


marvel that Stanley, and only Stanley, of all the men she had known, could give her this

invincible impression of sincerity in personal love and make it convincing time after

time despite the repeated and trenchantly disillusioning contradictions demonstrated so

vividly and so painfully, and sometimes brutally, by his conduct.

During another period of marital separation, this time from his second wife,

Stanley carried out an exploit worthy of our attention. After a brief sexual adventure

with another attractive young woman, Yvette, he apparently tired of her and turned his

attentions to Sally, one of her friends from a nearby town. She, too, was responsive and

everything seemed to indicate a serious and progressive love affair. This new

relationship, however, was abruptly terminated by a sudden trip to Europe that Stanley

decided to make for reasons that he never made convincing to me, or even quite clear.

Though varying somewhat from time to time in his account of this venture,

Stanley has nearly always included most of these items. He claims to have learned from

Sally that Yvette was about to leave the country, that she was planning to spend some

time in Brussels, and later in other parts of Europe. On hearing this, Stanley says that

he called Yvette's home and was told that Yvette was not there. He, nevertheless,

persisted in seeking all sorts of information about her trip, apparently making a nuisance

of himself and pressing her father repeatedly for information on points he felt were not

properly a matter of Stanley's concern. The father finally hung up, and afterward

neither parent would talk with Stanley on the telephone. They had apparently been

unhappy about Yvette's former association with him and did not want it to be renewed.

Stanley sought out Sally again. According to his story, Sally now told him that

Yvette had a chronic infirmity that required medication regularly and that she had left

for Brussels with the wrong drug. Stanley insisted that Sally also informed him that

Yvette would die if she kept taking this other medicine instead of that which was

prescribed and appropriate. She did not, he maintains, know Yvette's address beyond

the fact that she was thought to be somewhere in Brussels. This, briefly, is Stanley's

usual explanation for his impromptu and, in some respects, astonishing flight by jet

plane to Europe.

When asked why he did not get word to Yvette by some simpler means, such as

having Sally notify her family, he does not give a really adequate explanation. He

repeatedly emphasizes his sense of mission, the urgency of his task, and his

determination to fulfill it. He also fills in details of action and adventure on the way to

Brussels and while there in such a way as to conceal, or at least almost magically blur,

the deficiencies that leave the account of his maneuvers so far from convincing.


His relations with Yvette had, on his part, never been serious. Even these

relatively casual relations had for a considerable time been broken off. He was no

longer regarded as a suitor and probably not even regarded now as a friend, so it seemed

pertinent to wonder and to ask why he should so emphatically seize his role as the

appointed one to plunge into such an extravagant undertaking on her behalf. "Why,"

Stanley answered promptly, and in his best tones of knight-errantry, "I'd have done that

for anybody."

It is beyond my power to describe the glibness or convey what I believe to be the

lack of substance and reality, the emptiness of real human feeling, in these fine words

that came to him so readily.

It has not been possible for me to obtain any evidence to support Stanley's claim

that he was convinced that Yvette was in danger, or that she had actually gone to

Brussels, or that any mistake had been made about any medication she might be taking.

Few things seem to me much more implausible than that Stanley ever cared deeply for

Yvette even during the time he was seeing her. Nothing suggests that he maintained a

serious interest in her welfare after he had lost touch with her and at the time he

departed for Europe.

His parents had no warning of his intentions. From notes about Stanley by his

mother, I quote:

We knew he still owed $4900 on the trailer his wife and child were living in ... plus

$700 for just junk we didn't know about... He'd changed jobs five times that year.. And

his wife had left him nine times... But he gave a lot more bad checks... He then wrote one

for $859 and flew to Brussels, Belgium. He just wrote the check and took off.

Stanley talks freely about his apparently unanticipated and suddenly contrived trip

to Europe. He maintains that within approximately twenty-four hours he packed

luggage, made financial arrangements, flew to New York, obtained a passport, got

emergency clearance on matters such as vaccination and other medical technicalities,

communicated with the State Department in Washington to explain his mission and

enlist aid, found a seat on the first jet to Europe that would get him to Paris (and so in

close reach of Brussels), and was well on his way across the Atlantic. To various

questions about how he moved so fast and expedited so many matters that ordinarily

make for delay, he has ready and enthusiastic, though not always convincing, answers.

His parents confirm the story that be moved with marvelous dispatch. They also

report a flood of bad checks that throw light on how be took care of the heavy initial

expenses of the flight. Most energetic, ingenious, and


experienced travelers, even if in urgent haste, would, I dare say, have needed at least a

week to complete such arrangements. And they would have needed actual money-and a

good deal of it! One gets the impression that Stanley sliced through the ordinarily

paralyzing masses of bureaucratic technicalities and red tape with ease and celerity

suggestive of Alexander the Great when confronted by the Gordian knot.

In expediting transactions and in manipulating people for this exploit, Stanley

must have been at his best. The implausible story about Yvette having carried with her

the wrong medicine and its alleged threat of danger to her life must have taken on lyrical

notes in his telling. His success in carrying out such a trip indicates that at times he

must have made his presentation irresistibly convincing. It seems not unlikely, however,

that at other times, Stanley may have used other ruses and employed additional schemes

to gain his ends. I have often wondered whether Sally or anyone else told Stanley that

Yvette had gone off unwittingly with improper medication and that she was in any sort

of danger, or whether he thought up this story entirely on his own and used it to

account for a sudden, dramatic and irresponsible jet flight to Europe prompted by

impulses having nothing whatsoever to do with Yvette.

According to his parents, Stanley had been in very serious and unusually pressing

trouble several times during the months before his unforeseen trip to Europe. He had

more than once suddenly left one state and fled to another, giving no information to

family or friends of his new address. Perhaps he was again seeking to escape

prosecution for some criminal deed or evade the threat of dangerous measures by some

person or group whom lie had given reason to seek retaliation.

On the other hand it must be remembered that Stanley has often carried out

various extremely injudicious projects, suddenly and with no apparent regard for the

consequences, and without any discernible goal that could, in terms of ordinary human

motivation, account for his conduct. After such behavior he has on a number of

previous occasions invented implausible pretexts for his conduct similar in some

respects to the story of Yvette.

Among Stanley's most striking features has been the tendency to spring

heedlessly into action at the behest of what often seems little more than idle whims.

Neither the threat of danger nor the likelihood of other serious consequences has

seemed to check him. Penniless and faced with legal action for deeds that would

ordinarily lead to years of confinement in prison, he has been known to celebrate by

buying a half-dozen expensive and superfluous suits, two new automobiles, and then, to

complete the job, by forging some additional checks to pay for a vacation trip to some

plush resort in another section of the country.


his parents first learned that Stanley was abroad through a telephone call from the

American embassy in Belgium. In his mother's notes appears this item:

When they told my husband Stanley was in Brussels, Belgium, he keeled over with a

heart attack and I had to call an ambulance and send him to a hospital in Charlotte. He

was nearly dead on arrival.

A few days later his mother wrote:

Now today, we have had fourteen long-distance telephone calls from North Carolina,

South Carolina, and from government agencies in Washington requesting his whereabouts.

I am about to go crazy from people calling up about him.

Stanley himself gives a vivid account of much excitement and of spectacular

adventures in Brussels. He tells of riding all around the city in cars with newspaper men

and with police agents. He dwells on the publicity he obtained, saying that his picture

and also that of Yvette appeared on the front pages of newspapers in Brussels. He says

that he had taken an old picture of her with him and that the press cooperated in his

efforts to find her by printing it along with reports of his gallant efforts to find her and

save her. He also reports that, through people at the American embassy, radio

broadcasts gave an account of his mission and called on the public for aid in his

endeavor. There is little doubt that Stanley gives a romanticized and at times perhaps a

fantastic account of the stir he made in Europe. He speaks not only of headlines on the

front pages of the Brussels' newspapers but claims also that articles appeared in English

in a Paris edition of a New York paper.

He becomes enthusiastic in discussing his arrival in Brussels, his appeals to the

press, his work with members of the American embassy and various diplomatic and

civic agencies which he claims cooperated with him in his alleged romantic mission of

mercy. If he obtained even a fraction of the notoriety he reports this might have

contributed to his being able to cash bad checks and to obtain other financial aid from

various agencies abroad. There seems little doubt that he grossly exaggerates and

indulges in fantastic lies as he recounts his adventures, but there is reason to believe he

attracted enough attention with the publicity he gained to persuade first class hotels and

restaurants to honor his checks and enable him to live for a while in high style while lie

pursued his course as a dedicated man on a desperate mission of mercy.

There is every reason to believe that he stayed at the finest hotels, entertained at

very expensive restaurants, and attracted much favorable attention. Apparently the

public attention he attracted played a part in enabling


him to establish credit and cash checks in ways not possible to most travelers. He

boasted that he met and made friends with "at least a hundred Americans" while in

Brussels. Apparently he succeeded for a while in endowing his proclaimed role not only

with plausibility but with heroic and romantic aspects.

His relations with newspapermen and with diplomatic agencies abroad led to

many transatlantic calls to his parents and, for a while, to the parents of Yvette. The

confusion and emotional stress of these calls and the ever accumulating bad checks

written before Stanley left kept his parents under extreme anxiety. The heart attack

sustained by his father mentioned in his mother's note quoted above proved to be

temporarily disabling but not so serious as it first appeared.

Stanley admitted that he never found Yvette. From the best information

available to me now it seems probable that she was not in Brussels at the time, perhaps

not in Belgium. If Stanley learned of this even before he left the United States I hardly

think it would have stopped him once he had worked up momentum to launch himself

in the impulsive exploit. Here he seemed to find a role that highly elated him in some

peculiarly egoistic fashion. In it he seemed to find a satisfaction somewhat similar to

but greater than the satisfaction apparently given him by some of his other less elaborate

lies and posings and his sprees of squandering money that he did not possess. The

more I learned of Stanley the more I thought it likely that he perhaps lost track of

Yvette as a real person and clung to her name as something on which to focus and use

as an expedient to further his self-centered and irresponsible transatlantic prank. Some

idle or uninformed remark might well have served as a spark to set off his fancy and his

impulse to play a truly spectacular role. No serious consideration of the consequences

would be likely to check the acceleration as Stanley let himself go.

Though several years after the event Stanley can still give a remarkable account of

his sudden jet flight to Europe and his adventures in Brussels, there is a great deal that

in retrospect makes it difficult to see how even he could have convinced so many

people of so many implausible things. The newspaper accounts and pictures (some of

which his parents still retain) establish the fact beyond question that Stanley got to

Brussels and that he must have attracted a great deal of attention. Telephone calls from

newspapermen and from people connected with the American embassy, his parents

report, confirm this and indicate that Stanley must have created a remarkable stir and a

great deal of confusion. His own report, which can hardly be counted upon as accurate

or trustworthy, pictures him as being hailed and feted in Brussels in a style and on a

scale almost comparable


to the welcome Charles Lindbergh received in New York after his historic solo first

airplane flight across the Atlantic ocean.

This account of Stanley began with headlines from a newspaper. It seems to me

appropriate to close the report with another small item of news that appeared in 1975 in

a local paper.


An agreeable young man who identified himself as a "preacher" blessed an Augusta man's

wallet Tuesday and collected a $175 fee. Augusta Police said.

The preacher, dressed in a black suit and hat, with black-string tie, showed up at the door

of John Doe, 1436 Maple Street, early Tuesday afternoon, police said.

According to reports Doe and the helpfully concerned cleric prayed together. The

preacher then asked if he could bless Doe's wallet.

Doe told police he found $175 missing from the wallet after the preacher left.

Neither this item nor the first identifies Stanley as the protagonist. Both,

however, reflect something of his all but inimitable qualities and skills and convey to

anyone who has known him a vivid sense of his presence.


Next: Section 2: The Material , Part 2: Incomplete manifestations or suggestions of the disorder, 20. Degrees of disguise in essential pathology


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Section 2, Part 1


  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 5. Max
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 5. Max, This patient first came to my attention years ago while I was serving my turn as officer of the day in a Veterans Administration psychiatric institution. His wife telephoned to the hospital for assistance, stating that Max had slipped away from her and had begun to make trouble again. With considerable urgency and apparent distress she explained that she was bringing him to be admitted as a patient and begged that a car with attendants be sent at once to her aid. He was found in the custody of the police, against whom he had made some resistance but much more vocal uproar. The resistance actually was only a show of resistance consisting for the most part of dramatically aggressive gestures made while he was too securely held to fight and extravagant boasts of his physical prowess and savage temper at

  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 6. Roberta
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 6. Roberta, This young woman, sitting now for the first time in my office, gave an impression that vaguely suggested-immaturity? The word is not entirely accurate for the impression. Immaturity might imply the guarded, withdrawn attitude often shown by children in the doctor's office. It was another, in fact, almost an opposite feeling that she gave. Something less than the average of self-consciousness, a sort of easy security that does not arise from effort or from pretense-some qualities of this nature seemed to enter into the impression at

  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 7. Arnold
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 7. Arnold, This patient had recently left the hospital (A.W.O.L.) while out on pass. The following letters arrived from him after a few days: Baltimore, April 4th, 19-- Saturday, 2 P.M at

  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 8. Tom
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 8. Tom, This young man, 21 years of age, does not look at all like a criminal type or a shifty delinquent. In fact, he stands out in remarkable contrast to the kind of patient suggested by such a term as constitutional inferiority. He does not fit satisfactorily into the sort of picture that emerges from early descriptions of people generally inadequate and often showing physical 'stigmata of degeneracy' or ordinary defectiveness at

  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 9. George
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 9. George, This man was 33 years of age at the time I first saw him and admitted him to a psychiatric hospital. He stated that his trouble was 'nervousness' but could give no definite idea of what he meant by this word. He was remarkably sell-composed, showed no indication of restlessness or anxiety, and could not mention anything that he worried about. He went on to state that his alleged nervousness was caused by 'shell shock' during the war. He then proceeded to elaborate on this in an outlandish story describing himself as being cast twenty feet into the air by a shell, landing in his descent at

  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 10. Pierre
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 10. Pierre, Some of the patients who have been presented give concrete and abundant evidence in their behavior of a serious maladjustment and one of long duration at

  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 11. Frank
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 11. Frank, The following letter was received by an influential senator in Washington and referred by him to the hospital at

  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 12. Anna
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 12. Anna, There was nothing spectacular about her, but when she came into the office you felt that she merited the attention she at once obtained. She was, you could say without straining a point, rather good-looking, but she was not nearly so good-looking as most women would have to be to make a comparable impression. She spoke in the crisp, fluttery cadence of the British, consistently sounding her 'r's' and 'ing's' and regularly saying 'been' as they do in London. For a girl born and raised in Georgia, such speaking could suggest affectation. Yet it was the very opposite of this quality that contributed a great deal to the pleasing effect she invariably produced on those who met her at

  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 13. Jack
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 13. Jack, My prolonged acquaintance with our next subject began on the occasion of his return for a fourth period of hospitalization. He was accompanied by the sheriff who had brought him from jail in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was affable and courteous, entirely rational in his conversation. Though rather carelessly dressed, he made an imposing figure of a man; he was 6 feet, 3 inches tall, weighed 210 pounds, had red hair, blue eyes, a quick, humorous glance, and a disarming smile. Though 45 years of age, he appeared to be in the early thirties. His body retained good athletic lines, and he sat or stood with an easy poise at

  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 14. Chester
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 14. Chester, In his first admission to the closed ward of a psychiatric hospital, Chester W., 24 years of age, was friendly and alert. His freedom from anything that would suggest an ordinary psychosis was immediately noticeable. He explained to the examiner that he did not suffer from any nervous or mental disorder and emphasized the statement that no question of such a condition had ever come up in his case. He said that he came to the hospital for further examination of a serious injury to his ankle which he sustained while in the army and for which he hoped to get a pension at

  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 15. Walter
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 15. Walter, Walter is an only child. In the old South Carolina city where he spent his early years, he is remembered by his first playmates as having been not only normal but also a particularly desirable friend. During his grammar school days he was a good but not an exceptionally bright pupil. He was happily at ease with boys his own age, being generally looked to as a leader, though never aloof or dictatorial. He was somewhat less inclined than usual to the more destructive forms of mischief so dear to the typical young male, yet no child could have been more secure from the taunts often evoked by primness or piety in the schoolboy. It is nothing short of incredible to imagine the term sissy, withering and still unhackneyed stigma of those times, ever having been applied to Walter by anyone. That term, in fact, could not have been defined better by those who used it than as his direct opposite at

  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 16. Joe
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 16. Joe, This patient came in the custody of two friends, both state officers in the American Legion, to apply for admission to the hospital. He had with him commitment papers showing that he had at his own request been declared incompetent. Joe was alert and intelligent and conducted himself in a manner that suggested a person of poise, good judgment, and firm resolution. He was anything but the sort of figure that might come to mind in thinking of a patient sent for admission to such an institution at

  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 17. Milt
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 17. Milt, An incomplete account of this patient will be offered. His behavior and his apparent subjective reactions differ little from those of the patients already presented at

  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 18. Gregory
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 18. Gregory, I first saw this patient when he was 13 years old. He was referred for study and treatment by a psychiatrist who had already tried to deal with his problems for several years and who had shown great personal interest in his complicated situation. Gregory came to me from the detention center in a large southern city where he had been confined after setting fire to the local cathedral. Though he did not succeed in causing serious damage to the cathedral, the exploit was considered daring and precocious for a boy of his age. Before he was controlled by confinement in the detention center he set another fire in a large apartment building that caused substantial damage at

  • Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 19. Stanley
    Psychopath Hervey Cleckley THE MASK OF SANITY, Section 2: The Material , Part 1: The disorder in full clinical manifestations, 19. Stanley, During the summer of 1972 a small item of news appeared in many of our daily newspapers over the country. It was an item that immediately engaged my attention at





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