Experience of Psychosis

(Experience of Psychosis – picture by Maureen Oliver)

In the aftermath of the destruction of the Kasubi Tombs on March 16th 2010, there was a lot of speculation among the distressed public as to what, or who, could have possibly caused the fire.

The biggest surprise came in the form of a confession by a man by the name of Joseph Musoke, who reported himself to the police and admitted to setting the tombs ablaze himself. The New Vision reports:

A man yesterday walked to a Kampala Police station and allegedly confessed setting ablaze the Kasubi Tombs, a renowned world heritage site.The March 16 inferno at the royal tombs, locally known as masiro, sparked an emotional outcry from the Baganda, the biggest ethnic group in Uganda.

Dressed in shorts and African garb, Joseph Musoke early in the morning went to the Central Police Station and reportedly told Police officers that he felt guilty.

He clutched a bible, a cross, a big rosary and pictures of the Virgin Mary.

What is most interesting about this account is the reason he gave for burning the tombs:

“He told them that he was feeling guilty and regretted torching the masiro. He believed they were satanic.” According to Musoke, the “ungodliness” of the tombs was the cause of all the problems in Uganda and had to be destroyed for peace to prevail.

The witchdoctor-turned-Catholic reportedly claimed he got a vision in which the Holy Spirit showed him the trouble emanating from the masiro. Following the alleged vision, he ran to Kasubi where he tried to destroy the regalia, like spears and bows, but the guards allegedly restrained him. He went away only to return another day to set the tombs ablaze.

So, what do we have here? We have here a man who:

  • Reported himself to the police while he clutched a bible, a cross, a big rosary and pictures of the Virgin Mary
  • Claimed he got a vision in which the Holy Spirit showed him the trouble emanating from the masiro (royal tombs)

What does the police make of his story? Not surprisingly:

“We are not going to handle this lightly. It is another line of inquiry,” Nabakooba stated, adding that the suspect would be subject to a medical examination to ascertain his mental status.

“…the suspect would be subject to a medical examination to ascertain his mental status..”

Yeah.

Normally, when people think they hear voices in their heads, see strange things, and generally act weird, they are subjected to psychiatric evaluation. There is a good reason for this – and this reason is PSYCHOSIS.

Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality, usually including false beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions) and seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations).

Psychotic symptoms may include:

  • Disorganized thought and speech
  • False beliefs that are not based in reality (delusions), especially unfounded fear or suspicion
  • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)
  • etc

When believers of various faiths tell us they have had so-called ‘spiritual experiences’, they say it as if we’re supposed to know what they are talking about. In reality, many of their experiences are not significantly different from what can ordinarily be attributed to, or are symptomatic of, psychosis.

You really couldn’t get more psychotic than this:

(If you have problems playing this video, click here.)

My goodness. Crazy people, these are.