Schizophrenia – The Bearded Lady Disease


About The Books

A New Scientific truth does not triumph
By convincing its opponents,
But rather because its opponents die,
And a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

— Max (Karl Ernst) Planck, 1858-1947, German physicist.

Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws.

— Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of CHARLES DARWIN (1809–1882).

My work is complete; a work which
neither Jove’s anger, nor fire nor
sword shall destroy, nor yet the
gnawing tooth of time.

Ovid, Roman poet, 43 B.C. – A.D. 17?.

And if tormented and in anguish man is mute,
God granted me to tell of what I suffer.

Act 5, Scene 5. Goethe

— The epigraph to Daniel Paul Schreber’s
“Memoirs of My Nervous Illness”.


Mankind has long searched for the cause and meaning of madness.

The 790 quotations included in “The Complete Edition” of Schizophrenia – The Bearded Lady Disease (which combines Volumes One and Two, plus seventeen extra quotations), each quotation followed by an explanatory comment — in addition to other confirmatory articles and material — point invariably and inexorably to the factor of severe, unconscious bisexual conflict and gender confusion as forming the basic etiological role in all functional mental illness, including schizophrenia.

Madness has been the instigator of so much suffering and destruction throughout the ages that it is vitally important to uncover its mechanisms, for without doing so it will never be possible to eradicate it.

These three volumes together provide numerous documented case histories and theoretical constructs which clearly illuminate the origins of madness. Furthermore, it is interesting reading and an excellent source for future research.

Daniel Paul Schreber, who has often been called psychiatry’s most famous patient, wrote in his Memoirs of My Nervous Illness that “I would like to meet the man who, faced with the choice of either becoming a demented human being in male habitus or a spirited woman, would not prefer the latter. Such and only such is the issue for me.”

In this brief observation, Dr. Schreber, a prominent German jurist in the late 1800’s before his severe psychosis made it necessary for him to be institutionalized, unearthed the answer to a puzzle which has bedeviled mankind since its beginning, namely, What is it that causes a person to become mentally ill?

It is doubtful Dr. Schreber realized that the profound truth contained in his observation about the cause of mental illness in men applies equally to women by simply reversing the gender roles in his statement.

  1. Michael Mahoney”Schreber describes what happened to him and in him from the beginning of his illness, including two years during which he was so violent and noisy that – to his great indignation – he had to be confined to a padded cell at night, be accompanied by three attendants in the Asylum’s garden, and forcibly fed; when he was negativistic, withdrawn, mute and immobile for long periods, impulsive, repeatedly attempted suicide, massively hallucinated and deluded about his own body and his surroundings, suffered from unbearable insomnia, tortured by compulsive acting and obsessive thinking.We follow the intense struggle with his delusions, his first glimpses of insight, and how he slowly resumed contact with ‘the outside world.’ Finally we see a transvestite emerge from this state of ‘acute hallucinatory insanity,’ with a complicated system of delusions side by side with unimpaired capacity for clear and logical reasoning, which allowed him to play a decisive part in having his tutelage rescinded. With great acuity and keen logic he argued ‘right from wrong premises’ (Locke, 1690), so that as Dr. Weber said in court, ‘little would be noticeable’ of his insanity ‘to an observer not informed of his total state.’

Schizophrenia- The Bearded Lady DiseaseSo manifold were the symptoms he displayed at one time or another that almost the whole symptomatology of the entire field of psychiatric abnormality is described. Comparison with the items listed in a current textbook on psychiatry (Henderson and Gillespie. 1951) in the chapter on ‘Symptomatology’, allowed us to tick off nearly all as touched on in the Memoirs.”

—Daniel Paul Schreber, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, Translated. Edited, with Introduction, Notes and Discussion by Ida Macalpine, M.D. and Richard A. Hunter, M.D., M.R.C.P., D.P.M., Wm. Dawson & Sons Ltd. London, 1955, pp. 7, 8.

“To write such a frank autobiographical account required Judge Schreber’s intellect, his determination to grapple with his madness, his training in logical thinking, his inborn quest for truth, his integrity, absolute frankness, and finally admirable courage in laying his innermost thoughts and feelings bare before other people, knowing that they thought him mad.”

—Ibid., p. 7.