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No. 81: May-Jun 1992

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Folie a deux involving a dog!

The term "folie a deux" is used to describe an induced psychosis; it is usually reserved for human-human interfaces. Folie a deux generally occurs when two or more people are very close emotionally. But some people living alone do develop close emotional bonds with their pets, and apparently, vice versa:

"Ms. A, an 83-year-old widow who had lived alone for 15 years, complained that the occupant of an upstairs flat was excessively noisy and that he moved furniture around late at night to disturb her. Over a period of 6 months, she developed delusionary persecutory ideas about this man. He wanted to frighten her from her home and had started to transmit 'violet rays' through the ceiling to harm her and her 10-yearold female mongrel dog. Ms. A attributed a sprained back and chest pains to the effect of the rays and had become concerned that her dog had started scratching at night when the ray activity was at its greatest. For protection, she had placed her mattress under the kitchen table and slept there at night. She constructed what she called an 'air raid shelter' for her dog from a small table and a pile of suitcases and insisted that the dog sleep in it. When I visited Ms. A at her home, it was apparent that the dog's behavior had become so conditioned by that of its owner that upon hearing any sound from the flat upstairs, such as a door closing, it would immediately go to the kitchen and enter the shelter."

(Howard, Robert; "Folie a Deux Involving a Dog," American Journal of Psychiatry, 149:414, 1992.)

From Science Frontiers #81, MAY-JUN 1992. 1992-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987