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Psychosis

Albany Psychosis by E. Fuller Torrey.

The story of Gregory Seifert represents everything wrong with New York’s mental health system. Last year, while touring the Erie County Holding Center—better known as the Buffalo Jail—I observed him quietly hallucinating in his cell, probably communicating with his superiors at the CIA, where he claimed to work. Police had arrested him 14 months earlier for cutting down three wooden power poles with a chainsaw, terminating power to 6,800 homes in suburban Buffalo in the dead of winter. Like most individuals with chronic paranoid schizophrenia, he doubtless had a logical (in his mind) reason for his actions: perhaps his voices told him that cutting off power would prevent a tsunami from Lake Erie from sweeping over Buffalo. When the police questioned him, though, Seifert denied everything. “I know this sounds weird,” he said, “but my cloned twin did it.”

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