My name is Dr. Karim and I am one of the foremost authorities on Dissociative Displacement Disorder, more commonly known as Mandela Syndrome. The affliction known as Mandela Syndrome was not very common only a few years ago. However, with the recent spike in cases as well as case severity, I thought it prudent to collect a series of peculiar case studies in hopes that the dimensions of this syndrome can one day be better understood. Additional information on DDD can be found in the DSM-V.
Case One: Man’s best friend?
Doctor Karim: Testing. Okay. Let’s begin with the base level interview.
Patient: Why are we doing this?
D: You were diagnosed with Dissociative Displacement Disorder. I want to record your experience of this disorder in your own words.
P: That’s so condescending. I don’t have a “disorder” *patient finger quotes*. I’m completely normal. It’s everyone else that’s gone crazy.
D: That is a very common feeling in people with this… condition.
P: Look… okay okay. Look, I know how it sounds when someone says, “I’m not crazy, all of you are.” I know. Okay? But that’s where I’m coming from here. Honestly, I’m not completely convinced that this isn’t some terrible practical joke that’s gone on for way too long. I’m honestly hoping a camera crew is going to jump out and tell me it was all a prank and my life can go back to normal.
D: Please tell me more. Start at the beginning.
P: Fuck. Okay. Fuck.
D: Take your time [name redacted].
P: I mean… I guess it started three days ago? I woke up in my house. Just another regular day. Coffee. Buttered toast breakfast. And then… then this thing is in my living room. I’d never seen it before in my life and it… it made this noise I…
D: Yes, go on?
P: It was hungry. I could see it in it’s eyes. I screamed. Yeah, like a little girl I screamed. My girlfriend came in the kitchen and I told her to get away from it. And she picked it up like it was nothing to her.
D: For the record, the thing which you are describing is a member of the species canis lupus familiaris, otherwise known as a dog.
P: I don’t care what the hell you call it, I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. It was like a fucked up looking wolf but smaller. Like someone had beaten it with a mallet. And it was in my house and my girlfriend claimed she’d had that thing since before we got together. That thing was her pet!
D: What happened next?
P: No no no, we’re not skipping over this. When I went to sleep the night before, there was no such thing as a “domesticated wolf”. Then all of a sudden there is? How is that even possible? How is this a disorder or whatever you called it? People don’t just wake up with this kind of shit! I mean, it has to be a prank, right? For fuck’s sake, the thing is God spelled backwards. Like, hello? A symbiotic relationship with wolves jumpstarting civilization and creating a hundred sub-species that all look different but are somehow the same species? I mean, we’re talking about wolves here! They’re not bacteria! They don’t have enough genetic diversity to turn into all the different kinds of… dogs there are.
D: You’re having trouble with the word.
P: Yeah, cuz I’ve never said it before. It feels weird in my mouth.
D: After this initial incident, you went about your day, correct?
P: I mean, what other choice did I have? No one was saying “just kidding” and then letting the thing go back to the wild. And unless these practical jokers had the power to give everyone in my block one of these creatures and change the entire internet to show all of them had existed for thousands of years, I basically had to accept this new reality.
D: But you weren’t able to, which brings us to now.
P: No. No I wasn’t able to.
D: What drove you to attack the poodle?
P: Ask yourself that question as if you were in my shoes. God damn it.
The patient was never able to recover his pre-displacement memories, but with the right mixture of therapy and medication he was able to return to a semblance of a normal life.
Case Two: Is there a doctor in the house?
Doctor Karim: Testing. One Two. Shall we begin?
Patient: What are you?
D: My name is Doctor Karim. I am a doctor of neurolo-
P: No no no no. No. What are you?
D: I’m afraid I don’t understand your question.
P: What is a… dok… tore?
D: A practitioner of medicine. Or someone who holds a doctorate if you want the complete definition.
P: Dok… Tore… Medicine.
D: You are unaware of what a doctor is?
P: Medicine Men. Medicine Men practice medicine. Not you. Not Dok… Tors…
D: How long have you held this belief?
P: It’s not a belief, you fucker! Only scientists dress in lab coats. Not Medicine Men. Where’s your mask? Where’s your paint? How are you supposed to help me?
D: I’m going to do my best, paint or not.
P: Heh heh. Yeah. Sure. What are you going to do? Measure my mouth temperature? Check my eyes with your pen light? Ridiculous! I need a certified chanter to mend my broken wrist. The spirits aren’t going to listen to a science man like you. Why are you wasting my time with this shit? Why is everyone wasting my time?
D: You were diagnosed with Dissociative Displacement Disorder during your recent visit to the rapid clinic for the aforementioned broken wrist.
P: Oh, I was diagnosed, was I? Which spirit told you that? Hmm? Was it the great spirit of medical knowledge, Diag Gnosis? Huh? Get the fuck out of my face and get me a real Medicine Man before my hand falls off my arm! God damn it!
The patient had to be restrained and no further useful information was able to be gleaned. His particular case proved harder to treat. Significant sedation seems to be the only course of action for the moment.
Case Three: Doctor Karim, I presume?
Doctor Karim: Testing testing testing. Let’s begin.
Patient: Yes. Let’s.
D: We’ll start with a base line. Tell me in your own words what you’re experiencing.
P: Well, let’s see. My name is Doctor Hassan Karim. I am a foremost authority on Dissociative Displacement Disorder or Mandela Syndrome as it’s more commonly called.
D: I see.
P: Is something wrong?
D: Yes. That happens to be my name. And my profession. And my specialty.
P: This troubles you?
D: According to your identification, your name is [name redacted], you were born [date of birth redacted] and you’re a licensed electrician.
P: The identification appears to be incorrect.
D: It’s what your ID says. You also appear to be Caucasian and [redacted] years younger than me.
P: I know who I am.
D: How do you explain the discrepancies?
P: I can’t yet, but if you let me into my office I might be able to –
D: I’m afraid I can’t do that.
P: You appear distressed. Is it because this case is so directly related to you?
D: I’m asking the questions right now, Mr. [name redacted].
P: Let’s drop the formalities for a minute, shall we? Aren’t you at all curious?
D: About what, exactly?
P: About how you ended up in this body? Or a version of you, anyway.
D: Let’s get back to the base line, shall we?
P: And why was I diagnosed DDD and not DID or schizophrenic? What is it about my case that points to Mandela and not your run of the mill dissociative episode?
D: That’s enough, Mr. [name redacted]. Let’s get back on track.
P: You’re going to put me in the case files, correct?
P: What do you think it is? Are people from alternate universes ending up here? Or just their minds? What happened in this particular case? Why didn’t I end up in you? Or alternatively, why is this gentleman thinking he is someone completely different than he was twenty four hours ago? And why specifically you?
D: This is an interview, not a medical collaboration [name redacted].
P: It’s Doctor Karim, please.
D: No. I will not feed into your del… I will not entertain this idea. My name is my name and your name is yours.
P: Please understand. If you were in this situation you would want to be referred to by your name. To keep your sanity if nothing else.
D: Whether I would or not is irrelevant for our purposes right now. Please describe your experience for the record.
P: What is there to say, doctor? I woke up in a bed that wasn’t mine, in a house that wasn’t mine, in a neighborhood I had never been in before. I drove to work, tried to get into my office, only to be restrained by Phil and Donny. I was diagnosed on site and now I’m here.
D: And during all that time you didn’t notice any physical discrepancies?
P: What can I say? I hadn’t had my coffee yet.
After the interview, the patient went into a catatonic state and has not been responsive to any stimuli for three weeks as of this writing. The information he provided after his initial detainment matched up to mine perfectly. Down to the smallest detail. It is possible this case is a hoax, but it’s looking less likely every day. Don’t know what to make of it yet.
Case Four: Universe B
Doctor Karim: Testing. Okay here we go.
Patient: What’s going on here?
D: We’re doing a baseline interview. I want you to describe your situation in your own words as best you can.
P: Is this… normal procedure?
D: In what regard?
P: In regards to… you know… my situation.
D: Which is?
P: You know. Because… I’m in an alternate universe.
D: What is alternative about this universe as opposed to the one you believe you inhabit?
P: Well, there’s no superheroes for one thing. I mean, none. Not even super people. I know the difference. Costumes mainly. So that means I must have slipped into a wormhole or something. This must be like… Universe B.
D: Were you a superhero in the previous universe?
P: Naw. I worked with one. Part time. Not really a sidekick but you know, kind of a sidekick.
D: Are there any other differences between this universe and the one you believe you came from?
P: You’re using a lot of qualifiers. Okay, answer me this. Were there ever superheroes in this universe?
P: What about costumed crime fighters? No powers, just punching criminals in flashy get ups.
P: Huh. So this universe is just… just this?
D: Does this upset you?
P: I mean, I guess. I don’t know. It’s great that there’s no super villains blowing things up all the time, but… I don’t know. It’s just so… boring. So there aren’t any superhumans at all? Not even one?
D: There are people with exceptional abilities that might qualify as superhumam; world’s strongest man competitors, people who can hold their breath for a long time or run marathons without breaking a sweat, but nothing supernatural.
P: Huh. A world without superheroes. And you’re okay with this?
D: Superheroes belong in the realm of fiction. The world gets along just fine without them.
P: So, who saves you guys from natural disasters?
D: Emergency workers. The government.
P: God. That’s just freaking depressing.
The patient appears to be able to function normally, believing their situation to be temporary. While he waits for another wormhole to take him back to his ‘universe’, he is content to go about his life with minimal medication. We will monitor his situation as his condition progresses. I am not sure how long he will go before he realizes there is no Universe A to return to and he is stuck here in reality. His condition may worsen considerably if he does not adapt to life post-displacement.
Case Five: Under the Sea
Case Five has to be the worst case I’ve ever personally encountered. The patient is unable to communicate with us at all, seemingly unfamiliar with basic human speech or expressions. All her brain and body scans came back negative for abnormalities. She was referred to us as DDD after she had calmed down enough to tell us through drawing (which she found difficult) that she believed herself to be some form of jellyfish-like entity. It took months for her to learn how to breathe properly, walk or perform even the most basic of human functions. In a more usual case, the Mandela episode happens when a patient believes that one or more details have been changed without the world noticing, causing distress to the point of a mental break. Different presidents, names of states or countries changing, significant events in history going a different way, logos on products, pop culture details misquoted or misremembered, all have been observed, but never a shift to a completely different species.
It is my hope that these case studies will aid in future diagnostic work and that science will one day understand the root cause of Mandela Syndrome.
Case FTGGE$%$%: OOOOOO$%$%$%&^$&^weeeeeEEEEEEEE
Doctor Rivera: Testing Testing. One two one two. Okay dokey. My name is Dr. Emilio Rivera and this is a baseline interview. Please describe, in your own words, what you are experiencing right now.
Patient: I don’t understand what’s happening. Why am I here?
D: You were diagnosed with Differential Dissociative Dysplasia. I want to record what you believe is happening to you for posterity.
P: No. No no no no no no.
D: Sir? Please try to remain calm.
P: No no no, listen to me. My name is Doctor Hassan Karim. I work here at the Neurology Research Clinic. I’ve worked here for almost a decade doing, well, exactly what you’re doing now.
D: Okay. Okay. And when did this episode start?
P: It’s not an episode! I work here! I’m a doctor! I work with patients experiencing extreme Dissociative Displacement Disorder!
D: That’s a flashy name. And it’s a triple D. Just like my field.
P: No! Please listen to me! I am a doctor. I can prove it. Just… I don’t know what’s happening, but I need your help. Please.
D: Don’t worry, Mr. [name redacted]. You’re going to get the best help in the world.
P: Oh god. Oh God! This has to be a nightmare! Please wake me up! Please let this end! Pleeeeaaaassse!
The patient became increasingly erratic and violent and required a psychic orderly to detain him. Mental surgery will be performed later this evening to determine the root cause of his insanity.