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Dead Men Walking – The Bizarre Condition Known as Cotard’s Syndrome

One of the world’s strangest and rarest mental disorders is Cotard’s Syndrome. Also known as the Cotard Delusion, the Nihilistic Delusion, and the Walking Corpse Syndrome, CS causes sufferers to believe that they are dead (figuratively or literally) and do not exist.

I always thought the walking dead only existed in movies and video games. Until I read about Cotard’s Syndrome (CS), that is. Apparently, people who suffer from this rare but very real mental disorder actually believe that they have died and are not of this world anymore. The condition is named after a 19th century French neurologist, Jules Cotard. In 1880, he presented the first patient to be diagnosed with the condition at a lecture, calling her Mademoiselle X. She is said to have suffered from significant self-loathing, a denial of the existence of God, the Devil, and several parts of her own body. She also believed she was damned for eternity and incapable of dying a natural death, so she had no reason to eat anymore. Mademoiselle X eventually starved to death.

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