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Betwixt Life and Death: Case Studies of the Cotard Delusion



Type of Spiritual Experience


The article Betwixt Life and Death: Case Studies of the Cotard Delusion (1996) describes a contemporary case of Cotard syndrome, which occurred in a Scotsman whose brain was damaged in a motorcycle accident:

A description of the experience

Young, A.W.; Leafhead, K.M. (1996). "Betwixt Life and Death: Case Studies of the Cotard Delusion". In Halligan, P.W.; Marshall, J.C. Method in Madness: Case studies in Cognitive Neuropsychiatry. Hove: Psychology Press.

[The patient's] symptoms occurred in the context of more general feelings of unreality and [of] being dead. In January 1990, after his discharge from hospital in Edinburgh, his mother took him to South Africa. He was convinced that he had been taken to Hell (which was confirmed by the heat), and that he had died of septicaemia (which had been a risk early in his recovery), or perhaps from AIDS (he had read a story in The Scotsman about someone with AIDS who died from septicaemia), or from an overdose of a yellow fever injection. He thought he had "borrowed [his] mother's spirit to show [him] around hell", and that she was asleep in Scotland

The source of the experience

Scientist other

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Cotards syndrome


Brain damage