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Lullin, Charles

Category: Ordinary person

Charles Bonnet

Charles Lullin was the grandfather of Charles Bonnet, a Swiss-French naturalist and philosopher in the mid 1700s who gave his name to Charles Bonnet syndrome, a syndrome he first noticed in his grandfather.

Charles Lullin was almost completely blind from cataracts and operations to correct them. [you are reading this correctly, they performed eyeball cataract surgery in 1753!]. He saw a

blue handkerchief [which] appeared in [his] line of vision no matter the direction of his gaze. Accompanying that vision, the drapes and furniture of his apartment appeared to be covered with a clear brown cloth embroidered with clover leaves. Also accompanying that vision were several tall young ladies who were well groomed with nice looking coiffures [hairstyles], some of whom had a small container on their heads. There was also an upside down table which moved toward and away from Mr. Lullin, while the young ladies moved to the left.

 

That’s not all he saw either. Mr. Lullin described women in the room that were as tall as the house next door, paintings, pictures, pigeons, trees, carriages, men with hats, and intricate objects that changed size and moved, visible only to him. Bonnet became curious.  Because he judged his grandfather to be “a respectable man, full of health …judgment and memory” he knew that whatever his grandfather was suffering from it wasn’t mental disturbance.  Furthermore, Lullin knew that what he was seeing wasn’t real. None of the images spoke to him, or gave any report to his sense of smell, hearing, or touch.

Bonnet investigated.  And from this observation we owe the medical recognition of  Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) defined as:

‘a condition that causes patients with visual loss to have complex visual hallucinations, first described by Charles Bonnet in 1760’.

Observations

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