Seven Strange Geographical Syndromes
Around the globe, there's an elite club of destinations that have given their name to peculiar disorders or mental distress. And our fab four were responsible for making one of them very fashionable indeed...
We’ve got the arena, the cathedral ‘to spare’, and the bold new Liverpool Waters castles in the sky project. Yeah, we’re the very model of a desirable modern city. But we’re missing a vital cog. We’ve read it through seven times (of course) and nowhere in the Council’s new strategic framework is there any mention of the city aiming to clinch its very own syndrome.
Because that’s what all the smart locations are wearning. Of course, like every design must-have, city syndromes started in Scandinavia.
And don’t be too quick to diss our own Joey Barton. Foreign Accent Syndrome is a genuine medical condition, although it’s usually suffered by people with brain damage.
Here, then, is the SevenStreets guide to syndromes around the world, should you be travelling any time soon, we think it’s best to be prepared.
Also known as capture-bonding, Stockholm Syndrome was born when bank employees, held hostage in the Norrmalmstorg robbery in 1973, began to sympathise with their captors. And a shiny new psychological phenomenon was born (in the same year ABBA was born too, and thus the birth of Scandi pop Syndrome).
Apparently, the syndrome arises because victims essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness. Read more.
Delusions, obsessive ideas, psychosis-like phenomena triggered by, or leading to, a visit to the Holy Land. Jerusalem Syndrome often emerges in people who are prone to delusions and, it’s reported, pass within a few weeks of visiting the city. We’re not doctors, but our advice would be try Sharm el Sheikh. There’s some cracking all inclusives at the moment. Read more. (see how we sidestepped Gerald Scarfe)
Talk about niche – Paris syndrome is the nihilistic state of anxiety, distress and emotional upheaval reported in Japanese tourists visiting the French capital. Apparently it’s to do with the high, almost mystical regard Japanese tourists place on Paris. So idealised is the capital of love that a mere stroll along the Champs Elysees is enough to set in train a mental breakdown. Read more.
AKA the opposite of Stockholm Syndrome, Lima Syndrome deals with the phenomenon of hostage takers becoming sympathetic to the needs and feelings of their victims. Lima syndrome was coined after the Japanese embassy hostage crisis in Lima, that lasted from December 17, 1996 until April 22, 1997. Fourteen members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement took several hundred diplomats hostage at the official residence of Japan’s ambassador to Peru. Curiously, within a few days of the hostage crisis, the militants had released most of the captives. Read more.
Similar to Lima Syndrome, but with subtle differences, in London Syndrome, hostages respond to their captors with belligerence and openly court confrontation or non-co-operation (hands up who’s thinking ‘typical London’ right now?). The condition was first reported during the 1981 Iranian Embassy siege, when one of the hostages continuously harangued the hostage takers, against the will of his fellow captives. Read more.
Also known as Stendhal Syndrome, Florence Syndrome is a physical response to extreme, overpowering beauty. The symptoms – a racing heartbeat, vertigo, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations— usually occur when the victim is exposed to a high concentration of classical art (sculpture, painting, music, those nail and string pictures from the 70s) or breathtaking natural beauty, and is well documented, especially in the Tuscan city. According to The Telegraph: “Staff at Florence’s Santa Maria Nuova hospital are accustomed to dealing with tourists suffering from dizzy spells and disorientation after admiring the statue of David.” Read more.
We could almost say this is the one Liverpool gave to the world…India Syndrome applies to people from the west visiting India to seek enlightenment, or to those with a deep interest in eastern mysticism, and saw a marked spike following the Beatles’ trips to India in 1968, to attend an advanced Transcendental Meditation.
Taken to extremes, the condition has resulted in many westerners suffering, going missing, or in some extreme cases, dying – due to ‘extreme’ meditation (such as Tibetan ‘chöd’ which involves meditating next to corpses for up to ten days). India syndrome is not to be confused with Delhi-Belly Syndrome. Although that, too, can result in sufferers going missing for long periods of time. Read more.
So, if Liverpool was to have a syndrome, and if some places on Earth do project a certain energy that can make people temporarily insane, what would the symptoms be? What would the cause be? And why aren’t we brave enough to offer a few suggestions of our own?
main image: dicsobelle.net