Compulsive and delusional behaviour – A poor clerk and a society heiress

This week’s podcast is the first of four episodes based on one detailed extract.  You can find the extract here  or you can listen to a voice extract on our soundcloud stream using the second link below.

Among those we have encountered so far in this series, only Alexander Cruden seems to have frightened those around him. Most sufferers from mental disorders were vulnerable people, perplexed by what was happening to their minds. John Philip was quite different. A humble legal clerk, he lived in a world of fantasy, delusion, and obsession, which caused him to instil fear in others and brought him to the edge of murder.

In four episodes, based around a single, very long statement he made to magistrates, I explain what started as a simple infatuation with a young woman of high rank in Georgian Edinburgh. Then I move on to trying to understand his thought processes, and what those around him made of them. In the third episode I explore his trial for harassment and assault – what we might call stalking – and the nature of insanity defences in the historic past. Finally, I look at what became of him and the object of his obsession.

You can access the extract associated with this week’s podcast using the link below:

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