Vicki Tremper (writer, blogger, crit partner extraordinaire) asks:
Who was the first case of amnesia?
EXCELLENT question, Vicki! Namely, because I had a hard time finding cases of amnesia in antiquity…certainly, amnesia’s been around for as long as people have been, however the first DOCUMENTED case was Ansel Bourne (thank you, Wikipedia).
Ansel was an evangelical preacher in Rhode Island during the 1800s. Initially a carpenter, he experienced what is now assumed to be a dissociative fugue (where an individual suddenly develops amnesia, forgetting major facts about him or herself and his or her life) and became a preacher. He published his experience in 1857 (I wonder if he had to query a bunch of agents first 😉 ).
In January 1887, he again developed this fugue state, traveled to Pennsylvania where he started a confectioner’s shop under the name Brown. His memory returned two months later, in March. Interestingly, he had no memory of leaving home and had no idea two months had gone by.
Perhaps the blogosphere has heard of an earlier case. Do tell!