Was His Birth a Clue to the Madness That Would Come?

John Hinckley Jr. Was born in a sanitarium
John Hinckley, Jr. and the two mental hospitals that served as bookends of his life.

John Hinckley, Jr. will be forever remembered as the man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and confined to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC for treatment for narcissistic and schizotypal personality disorder and major depressive disorder.

In an ironic bit of foreshadowing, history records that 25 years earlier John Hinckley, Jr. entered this world in another mental health institution. He was born at Hardy Sanitarium, in Ardmore, Oklahoma. 

Military Genius and Mental Madness

Field Marshal Blucher delusions pregnant with elephant

Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher rose to distinction in the Prussian military in his campaigns against Napoleon, earning the rank of Field Marshal.

He was also barking mad.

Blücher was paralyzed by fear for days at a time, perched in his chair, convinced that the French had made the floor too hot for him to stand upon. When he was forced to move from his chair, he danced from spot to spot, trying to stand on only one toe.

He also believed he had been sexually assaulted by a French soldier and as a result, he was pregnant and about to give birth to an elephant. His servants tried to mollify him by assuring him that it could be worse — he could have been raped by a French elephant, but nothing would calm his nerves.

Field Marshal Blücher had many fights with people only he could see, resulting in the destruction of a lot of furniture. When he was convinced that his head had been turned to stone, he pleaded with a servant to smash his head with a hammer.

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