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Mr Adams Vs Mental Health Professionals


As an Occupational Therapy student in August 2006 my final university placement was working in a small Mental Health team specialising in Rehab and Recovery - patients varied in diagnosis but all were severe and enduring- none particularly harmful to themselves or others, most stable and just struggling to function in day to day activities such as shopping, personal care etc. This community based team in the West Midlands would visit patients in their own home (occasionally on the wards if they had been admitted when unwell) so during my time there I had visited many patients' homes- every type of home you could imagine -accompanied by various members of the team. It was not until the last few weeks of my placement that I realised how accustomed I had become to what most would consider "abnormal" and it was due to the following event that I realised this and it will be one of my first experiences I would like to share on this site.

To give some background, this day in particular was the same as any other to start with; we had been to see a schizophrenic lady in her 50s who lived alone first thing that morning. Before even knocking the front door she had opened it in fluster ushering us in screeching at the top of her voice that Morris was choking and we needed to help. Morris turned out to be a "Tickle me Elmo" with a face covered in beans suffering with flat batteries- much to the relief of my educator - a lovely psychiatric nurse called Jeanne. Jeanne and I then went to carry out a generic initial assessment on a new patient the Psychiatrist had passed to us - again a particularly psychotic schizophrenic, male, aged 42 -Afro Caribbean, always hearing and responding to auditory and visual hallucinations, but compliant with his medication and friendly. Having read his file and referral this man had a history as long as your arm of trying to commit suicide, socially isolating himself, and experiencing severe paranoia - that was until the team had picked up his case and he started to get some real help. He was now considered as "stable" as he would ever be. His referral stated that he lived alone with his mother.

Around 11. 30 that morning we pulled up outside Peters house. Jeanne commented on the old Caucasian man standing in the window upstairs peeking at us from behind a net curtain, we both smiled politely as we walked down the small path to the house -a little worried that we had been given the wrong address -but we hadn't. Peter answered the door and invited us in, his mom offered us a cup of tea and we casually started talking to Peter about why we were there and asked him about his illness- his mom also helped with this as Peter didn't have a lot of insight into his illness. He was open about his obsessive behaviour and paranoia though - things like holding a very old fashion (broken) radio all the time because he like the song it kept playing and he had covered the mirror in the hallway with tin-foil because "people can come through it and the tin-foil locks the mirror". In all honesty he was one of the most interesting patients I had met, very sweet and likable too.

Throughout talking about his daily activities the thing he spoke most about that day was Mr Adams. He said that since he started his medication he didn't hear bad voices anymore which once encouraged him to try to kill himself and now he could see Mr Adams more which he was very pleased about. When I asked who Mr Adams was his mom explained without a hint of doubt that Mr Adams was a an elderly neighbour who had died when Peter was very young and she said that he visited them quite often although she only ever saw him twice in the 30 odd years he'd been dead. Once by her bed and once in Peter's room during a time he was hospitalised. She said he moved things and that her husband (now deceased) had said on many occasions that he had seen him standing by their bed in the middle of the night. She laughed and rolled her eyes explaining that she was not "mad" like her son and didn't care if we thought she was because all she cared about was that Mr Adams always helped Peter. Peter explained that when the voices were bad Mr Adams would hit them with his walking stick or sometimes he would sit next to Peter and tell him not to harm himself. Between themselves they recalled many incidents such as finding their beds dressed in a "hospital corners" type fashion, things being moved and doors opening and closing. Peter reported frequently seeing Mr Adams and speaking to him. He did see other "people" e.g. Another man who dressed as a pirate but Peter didn't seem as interested in talking about him and his mom made it clear that Pirate wasn't real!

Although we sat there bemused (for the first time in ages) and I was completely out of my comfort zone it hadn't yet clicked, although Jeanne admitted later she had her suspicions. Peters mom smiled and said that she'd watched us both look to the upstairs of the house smiling as we walked down the path to the front door earlier and she knew he must have been upstairs peeking on the visitors. Jeanne with her poker face on asked what Mr Adams looked like and Peter said "old skinny white man" and we both nervously laughed. We finished the assessment by having a look around the house asking Peter to show use what he did on a day to day basis, if he could use the kitchen safely etc. And there was definitely no-one else in that house apart from the four of us. No old man at all!

Without a doubt we had seen someone who had totally disappeared from the house that day - that was the initial mystery. The more we talked about it and tried to rationalise it we just couldn't explain how someone could have left the house without passing us. We had both seen a man very similar to the man Peter and his mother had described. Back at our base we told the team who were all baffled and interested, a few rolled their eyes and we were a bit embarrassed to be honest. We sounded like we had been fooled big time but we both knew there was no one else in that house. We documented what the patient had told us. We could not prove there was someone in the house so it was not mentioned in our report only what Peter and his mom had said about Mr Adams. The Consultant read it and mentioned that the mother had said similar things to him and it is Peter's most common hallucination. Peter's Social Worker Maria told us in my final week on placement when we all went out for a "goodbye" meal, that she had visited Peter a week after us and said she had seen the old man we described walk past the kitchen door whilst she was talking to Peters mom, she had asked who he was and Peters mom said it was Mr Adams the ghost. Maria was baffled too.

So what do you think? A lot of things bothered me about this incident especially the more we spoke about it, and although I'm quite embarrassed to admit it- we both believed we had seen a "ghost" that day. It's such a difficult experience to analyse as we were dealing with a mentally ill patient who regularly experiences hallucinations but then we also had our own experience and the accounts of others to consider. This experience left me a little sad too, I felt guilty for doubting Peter because he was such a likable character and what if he really did have sensitivity to spirits mixed in with his hallucinations?

I'd really like to hear your thoughts and answer any questions you have, by all means tell me how we have managed to imagine it all as I'd like to rationalise it! I've never SEEN anything since- although I've had quite a few other totally difference experiences I am keen to share with you when I get time.

Sorry I've been long winded!

Thanks for reading,


*Patient's real name not used

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, 27flowers, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

27flowers (2 stories) (25 posts)
13 years ago (2011-08-17)
First of all thank you for reading and may I apologise for such a delay in replying to comments- I read your stories everyday but never have time to reply or comment and using a Blackberry makes it a bit uncomfortable to respond so I get impatient! I have a few more experiences I'd like to throw out there so I'll spend a rainy afternoon typing them up soon.

It made me wonder the same thing! I think it would always come down to the individual's experiences as to whether it's paranormal or an element of mental illness responsible and taking into account what is out of the norm for them individually.

Thanks, you asked a question regarding the use of the word "mad". I personally do not like the use of this word but I've found it very common for family members to describe their loved ones as "mad" or "crazy" which is sad but I think they feel they can say whatever they want sometimes and in this case peter's mother did call him mad, I'm glad the family you know are more considerate and sensitive. I've even heard consultants describe patients as "bonkers" when some patients illness is particularly exacerbated, this will never sit comfortably with me.

Thank you for commenting. The whole experience of working with people who have a mental illness was extremely interesting, Peter in particular. Ill never forget him and I'm so grateful for this experience as it keeps my mind open!

Thanks again to everyone else for reading and commenting, its reasurring that so many have positive attitudes toward people who have a mental illness.

27flowers x
Shlain (13 stories) (246 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-21)
I'm so happy you posted this story. So many scientists/doctors just don't seem to get, just because science hasn't yet spent time to prove the existence of spirits, that it does not automatically rule out the exsistence of ghosts and mean they are just a figment of an insane mind. I believe that because of the person's altered state of mind it in fact makes them more "open" to spiritual activity. Sometimes even the medication hightens the sense of awareness that you're not alone.

Good for you that you looked "outside the box" and didn't just brush it off as imagination. Keep it up and always give your patients the benefit of the doubt.

Xxx Shlain
DragonStorm80 (1 stories) (440 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-20)
27flowers... Firstly this is well a well written story, and you bring up some great points about mental illness vs paranormal encounters.

I'm coming at this story from the other side as I am diagnosed with mental illness, and because I have had paranormal experiences, I can completely relate to this.

I'm not sure how the assessment of patients works in the UK, in Australia, however, it's a long drawn out process, and the most common question, which is asked in different words about 5 times during the initial assessment is "do you hear voices" and "do you ever see things that aren't really there"...

This is where I end up confusing the poor doctors by trying to explain my belief in the paranormal and the spiritual realm, at one point I was diagnosed with mild schizophrenia, I disagreed and was re assessed on numerous accounts until I was finally heard (or I broke them down, either way they took me off some nasty medication which was my objective)

So I agree that you did indeed see Mr Adams, and that your patient indeed talks to him also, and on a regular basis 😊 And quite possibly Mr Adams may not be the only spirit that he communicates with.

As usual this is simply my own opinion 😉
Lilady4 (7 stories) (427 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-19)
A excellently written story here, 27flowers. It is strange that the world we live in today (a Western world, and therefore, a Western concept of things) shuns paranormal experiences and paranormal activity as "crazy". And, by golly, you must be crazy if you talk, see, or hear ghosts!. But I do understand in some cases, the paitient does need help and does have a legitimate Mental Illness.
I, too believe that you saw the Spirit of Mr. Adams that day.
Love & Light, Rachel ❤
aussiedaz (19 stories) (1565 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-18)
I have been waiting for a story like this one and thank you for sharing it... It supports what I have come to understand about our mind and our spiritual consciousness... I believe we exists with two states of mind, our logical one or conscious state and our sub conscious state which is our spiritual consciousness in my opinion... Our spiritual consciousness when active can not only allow us to have experiences with those who have past over, it also has the unique ability to project us into a world of make believe... And there is some evidence of that when we dream... Think about it... Where are we when we dream, what are we seeing and how is it possible?
Now for people who have a chemical in balance with in their brain and who are diagnosed with mental illness I believe are caught between two worlds and can't cope with both reality's...their conscious and logical state of mind is confused and can't comprehend their situation... Medication seems to be able to block out the illusions with most people... These illusions which in my opinion are useful for something else in the next realm and interesting that mr Adams could also hear or share the illusions of the patient... As I also believe heaven and hell is an illusion to some but a reality to others and in the next realm, perhaps the spiritual mission is for us to find that peace of mind with in us that allows us to find eternal sanctuary... Some of what this patient hears and see's are not illusions and some are, as what basically you are suggesting through your story... Thank you again for sharing it.

Daz 😁
DeviousAngel (11 stories) (1910 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-17)
I absolutely love this story. I do think there's a lot more to mental illness in terms of the paranormal than we really understand. For some people, perhaps those "voices" they hear really are spirit voices. It's always best to get it checked out first, of course, but there are times when all the scientists and head doctors in the world can't figure out what's wrong with a person. That's when you have to start questioning, is it just something we haven't figured out yet? Or is there another force at work here?

Thanks for sharing this one, it's going into my favorites!
cosmogal926 (9 stories) (1223 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-17)
Thank you for sharing this story with us. It was a very interesting and enjoyable read. 😊 It seems to me that Mr. Adams is real and is there to help watch over Peter. Peter and his mother's claims of seeing Mr. Adams are pretty much validated by you and your coworkers. It is said that people with mental illness, autism, or ADD are sometimes susceptible to spirits. Some of the things that Peter has claimed to see could have been hallucinations, but when you mentioned that Mr. Adams would shoo away the "bad voices" and sit beside Peter telling him not to hurt himself tells me there could be some Paranormal mixed in. I'm putting this one in my fav's. Thanks and take care 😊
LouSlips (10 stories) (979 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-17)
27 Flowers,
I enjoyed this story. The human mind is an amazing machine, we use so little of it for functional purposes of day to day life... It is a virtual mystery.
I think a large portion of mentally ill people are simply subjected to "exposure" of their own mental capabilities. How many of your patients would know they were "crazy", if they weren't being judged by those restricted by the social norm. I'm not discounting the mental illness treatment community in its entirety, mind you... People who cannot cope with society and have the potential to harm themselves or others do need assistance. But "in my mind"...the path through our brain is just one big funhouse, house of mirrors... And the deeper you get into it, the less reflection and the more substance you encounter.
Spirits are not attracted to children or mentally handicapped individuals because they can get away with making themselves known to someone with limited credibility from the outside world. They do it because children and those who are deemed ill, truly haven't closed the doors between society's reality and what is psychologically real.

otteer (8 stories) (398 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-17)
thank you for your story... I loved what javelina had to say, I was thinking along the same lines but just could put it into words, she did it beautifully.

Validation was very important to me, more so than I ever thought. I always felt odd man out when I told my family about things that happened to me and wondered if they thought I was nuts. When I spoke up about my experiences my sister finally did too, as did my brother about his daughter, but, when my mom saw something paranormal happen while with me... Nothing felt so sweet as validation! I'm so glad Mr. Adams was kind enough to provide your patient with some! ❤

Excuse the lack of capitals... Im just tired tonight!
MsPitstop (3 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-17)
Nice story.

Seems to me the only explanation is that you did indeed see a ghost!
taz890 (12 stories) (1380 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-16)
hi there 27flowers, I realy enjoyed this story.
Thanks for adding it.

I did enjoy the fact that mr adams helps peter with his voices or urges.

Only one bit got me though when you say his mum said she was not mad like peter, did she say mad? I have known a family with 3 mentaly challenged siblings and no one in that family would have said any of them were "mad" just seams a bit off un less you could not recall the exact wording the mother used and added mad to get the point across?

Anyway great story
TruthInDarkness (4 stories) (259 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-16)
Please don't apologize for being "long winded". I'd much rather read a story with some substance than a brief account that lacks needed details. Thanks for sharing. I too have to wonder how much of what doctors call schizophrenia is truly an illness. The side effects such as OCD and paranoia are likely valid, but I definitely have to wonder about at least some of the "hallucinations".
zzsgranny (18 stories) (3329 posts) mod
13 years ago (2011-06-16)
27flowers: I completely agree with Geetha...Really, who's to say that "the bad voices" were all hallucinations?...A good friend of ours has an adult son, who is paranoid/schizophenic and had, about 20 years ago, tried to commit suicide by shooting his own head off, but he failed... His mother was his primary care-giver, but she passed away about 5 years ago... When asked to make a decision at times, he says, "Lemme ask Mom", he asks and then says "Mom said to do" what ever...Example: "Do you want burgers or hotdogs for dinner?" "Mom says have burgers" 😆...He is mentally diminished, with a double whammy... His psychosis, and the effect of the failed suicide attempt...

His Mom isn't the only person he talks to though... I think he's actually speaking with his Mom and the others, but my husband says no way! LOL... Stuff like that creeps him out 😆

Anyway, great account!...I think you did see Mr. Adams in the window...Sometimes, these experiences make us question our own sanity, but we're all a little bit Loonie! 😆
KimSouthO (27 stories) (1960 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-16)
First, thank you for taking the time to share this story with us.

Second, I have no doubt you saw Mr. Adams; Peter saw Mr. Adams and Peters mother saw Mr. Adams.

As far as the rest of the voices and/or persons Peter saw, they may remain known only to him. The human mind is such a wonder none of us will probably ever know if her truly heard/saw all of these other beings whioh ancouraged him to harm himself.

I for one do believe some of these so called 'psych' issues may be something else entirely, such as Mr. Adams,

God Bless!
Javelina (4 stories) (3749 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-16)
Thank you for sharing this experience with us. I enjoyed reading your account of what occurred on your visit to Peter's house.
The fact that you saw the entity was truly an important part of Peter's story. For one thing, I believe Mr. Adams wanted to be certain you both saw him. He obviously cares deeply for this family, and especially Peter. Both mother and son insisted that Mr Adams was always helping Peter, "when the voices were bad Mr Adams would hit them with his walking stick or sometimes he would sit next to Peter and tell him not to harm himself". So yes, I do think he meant to be seen that day, and the subsequent visits from the rest of the team too. It sounds as if he was trying to get a message to anyone who cared, that Peter was in good hands and doing fine.
It does make me wonder what Mr Adams was like when he was alive, and what sort of work he did. And although I'll never meet him I almost wish I could.


Thank you again for sharing this wonderful story.
bacchaegrl (506 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-16)
Amazing story! Amazing! I am very interested in the connection between mental illness and the paranormal. But this... This is a heavy dose of both! I like how Mr. Adams was helpful, driving all the bad voices away. Oh my, I bet you could go on and on about the implications of this case! I am very interested to hear more from you!
sarahmariacecilia (3 stories) (105 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-16)
Wow thank you so much for this story. Combining the thought of a mental illness and the paranormal really does make you wonder how sensitive they are to seeing spirits. I wonder if when interacting with the sprit it could be confused with as one of their "personalities." Once again, thank you for a story that was not only interesting but it woke my brain up this morning! 😁 Cheers!
geetha50 (15 stories) (986 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-16)
I have read a quite a few stories where I was told or read that people experiencing these "paranormal" activities are mentally challenged. I admit that there are people who have mental disabilities and I also believe that many of these people who have these mental disabilities are sensitive to the paranormal. But I got to question, how many people were (and I believe, still are) wrongly accused or diagnosed with having mental illness when they actually are well minded people who can actually interact with the spirit world. I, personally believe, some of these people who are wrongly diagnosed truly lose it in the end because people didn't or don't want to listen what their are saying.

I truly believe that you and your boss say the ghost of Mr. Adams that day. I also believe that Peter and people like Peter have a heightened sense to the paranormal because of what they are going though.

Also, I believe that being in a profession where you help other people, you will come across many paranormal happenings.

I also like your writing style. It was nicely written that I didn't have to go back and read it twice to understand.
robertar (223 posts)
13 years ago (2011-06-16)
I've often wondered how much of today, s mental illness is actually paranormal, or the spirit world. Funny because people have come to the opposite conclusion, that much of the paranormal accounts in history were probably just mental illness.

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