The Hole in the Door

By Hans Pedersen


It is important for understanding political and religious phenomena to realize that abnormal behavior is transmittable. At the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, the German neurologist Kraepelin described a condition which he called "induced insanity".[1] Thereby a psychotic person, called the Inductor, can cause a similar sickness in otherwise normal persons. The disease always includes more than one person: the Inductor and one or more Induced. The development of the psychosis within the Inductor depends on the feedback from the induced persons. The Inductor is dominant, and the induced follow him/her like a dog follows his master. Their behavior only returns to normal when their contact with the Inductor is interrupted.

A variation of Kraepelin's "induced madness" will be described in the following and includes two disease descriptions: 1) The disease of the Inductor, which--after the first described case--can be named as the Rachel-Hertz-Syndrome, and 2) the disease on the side of the induced. For this I suggest the name "Acquired Behavior Deficiency Syndrome"--abbreviated ABDS--in order to emphasize the similarity with AIDS.

Address: Fredericiagade Nr. 26 in Kopenhagen, the House of the "Sewing Needle Virgin"
(Picture Archive City-Museum Kopenhagen)

The condition can be distinguished from neuroses, psychoses and psychotic conditions as a form of stand-alone disease. Whole epidemics can develop. Causes for the disease are not viruses or bacteria, but ideas and imaginations. Similar to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), however, is the initial condition for the development of the disease: a blocking of defense mechanisms, here of higher neurological functions of the brain.

The similarity between ABDS and AIDS is that in both cases the distinction between "foreign" and "own" is warped in such a way that outsiders--viruses or non-members of the group--can attain control. If a degenerated cell is not recognized as such, cancer develops. When AIDS has blocked the immunization, parasites like viruses and bacteria can destroy the body. This also has a parallel with ABDS.

The Rachel-Hertz-Syndrome

The Rachel-Hertz-Syndrome consists of a pathological impulse by the sick person to gain attention and devotion, by employing knowingly deceitful means.[2] He or she knows, that s/he must hide these means from other persons. In contrast to this, the urge to commit the deception is unconscious and not subject to the will. But the reaction of people in the environment can suppress or enhance the pathological behavior; it can go to such an extent that the sick person dominates his or her environment totally.

Contrary to the syndrome described by Kraepelin, the Inductor here is not affected by the same disease which he caused in his victims; s/he does not have the same insane imaginations which s/he evoked in the induced. The Inductor blocks the mental defense mechanism of the victim. By the erection of a taboo, s/he eliminates the victim's capability to look at him/herself critically and to use his/her reasoning capacity.

The Inductor causes an emotional blockage which blocks the Induced's rational questioning about his or her own behavior; by so doing, the path to exploit the victim is cleared for the Inductor, whose actions may otherwise appear utterly embarrassing and ridiculous to unaffected, healthy individuals.

In this way, paranoid perceptions develop regarding certain contemporary eras. For the thorough understanding of this disease, the case which gave this disease its name shall be described in the following. It happened almost 180 years ago, which guarantees that there will be only a minute danger that it will cause the above described emotional blockages with possibly already induced readers.

The disease was first described in Denmark with a Jewish girl named Juliane Rachel Hertz who became known as the "Sewing Needle Virgin".[3] Characteristic of the disease is the uninhibited use of constant deception by a person who attempts to bring herself into the center of attention in order to gain support from the people around her.

Rachel Hertz exhibited symptoms which at least initially allowed for doubts whether this was a kind of hysteria--in psychiatry a condition where the patient unknowingly shows neurological symptoms. It can be difficult for the doctor to distinguish between hysteria and conscious deceit, since the patient's specific acts of deception can be very convincing. Most of the time the patient has helpers for the deceitful actions.

In the case of the "needle-virgin," the deceptions were mainly aimed at a Danish medical doctor, J.D. Herholdt, professor for internal medicine and chief physician of the Royal Frederiks Hospital in Kopenhagen from 1819 to 1825. The behavior of the patient was therefore characterized by physical symptoms and self-injuries.

Rachel Hertz had a Jewish family background. In 1750, her mother's father emigrated from Portugal to Denmark. In 1752, he married Rebekka Wessely. Their daughter Esperance Warburg married Levin Hertz, who had been born in Berlin about 1756.

All listed individuals were of Jewish origin. Rachel Hertz was the fourth of six children. The family belonged to the wealthiest in Kopenhagen and had no problems in paying for Rachel's 31/2 years lasting hospitalization and her care afterwards.

Professor J. D. Herholdt (1764-1836), Victim and Hero (Medical-historic Museum, Kopenhagen)

Rachel Hertz was gifted and had a lively fantasy. She had a tendency to irritate others and to make herself look favorable. In the years from 1808 to 1811 she exhibited hysteric symptoms of screaming and of attacks of madness and cramps. Prof. Herholdt was the family doctor. It was not until 1819, at age 26, that Rachel started her acts of deception which later gave her the name "needle-virgin". Herholdt was called because the patient had severe pain in the abdomen, vomited and was whimpering.

Below the navel Herholdt found a large hard and painful knot. He made an incision and removed a narrow and hard foreign substance, which turned out to be a needle. Rachel explained that she had swallowed the needle, which then traveled on its own to this spot where Herholdt found it. People around Rachel, including Prof. Herholdt, did not doubt this explanation, although Rachel was exposed later. During the following seven years, Herholdt had to remove several hundred needles.

In 1820, Rachel's mother suffered an apoplexy (stroke) with paralysis of her left side. In the meantime, Rachel developed a "paralysis" of arms as well as legs, but by New Year 1820 only the "paralysis" of the right arm remained.

In the spring of 1821, Rachel showed symptoms she had before 1811: she could not urinate and had to be catheterized. This was done by Herholdt twice a day. The quantity of urine, however, which was released through the catheter from the bladder, exceeded by far the quantity of fluid which Rachel took in. In 1822, Rachel was hospitalized into the Royal Frederiks Hospital where Herholdt had become chief physician. After admission she became mute and communicated from then on by writing with her left hand.


In 1825, Herholdt completed his work at the Royal Frederiks Hospital and Rachel came into the care of the shoemaker family Kuhn. Her host family had the suspicion that she was simulating and therefore drilled a hole through the door of her room in order to observe Rachel. It turned out that Rachel, during moments when she felt unobserved, sat up in her bed, moved the "paralyzed" arm, and walked about in her room. She combed her hair with her right hand and wrote communications on the blackboard which served to communicate with Herholdt. She also inserted liquids and air through the catheter into her bladder.

Herholdt was informed about this and observed Rachel through the hole in the door. A few days after Rachel had been told that she had been exposed, her body functions were back to normal. Criminal proceedings were considered against her, but Queen Marie Sophie Frederikke intervened her behalf.

After the exposure, it became clear that Rachel must have had accomplices who had helped her. Furthermore, it turned out that Rachel had always been aware of the fact that she was deceiving the people around her.

The "symptoms" which Rachel developed were partly inspired by the apoplexy of her mother, which resulted in real paralysis, and partly were selected for those who she wanted to impress. When a medical authority like Herholdt recognized the symptoms as real, then the people around also accepted them as real. Little known is about the helpers, who must have known about the fraud.

If no one had reacted to Rachel Hertz's deceit, and had she not been the object of interest of prominent persons, the disease possibly would not have erupted in the first place. High level persons paid regular visits: Prof. Justizrat Weedemann from Kiel, His Excellency Geheimer Konferenzrat W.J.A. von Moltke, Bishop Dr. Theol. C.D. Kofoed, the secretary of the Russian embassy Louis de Bioloier as well as Prof. Dr. H. Chr. Örstedt (discoverer of electromagnetism), to name only the most prominent.

Rachel was not diagnosed as being psychologically abnormal. She was not "insane" according to the medical science of that time. From a medical point of view, her case was interesting, and Herholdt introduceed the patient into the highest social circles. Rachel was gifted and even translated medical-historical works for Herholdt from Latin into Danish. Assignment to this work doubtlessly gave Rachel some ideas about the "symptoms" and provided her with the theoretical knowledge which was necessary in order to deceive a medical doctor for years. Herholdt's thorough and persevering examinations, on the other hand, contributed to perpetuate her interest in the matter.

The case also shows that the Inductor gets his or her ideas for the acts of deception from his or her environment and adapts them to the expectations of the target person(s).

Without the possibility of deception, i.e., when the patient's social contacts are aware of this phenomenon, the sick person can lead a perfectly normal life and integrate into society.

On May 8, 1829, Rachel Hetz gave birth to her daughter Juliane Krüger. According to the church book of the Trinitatus parish in Kopenhagen, the father was the office manager Krüger. From that time onward, Rachel lived completely outside the Jewish community, and in 1834, she moved with her daughter to the Forester House Svendstedille on the Danish island Seeland. She died in 1841, after finally leading a completely normal life. On Seeland, Rachel Hertz was treated affectionately and with understanding by her landlords. However, because of their attitude--they were of course familiar with her history--Rachel Hertz had no longer any opportunity for her deceptions. Today, certain circles would denounce this attitude as "anti-Semitism".

The "needle-virgin" is the first well documented example of this form of mental disease in the history of medicine. This condition is not characterized by physical symptoms but by the tendency and capability to deceive those in the environment. It is not fraud in the general penal sense but a behavioral malfunction which has to be considered 'endogenous'. Which means that it comes from within; it has a genetic origin. In order to achieve an emotional gain, the sick person--the Inductor--must influence and deceive other people. In doing this, s/he utilizes innate trigger mechanisms of the victim which are not pathological, but are instrumental for the integration and assumption of social roles within society. This includes helping other members of the community in the case of weakness or sickness, providing protection, having pity, and providing comfort. By simulating a person in need which triggers certain mechanisms within the victim--the Induced--the sick person causes a "false alarm" and thus brings about reactions which are inappropriate to the situation. This condition in itself cannot be viewed as pathological. This way, each baby tries to "drill" others, especially its mother. If the mother is taken in too much and reacts with disproportionate devotion, the development of a tyrant is preprogrammed.

The behavior becomes pathological when the Inductor prevents his/her victim from acting rationally by developing new symptoms, for instance by going berserk, screaming, having hysteric attacks, and by inducing guilt feelings. When every attempt of the victim to judge his/her part rationally is "punished" with such violent reactions from the Inductor, the victim finally stops resisting the Inductor at all. Instead of thinking rationally, the victim allows him/herself to be controlled through guilt complexes. Only if the victim is confronted with the truth in the presence of others, will s/he dare to think rationally again.

Neurotic persons can totally terrorize their environment, because most people cannot stand the emotional stress when a neurotic person does not get his or her will. The Inductor of ABDS does not only suffer from neurosis, as is shown by the quite painful self mutilations in the case of Rachel Hertz. This proves that it is independent of symptom. The urge to deceive is the core of the disease, and self mutilations can be one means to this end. In contrast to the often severe self mutilations of schizophrenic persons, those of Inductors are usually less dangerous and are committed under the aspect of usefulness. The self mutilations of ABDS-Inductors have a parallel in "pseudo-tetamen suicidi", an attempted suicide with ineffective means. Patients with this diagnosis attempt to commit suicide not with the goal to kill themselves, but in order to alarm those in their environment. The attempt is intentionally arranged so that it does not succeed.

The practical diagnosis of the Rachel-Hertz-Syndrome also includes traits of related clinical syndromes like neurotic, psychotic, psychopathic, and hysteric components. But it has to be emphasized that the Inductor him/herself does not believe in the insane delusions which s/he causes in his/her victims. It is, in fact, possible that s/he suffers from other delusions, but s/he is aware of the deception, and behaves quite rationally and carefully in order to prevent a revelation of the dishonesty. In those cases where s/he has accomplices, they were probably bribed.

The Inductor acts compulsively, and even the danger of being exposed cannot deter him/her from his/her activities. Curing him/her is only possible if there is no longer any opportunity to deceive.

Syndrome of Acquired Behavior Defects (ABDS)

In most cases, the victim gets entangled in a web of emotional involvements and blockings which s/he cannot untangle alone. The victim's delusions have a different origin than psychogenical delusions. Though both delusions cause enormous emotional stress, ABDS does not limit the ability for normal and rational behavior in other areas of life. The ABDS psychosis exists only when confronted with the Inductor (and other, equally induced victims).

Kaepelin's sickness syndrome of "induced madness" is also known in older psychiatric theory by the French designation "folie à deux" or "folie à trois" (madness of two/three). The diagnosis of "induced psychosis" means that, as already mentioned, both the Inductor and the Induced jointly accept the same delusions, but that the Induced operates pathologically. Generally, individuals outside of the normal population fall victim to it.

Herein lies the difference between induced madness and ABDS, where the Inductor abuses normal people. Here, the Induced are not individuals outside the normal population, as the case of Prof. Herholdt indicates. Herholdt distinguished himself only positively: he certainly had an intelligence above average and was a very social person.

Another difference between Kraepelin's "induced madness" and the case of Rachel Hertz is--as has already been determined--that she as the Inductor has no delusions. It is Herholdt whose picture of the situation is formed by delusions. His judgment of the condition of the patient is wrong and irrational. Of course, not every wrong diagnosis by a doctor can be described as a delusion. In the case of Rachel Hertz, the justification for this is based on Herholdt's intellectual blockage regarding his capabilities to rationally analyze the clinical findings. Already the difference in quantity between Hertz's consumed and excreted liquid should have made Prof. Herholdt think.

Only after Herholdt looked through the hole in the door, did it occur to him that he had been made a fool of. He did not even consider that Rachel herself had introduced the needles and other objects underneath her skin. The pathological nature of Rachel's behavior becomes clear when considering the pain which this must have caused.

Herholdt can be excused to some extent, if one considers the poor anatomical and physiological knowledge of the medical doctors at that time. But Herholdt must also have had an emotional desire for an extraordinary doctor/patient relationship in order to participate in this hoax without becoming aware of it. The intensive and time consuming treatment of Rachel Hertz indicates a deep emotional involvement. Prior to the exposure, however, Herholdt was at no time aware that it was a deception.

One also has to consider that the physicians of that time did not expect such behavior from any patient. Even today's physicians can get in trouble and let themselves be tricked when their attitude leads to a downfall by approaching a patient too uncritically. In the case of Rachel Hertz it was sober non-experts who became suspicious and found the irrefutable proofs for the hoax. When Herholdt looked through the hole in the door, he described his impression as follows:

"Oh man! I thought, what are you? Does a madness really exist that is not based on the aberration of the mind? I walked away quietly and felt hurt."

The reactions after Rachel's exposure were condemnations and disgust. Even the world of physicians--as Herholdt's reaction indicates--had difficulty in imagining that a person who could perform difficult intellectual work--as for example translating from Latin--could be "insane", but at the same time might not show any signs of intellectual malfunctions.

While looking through the hole in the door, Herholdt realized--as did the surgeon Prof. C.C. Withusen--that Rachel's behavior was an expression of a pathological condition of the mind. He was cured within seconds from his own delusions. The emotional bond with the patient, which was a prerequisite for maintaining the physician's "induced" condition, was broken and replaced by a normal doctor/patient relationship. In this case, the physician had been the patient.

A sudden contact with a non-induced individual or an accidental exposure of the Inductor can cause a 'miraculous cure' by immediate cessation of the emotional blockade.

Of course, not only physicians can fall victim to this form of psychosis.

The condition of ABDS was thus far unknown in the psychiatric literature; at least it did not get any attention.

There exists in the Anglo-Saxon literature a related concept called "Holocaust Survivor Syndrome (HSS).[4] This is a disease with massive induced delusions which occurs almost exclusively among Jewish individuals. Other groups of people, who were affected by war, internment, or catastrophes, do not usually show these pathological reactions.

Jews afflicted with HSS exchange their real experiences for those from circulated clichés--in fact independently of whether they were in camps or not.

Some of them testify about fates of persecution which they did not experience, and they narrate stories which are conspicuous merely due to their inner contradictions, their fantastic constructions, and their technical-scientific impossibilities.

The intent of deception is obvious but becomes secondary because another form of psychosis is superimposed, namely that of "being persecuted". The claim of "being persecuted" probably originates from a compensation mechanism which serves to make those inner tensions bearable which result from a contradiction between ambition and the capability to fulfill such ambitious goals. The same disharmony can also be observed in the USA with the inter-mixing of Blacks and Whites, leading to considerable criminal and psychiatric problems.[5]

Characteristic for the HSS is a mutual induction so that no difference exists anymore between Inductor and Induced. All Inductors are at the same time induced. Additionally, a substantial number of Inductors or Induced do not belong to normal, but to highly pathological types of personalities. The effects can be devastating. The group of people affected by HSS can finally cause ABDS within normal non-Jews.


The epidemiological risks of ABDS are considerably higher than the risks of the Kraepelin-Psychosis; an entire population can be effected by ABDS. The delusions can be induced within the majority of a population without the victims being sick or abnormal. What we deal with here is a blockage of the normal neurological mechanism at a higher level. Popularly put: it is a "mental AIDS". This parallel is valid also in a broader sense. The disease is incurable as long as an emotional contact exists between the carrier of the pathogen and the victim. But in case of ABDS, this emotional contact to the virus carrier can easily be removed, in contrast to the (currently) permanent infection of the human body by the HIV-virus.

The importance of any case of ABDS is limited as long as only one single sick person triggers delusions within the individuals in his immediate environment. In the case of Rachel Hertz, it was a closely limited circle which suffered from ABDS. The most recent history, however, indicates that broad sections of a population can be kept in a condition of delusion. This is achieved by an influential group of inductors using emotional reactions and social taboos which blockade the victim's capabilities to react rationally. In such cases, it is not obvious to the victims that those imposing the taboo are sick Inductors.

The possible damage can be immeasurable when a group of sick but cunning deceptors causes delusions in order to extort from their victims, i.e., when they deliberately shut down the defense mechanisms of a society. In the case discussed here, almost all journalists, judges, and even university scholars of a society suffer from the delusions induced in them, and Nobel Prizes are awarded to the Inductors because of their deceptions.

Once the group of Inductors has reinforced their totalitarian domination of a society, nobody dares to see that "the emperor has no clothes". Even healthy individuals will be disabled: through induced policemen who persecute the non-induced, through induced employers who dismiss him and destroy his existence, through induced judges who sentence him and put him in jail, through induced media who harass him and call for measures against him... Then the paranoid illusions can spread worldwide. None of the induced individuals recognizes the abstruseness to which it leads. Physicians who recognize the condition as pathological will be evicted as "unworthy", for example by revoking their license to practice. The only cure against this collective delusion is to look "through the hole in the door".

When a new era comes, physicians will be surprised to what extent the world population of the 20th and early 21st century, beyond all borders and up to the highest social levels, was seized by a form of ABDS, while the few unaffected individuals were socially ostracized and persecuted.

One may still be ostracized or even incarcerated when one looks "through the hole in the door"--but it is the only way to health, freedom, and truth.

We recommend to use as a "hole": Ernst Gauss (ed.), Dissecting the Holocaust. The Growing Critique of 'Truth' and 'Memory', 2nd edition, Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2003; see and advertisement on the inside of the back cover of this issue.


First published in Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung 1(2) (1997), pp. 79-83; translated by Fabian Eschen.

[1]Emil Kraepelin, Psychatrie, Leipzig 61899.
[2]Hans Pedersen, Postbox 99, DK-6340 Kruså, unpublished.
[3]All following information about this case were taken from: J.D. Herholdt, Auszüge aus den über die Krankheit der Rachel Hertz während der Jahre 1807-1826 geführten Tagebücher, Kopenhagen 1826. Under "Vorerinnerung" we read: "I wish that the content of this writing causes thinking physicians and philosophers [...] to examine the invisible bond which links our body to our mental nature. [...] the manifold hardship which this sick woman caused me. [...] May her sad example be a warning deterrent to all other erring people, [...] not to resist the voice of truth!"
A more recent survey of this case appeared by Henrik Dam, "Synålejomfruen", Medicinisk Forum (Landemærket 25, DK-1119 Kopenhagen), 39. Vol., No. 3, 1986, pp. 84-92, from which the pictures of this article were taken.
[4]In this regard, the Polish Historical Society reported about a conference of Polish and Ukrainian physicians in the Polish Consulate of New York on Jan. 1, 1993, Press release, Jan. 25, 1993, 91 Strawberry Hill Ave., USA-Stamford, CT 06902.
[5]Dept. of Justice, FBI Report, Vol. 25, No. 2, 1954, quoted acc. to H.E. Garrett, Race and Psychology, The Mankind Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1960.

Source: The Revisionist 1(1) (2003), pp. 52-56.

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