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A very singular case of total loss of memory, caused by a shock, has lately occurred in the United States. The Rev. Marcus Ormond, D. D., a prominent clergyman of Pennsylvania, and a leading lecturer on temperance, was, on the 6th March, 1878, informed that his house was on fire. Upon reaching the spot, from which he was when he heard the news a few miles distant, he found his house entirely destroyed. The same day he heard that a friend for whom he was security had failed. The next morning he was found unconscious in bed. He remained in a comatose state for six weeks. When he regained consciousness, it was weeks before he could speak intelligibly. Then it was found that he had lost all knowledge of reading and writing, and that although he seemed to recognise some of his old friends, he could not call any of them by name. By persistent efforts Dr. Ormond’s wife succeeded i i teaching her husband the alphabet, and after some months he could read short sentences of small words. She also taught him to write his name, which he did mechanically, copying the characters she made without having any impression of them on his mind. Although he could read [a little he could not spell the simplest words. As ho improved in health the names of his children and of some of his friends returned to him, but he could not tell to whom the names belonged. He has since improved in many respects, but his inability to read, write, and spell, and his power of using cdy a limited number of words in talking, still remains. Dr. Ormond’s memory has also greatly improved. In business affairs he is as shrewd as ever. The case is a very singular one, although by no means without precedent, and had it been adduced in court on the occasion of a great trial as to identity a few years since, it would have added a serious difficulty to the case. The fact that while accurately remembering certain c : rcumsian:es, the Claimant had absolutely forgotten others, and that while a shrewd man in many res; ects, his memory as to all matters learnt at school, and especially as to the French language, had entirely gone, was one of the most fatal defects in his case, but such a precedent as that mentioned above would • have deprived the anomaly of much of its significance.

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Bibliographic details

A SINGULAR CASE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 101, 18 May 1880

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A SINGULAR CASE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 101, 18 May 1880