Anthro Ticker

‘He’s Not Sleep Walking; He Thinks He’s Dead’: Walking Corpse Syndrome

Painting By Salvador Dali

A few weeks ago, I was power streaming the television series ‘Scrubs’, and in one episode they had a patient who was walking around the ficitional Sacred Heart hospital and saying whacky things. His diagnosis? “He thinks he’s dead. He has Cotard’s Syndrome”.

My next question was, “Is that an actual thing?” And, so, research began.

Well, it is a thing!

Jules_CotardCotard’s Syndrome, also known as Walking Corspe Syndrome, is a rare mental illness the individual believes that they do not exist in this world as an actual being, or is in the process of decaying or losing bodily organs.

The disease was first discussed by neurologist, Dr. Jules Cotard in 1882. The disease seems to be comorbid, or simultaneously present, with conditions such schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, it has been known to surface in people who have suffered trauma, migraines and tumors.

“The first described patient was presented in a lecture in Paris in 1880 by Jules Cotard as Mademoiselle X who presented with significant self-loathing manifested as a denial of the existence of god or the devil and several parts of her body. As she believed herself to be eternally damned and incapable of dying a natural death and so no longer needed to eat. She later died of starvation in what one must assume came as a shock to her at least.” via (

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