Beatriz Quintanilla, MD, PhD


Witchcraft or Mental Illness?

June 21, 2010

I don’t believe in witches or ghosts or things that go bump in the night. I’ve always thought that the Salem witch trials were a result of mass hysteria (on the part of the persecutors) rather than a phenomenon of dark forces at work. And seeing Arthur Miller’s The Crucible a few years ago, only confirmed my suspicions. So I was gratified to see Dr Quintanilla’s poster at this year’s meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. As a physician and researcher, she factually explains the fallacy of witchcraft. Looking at historical documents dating back to the 15th century, Dr Quintanilla was able to match the symptoms of people condemned as witches with associated neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as epilepsy and hysteria. [Editor’s Note: Natalie Timoshin]