The…Jerusalem syndrome is the phenomenon whereby a person who seems previously balanced and devoid of any signs of psychopathology becomes psychotic after arriving in Jerusalem.
Why wasn’t I warned? Isn’t it enough that we live without air conditioning?
Ask any city-dweller and you’ll hear that Jerusalem is overrun with stray cats and crazy people. (Some believe there is hope for the cats.) But the Jerusalem Syndrome, the clinical explanation of why so many people claim to have “a religious experience” when they visit here, cannot be the entire answer, if an answer at all.
It’s true that scores of people walk the streets of Jerusalem eager to share visions or claiming to be Messiah, but the Jerusalem Syndrome is not about them. The Jerusalem Syndrome hopes to explain why historically mentally healthy people leave the rails once they visit here. The explanation assumes that something must be wrong with them. Read a little about it (here and here if you like) and see if you don’t agree that it embraces the following assumption…
If one claims to experience the supernatural, he or she is mistaken.
It’s (soft) science, after all, and expecting a scientist to explain religious experience is a lot like asking the Pope to inspect a nuclear plant–but at least the Pope would concede that nuclear power exists.