Demonic Faces Everywhere


#MindOfMarlar is written by Darren Marlar, host of Weird Darkness

Imagine waking up one morning and when you look at your friends or loved ones, you see their ears, noses, and mouths stretched back, with deep grooves on their foreheads, cheeks, and chins. All the people you know have suddenly turned into hideous, demonic creatures! And it’s not even remotely close to Halloween.

That’s what one Tennessee man experienced when he was diagnosed with prosopometamorphopsia, or PMO, a rare disorder that visually distorts people’s faces; only 75 cases of the condition have ever been recorded. Only three cases have every been pronounced correctly.

We’ve all probably had employers or bosses we though of as evil – or maybe a few people from high school I’d rather not mention, but they didn’t look like literal demons – no matter how black their hearts were.

But Victor sees it.

Victor Sharrah, a 59-year-old truck driver, had always had sharp eyesight. So a few years ago when he saw a disfigured-looking man in his apartment one day, he knew something was terribly wrong. Wouldn’t you? Did he immediately shout “away from me, Satan!” or look for a crucifix to throw at the man? Nope. Did he scramble to remember the Latin exorcism Sam used on “Supernatural?” Nope. Did he run off screaming like a little girl (like I would have)? Nope. Victor calmly, and bravely I might add, simply stepped aside. Now that’s self-control! Once Victor left the building he then realized that everyone looked fiendishly evil. Every single person had a stretched, almost demonic look on their faces. It was like he had walked out of a dream and into a living nightmare of Hollywood plastic surgeries run amok.

“My first thought was I woke up in a demon world,” Victor recalled. “You can’t imagine how scary it was. I was really freaking out at that point. I was going to go have myself committed.” And who could blame the guy? People are accused of insanity if they see aliens in their backyard, or if they proclaim to have heard the actual spoken voice of God… and we’ve known of people on trial for murdering those they thought were evil or possessed. So of course Victor had reason to worry about his mental health. But it turns out he’s NOT crazy.

Doctors often mistake prosopometamorphopsia (PMO) for a psychiatric condition, but unlike schizophrenia, the facial distortion doesn’t come with delusional beliefs about people’s identities. Despite seeing horribly disfigured faces, Victor always recognizes the people he interacts with, knowing they aren’t actually evil – only his visual perception of them is distorted. Except for the bosses and high school bullies – they still are evil.

To learn more about PMO, scientists at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire worked with Victor to recreate the facial distortions he sees. They showed him photos of people while those same people were there in real-time in the room, allowing everyone to see the world through his eyes. Oddly, Victor only sees distorted faces in person, not in photos, TV, or film. For example, he could look at his mom in a photo and she would look perfectly normal, but then he could look up lift his eyes and look up to his mother in the same room with him and she would look horrifying… even after taking our her curlers.

Victor could watch a horror film and see fewer terrifying faces onscreen than he would see in the movie theater watching the film along with him. Well that sucks… Victor probably can’t enjoy a horror movie anymore, because real-life is way worse.

PMO symptoms can last for days, weeks, or even years. Unfortunately, Victor has been living with these symptoms for almost four years now. He still hopes they’ll go away on their own someday, but he’s also learned to live with these terrifying daily observations.

No one knows what causes PMO, but researchers believe Victor’s visual distortions might be linked to a serious head injury he sustained sixteen years ago (after seeing his mom in curlers) – or possibly the carbon monoxide poisoning he suffered four months before he started seeing the demonic faces all around him.

If you think about it, in a way, Victor’s story is kind of uplifting. It’s almost like Victor is the poster boy for not judging books by their covers. Despite the demons he sees on every face he comes into contact with, he still finds love and beauty in those around him and treats everyone the same… even his boss and high school lowlife alumni. Victor is a much better person than I am.

(Source: Oddity Central)

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