Michael Persinger – Young Hitler:

»Your Excellent Book: Young Hitler […] The descriptions of young Hitler before and after the battlefield trauma and the subsequent location at Pasewalk would be consistent with many cases I have encountered clinically subsequent to the patient’s mild closed head injury where hypoxia has been the primary consequence. […] Many patients with this type of history ultimately exhibit the “temporal lobe personality” profile characterized by a specific cluster of indicators. They would include the feeling of being selected (usually by a cosmic source for a specific destiny), viscosity in speech, circumlocutiousness (which is an important form to express metaphors and include powerful emotional words and concepts within a narrative), a sense of the personal (local or world events have special meaning for the person), an interest in nascent themes (such as the beginning of the culture or the universe), a profound urge to write down every thought (hypergraphia), widening of affect (finding “relationships” between events because of their novelty as the result of the “perfusion” of sensory input with enhanced meaning). There is almost always some modification of sexuality with a concomitant increased hypermoralism. Finally, there is the compulsion to proselytize, to “spread the word” of this new insight.

This “conversion” energy is very similar to that reported following religious conversations. […] If one can assume that the descriptions of Mohammed are accurate, he would have met the criteria of a person who was displaying partial complex epileptic seizures with a focus in the temporal lobes. […] The other historical analogue that is closest to the information contained within your chapter you mentioned, and that was Saul of Tarsus (later Paul). According to accounts, while on the way to Damascus to prosecute Christians he allegedly experienced a photic (religious) epiphany followed by a brief period of blindness. He emerged a new man. […]

I have seen clinically over a hundred individuals who, following a mild “closed” head injury (with or without suspension of consciousness), showed the same themes of behavior that you described for young Hitler. Consequently your premise that there was nothing particularly exceptional about what happened to him after the injury is correct. […] I suppose the really challenging question is why this person with a profile similar to Mohammed, Christ, Joseph Smith, and multiple other religious leaders, succeeded. In my opinion, which is similar to the one expressed in Festinger’s book “When Prophesy Fails”, the social context and the expectancy set by the culture really determines the rest. Like the Messiah cult in the Judea/Palestine area two millennia ago, a cultural expectancy can be a powerful predisposing variable. In short, I suspect there were “many” Hitler variants in Germany. History only recorded the successful one. «

Dr. Michael A. Persinger is a cognitive neuroscience researcher who teaches at Laurentian University, Canada, since 1971. Professor Persinger organised the Behavioral Neuroscience Program which became one of the first to integrate chemistry, biology and psychology and explores the relationship between brain structure, function and human experience. In his research Dr. Persinger specialises in clinical neuropsychology with an emphasis in mild brain traumas and the correlation between neural stimulation and religious experience.