The Piano Man

iGav

macrumors G3
Original poster
Mar 9, 2002
9,025
1
Fascinatingly strange...

A man was found wandering in Kent in a soaking wet suit, and since being picked up by the Police, he's not spoken a word. When asked of his name, all he wrote on a piece of paper was 'The Piano Man'.

When shown a piano in the Hospital's chapel, he played for several hours non-stop and has since written music, that has been verified as genuine manuscript.

Fascinating.

Rinky dink link

Thoughts?
 

4409723

Suspended
Jun 22, 2001
2,222
0
Really interesting story and I really don't know what to make of it. I hope they do a follow up when they find out who he is or when the joke is up and he yells 'GOTCHA!'.
 

Savage Henry

macrumors 65816
Kinda reminds me of Shine, but I couldn't say whether the opening sequence of the movie is a true depiction of an episode in Helfgott's life or an elaboration.

However I doubt the condition that Helfgott suffered from is even the same as this guy. In fact I'm not sure about his state at all: he seems to trust the doctors, he seems to know to look into cameras, and why were the clothes 'wet' instead of 'drying' when he was found.

I think I'm just too cynical and having a bad morning.
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
Savage Henry said:
In fact I'm not sure about his state at all: he seems to trust the doctors, he seems to know to look into cameras, and why were the clothes 'wet' instead of 'drying' when he was found.

I think I'm just too cynical and having a bad morning.
I'd be more cynical if he'd only been picked up a few days ago but he's kept up the facade (if it is one) since the beginning of April. That's a long time to spend locked up in an institution unless you 'need' to be there.

The 'try to come up with an explanation' part of my brain says 'Cruise ship entertainer overboard and hit head?' tho you would have thought that the ship would have reported him missing... Ah well, I'm sure if there's a good story behind it, they'll make a movie!
 

dobbin

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2002
587
5
England
iGav said:
he's not spoken a word. When asked of his name, all he wrote on a piece of paper was 'The Piano Man'.
I don't think thats quite right - I think the name was made up by the doctors/police/media.

The article says he was given a piece of paper in the hope he would write something and he just drew this picture of a piano. Thats even stranger. They took him to a piano and he played it non-stop for several hours.

I read of a lot of strange stories like this when I studied Psychology at University. They are usually caused by some injury/illness in the brain that knocks out a very specific function whilst all other functions remain intact. In this case he seems to have lost some part of his memory and also the ability to use language. Its not just speech that has gone, or he would be able to write something.

There are plenty of ways that a psychologist could catch him out if he were faking, so this is almost certainly a genuine case, however bizarre it sounds.

I'm sure this case will go down in neuroscience textbooks of the future.
 

Attachments

Savage Henry

macrumors 65816
Applespider said:
I'd be more cynical if he'd only been picked up a few days ago but he's kept up the facade (if it is one) since the beginning of April. That's a long time to spend locked up in an institution unless you 'need' to be there.

The 'try to come up with an explanation' part of my brain says 'Cruise ship entertainer overboard and hit head?' tho you would have thought that the ship would have reported him missing... Ah well, I'm sure if there's a good story behind it, they'll make a movie!
It still seems too contrived for my liking; silence is the easiest behavioural extremity to fake. whereas if we sat him at the piano for about 72 hours straight, stopping for food and toilet breaks, then we'll some breakthough in communication !!

My morning hasn't improved, and I am on the anti-Joel side of the fence!

Narrowminded opinions aside, I seriosly hope he is okay because faking it or not putting yourself through all of that is quite awful for anyone.
 

dobbin

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2002
587
5
England
If anyone wants to read more strange cases like this, then I recommend a book by Oliver Sacks called "THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT". Sacks is a clinician who has written lots of books. This book is a collection of his interactions with people who have strange neurological conditions, some are a bit like the piano man.

linky
 

dobbin

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2002
587
5
England
Savage Henry said:
It still seems too contrived for my liking; silence is the easiest behavioural extremity to fake.
I disagree - faking this for several weeks would be impossible. The doctors/psychologists would have worked him out by now for sure.

edit: sorry about the edits - having trouble with quoting today for some reason...
 

iGav

macrumors G3
Original poster
Mar 9, 2002
9,025
1
dobbin said:
I don't think thats quite right - I think the name was made up by the doctors/police/media.

The article says he was given a piece of paper in the hope he would write something and he just drew this picture of a piano. Thats even stranger. They took him to a piano and he played it non-stop for several hours.
Yep, I think they've edited the article since I first read about it this morning.
 

Mr. Durden

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2005
716
0
Colorado
OK. My guess is...

This man has either done or seen something horrible and his mind has partially shut down to block out or deal with this event subconsciously. If and when enough time goes by that his mind is able to process this event, he'll begin to regain his "normal" functions.

Now. I'm going to take an even bigger leap and guess at what the horrible event could have... ummm has Billy Joel been touring in the area lately? :D
 

Ugg

macrumors 68000
Apr 7, 2003
1,985
15
Penryn
When I first read it, it seemed too theatrical. But, who knows....

Hey, stop bashing Billy! He was the coolest guy in the world while I was in high school and his older stuff is way up the list on my play count column.
 

wdlove

macrumors P6
Oct 20, 2002
16,570
0
This is a sad case. Sounds as though he has a mental illness of some type. My prayers go out to him. Hopefully the publicity will lead to someone recognizing him.
 

Lyle

macrumors 68000
Jun 11, 2003
1,874
0
Madison, Alabama
Ugg said:
Hey, stop bashing Billy! He was the coolest guy in the world while I was in high school and his older stuff is way up the list on my play count column.
Hear, hear. And setting aside his musical talent for a moment, his marriage to Christie Brinkley -- although it eventually ended in divorce -- gave hope to ugly guys everywhere that there was a supermodel out there waiting for them, too. (His latest child bride is pretty easy on the eyes too, IIRC.)
 

IndyGopher

macrumors 6502a
Nov 3, 2001
782
1
Indianapolis, IN
Honestly, of the whole article, the part that puzzles me the most is why, as the man played for several hours straight, no one bothered to get a TAPE RECORDER so that someone could figure out what he was playing (if it were indeed anything pre-existing) as this would seem to be of pretty huge significance.
 

PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
19,232
4
wow, i want to hear how this ends for sure, and as suggested, why was he not recorded so someone could maybe identify the music!? puzzling to say the least
 

Nanda Devi

macrumors regular
Jan 25, 2004
227
0
East Lansing, Michigan
dobbin said:
If anyone wants to read more strange cases like this, then I recommend a book by Oliver Sacks called "THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT". Sacks is a clinician who has written lots of books. This book is a collection of his interactions with people who have strange neurological conditions, some are a bit like the piano man.

linky
That's a fantastic book, and I've met very few people who have read it. Sacks also wrote Awakenings, which was made into a very good film with Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams.
 

craigdawg

macrumors 6502
Mar 8, 2004
360
0
Sactown
Ugg said:
Hey, stop bashing Billy! He was the coolest guy in the world while I was in high school and his older stuff is way up the list on my play count column.
Given his penchant for getting into car wrecks, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Billy Joel bumped his head in little fender bender--or the other kind of bender--and couldn't remember his name. :D