JERUSALEM (Conspiracy Talk News) – An usual psychiatric disorder known as the Jerusalem Syndrome. The mysterious disappearance in November of a British tourist ,Oliver McAfee in the Negev desert, in Israel is feared to be suffering from it.
MacAfee, a 29-year-old gardener, is a devout Christian who had arrived on a trip to Israel in 2017.
He left his job in Essex, England, last April to travel Europe by bicycle, on a trip that his friends described as a personal discovery.
He was last seen on November 21st near the desert city of Mitzpe Ramon.
His relatives contacted the Israeli police at the end of December about his disappearance, and since then the searches with helicopters, dogs and rescue teams have not paid off.
But Israeli authorities believe McAfee is still alive, Israeli police spokesman Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld told the Conspiracy Talk News.
Some travellers found the wallet, keys and a British ID, which was given to the police.
“We are still examining the bicycle, and other personal items,” Rosenfeld said.
Also, the spokesman said they had found sheets with handwritten biblical notations and a flat sand area surrounded by a significant number of stones.
“Right hand of Jesus”
While the search continues, several psychologists in Israel have given details of the Syndrome of Jerusalem, the strange psychiatric condition that could be affecting MacAfee.
It is estimated that it affects approximately a hundred people a year, who develop a kind of mental anguish when visiting the sacred places of this region.
There is something common in the way in which this syndrome manifests itself for people.
“The common denominator is that they think that there will be an imminent redemption and that it will happen in Jerusalem, or perhaps in the case of this tourist in the Negev desert, or any place near this area that Jesus wandered through,” The professor of psychiatry at the Hebrew University Pesach Lichtenberg told the CT News.
“The person believes that he is going to play an important role in this second coming of Jesus, either to notify the world or be the right hand of Jesus, or something like that,” added Lichtenberg, who is also the founder and director of Soteria House, a holistic treatment center for psychosis where there are currently several residents who think they are messiahs.
While the Jerusalem Syndrome can manifest itself in many different ways, Lichtenberg comments that “people usually have some kind of pre-existing mental condition, ” before arriving in the so-called Holy City, where the disorder is revealed.
The syndrome is superimposed on a mental anxiety or illness that the patient had in the background.
“Maybe they come to Jerusalem attracted by the feeling that they have a kind of mission to fulfil, maybe they open the Bible and read a verse and feel that someone is calling them,” explains Lichtenberg.
The psychiatrist also comments that normally these people come from a context of interest for the religious and can belong to any denomination, Jewish, Muslim or Christian.
About 100 tourists a year
“But even people who do not have a religious past can sometimes be overwhelmed by a sense of spirituality or transcendence, which can crystallize into a belief that may seem very religious,” explains the psychiatrist.
“Any tourist who comes to Jerusalem, and I do not work for the tourism department, will feel that there is something unusual, there is an intensity in the environment, especially in the old city, that some people can push them to the other side” , He said.
According to a 2000 article published in the British Journal of Psychiatry , an average of 100 tourists were referred each year to the mental health clinic Kfar Shaul, near Jerusalem, for the Jerusalem syndrome.
Lichtenberg comments that Israeli psychiatrists usually have embassy numbers handy because they know that this is a phenomenon that can occur.
The cases that Lichtenberg deals with are local, but when patients are foreigners they will normally treat their condition from Jerusalem.