Rare amnesia 'teaches' man to speak Swedish
A man is found unconscious in a Palm Springs motel room and is transported to a local hospital. When he awakens, it’s clear he has suffered a complete loss of identify. He will only answer to the name Johan Ek and speaks only Swedish. Except there is a problem: All of the papers on him identified the man as Florida-native Michael Thomas Boatwright. After more examinations, doctors diagnosed him as suffering from a sudden temporary memory loss known as Transient Global Amnesia (TGA),–a rare, but very real condition.
The condition is supposedly short-lived and has no long-term effects on the memory, it is thought. However, Boatwright was said to be in a “fugue state,” which means the condition could last a few months or even longer. The social worker assigned to track down Boatwright’s next-of-kin reportedly discovered that the man had served in the US Navy from 1971-73 as an aviation mechanic. It was also determined Boatwright had flown to Palm Springs from Hong Kong, but that no one knows why.
But the social worker also did find evidence that linked Boatwright to Sweden. Hundreds of 3D graphic design art pieces were found on the internet that were created by Boatwright, and various forums linked to these list him as a Swede living in China, teaching English and designing there.
It’s a scary condition, according to Boatwright. “When I look at the photos, I see my ex-wife and my son…my mother and grandmother, but I don’t recognize them. I don’t know them,” he said.
A similar situation occurred in May 2011, when a woman underwent anesthesia for dental surgery and awoke speaking with a combination British/Irish/Eastern European accent, not the Oregon accent she spoke with prior to the procedure.