What Exactly Is Jerusalem Syndrome?

Published October 12, 2016
Published October 12, 2016

What Are The Symptoms of Jerusalem Syndrome?

Jerusalem Syndrome Katarzyna Kozyra Ephraim

Courtesy of Katarzyna Kozyra Foundation and Postmasters GalleryA still from the Polish artist Katarzyna Kozyra’s (Left) documentary about Jerusalem Syndrome. The man pictured (Right) claims he is “the chosen one” from the Tribe of Ephraim.

Bar-El breaks down Jerusalem Syndrome into seven stages, each exhibiting unique symptoms:

Anxiety
In the first stage, Bar-El says that an individual with Jerusalem Syndrome will start feeling a sense of general, inexplicable unease. He adds that as inner turmoil boils up into agitated anxiety, this tension becomes a state of constant nervousness.

Needing To Be Alone
Next, Bar-El says that sufferers will exhibit a need to explore the city alone, away from family or friends. As a consequence, tour guides in Jerusalem are told to report any tourist that starts wandering away from the group in a daze.

Purification
If not taken to a hospital, in the third stage Bar-El says that sufferers will start cleaning and showering compulsively, and obsess about clipping toenails and fingernails perfectly.

Preparation
In the fourth stage, Bar-El says that sufferers will rip apart hotel bed sheets in order to form makeshift togas. The linens — always bleached white — typically go down to the ankle. Jerusalem Syndrome patients will remove all other clothing.

Screaming Loudly
They then begin to scream. If these screams involve verses from the Bible, hymns or monotheistic spirituals, staff members contact medical professionals.

Marching
If medical professionals don’t arrive on time, Bar-El says that Jerusalem Syndrome sufferers will soon march to a holy site somewhere in the city.

Preaching
Upon reaching this destination, Bar-El says that in the final stage the afflicted will start preaching to anyone within earshot, and beg them to live cleaner, more wholesome lives. The individual will spout confused, long-winded spiels about morals, often those of a “simpler time.”

Jerusalem Syndrome sufferer caught on candid video.
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