The Twins Who Shared Psychosis
Twins share a unique psychological bond that’s said to border on the telepathic. Due to twins being so close there have been many instances over time of shared psychosis and even suicide pacts, with one not wanting to be left alone if their sibling was to pass away. We saw such a phenomenon in the case of the Silent Twins, my most popular episode to date.
In psychology, Folie à deux is a rare psychiatric syndrome where delusional beliefs are shared between two people, usually related. It’s French for “a madness shared by two.” This week we’re looking at the case of Ursula and Sabina Eriksson, two Swedish twins who are believed to be a perfect example of the frightening illness. Born in the idyllic town of Sunne, the twins grew up with their older siblings Björn and Mona where they lived relatively normal lives. By the year 2000, Ursula was living in the USA and Sabina lived in Ireland with her partner and two children. There was no history of juvenile delinquency, criminal convictions, or even reported mental illness. So why then, in 2008, did they embark on a suicide mission by running down the M6 Motorway into oncoming traffic?
Sabina and Ursula Eriksson are twin sisters, born in Sweden on November 3rd 1967. They grew up in Sunne, Värmland, with an older sister named Mona and an older brother named Björn. In their youth there was no apparent history of mental health issues or criminal convictions and by 2000, Ursula was living in the United States while Sabina was living in Mallow, County Cork, Ireland with her partner and two children.
On Friday May 16, 2008, Ursula boarded a plane to County Cork, where her sister was living in Southwest Ireland. Within 24 hours of Ursula’s plane landing, they both secretly took off, across the Irish Sea heading to Liverpool, England. Travelling by ferry, they arrived in Liverpool at 8:30am on Saturday. They had no family ties or friends living in Liverpool, so it’s a mystery where this small little sister reunion was supposed to go or what their plan was really designed to be. But we need not worry about that, because their very first stop, immediately after deboarding the ferry, was the St Anne Street Police Station. Sabina ran in frantically claiming her children were in danger…