How would it feel to wake up one day and notice that you can’t utter even half a word, but what’s worse: not even the remotest sound?
An unexpected curse
As if the oral cords suddenly disappeared. Nevertheless, a day, a week, a month, a year, ten years go by and everything remains the same. With few and complicated ways of communicating with others and consequently, with relationships all but undone.
This is what Marie McCreadie, by then a 12-year-old girl, experienced. According to the nuns and the local spiritual community, it was all due to a curse from the devil. Version that caused her serious problems at her school and prompted her family to commit her to a psychiatric clinic, going through a real hell. Here is her story:
Marie was born in England, but then left for Australia when she turned 12, due to her parents’ work. The girl was enjoying the adaptation stage in her new city and school, but one day she woke up with no voice and could not find any explanation. In addition, she was suffering from a severe sore throat and had flu-like symptoms. Two days later, she was diagnosed with bronchitis.
Thanks to medical care, she did not stay long in the hospital and got better from all the symptoms, such as high fever, aches, pains, malaise, etc., except that she did not regain her voice. She waited patiently for more than a month, but the days went by and nothing changed. So the years went by and she gradually resigned herself to the fact that she might never utter a word again.
When she laughed, she didn’t even utter a whisper, just like when she coughed. There was not even a tiny hoarse voice. It was as if a powerful silence had invaded her and Marie McCreadie’s greatest struggle was not to go into despair and calm herself all the time. The doctors were totally confused and could not agree on the diagnosis.
Some doctors affirmed that everything was caused by a laryngitis, but others defended the theory of a possible hysterical mutism, this is how it is defined to the disorder of the vocal capacity, without any other change in the physical organism, induced by a psychological problem that incites the one who suffers it, to remain silent in an obstinate way.
However, the girl did not believe in anything that the so-called medical specialists were saying, because she knew well that she was not insisting on remaining silent, but simply could not say a word. Her life was dreadful, since she could not talk on the phone, nor could she call for help or assistance when she had an accident or emergency.
The only way she could communicate with other people was by writing, although she used to use his hands and signs. At school, his classmates did not understand his terrible condition and the teasing was sinister. But the most shocking thing of all is that the same nuns who were the teachers and tutors of the minors, promoted one of the worst cases of bullying ever known.
That religious community that ran the school, came to the conclusion that the young girl was like that because of a curse of the devil and therefore, she must have been a sinful girl and a bad person, having performed an act of extreme cruelty for such a “divine punishment” to have happened to her, as they saw it.
Then her companions began to firmly believe in this story and they pointed her out every moment as the daughter of the devil and shouted at her to confess her sins so that she would be forgiven and healed. Every day she would arrive home crying after school.
“It could become very frustrating. I couldn’t give my opinion, especially if the person I was talking to or discussing an issue with would turn around and walk away … I couldn’t say what I wanted to say. I had all this rage and anger inside that I couldn’t release. “I just wanted to yell at them, but I had to keep it all to myself. I had all that rage and anger inside that I couldn’t release. I was angry at myself for not being able to communicate and I blamed myself for that,” Marie recalls, with tears in her eyes.
As the young woman refused to confess her sins, she was denied all entrance to the church, where every Friday the students of that academic institution were taken, but she was forced to stay at the door, until everyone left the ceremony.
She was committed to a psychiatric hospital.
When she turned 14 and there was no improvement, her family decided to commit her to a psychiatric hospital, persuaded by the medical perspective that Marie was determined to maintain a resounding silence.
“That was hell, a nightmare. There were drug addicts, people having nervous breakdowns, a woman who I think had been abused… I was the youngest and was very impressionable,” she recounts.
It was six months of harrowing suffering, with the hope that suddenly she would indeed recover her longed-for voice. But it didn’t happen. So she had no choice but to accept his situation and rebuild his life as best she could. At the age of 25, when she was working, she began to cough chronically and blood came out of his mouth.
An ambulance was immediately called and she was sent to a hospital, where a 3 penny coin was removed, which according to the medical staff had been stuck in Marie’s throat for more than 12 years. She claims not to remember how such an object got in there.
The professionals’ explanation was that due to the pressure that the coin exerted on the buccal cords, any possibility of speech was reduced to zero. Finally Marie was able to recover her voice and says that it was the happiest moment of her life. The first call she made was to her mother, who heard her voice cracking, but from the tears she could not control from joy and emotion.
She wears the coin from time to time as a bracelet and as a reminder of something that changed her life forever.
Phoneia.com (January 21, 2023). The woman who was rendered totally mute by a curse of the devil. Recovered from https://phoneia.com/en/the-woman-who-was-rendered-totally-mute-by-a-curse-of-the-devil/