Ursula and Sabina: A Madness Shared By Two

(By Elizabeth Leafloor and Henrik Palmgren – 2013)


“..it’s so bizarre. So spontaneous. Inexplicable.
They should both be dead. It’s as simple as that.”

The tale of identical twin sisters Ursula and Sabina Eriksson is stunning and incredible, but also terribly true.

The Swedish women gained international notoriety in 2008 after being filmed repeatedly and deliberately rushing headlong into speeding traffic.

As onlookers watched in astonished horror, the twins attempted suicide multiple times on the busy motorway, their bodies crushed and devastatingly injured by oncoming traffic, only to rise repeatedly from the ground to attack rescue police with diabolical fury.
A documentary crew happened to be filming with police that shocking day, and was there to witness and capture the events. The now-famous BBC Documentary reveals the grisly and alarming first hand look at madness.

But is it madness that accounts for the inexplicable actions of the two women? Or something else?

Their behaviour has never been officially explained by medical or psychiatric community, apart from speculation that they suffered from a rare self-induced delusional disorder or shared psychosis, which caused them to experience temporary insanity.
Was it an episode of folie à deux, “a madness shared by two”, or might it have been something more? Perhaps something more sinister?

“What she did on the motorway was insignificant compared to what she went on to do.”

According to relatives, Sabina lived with her partner and children in Ireland and had a peaceful life free from any kind of psychological or mental illnesses. Her twin sister, Ursula, lived in America. Ursula visited Sabina in Ireland in 2008. They quickly “become inseparable” and then suddenly disappeared.

They resurfaced a short time later on their way to Liverpool, travelling by bus, but their ‘odd’, suspicious and paranoid behaviour caused them to be removed from the coach, and they were left to make their own way down the motorway, where the dramatic near-death scenes unfolded. The two sisters repeatedly attempted suicide and fought off police, screamed that their rescuers ‘weren’t real’, and that the police were going to ‘steal their organs’. The terror the women were experiencing was not lessened by police explaining they were there to help. In fact, the police intervention seemed to spur on the womens’ desperation. After much struggle, Sabina was finally bound and dragged off, and Ursula taken to hospital. Tests determined neither were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Police incredibly released Sabina two days after the motorway events, apparently finding her actions and behaviour unexceptional, and thus the episode of insanity continued, resulting in violence, brutality and death.

What might have caused the two women to act in such unaccountable and extreme ways? How could Sabina have convinced the police that she was well enough to be released so soon after the motorway incidents? How could someone be completely psychotic one moment, and then sane the next? What was going on in the twins’ brains?

Professor Nigel Eastman, Professor of Law and Psychiatry, upon examining the case suggested it could have been something close to Polymorphic Psychotic Disorder, or bouffee delirante – a puff of madness. It was made even more acute by the fact that they were identical twin sisters.

In the documentary, Eastman says:

“Identical twins often have very close relationships. Psychologically there’s a lot of blurring of the boundary of who is who. And because they’re genetically identical, they would have similar ‘genetic loading’, if you like, for developing a psychotic illness.”
“Ursula is still in Sabina’s mind, even though she’s physically separated from her.”



Read the rest at RedIceCreations.com


BBC : Madness in the Fast Lane – Documentary (Graphic scenes, graphic images)


Published by Liz Leafloor

Liz Leafloor is an Editor, Writer, and Designer based in Canada. Having worked in online media for years, Liz covers exciting and interesting topics for online publications and blogs. lizleafloor.myportfolio.com

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