A few authors have tried to claim that the documented material concerning Joan's visions would prove that she suffered from schizophrenia, airily glossing over most of the actual documented descriptions of both the visions in question and Joan's psychological state, as well as the medical documentation regarding the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Whereas medical experts say that schizophrenia is generally characterized by identifiable symptoms such as personality changes, memory loss, chronic depression, a decline in intellectual ability, confused speech, an inability to achieve goals coupled with a general lack of focus and loss of motivation, etc, the eyewitness accounts repeatedly say that Joan possessed an extremely precise memory; an uncanny ability at intellectual endeavors ranging from theology to military tactics; a normally "cheerful" disposition; "remarkable prudence" in her speech, and a talent for achieving success through a relentless drive to accomplish her goal - entirely the reverse of the symptoms normally cited as factors necessary for a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Having ignored the historical evidence, revisionist authors try to make a diagnosis without knowing anything substantial about the "patient" whose mental state is being analyzed.
We must also deal with the manner in which Joan's visions were
described by herself as well as by other sources, since it is this
evidence which is being used as the basis for the revisionist view
of the matter.
Joan frequently described her visions not merely as "voices" - one of many terms that Joan used, which seems to have been adopted by revisionists in order to shrewdly but misleadingly capitalize on the popular association of schizophrenia with "hearing voices". Instead, there are descriptions both from Joan and others which say that they took the form of physical entities which could be seen, touched, etc, not only by herself but also by others: one unusual confirmation of this is contained in a Royal patent-of-arms which mentions that a certain Lord Guy de Cailly had shared Joan's visions, which is obviously incompatible with a diagnosis of schizophrenia unless the pop authors in question are going to make the remarkable claim that the presence of the disorder in one person can produce the same hallucinations in another. Finally, we must also deal with the fact that there are authenticated documents - sometimes in the form of diplomatic correspondence from the enemy faction, no less - in which the predictions made through Joan's visions are cited in official documents dated prior to the fulfillment of these predictions. Skeptics have tried to rationally account for this in a variety of ways, but schizophrenia-induced hallucinations would obviously not be among the potential explanations: hallucinatory visions do not lead to multiple accurate predictions of the future.
The above is a summary of the evidence we have: revisionists are either unaware of most of this material, or determined to selectively make use of only those descriptions which fit the conclusion they want to reach.
Copyright © 2002 - 2003, Allen Williamson All rights reserved.