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In our modern technological world, we are fortunate enough to have many once bemusing and confusing phenomena finally discerned through the empirical scrutiny of science. However, our world is not yet left without mystery as there are still many occurrences that have yet to be unravelled or explained in scientific terms and leave much to be wondered. Of these remaining question marks, the neurological marvel of inexplicable stroke and coma stories has to be one of the most fascinating. From waking up speaking another language entirely to teenage regression, we explore some of the most curious medical mysteries to ever be recorded in history.

 

Bonjour, Mr McConaughey.

In 2012, 25 year old Rory Curtis of the UK woke up after spending an unresponsive six days in a coma resulting from a car crash. Curiously, the man awoke dazed and confused, believing himself to be multi-award winning actor Matthew McConaughey. On top of this, despite having only a basic understanding up until year 9 at school, the man also woke up speaking fluent french. ‘I wasn’t really that good at it at school, so I don’t how my brain has managed to do what is has. I don’t know how I know it – I just do.’ Doctors later found that the guy had suffered whats known as a multifocal intracranial brain haemorrhage. Slowly his memory returned and with it the understanding of his real identity.

When I went to the toilet I went to look in the mirror and I was shocked because I didn’t look like him, I didn’t know what I was looking at. Then slowly over time it eventually clicked and I thought ‘he is an actor, what am I on about?’


Not the first of it’s kind, Rory’s story is strikingly similar to other coma cases which entail some form of language mutation in the victim. An Australian named Ben McMahon suffered a similar fate after getting in a serious car accident. He too awoke from his hospital bed slumber speaking fluent Mandarin to the point that he moved abroad and procured a job hosting a mandarin television show. The case of young Sandra Ralic also left doctors baffled when the Croatian 13 year old woke up from her coma speaking fluent German despite having only just began studying it and was left with no idea how to speak her mother tongue.

 

Put it away, Grandad!

After falling from a tree and slipping into a coma for four days, seemingly normal 81 year old grandfather Angelo De Luca supposedly woke up a sex crazed senior. Apparently, the horny pensioner spent over $4,000 at a brothel after he was released from the hospital, his son speculating that the fall must have erased a function or damaged a part of his brain that is responsible for inhibiting sex drive.

 

Wanna smoke? Ya! Wen?

After spending five days in a coma, three year old Chinese girl Ya Wen developed some less than sophisticated habits, particularly for a girl her age. In 2010 she was hit by a van and after waking up had a shift in her personality, supposedly developing a taste for tobacco and beer, stealing cigs from her mothers purse and chugging up to three pints at a time. What a champion.

 

Oh grow up, mum.

Succeeding her falling into a coma for 10 days after complications regarding a blood clot on her brain, 32 year old Sarah Thompson awoke in 2012 believing it was still the year 1998 and that she was only 19 and was not a married mother of three. Sarah had her first child when she was 19, so being reintroduced to her 14 year old son whom she expected to be a baby was a shock, but thats not the worst of it. She had no recollection at all of the past 14 years and had forgotten everything – including who her husband and her two youngest children were – ‘I had no idea who the kids were, I thought they were someone else’s.’ As heartbreaking as it sounds, there was a more comical side to the story, as upon release Sarah took to reliving her young adult years being a rebellious teenager, dying her hair an array of bright colours and throwing tantrums.

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