Bridget of Sweden
- (1303-1373)Born as Birgitta Birgersdotter; also known as Saint Birgitta, Santa Brigida, St. Bridgid of Sweden, and Birgitta of Vadstena. A Swedish nun, mystic, and founder of the Bridgettine Order, who from childhood onwards experienced *visions of celestial and purgatory scenes. When she was 7 years old, Bridget had a nocturnal vision of a woman in shining clothes sitting on an altar-table, who gave her a crown. She continued to have visions until she was 10. During her forties the visions returned, accompanied by voices which she attributed to God, the devil, or specific individuals. While experiencing these visions she was unaware of herself and her surroundings, suggesting that she may have experienced * trance states or absences. Occasionally these episodes were preceded by *cacosmia or *agathosma, interpreted by some as * olfactory aurae. Possibly she also experienced * abdominal aurae. While the making of a retrospective diagnosis is always a delicate undertaking, Bridget's experiences may well have been * ecstatic aurae (occurring in the context of temporal lobe epilepsy) or *postictal religious experiences. It has been suggested that in Bridget's case the epileptic seizures were caused by a meningioma. Circumstantial evidence for this hypothesis stems from the presence of an interior indentation, the size of a hazelnut, inside the skull thought to have belonged to Bridget. According to the Swedish anatomist Carl-Herman Hjortsjö (1914-1978), this indentation may have been caused by a tumour, possibly a convexity meningioma.ReferencesLandtblom, A.M. (2004). Did St Birgitta suffer from epilepsy? A neuropathography. Seizure, 13, 161-167.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.
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