Eccentric and Bizarre Behaviors


An engrossing look into the heart of twelve of the strangest psychological disorders known to science

In a book reminiscent of Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, psychologists Louis Franzini and John Grossberg take us behind the tabloid headlines and media exposes to tell the real-life stories of emotionally damaged men and women driven to horrific extremes in their efforts to gratify their basic human needs for love and ...

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An engrossing look into the heart of twelve of the strangest psychological disorders known to science

In a book reminiscent of Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, psychologists Louis Franzini and John Grossberg take us behind the tabloid headlines and media exposes to tell the real-life stories of emotionally damaged men and women driven to horrific extremes in their efforts to gratify their basic human needs for love and attention.

Writing with compassion and offering many profound insights into the human condition, the authors provide rare, often wrenching, glimpses into the tortured worlds of necrophiliacs, who make love only to corpses, and "werewolves" who commit unthinkable acts of mutilation and cannibalism; of men paralyzed by the terrifying belief that their penises are disappearing into their bodies, and compulsive hair pullers, who pluck every last hair from their flesh; of paranoids who believe they are being stalked by their evil twins, and those convinced that everyone close to them is an imposter; and many others.

All of the stories contained in Eccentric and Bizarre Behaviors are based on actual case studies. Throughout, Drs. Franzini and Grossberg discuss, in terms that general readers can understand, both the known and conjectural causes for the strange disorders they describe. And, in many cases, they recount the stirring details of how patients were ultimately rescued from the eccentric and bizarre patterns of behavior in which they had become imprisoned.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Though it bills itself as a work in the tradition of Oliver Sacks, this uneven, objectifying collection is more like a turn-of-the-last-century compendium of medical curiosities. Half of this catalogue focuses on sex, with chapters on erotomania, autoerotic asphyxia and necrophilia, among other titillating topics; the remainder deals with provocative subjects including Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy and trichotillomania, the desire to pull out one's hair (a chapter on vampirism seems strangely out of place). The writing throughout is choppy, but the book's most disturbing aspect is its tone, which wavers between professional and pop-psych. The authors fail to humanize these behaviors, and they slide repeatedly into descriptions that are insulting, if amusing. Thus the reader learns that ``a surprising number of penis injuries occur as a result of establishing too close a relationship with vacuum cleaners.'' More insidiously, the murderer Prasenjit Poddar is called ``a rejected lover'' (which he was not), sloppy language that imputes some responsibility for her own death to his victim, Tanya Tarasoff. Though each chapter concludes with a smidgen of theory and a passing note on treatment, these seem strangely disconnected in mood and style from the rest of the contents. The volume's intended audience is unclear, but it will probably appeal most to those whose knowledge of the variety of human experience comes from talk-show experts who substitute the display of oddities for a modicum of human compassion. (May)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471545200
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/8/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

LOUIS R. FRANZINI, PhD, and JOHN M. GROSSBERG, PhD, are professors of psychology at San Diego State University. Both have contributed extensively to psychological literature.

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Table of Contents

Erotomania: Obsessive Loving.

Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy: The New Form of Child Abuse.

Frottage: A Touch of Love.

Vampirism: The Ungrateful Dead.

Sex Slavery and the Stockholm Syndrome: From Terror to Love.

Autoerotic Asphyxia: Breathless Sex.

Capgras and Other Misidentification Delusions: Replaced by an Impostor.

Folie a Deux: Shared Insanity.

Koro: The Disappearing Penis.

Savants: Supertalents in the Subnormal.

Trichotillomania: Hairpulling Compulsion.

Necrophilia: Sex After Death.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2006

    We're all a little bizarre...

    I started reading this book because I am a psych major and I truly love learning about extreme disorders...once I finished this book I realized something...although these are extreme cases, if you pick up this book, you will notice that people you know,or yourself, have shown similar characteristics of some of these disorders. We've all, at some point, felt at least an inkling of what these people feel on a daily basis, whether you like to admit or not. I truly enjoyed this book because it makes you think about your own behaviors and thoughts as well as others. This book brings out an introspective, fun, 'outside the box' light through taking you down such a dark path where most authors will not want to take you. The information provided is alternative to most psych books and it brings up questions about yourself and others...very fun and creative to think that pretty much everyone has a slight case of erotomania, stockholm syndrome, or perhaps something much more stranger...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2000

    Calling all interested in psychology!

    If you are strangely drawn to movies such as the Sixth Sense... If you listen to Dr. Drew and Adam Carolla like it's a religion... If you relish reading about suicide, mental disorders, and the like (for whatever reason!)... THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU! Eccentric and Bizarre Behaviors is one of those books you'll start reading and not be able to put down- except to quickly conceal it if anyone comes along and catches you engrossed in poring over the pages. Needless to say, it is one of those guilty pleasures, like the Jerry Springer Show or Judge Judy with a bit more intellect. In other words, if screwed up people are your thing, this well-written and -researched volume is YOUR reading material. Enjoy!

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