I knew from the time I was about 6 yrs old that something wasn't right, the rest of the family tried to make excuses for the things they were seeing, saying she was just eccentric. A small sampling of the early signs to me were:
1. Someone was always peeping in her windows....but it was a man.....and he wore an Abe Lincoln hat.
2. No one could ever spend the night....because they would get germs on the sheets.
3. She cooked spaghetti 7 days a week for dinner....because it's "safe" (what makes it "safe" we never knew)
4. She bought 4 gallons of milk a week, letting 3 of them spoil....because "someone higher up" told her to.
5. She refused to have a phone in the house....because someone might call them on it.
6. She couldn't have car insurance on her car....because if she had a wreck someone might insist she use it.
Fast forward a few years and we come to the night that blew her cover with the rest of the family. I was still living there at the time and my oldest son was only 2yrs old. Like anyone with children when they go to bed for the night about the only thing you would wake them up for is a personal home visit from Jesus....and even He better come bearing expensive gifts. Anyway, my son and I were in bed, sound asleep at 3 am when my phone rang. It was my aunt, now I was not about to ignore her because part of her illness is excessive shopping and to keep my uncle from knowing she would give away everything she bought before he could see it. She had practically furnished my entire apartment and weekly would leave 5 or 6 bags full of groceries on my doorstep. Ignoring her would have been stupid because I still wanted to redecorate my bathroom. So I answered the phone and out came a story that left me amused, confused, disbelieving, wondering "what the fuck" and excited because the shit was getting ready to hit the fan and I had a ring side seat. Her story was that she had just found out my uncle was having an affair. Someone at the doctor's office told her all about it. If I had not been in a still cloudy sleep induced state I might have questioned why the hell the dr's office was open in the middle of the night and just why was she there. But I didn't, that clue went right over my head. My uncle was several years older than my aunt, he was 76 yrs old and had had 3 quadruple bypasses in the past year and a half. He was lucky to just walk across the room by himself. But stranger things have happened in life. We hung up and I called my Mom to tell her what just happened. Her response was pretty much like mine, "There is no way he would or could do this, but what if he did and we missed out on a chance to spread some really good gossip through the family"? It was a chance we weren't willing to take so we rallied around my aunt with all the proper pity comments, the "the son of a bitch should rot in hell for enternity" lines and all the "how could he do this to your
Through the years she has gotten worse. Much, much worse and her delusions have gotten bigger and wilder. Here is a highlight of a few of my favorites here:
There is a man that lives in the 3 foot tall Virgin Mary statue in her yard. He comes out every night, looks in her windows wearing his Abe Lincoln hat, tears the siding off of her storage shed (the storage shed is brick) and takes her car for a drive (this car has no engine it it).
There is a government conspiracy going on with "the higher ups" (keep in mind that the "higher ups" are above "people of importance"). Their objective is to take her house away from her and give it to all the illegitimate children my uncle has created and if they have to "see her in her grave" to do it then that is what they will do. This plan has been put in motion and no one, not even "the higher ups" can stop it.
She calls my husband and I one night at 1am while we were in town visiting my Mom and ask if we could come and "check out" her furnace. It was winter and bitter cold out. We were thinking maybe the pilot light went out and needed re lit. My husband asked how long it had been that way and she replied "several hours now" so off we went to fix it for her. We walked in her door and noticed right off the house was toasty warm. We were a little puzzled but thought maybe the house hadn't had time to cool off yet and she was afraid it would before morning. He asked her to tell him just what the furnace was doing (he was new to this and didn't realize you NEVER ask a crazy person what something is doing). She looked at him as blank as she could be and ask what he meant. He told her he wanted her to explain to him what the furnace was doing right before she called him. She gave him an "I don't know why your wasting my time with nonsense" look and said: "Nothing, I just was looking at it and thought it was so beautiful I wanted to share it with you."
The neighbors flash morse code to each other with their porch lights at night talking about her.
Her next door neighbor comes out every night, and has for years now and moves one whole side of her 10 ft privacy fence an inch toward her house. He is stealing her yard and doing it slowly hoping she won't notice. I can't count how many times she has called the police for this one! However, she has no answer for why SHE went out with a sledge hammer in the middle of the night one night and tore down this same neighbors privacy fence.
The city dumps a dump truck full of gravel in her driveway every night.
She is obsessed with numbers. All numbers have special coded meanings to her, usually having to do with the government conspiracy in motion to take her house. As a result any mail that comes to the house with any number on it, which is everything because they all have date stamps, has to be made into four copies each and carefully filed in a filing cabinet. The labels on these folders are truly hilarious, such as "Illegitimate child #14", "Cousin of lady with blonde hair who slept with (insert uncle's name here) in 1983", "picture of husband of the cousin of the lady who slept with (uncle's name here) in 1983 (the picture can actually be anything, she just digs out random photos to put in these folders)". She thinks that all these " bastard children" are paying her utility bills because they think if they do that then they will get her house faster. So every bill she sends in to pay is unreadable with all her notes on them, such as: "This is MY (here she writes her name and address ) bill, it does not have anything to do with my husband's bastard children, do not accept their money, thank you.", "If bastard #53 tries to pay this he will be lying, don't take his money", "I used my water from 6am to 6:30am on (insert date) and again at 3:15pm until 3:20pm on (insert date), any other water used that day on my meter is one of the bastard children or a sneaky thieving neighbor and I won't pay it", or my personal favorite "I can't pay this because it has numbers on it, please send me the bill again without numbers. Spelled out numbers are still numbers so don't even try that".
She refuses to use a bank because those pesky bastard children have now gained control of the banking industry so she carries hundred's of thousands of dollars in an overnight bag that she takes everywhere with her. I have always wondered why Queen Elizabeth is never seen without her purse, it's clear to me now, that is where she keeps the Crown Jewels.
She can't have car or house insurance. It's that number problem again, plus they want her to sign her name so the bastard children can see her signature and try to copy it. She can't renew her driver's license or car tags for the same reason.
She can't go to the grocery store alone because the bastard children have a plan to kidnap her. She can go anywhere else so apparently they can only kidnap her in a grocery store.
There is a man that comes every night and takes one shingle off of her roof, he is trying to get enough to put a new roof on his own house without paying for it.
She called the police and reported her own daughter for theft, actually she has pulled this one several times. Claiming that she breaks in steals all the tupperware lids in her house, another time it was 3 rubber bands, once it was 23 paper clips, etc. Her daughter lives in another state. She thinks she drives 8 hours to get there and then comes in and steals things and sneaks back out to drive another 8 hours to get back home. She does this five or six times a week.
She has at one time or another been kicked out of and told to never return to every utility company and dr's office in town for going in and accusing the people working there of either being in on the conspiracy with the bastard children to take her house, covering up for the bastard children or sleeping with her dead husband.
She has gone to every lawyer in a 100 mile radius trying to sue the imaginary bastard children over this conspiracy.
Every time you go to her door, before coming in she has to show you all the marks on the door where "they" are using crow bars to break in. We see nothing but a perfectly smooth and intact door, but in her mind she actually sees these things and will even count the marks for you.
Cell phones are evil listening devices created by the bastard children to listen to her, so all cell phones have to remain outside her house. I found out the hard way that sneaking one in doesn't work when you forget to turn off the ringer. I then became part of the conspiracy for about 3 months. Then one day she called to tell me that the "higher ups" had done a check on me and I was cleared.
Trips to the grocery store with her are enough to make you want to stick sharpened pencils in your ears and pray it doesn't take long to get to the chemicals aisle so you can quickly down some rat poison. She waits until in a crowded area of the market and very loudly will say "I know you can't afford anything (not true, she assumes this about everyone but herself) so I will get it for you. Don't be shy now, get yourself some food, I'll pay for it. Here, here is some cash to buy yourself something special with." At this point she turns and looks at any stranger within hearing distance and says "I don't know why they act like this, they know they have no money and that I will buy it for them. My goodness, even a dog has to eat!" Refusing her money or offer of food only makes her louder and more embarrassing, but it's a double edged sword, because staying quiet and accepting it to keep her from getting worse makes it look like you really are broke and homeless. It is also always a worry that she will see one of my uncles imagined conquests and scream out "Whore!" or "Jezebel!" to some unsuspecting innocent woman. I now carry my own pencils with me, it takes too long to unwrap those in the store.
Restaurants are always fun too. She never fails to ask everyone working there if they washed their hands after they went to the bathroom the last time because even pee pee makes your hands dirty. They are never prepared for the tirade that is sure to follow if they lay a ticket with numbers on it on the table, followed by a "Just whisper in my ear how much it is and I will be happy to pay it, I just can't take anything with numbers and I don't want the other diners to know how much I am paying. They might tell the government and I work too hard at keeping my business private to let you ruin it."
She washes all her laundry by hand, even though she has a very nice automatic washer and dryer in her house. It has never been used. She can't use it because.....wait for it.....everyone knows those things are government tools that have chips in them to drive you crazy then they can commit you somewhere and not have to pay you your retirement check.
Like I said, you can't wash crazy away.