Volume 37, Issue 3 (May 1992)
Misidentification of Self and the Riel Phenomenon
Misidentification syndromes or phenomena are found in a number of psychiatric situations that may become the subject of forensic science review. One of the most curious is misidentification of self in which the individual perceives himself or herself as another being while able to explain the loss of the original identity. Recognizing these phenomena may be helpful in accurate diagnosis, in considering such conditions as psychosis of whatever type, multiple personality disorder, and other amnesia and fugue states, and in understanding the person's psychopathology. Two cases are presented to illustrate a process that the authors have named the Riel Phenomenon, after the person who was a party to what is often recognized as the most famous case in Canadian history.