Posted May 19, 2014 by in Awesome Books

The Capgras Delusion: Fate of the Jedi series

Photo by chris@APL https://www.flickr.com/photos/chriskueh/2253147351

Photo by chris@APL https://www.flickr.com/photos/chriskueh/2253147351

The Fate of the Jedi series is made up of nine books set in the Star Wars universe; it revolves around Jedi slipping into madness, one-by-one, manifesting long-hidden powers of the Dark Jedi. Believing that everyone they see has been replaced by nefarious look-alikes, their fear and rage cause them to strike out violently against anyone around them, family and civilians alike. Even more bizarre than the sudden onset of the delusion is that Luke Skywalker and his son Ben must go on a quest to uncover the truth behind the mysterious illness before the Jedi Order is destroyed.

Back in a galaxy right here and right now, Capgras Syndrome is a disorder in which a person suddenly believes that a loved one has been replaced by an imposter. Yes, this is a real disorder. I heard about it on a season 12 episode of Law and Order SVU (Thank you, Dr Wong!) where a mother believed that her daughter had been replaced by an imposter. While actual victims of this disorder don’t suddenly learn how to Flow Walk, it’s amazing that this neurological disorder can be based in reality. I can’t even imagine the terror that would be induced by suddenly believing that a loved one has been replaced and not knowing what happened to the real loved one. 

In the series, the madness is orchestrated by an insidious being awakened by Jacen Solo in his slow fall into the Dark Side. Abeloth, “The Bringer of Chaos,” had been imprisoned for thousands of years until Jacen unintentionally released her in his battle for control of the Galactic Alliance. Her twisted mind craved companionship, and she sought it out through the Force. Each time her mind touched another’s, the corruption was too much and the result was an apparent psychotic break.

Once you were with me, here in the Maw. Once you were all with me. Now you are apart, but one by one, you are all awakening. And once awake, you can hear my call, and come to me.“―Abeloth

The foundation for the delusional Jedi is actually more frightening. In the Star Wars universe, good conquers evil and sets things right. But the reality is that the victims of these delusions cannot be cured. The patients have visual memory of the loved one, but cannot access the associated emotional connection. As such, the patient recognizes the loved one, but there is a delusion that it isn’t the real him or her.

Author Richard Powers won the National Book Award in 2006 by capturing the fear and pain a family experiences when a member suffers from Capgras Syndrome with his novel The Echo Maker.

Rachel Storey

Software engineer by day, bookworm by night. I love reading. I love writing about reading. I love talking about writing about reading. I joined Bookkaholic to have great conversations about literature, so please feel free to leave comments and discussions.