Mum’s terror as daughter spent her 18th in intensive care after tumour made her act ‘possessed’

Mum’s terror as daughter spent her 18th in intensive care after tumour made her act ‘possessed’

Back in the olden days, when medicine wasn't the rigorously scientific discipline it is today, medical mysteries and mental illnesses were almost entirely blamed on the supernatural. People explained away the effects of dementia and schizophrenia as diabolism and witchcraft, and claimed that any sickness of the brain was actually a case of demonic possession. Of course, nowadays we know that someone thrashing around in bed is more likely to be experiencing a violent seizure, not corrupted by evil spirits.

Yet despite this, sometimes disease makes people act so strangely and erratically that possession almost seems plausible, and an exorcism nearly appears to be a viable solution. If you want proof of this phenomenon, then look no further than the strange case of Aimee Sage, whose behaviour became totally bizarre and unpredictable due to the presence of a life-threatening tumour which affected her brain.

Aimee was a normal teenager living in Kent, England, until May 2018, when everything changed for her. It all started when she exhibited signs of a sore throat and fever, which her mum and dad dismissed as a simple virus. But the fever showed no signs of breaking, and Aimee was becoming uncharacteristically angry and turbulent. When she began raving and pacing around her bed, Aimee's mother Elaine called an ambulance and the girl was rushed to William Harvey hospital. Doctors there took a blood test and administered a full-body scan. That was when they discovered something very worrying indeed.

It turned out that there was a tumour the size of an egg growing on one of Aimee's ovaries; a tumour which contained teeth, brain cells, and even hair. The infected tumour was producing antibodies which were then traveling to her brain, provoking a type of neural fever called anti-NMDAR encephalitis. This brain condition causes seizures, confusion, memory loss, and can manifest a variety of nonsensical and delusional behaviours. Surgeons at the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate removed the tumour in a successful three-hour operation, and Aimee was placed on drip afterwards.

Discussing the experience, Aimee's mother Elaine stated: "It was like having a different daughter. She would be writing in thin air with her finger in a daze one moment, then hysterically screaming and jumping on the bed the next. It was like a scene out of the horror film 'The Exorcist', it was like she was possessed. She even tried to escape from hospital because she was sure she was being threatened and didn’t feel safe. It broke me as she is the most kind and gentle girl, but to see her like that, in that state, was just so awful for all of us."

Elaine added: "She kept telling me she didn’t understand, when I was trying to tell her simple things ... She was pacing around her bedroom with a hairbrush in her hand asking, ‘Where’s Dad?’ Then she said she didn’t feel right and that she should be planning her funeral. I was terrified. I tried to calm her down but nothing seemed to work. I called [Aimee's dad] who was on a late shift at work. He asked a family friend to come over and when they did they were also so shocked at how frantic Aimee was. That’s when I realised I needed to call an ambulance.”

"The last thing Aimee remembers is going to the doctors, but everything after that is very vague. Now she wants to be like every other 18-year-old again. She was a really good football player, so is keen to be get back on the pitch again. I felt like we’d lost our daughter and I couldn’t be prouder of the recovery she has made."

Luckily however, Aimee survived her ordeal and was discharged from hospital on July 26. Her story is a frightening one, but it just goes to show that an undiagnosed medical issue can have ramifications well beyond what we'd usually expect. If someone you know is acting erratically, then consult a doctor: it could be more serious than you might think.