Schizophrenia and Aunt Anne Ogilvie - a life only one third lived #
It would be a real challenge to overstate the calamitous impact of the death of our maternal grandfather, William Heinrichs, who died in a tragic car accident on July 09, 1938, driving from Manitoba, through Cass Lake, Minnesota to see Niagara Falls and the famous Dionne Quints. He was 67.
“History is made up of episodes, and unless we get inside those episodes, we cannot get inside History at all”. (Inga Clendinnen)
Writing is an attempt of capturing time for posterity.
At a 1992 family reunion, representatives from seven families commented on the collective shock of his death impacting on our lives. Its constant retelling, takes on a quasi-legendary feel, with echoes of recurring memories and long standing, terrifying trauma for all those present, especially his two youngest children - twins, our Uncle Jake and Aunt Anne. Some moments remain locked in memory forever. They were only 19. Both twins suffered a crushing burden of guilt for the rest of their lives.
While we need to focus on the present to live a fulfilling life; we can only make sense of the present if we attempt understand the past – and to fail to do so is a betrayal of our ancestors.
There exists a yawning chasm between Uncle Jake’s and Aunt Anne’s actual lives and the Manitoba Queens court’s preferred, imposed, deulling narratives. Both courts appear to have wilfully blinded themselves to readily available information, forfeiting their credibility.
According to family lore, supported by well documented outside sources, at the time of the accident, the twins, my Uncle Jake and Aunt Anne were sitting in the front seat of the car. Their mother and two passengers in the back. According to an obituary in the Emerson Journal, all occupants were treated in hospital for shock in an early incidence of road trauma.
A nephew, Ernst Klassen evokes the pathos:
“Aunt Anne and Uncle Jake both experienced long standing horror, self -induced guilt and life long trauma due to the cause of the accident; Uncle Jake thought that he may have been at fault because, driving the car just prior to the accident, he failed to heed his father’s warning against driving on the cats’ eyes in the middle of the road, weakening the tires, causing the subsequent blowout which veered the car into a bridge girder”.
Steel met conflicting steel.
The non-collapsible steering wheel crushed Grandpa’s chest. Rather than the twins’ fault, more likely, poor road design, poor tyres, the lack of collapsible steering columns, lack of seat belts or air bags and sharp protruding bridge girders, were more significant factors.
In another incident, the Winnipeg Free Press, Oct. 1, 1931 reports:
A burst tire caused an automobile accident that claimed the life of F.J. Anderson, president of the British Empire Grain company and the Fort William Elevator company.
Like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, Uncle Jake would self scourge, by insistently retelling his tale time and time again, seeking some sort of self exculpatory relief.
“Aunt Anne was made to feel that she had been responsible for her father’s death, because she, sitting next to her father, made an instinctual grab for the steering wheel when the car went out of control. The fact that her mother blamed her for distracting her father, disturbed her; her untreated trauma is considered a major cause of her severe schizophrenia triggered by the death of her mother in 1950”.
Some moments remain locked in memory forever. Parental accusations, developing into self inflicted guilt, can have serious, long standing, calamitous consequences – ghosts which reappear unpredictably. We have a tendency to damage those we claim to love. Parental cruelty through blame, can affect children for life. Her life was truncated and barely lived after 1951.
Aunt Anne developed a disordered anxiety that overtook her life. It was not a rational trigger – its symptoms included chronic anxiousness and a totalising, permanent, paralyzing, prominent, and obvious cognitive impairment manifest in mutism from the early 1970’s. Whenever she resorted to shouting at invisible ghosts, our mother claimed Aunt Anne was refuting her mother’s accusations.
As Doug Brewer, an expert on PTSD explains I had:
“Recurring memories that wouldn’t go away resulting in flash-backs, nightmares and ineffable outrage regarding unspeakable horror accusations challenging my most fundamental values”.
Anger has words; fury has none. From the late sixties, Aunt Anne became reclusive and retreated into mutism.
Classical literature, including Ovid’s Metamorphoses, describe tongues being wrenched out, humans barking out their sorrows instead of crying, women transformed into mute creatures by jealous gods, and desperate victims bearing witness to their abuse through non-verbal means. Many relatives reported visitations where Aunt Anne never said a word. At one visit, she told Katherine Martens, “Why don’t you just shut up?” Her pain was ineffable.
In many ways, Anne Ogilvie lived an unlived life. Her distressed condition was patently obvious to all observers from the early 1950’s. The accident further compounded the twin’s difficult relationship, culminating in both, nascent mental health issues. Uncle Jake’s interview with Katherine Martens, clearly acknowledges their fraught life-long relationship as estranged and acrimonious.
The French philosopher, Marie French finds it intriguing that many people feel a sense of guilt about their parents.
” I had no idea that’s an issue for so many people. It’s a question of duty and guilt.” We take them for granted for so long, but once they are gone, we suddenly realise the inadequacy of our gratitude.
We know so little about the obscure workings of guilt on the human psyche; on one hand repression can lead to psychological disturbances, while on the other hand, can create a protective, reactive compulsive shield to overcome by brutal, blustering control and domineering self-justifications.
Post Traumatic Stress #
Chronic PTSC survivors suffer because awful things have happened to them, not because of an innate or inherited personality issue. Rather than being the fault of the sufferer or indicative of any weakness of character, this condition has been shown by modern psychiatry to be the result of exposure to horrendous and traumatic experiences, beyond our psychic defences, that can leave a continuing destructive mark on anyone.
- a wound that never heals.
As a society, we have learned to provide immediate crises counselling to potential victims of trauma. This was not available to either Aunt Anne or Uncle Jake at that time and both experienced life long suffering from unresolved issues.
Post Traumatic Stress Condition is a broad spectrum with varied causes, symptoms and remedies. Longitudinal studies published from the late eighties indicate that patients on medication seldom recover. Empathetic, exposure and sometimes confrontational psychoanalytical therapy can result in full recovery. A non-humiliating, non-threatening therapist who encourages victims to describe and confront their understandings in as much detail as possible, may help them discover the meaning of their delusions and exorcise their demons.
PTSD can result in recurring memories that won’t go away resulting in flash-backs, nightmares and ineffable outrage regarding unspeakable horror memories challenging your most fundamental values.
David Adams refers to it as an idea that hijacked his brain.
The “snowflake” of a single intrusive thought, as he puts it, becomes a “blizzard” that “blows the snow into every corner of my mind, and lays down a blanket that muffled every surface.”
Traumatic Stress fundamentally changes the functioning of three major parts of the brain, the amylgdala, the pre-frontal cortex and the hippocampus. Its cumulative effect is to blur the distinction between past and present so that any stimulus or threat is perceived as imminnent and cause for alarm. All malevolent memories from the past have hypersensitised the brain bringing the past painful experiences into the present. Tereace Lawless - The Saturday Paper.
According to our mother, from 1951, whenever Aunt Anne suffered a spell of shouting at an imaginary person, she was descending into an inner hell of derangement, screaming at her own deceased mother, protesting her innocence. Tragically, this one event resulted in chronic terror associated with paranoid hallucinations disconnecting her from reality, including estrangement from her twin brother and the rest of a large sprawling family. It is a narrative worth telling for how we have learned to deal with potential trauma leading to a post traumatic stress illness that lead to Schizophrenia. Early preventative therapy can avoid future mental health issues.
PTSD is often experienced when your value system is tested. Victims endure a moral injury, manifest in psychological damage.
However, the biggest moment of clarity is when the PTSD sufferer realises it isn’t their own personal value system that has collapsed and they no longer care about things, but instead the reason they are so deeply affected is because their value system remains stronger than ever but it was other people’s contrary value system impacting on them.
They are reacting in horror to a situation they have no control over - they feel powerless.
By the early 1950’s Aunt Anne’s condition was readily evident in every aspect of her comportment - personal bearing or conduct; countenance, demeanour; impulsive and compulsive behaviour and withdrawal from social contact.
Yet in 2012, the beneficiary of her sham will, claimed there was nothing wrong with her.
Family Dynamics #
As families, our stories unite us, bringing us together to belong to something larger than ourselves. They tell us who we are and what we value. They are the foundation stones of our identity, of how we understand our place in the world. Our childhoods last a life time and we gain deeper self knowledge by recovering the memories of our formative years.
According to Brené Brown “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” The narratives of our family have been rigorously researched and meticulously recorded.
We are fortunate Viola Siemens and Katherine Martens considered the stories of our ancestors worthy of detailing and documenting for posterity, informing a realistic and accurate portrayal of their lives in our family account - Heinrichs of Halbstadt. The entire Siemens family, as the Klassens were without a doubt, the twins closest confidants.
When the car that Grandpa was driving had a tire blowout it veered onto the edge of the bridge and perched precipitously at the edge. Anne, who was the only person able to respond, climbed over her brother Jake to get out of the car. She remembered that there was a rope in the car trunk and took it out. She then tied it to the car and began to pull it across the road away from the edge of the bridge. This also stopped the traffic and a passer-by called for the ambulance. Had Anne not had her wits about her at that time everyone in the car could have been killed. - a niece - Susanna Klassen from Heinrichs or Halbstadt.
Our Uncle Jake often talked about the accidental death of his father as a form of auto, remedial and salvific therapy, but admits their tempestuous, and their life long strained relationship prevented him from talking to his sister, Aunt Anne, about it. His distress included a guilty awareness that his dominating treatment of her contributed to her schizophrenia. The fact is, both Anne and Jake had unresolved issues about this event, but it appears Uncle Jake handled it differently than Aunt Anne perhaps because, like the Ancient Mariner, of the obsessive, cathartic or therapeutic experience of talking about it to others - but not to his sister, Aunt Anne, who internalised her pain, repressing the demons tormenting her, bursting through the very fine membrane that separates our daylight selves from the secret darkness that lives in every one of us. The pathos of her suffering was patently obvious in her demeanor from the 1950’s..
Who knows the cumulative effect that Aunt Anne’s presence at the death of her father had throughout the years, especially the open suggestion by a negatively judgmental mother blaming her for his tragic death?
Aunt Anne might have been saved if she had access to good modern therapy —if she’d lived today, at a time when seeking psychiatric therapy is no more shameful than to visit a hairdresser. Modern treatment eschews psycho-pharmacology, in favor of both empathetic and confrontational counselling.
Elsa Neufeld, another niece, evocatively captures the poignancy of Aunt Anne’s initial distress in this excerpt, again from Heinrichs of Halbstadt.
Soon after my sixth birthday…(1938).. I spent most of the day with Aunt Anne, a beautiful brown-eyed young woman. As we shelled peas or cleaned fruit she grew weary of my incessant chatter. She invented various schemes to achieve quietness. She said, “Let’s see if we can be quiet for a few minutes” or “Let’s see who can be quiet the longest.” I know I tried but I never succeeded.
As I began writing down these memories I was able to place the events of 1938 in perspective. We moved to Homewood in early spring. Within months Grandfather Heinrichs had died accidentally.
Was my visit to be a distraction for Grandmother, Uncle Jake and Aunt Anne in their sorrow?
Uncle Jake, at only 19, had the awesome responsibility of managing the family farm of some 500 acres. With the assistance of neighbors and family siblings he managed to harvest the crop. One day he went to the post office to find a large parcel from Eatons containing new fashionable clothing ordered by his sister Aunt Anne. He was outraged for various reasons. So soon after their father’s death, her extravagance was outrageous! Mennonites were expected to dress modestly. In a fit of rage he came home and physically disciplined his 19 year old twin sister, driving a further wedge into an already tenuous relationship. In his interview he acknowledged his possible contribution to her mental break-downs.
In September, 1938, Aunt Anne began her year 12 at the Mennonite Collegiate Institute, but by Christmas, following a psychological break down, she abandoned her studies. Shortly, she left her family and community in Halbstadt to work In Winnipeg; an intrepid venture considering the suspicion all Germans were under during the war. As a reaction against her heritage she began some loose living, smoking, going to movies, dances and drinking, all taboos in Mennonite circles at the time. At the end of the European war, she visited all her siblings to introduce us to Fred Ogilvie, the man she married in July, 1945.
There is no evidence of any loss of contact with any of her close family due to her marriage to a non-Mennonite.
Irene (Siemens) Stobbe and Marie (Klassen) Dyck, daughters of the twins sisters, Marie and Susan, respectively, both recall Aunt Anne’s youth. When the twins were born to a mother, who openly avowed she never wanted more than two children, but gave birth to nine, their older sisters Marie and Susan, at 17 and 19 respectively, assumed the role of carers or surrogate mothers to Uncle Jake and Aunt Anne. In large quasi cross generational families, pre-conscious bonds develop between young children with their older carer siblings much the same as maternal ones.
In contrast bonds to your peer siblings are much more complicated by rivalry for attention and other fractious issues. This explains the enduring affectionate close bond of both Marie and Susan, their oldest sisters, so heavily engaged with enduring devoted duty of care for of both Uncle Jake and Aunt Anne. Uncle Jake repeatedly acknowledges his high regard for his older sisters and their highly esteemed husbands, J.J. Siemens, founding member of the Coop movement and Rev. D.D. Klassen, a highly respected Mennonite Bishop.
Reliable reports indicate that Aunt Anne, like her older sisters, was an extremely bright, vivacious and stylishly dressed young girl. In High School she did well, like her older sisters, was extremely popular with many avid suitors.
Our ancestors were from the “enlightened” school of Mennonites, believers in education, social justice and questioning vaunted authority. They emphasized putting the teachings of Jesus into practice. Being true to the principles expressed in his Sermon on the Mount; separation of Church and state, non hierarchical structures, love of enemies leading to pacifism and inclusive communities.
While the Mennonite tradition was for young girls to dress plainly and modestly, this was flouted by the Heinrichs clan. For the three older sisters, a seamstress came in twice a year, to ensure the latest seasonal style of clothing. By the time Aunt Anne came of age, the latest styles were ordered from Eaton’s. Irene Siemens recalls:
“Of her earlier life I remember her visits to our farm on a Sunday afternoon. She would be dressed very smartly, dark suit, white blouse, dress shoes and well-cut, simple hair style”.
Shortly after the death of her Mother in 1950, Aunt Anne’s symptoms of Schizophrenia became more noticeable.
On meeting her as a nine year old in 1951, her piercing dark eyes, betrayed a wariness - an abnormal alarm. Her sartorial elegance deteriorated into disheveled deportment, often wearing clashing colors. At one visit she was naked, so from then on we had to wait in the car while our Mother ensured Aunt Anne was suitably dressed.
Shakespeare in Hamlet, wrote, “Clothes maketh the man.” Mark Twain added his own twist by suggesting “naked people have little or no influence in this world”.
However it was when she began to tell me and my younger brothers about the voices telling her what to do, we soon picked up on the fact she was not normal. In Medieval times if you heard “voices”, your odds of becoming a prophet or having a new religion named after you were enhanced; nowadays you are simply diagnosed with schizophrenia and have to take your lithium.
That too is considered “progress”.
Another niece, Edith Siemens recounts to the family archivist, Katherine Martens, other erratic behavior, included having all cupboard doors removed and going naked. Spending a week with the newly weds in 1947, Edith recalls the terror she felt because of loud late night arguments. Aunt Anne’s unusual behavior became public in 1957 when her neighbors on Hazel Dell Ave in East Kildonan called the police because they found her on the street with no clothes on. In Contrast to King Richard III explaining, “and thus I clothe my naked villainy”.
Aunt Anne, in removing cabinet doors and her clothes, may have been trying to proclaim that she had nothing to hide or be ashamed of.
The police notified her oldest sister, Marie Siemens, who took greatest responsibility for Anne’s care when Fred needed support. Marie encouraged him to have her committed to Selkirk Mental Home for assessment and treatment. Until she died in 1969, Marie continued her incredible support for her youngest sister. When Aunt Marie died, Aunt Anne became so anxious she again had to be admitted to a mental hospital in 1970 for treatment. From then on she simply withdrew into a shell. She seldom left the house and became less communicative. Her symptoms were so pronounced and conspicuous that even the proverbial blind Freddy would have recognized her serious illness by her dejected demeanor.
William Klassen remembered Uncle Fred Ogilvie and how much Mother and Father spoke in appreciation of him even though we all knew he was not a Mennonite.
“I recall his visit to the University of Manitoba when I was teaching there and his encouragement he gave me then of the work I was doing. He appreciated the value of teaching religion outside of a church setting”.
What is pertinent is that Aunt Anne did not accompany her husband, a clear indication of her reclusiveness.
In 1962, Aunt Anne confessed to me her regret for not completing high school, a failure to do what she was expected to do – failure to do what she felt able to do. She expressed deep shame - a stigma of under achievement, defeat; an inability to cope. She also attributed her failure to the fact that they had no money, yet the house of full of 27 stray cats, compensating an inability to have children. When we left, my mother informed me Aunt Anne was blissfully unaware they had lots of money, but should she make a Will, it would all go to the cats. Aunt Anne’s delusions led to an austere life, refusing to care for her appearance and buy other necessities. Her life could have been chastened by the depression, carrying its stern and frugal lessons.
Katherine Martens recounts an incident when Aunt Anne refused an ice-cream because she was convinced she could not afford one.
Perhaps she was searching for an ascetic cleansing.
Erdman Klassen writes:
“Whether or not Aunt Anne was considered capable of making decisions is based on the fact that she was “talkative” and “smiling”. These behaviors are not considered definitive evidence of capacity. Yes, she made her own decisions but they were generally not made in her own best interest. To refuse to look after her teeth, to refuse to buy clothes for herself and to refuse to talk about her own life experience were not decisions that were in her own best interest”.
By this time her lack of composure was immediately recognisable, in her distress, her self- absorbed obsessions, a conspicuous lack of normal personal interactions. Patients with mental disorders lose the defence mechanisms to deal with their fears, or to mask their condition. They “fail to prepare a face to meet the faces they meet”. Already, her abject demeanor openly reflected her inner turmoil.
Her other close bonds were with her older brother Ben, by six years and her sister Helen Hoffman, 14 years older. Ben farmed her inherited land for ten years and when he left the community she asked her sister’s family, the Helen Hoffmans to lease it, which they did for ten year before also moving from the district. After that, as the only one left, her twin brother, Uncle Jake took over.
Gradually but progressively, with the death of her oldest sister, Marie Siemens, Aunt Aunt’s accumulated excruciating guilt exacerbated her trauma, gradually suffering a sublime withdrawal of self-obliteration, an obvious infirmity developing into a disabling reclusiveness, an anergia, that medical science identifies as psychosomatic. By the early 1960’s her condition was bleedingly obvious at a glance. Her countenance and demeanor exhibited all the classic symptoms of schizophrenia, including low self esteem, feelings of inadequacy and high levels of surface anger. It is inconceivable that anyone meeting her could not instantly recognize her highly visible Schizophrenia.
Pathologically by 1970, Aunt Anne sank into a deeply depressive state with occasional bursts of manic screaming bouts at invisible ghosts – likely that of her deceased mother who had openly suggested Aunt Anne may have been responsible for the car accident that killed her father. She was protesting her innocence.
Throughout the seventies, Aunt Anne was cared for by her remaining sisters and devoted but dominating husband, Fred, and his family, a sister Mary and brother Bill and as mentioned above her brother Ben.
In 1978, when her husband dies, Aunt Anne is immediately taken care of by her brother Ben, living in Winnipeg. She has no interest in returning to their house and asks her brother-in-law, Bill Ogilvie, to sell it and all its contents. Instead, since there is no Will, Uncle Jake, in his typical overbearing and controlling manner over rides her wishes, convincing Fred Ogilvie’s family to give up their share of the estate to invest for Aunt Anne’s institutional care. Obviously she is totally incapacitated as her expressed wishes are ignored and she plays no part in any decisions of settling her affairs or her future.
After a week in Carman, with her Sister, Susan, another week in Winnipeg with her brother Ben, after Christmas, a week with her twin brother Jake in Halbstadt, it is decided she will be placed in an old age care center in Altona. During the first night, in a totally out of character aggressive act, she attempts to smother another resident for disturbing her, so she is sent to Winkler for a psychiatric assessment for six weeks. She is clinically diagnosed as a Schizophrenic with a pessimistic prognosis. She is prescribed medication to sedate her to avoid further surface anger attacks.
After the death of their older sister, Susan in 1989, she is again confined in a mental institute. Uncle Jake makes an intriguing request for what appears a confessional interview, to shrive his soul, with the family archivist, Katherine Martens. Uncle Jake appears to need cathartic therapy; to vent some excruciating internal pain by a frank and full admission of his inner turmoil, hoping for some release of tension and an exorcism of the demons that haunted him, revealing a troubled soul, seeking not so much redemption, as simple understanding, exoneration and expiation. His lack of contrition indicates no attempt to redress any damage. Perhaps like St Augustine’s famous prayer, Make me pure, but not just yet.
The interview reveals more than perhaps he intended - a man with a strong will to power; a desire to ruthlessly control everything and a strong compulsion to dominate everyone. The interview reveals as much about his own conflicted, guilt-ridden relationship with his sister and his debt to his older siblings.
He acknowledges his good fortune inheriting the family farm, that his mother spends her last years alone in Altona, that he has been extraordinarily lucky; yet feels a lot of guilt. However, he fails to express any remorse, make any amends or show any generosity. Twice he reveals his great affection for his oldest sisters, Susan and Marie and high esteem for their husbands, D.D. Klassen, a Bergthler Bishop and Jake Siemens, a founding member of the Coop movement.
Hard evidence from the book reveals Aunt Anne’s similar affectionate bonds with all her sisters and especially her older brother, Ben.
For a formidable, usually macho man, it is surprising that Uncle Jake broke down several times, whenever he discussed the accident or his twin sister - a clear indication of enduring raw trauma. He frankly and openly acknowledges that his strained relationship with his twin sister, had always been fractious; they never talked about the accident and ponders whether it was his humiliating, brutal and demeaning disciplining of his twin sister may have been a contributing cause of her crippling Schizophrenia.
When asked whether he had ever talked to Anne about it, It might make you feel better if you talked to her about it. She might . . .
Jake interrupts, Well, it isn’t – isn’t a pleasant thing.
The interviewer, Katherine Martens agrees: No,
Jake continues, If it was something that could please her, it might be useful.
Uncle Jake has abused a position of power and benefits from someone without power, and seems completely unrepentant. There is an admission of guilt without contrition.
A nephew, John Klassen, concludes:
The opportunity for brother and sister to resolve the issue was lost. They got together only to undertake financial issues and he asks questions about her life only in an ancillary way. They had never had a close relationship.
Uncle Jake’s disciplining must be viewed in context and we should not judge by today’s standards. Physical discipline was common in those days and he merely followed the role model of his father. My Mother related how their father, Wilhelm Heinrichs, boxed her ears because as a 15-year-old girl she had smiled at some elders which was deemed disrespectful – young girls were expected to be demure, modest and subdued. Uncle Ben also comments on how his father boxed his ears at nine for not driving properly. (H. of H ll. 47 – 49)
Shortly after the interview, Uncle Jake dies from a heart attack. Aunt Anne survives in a blissful unresponsive state for more than 15 years. Shortly after Uncle Jake’s death, all 56 descendants began to receive annual statements of Aunt Anne’s accounts. This is a mandatory requirement of Manitoba’s Mental Health Act. Apparently, unknown to her, her estate has accumulated substantial assets, and her lawyer deems her unfit to manage her own affairs. This raised expectations of some small inheritance. Not to be. When her Will is read in 2009, all the estate is to go to her brother Jake and if deceased than to his youngest son, Warren, a complete inversion of primogeniture in favor of ultimogeniture.
As early as the 17(th) century, John Locke questioned the ruin caused by primogeniture, which protected estates from being divided among heirs at the cost of leaving the offspring who did not inherit utterly destitute. Perhaps the courts antiquated, anachronistic mindsets need to be updated.
The Will #
The Will seemed not only surprising, but downright suspicious. All the evidence suggests Warren has never actually met his benefactor. It is also an inescapable conclusion that two lawyers, agents of the Cooperative Trust also never met her. They admitted no recognition of her Schizophrenia and could not remember what she looked like.
Let’s just get this straight - all solid evidence indicates severe noticeable schizophrenia from the early 1950’s, but the benefitting party, and two lawyers, who have spent 45 minutes with her in 1980, are is totally oblivious of this. And on that basis the court determines testamentary capacity.
Let the absurdity of that sink in for a few minutes.
Uncle Jake, on at least two occasions, acknowledges that he was responsible for writing Aunt Anne’s Will, first to Ray Siemens, an upright peer nephew and again in 1985 to Marie Dyck and his oldest sister, Susan Klassen.
However, a six day court challenge, demonstrating a determined lack of context and perspective, unconvincingly found the Will valid due to a putative close bond between the twins, no relationship with her other six siblings, and in a blatant denial of clearly established facts, that she did not really have any schizophrenia - accusing us all of “merely embellishing her eccentricities”. Astounding!
Like other lies peddled by the respondents, what’s striking but not unique about this particular claim is its audacity; it’s lazy and intellectually unserious, easily disproved with a simple search of readily available material evidence.
This appears recklessly indifferent to the truth.
For Greenberg’s part, however, this is all par for the course. Like in her other cases, she makes no secret of skilfully trafficking in sinister assaults on reality, and ones aimed at annihilating the concept of truth itself.
Even the highest court in the land does not have the deeming power to second guess the diagnosis.
The Appeals Court #
The Manitoba Appeals Court seems an echo chamber of the Queens Bench.
We can all paint mythological qualities on her; we can pretend courts have magical powers to suppress real evidence – but it’s complete crap, and we don’t help the judicial image, or the health of democracy, by promulgating these sorts of fantasy. The Judges, cocooned in their lofty impenetrable towers, were comprehensibly wrong in appraising material facts, drawing sound inferences or cluelessly reaching unreasonable conclusions.
In several particularly boneheaded assessments, the Appeals Court appears to be at one with the floundering original court,which abjectly failed to distinguish between obvious fact and glaring fiction. The towering tenor of the Appeals Court, tells all. The vehemence of its baseless declarations indicate a contempt for evidence based decision making. Urgent structural reform in Manitoba’s incestuous Appeals system would go a long way in restoring our trust in Canada’s Justice system.
It remains my considered contention that the Appeals Court, alerted to the disputed facts, failed to undertake “reasonable efforts” to ensure that factual material was “supportable as being historically accurate”.
Its professional negligence was demonstrated by the lack of interest in informed analysis, and failure to test disputed evidence. Tendentious in the extreme. To have five critical underlying false premises, not only fail objective analysis, but at odds with irrefutable evidence, demonstrates “the blindest of human follies”, shredding all semblance of objectivity.
As Hilary Mantel maintains:
“This is something much stronger than repression. It is the deliberate construction of one reality out of the denial of another.
As we know all politicians excel in that art, but we expect higher standards from our morally impoverished courts.
So on what grounds was the Appeals Court justified in passing judgment on matters, the truth was not established? Despite warnings that most findings were unfounded, the Appeals Court remained consciously and obdurately blind to, and stolidly ignorant of, the facts and the truth, compounding our distress by arrogated blunder, bluster and bombast. Any official, pretending to know more than family members or professional experts on any matter, not only insults our intelligence but demonstrates a contempt of reality, undermining their own credibility and diminishing the legitimacy of their authority. Imposing their unfounded narratives on senior family members intimately familiar with reality remains a grievous insult.
The sheer scale of error defies all guiding principles of procedural law or judicious fairness.
There are at least five “cognitive reversals”; unimaginable and inconceivable conclusions against clear, material and irrefutable evidence before the courts. Their dim understanding of our Aunt Anne could not be further from reality.
The collateral damage is our perception of dereliction of duty as to the truth or falsity of its imputations of presented evidence. Both courts failed to properly inquire into the facts. In my opinion, both were recklessly irresponsible in reaching conclusions that simply were not supported by any substantive or material evidence. The courts obviously had ulterior agendas that called for such distorted narratives and skewed outcomes.
The guardrails of trust in our democratic institutions are crashed when truth is supplanted by deliberate lies. Untruths are accepted despite all evidence to the contrary. Disinformation is accepted when some judges deliberately abandon truth as the framework for judicial findings because it suits them to weaponise lies.
All courts should be more conscientious in unwarily accepting assertions, purporting to be statements of fact, that are obviously self-serving and purposely inaccurate and misleading to a material extent.
Nietzsche advised that “if you are going to tell a lie in the marketplace, make sure it is a big one and you repeat it often enough.” 75% of people prefer a good story to the truth.
Court cases are always messy and passionate and contentious. But when they ignore critical, vital and crucial facts and complaints become shrouded in darkness, beyond accountability and scrutiny, they jump the parameters of reality and truth, leading to a sea of distrust. Most people are afraid of the dark, but the Canadian Judicial Council appears afraid of the light.
This leaves the entire Canadian Justice System in a state of disrepute, resulting in diminished confidence and trust. Like many other institutions, the court system does whatever it thinks it can get away with, letting the Canadian public down. Unacceptable official negligence should simply not be accepted by us; sovereign citizens and our elected representatives.
Institutions like this undermine our faith, shred their own credibility and violate our trust. For a First world country, Canada’s Justice System appears to has gone astray; in decline, following the lead of America. Pierre Trudeau attempted to reform an archaic system; Justin Trudeau has weakened the accountability. We all know, by looking south of the border, that this leads to blood in the streets.
Every willfully naive and careless court decision should be protested, until the courts begin living up to their sworn oaths, meeting acceptable investigative standards and reasonable community expectations for clear clean Justice. They are commissioned by the sovereign citizens of Canada to resolve disputes fairly and equitably; not foment strife or discord.
In my opinion, this case screams out for heightened regulatory oversight of the Judiciary, to ensure compliance with professional protocols and mandatory statutory requirements. Yet in 2019, Canadian politicians demonstrated that have become myrmidons to the high court, by weakening the mandatory Statutes of the Judges Act, allowing for less compulsory public disclosure, less transparency and less accountability. And this is a liberal government shirking its responsibility to the Canadian people by flicking the bird at us.
Appendix: The Psychiatric Report #
December 11, 1979
Eden Mental Health Centre Winkler , Manitoba
Mrs. Elsie Neufeld
Trade Winds Spa
11021 Sunset Avenue
Desert Hot Springs, California 92240
Dear Mrs. Neufeld:
In response to your letter of November 28th re Mrs. Ann Ogilvie, this lady was a patient in our facility between January 15th and March 6th, 1979.
She had a previous admission here in 1970. She was a patient in Selkirk Mental Hospital in 1957.
She had been followed at the Health Sciences Hospital until her husband died. She was discharged from our Centre to a nursing home in Altona.
This lady shows typical symptoms from a long standing schizophrenic illness. There is little that one can do for her. Her condition is stable. She is no problem. Her emotions are rather flattened, anergic. I think placement in a nursing home is indicated on a long term basis, where she would be encouraged to do as much as she can do for herself, as well as involvement in occupational therapy and stimulation by going out and visiting at times.
Before she left us she was placed on very small doses of psychotropic medication - Haldol 2 mgm twice a day and Kemadrin 5 mgm twice a day. She was also given a few sleeping pills at that time which she could take if necessary.
In response to the last sentence of your letter about progress, I do not think that this can be expected.
I think she shows the effects of long-time illness and I do not think that will change. It might perhaps get worse in time. With the tools we have at the present time I think this is about the best that can be expected.
I would be prepared to see her at any time here at the Centre if her family doctor feel it is indicated; if there is any change in her condition I would reassess her and perhaps modify medication.
With best wishes for the holiday season.
H. Guenther M.D. , F.R. C. P. (C) Psychiatrist
Instead of heeding this report, the Court prefers the respondent’s fabricated account, that “she was pretty normal” there was nothing wrong with our Aunt and she was merely “eccentric”. I dispute that a reasonable person would accept that these meanings are conveyed by the above report; the court’s readings are “contrived".
Justice Greenberg sees just what she wants to see.
Psychosomatic medication #
The court assumes the medication aids in testamentary capacity. This too, is misguided; they are basically chemical restraints; for sedation rather than stimulation.
Haldol (haloperidol) is an antipsychotic drug that decreases excitement in the brain. Haldol is used to treat psychotic disorders like schizophrenia with significant side effects. Neuroleptic drugs may produce a state of apathy, lack of initiative and limited range of emotion. It acts as a form of chemical restraint.
Kemadrin counteracts the side effects, minimizing the symptoms induced by tranquilizing drug, the drug effectively controls neuromuscular dysfunction resulting from neuroleptic medication, permitting a more sustained treatment of the patient’s mental disorder.
Neither drug is cognitively supportive or enhancing to aid testamentory capacity.
Note that a single judge with no special expertise in relevant medical, family or cultural matters made determinations of deeply complicated issues without access to all the analytic, expert and research resources of material and primary evidence before the court.
All professions, especially the medical and mental heath have demonstrated remarkable advances in the past 100 years, while the Legal Industry remains much the same and at times actually regresses anachronistically; retreating into its medieval fortress tower of protective, discretionary immunity.