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Theories behind what causes 'demon face syndrome' that has been described like living in a 'horror movie'

Theories behind what causes 'demon face syndrome' that has been described like living in a 'horror movie'

This bloke suddenly saw his flatmate looking like a 'demon'

Just 75 people in the world are known to experience ‘demon face syndrome’ and one of them has said it’s like living a ‘horror movie’.

And to be fair, walking the streets and seeing every other human looking like a ‘goblin’ sounds absolutely terrifying.

Victor Sharrah suffers from the extremely rare neurological condition prosopometamorphopsia, or PMO, since his symptoms first began back in November 2021.

Only 75 people in the world have PMO.
Antônio Mello/Dartmouth College

The 59-year-old noticed his roommate walking past with a ‘demon face’ and then when he went out to walk his dog, realised so did every other human.

Sharrah explained how the faces seemed stretched wide, with ‘goblin-like’ elongated ears, flared nostrils and deep grooves.

The American bloke told The Times: “I thought, ‘What the hell did I just see? It was like something out of a Star Trek movie, like a demon face."

Sharrah was ‘freaking out’ so much that he said he was ‘going to have himself committed’.

And while the former trucker took part in a study to help scientists recreate images of what these ‘demon faces’ look like, there’s no idea exactly what causes PMO.

Victor Sharrah started experiencing symptoms back in 2021.

There’s only those 75 people known to have had the condition, so there’s a lot to learn and understand about it.

Essentially, it affects the area of the brain dealing with facial recognition, causing faces to be warped.

While scientists don’t know for sure what causes it, there are some similarities in cases.

People who have endured head injuries, ischemic strokes, epilepsy and migraines commonly experience ‘demon face syndrome’.

In Sharrah's case, he said he’s got a history of bipolar disorder and had previously suffered from a head injury back in 2007 while trying to unjam his trailers door before flying backwards and hitting his head on concrete.

The condition makes people appear with distorted faces.
Dartmouth College

He also suffered from possible carbon monoxide poisoning around four months before his symptoms of PMO began.

Tests showed that Sharrah was ‘well and not distressed’ as well as having normal cognitive function, although scans did locate a 1cm cyst in the left part of the hippocampus area of his brain.

Sharrah said that he had 'pretty much gotten used to' seeing 'demon faces' everywhere he goes, but he still holds out hope that 'it could correct itself and go away'.

He added: "I don’t want people on medications for psychosis when they just have a vision disorder. I hope we can help [stop] some from experiencing the trauma I did."

Experts at Darmouth College also added in the study, which was published in The Lancet, that ‘fortunately most cases last only a few days or weeks, but some cases perceive distortions in faces for years’.

Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Victor Sarrah

Topics: Health, Science, US News