Air LoomsPosted: May 1, 2013
James Tilly Matthews was committed to London’s Bedlam Asylum in 1797. He complained of an international conspiracy of persons using ‘influencing machines’ to produce illness and control the actions of others and called some of these devices ‘Air Looms.’ His case is considered the first possible documented case of paranoid schizophrenia. Matthews was apparently at turns perfectly lucid, intelligent and charismatic, but, later in life, he behaved in bizarre ways, uttered strange things and would behave erratically. Matthews claimed that during these periods, he was under control of an ‘air loom,’ a machine operated by criminals which used various gasses and other substances to control him. Mathews claimed that there was a wider ‘air loom’ conspiracy and members of Parliament were controlled by the gang.