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  If you're not following me on Twitter, I'm @DanDotLewis.  I have an extra-bonus "fact" -- in quotes because it is more speculation than fact -- related to the below, which I'll be tweeting about sometime today.  Give me a follow if you want to see it, or just check my Twitter page toward the end of the day. -- Dan

The Bourne Identity
Not Jason.  Ansel.

Back in the 1850s, Ansel Bourne was a carpenter in Rhode Island.  In 1857, for reasons unkinown, he seemingly spontaneously became blind, deaf, and mute -- but 18 days later, recovered with only a case of partial amnesia as a lingering after effect.  (He wrote a book on the experience; good luck getting a copy.)  He'd live a mostly normal life for the next few decades, becoming a preacher in part due to a lingering, subconscious desire to visit a chapel borne fro his period of incapacitation.

Thirty years later, he was gone.  

Not dead -- just gone.  For on January 17, 1887, Ansel Bourne disappeared both from Rhode Island and from the world at large.  And in Norristown, Pennsylvania, A.J. Brown -- a confectioner and stationer -- appeared shortly thereafter.   Brown would continue in this role until March 14, 1887, when he'd wake up as Ansel Bourne, having no recollection of the previous two months, the existence of A.J. Brown his other personality, nor how he ended up in Pennsylvania.  Bourne went into what is now called a "fugue state" -- a state of amnesia where the person forgets the details about their own identity (including their own name) but otherwise seems to remember everything else.  (If this sounds, again, like Jason Bourne of The Bourne Identity book/movie series, there's a reason for that -- Robert Ludlum, the author of the novel, almost certainly borrowed Ansel's last name for the title character.)

Bourne's odd type of amnesia (also called "dissassociated fugue") is rare, but historically, it's not otherwise unheard of nor something of yesteryear.  It cropped up in this incredible story of a New York City schoolteacher who went for a run on August 28, 2008 -- and never returned home.  She emerged again in mid-September, alive, bobbing in New York Harbor, alive, with no memory of the three weeks prior.

Bonus fact: Disssociated fugue has a similar condition called travelling fugue or "dromomania."  It's marked by an uncontrollable urge to travel, often for great distances for no discernable reason -- with no recollection of the travel afterward.  One notable case: In the late 1880s, Jean-Albert Dadas, a man from Bordeaux, France, ended up travelling (in seperate trips) to Prauge, Vienna, and Moscow, and recalled nothing of his trips.  Even more amazing, he almost certainly made the trips by foot.

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