Janet calls to say she is prepared to see a psychologist to try to get to the bottom of her fugue state – her missing four days in March 1976 – although she doubts very much that anything will come of it.
“I’m ready for my lobotomy,” she says with a laugh when I speak to her on the phone. I say I will speak to my psychologist friend, Erica and get back to her. I’m still having difficulty understanding the ‘lost’ five days and want to discuss it at length with her.
Erica describes a ‘fugue’ state to me where it is possible to lose a part of your life, have no memory but yet continue to function.
From 14 March to 19 March Janet will almost certainly have been up at the farm every day even though she says she cannot remember anything relating to those five days. Erica suggests two possible causes for the blackout:
A physical cause, such as a blow to the head
A psychological cause – in other words Janet has had a huge shock and her mind has ‘switched off’ and locked it away. In a Freudian sense the awfulness comes to the surface via alternative means, such as dreams or nightmares.
Could Fred have hit Janet over the head or could she have fallen and hit her own head? Could that explain the fugue state?
Or could the cause have been psychological?
I think the second explanation is more likely and it transpires that Erica does too. But what can Janet have seen? To me it seems highly likely that whatever she saw probably occurred before 19 March. Did she see Fred commit suicide on 14 March but was unable to do anything to help? Did the guilt she feel at being unable to help then shut her mind down?
Well, yes, I think witnessing the suicide of someone close must be a terrible thing to witness but is it awful enough for your conscious mind to block it out for over 30 years?
I’ve already mentioned Janet’s disbelief that she could possibly have a physical relationship with Fred and I assume she’s telling the truth.
I realise now as I write these words that I have made a mistake; I have assumed Fred committed suicide because that’s what Janet says the police told her. On what basis would the police assume suicide?
Remember also that her father is very ill with heart disease. Janet was very close to her father and always turned to him for calm and reasoned advice. She can’t do that at the moment. Her mother is preoccupied looking after him. Janet has no-one to turn to.
I realise I need to speak to Derbyshire police to see if I can find out anything about the hunt for Fred in March 1976. Again I make a mistake – I tell them I’m looking for a man who committed suicide, perhaps what I should have said was: I’m looking for a missing person.