MEMO-04: Excerpts from Perevalov case, 1880s

Objective TI Research (OTIR)
10 min readJan 26, 2023

Author: Archibald Ludendorf (OTIR Lead researcher)

In the 1880s, Russian psychiatrist Victor Kandinsky published his book On pseudo hallucinations”. During his practice, he studied the Targeted Individual phenomenon from the viewpoint of psychiatry (as mental illness) and collected a lot of valuable accounts from the time period.

In tragic turn of events, Kandinsky experienced TI harassment himself, even believing for a while he was tortured by multiple intelligence services. Unfortunately, later he accepted it was merely a mental illness. Being unable to cure it, he committed suicide. But not sooner than defining TI experience as Kandinsky-Clérambault syndrome, which placed many TIs into insane asylums. This diagnosis was a precursor to a later and more broad schizophrenia.

Text below is a story of one of the patients, Perevalov, translated directly from the book, as recorded by Dr. Kandinsky.

Aside from any disputes on the true nature of the phenomenon, it is clear that Perevalov’s case seems oddly familiar to modern cases, while the tech, supposedly used for the influence described, did not exist; not even transistors were invented yet.

We invite you to read the story and compare it to modern accounts of TI phenomenon.

Having decided to bring a major lawsuit against the Obukhov plant, Perevalov allegedly had to greatly affect the interests of many high-ranking officials in St. Petersburg. “Tokists” (which means “users of electric currents”) in his opinion are nothing but a corps of secret agents used by our [Tzarist Russia] notorious 3rd department of internal affairs office to find out the intentions and thoughts of persons dangerous to the government, and for the secret punishment of these persons.

However, Perevalov does not consider himself a state criminal, but believes that the “tokists” were assigned to him partly so that they could acquire the necessary skill in their art, partly due to abuse by those high-ranking officials who need to stall Perevalov’s business with the Obukhov plant.

Perevalov is constantly under the influence of thirty tokists, who are at different levels of the service hierarchy and are divided into several alternately working shifts. By subjecting Perevalov’s head to the action of a galvanic current as early as 1876, they brought Perevalov into a “tonic connection” (something like a magnetic rapport) with themselves, and they are in the same connection with each other while working. By virtue of such a connection, all thoughts and feelings of Perevalov are transmitted from his head to the heads of tokists; these same latter, acting according to a certain system, can arbitrarily evoke in the head of Perevalov… certain thoughts, feelings, sensory representations, as well as various kinds of sensations in the sphere of touch and general feeling.

In addition, these invisible pursuers, being hidden near Perevalov, reach him, among other things, with “direct speech”, and the words and phrases they pronounce (more or less loudly) directly, in the usual way, through the air, are transferred to Perevalov and are perceived by him through the ears.

In particular, the methods of action of tokists on Perevalov are very diverse. The patient himself distinguishes eight such methods:

a) Direct speech” of abusive phrases, mocking remarks, obscene words, etc. (hearing hallucinations).

b) “Artificial induction of various kinds of sensations” in his skin, such as: sensation of itching, scratching, tickling, burning, pricks, etc (hallucinations of touch). The patient believes that both with this and with all subsequent methods, the tokist, who at the given moment is in a mysterious connection with him, must evoke in himself, by means of one method or another, a certain sensation (imagination, feeling, etc.) in order to convey the latter to him, Perevalov; to do this, the tokist allegedly scratches himself with a pin, burns his hands and face with a burning match or the fire of a cigarette, etc.

c) The “artificial evoking of various kinds of feelings” in him by tokists, such as: feelings of malaise, reluctance to work, voluptuousness, anger, “unreasonable fears”, etc.

d) “Artificial induction of unpleasant taste and olfactory sensations” in him. For example, they take a substance with a nasty taste into mouth, the tokist acting at that moment makes Perevalov feel the sensation of this taste; sniffing from a bottle filled with rotten urine, or bringing feces captured on a finger to their nose, tokists make Perevalov suffer from stench, etc. (hallucinations of taste and smell).

e) Tokists, as Perevalov says, fabricate thoughts for him, that is, they artificially (by means understandable from the foregoing) introduce various kinds of ideas into his head, mainly of an obsessively painful nature (violent thinking).

f) Tokists force Perevalov himself to “mentally speak”, even at a time when he is using all his efforts to refrain from such “internal speaking”; at the same time, tokists intensely innervate their tongues, pronouncing a mentally defined phrase (most often tendentious) and “transfer” this motor innervation to Perevalov; then the latter not only realizes that a thought has been artificially “imposed” on him in a sharply defined verbal form, but must also use conscious efforts to suppress the forcible motor innervation of the organ of speech and not say aloud that he is “forced to speak by tokists” .

g) Further, the tokists, as the patient puts it, forcibly set his imagination in motion, and make him see not with the external organ of vision, but “mentally”, various kinds of images, almost always very lively and brightly colored. These images are equally visible both with closed and open eyes. The patient himself knows perfectly well that these are nothing but vivid products of the involuntary activity of his imagination; but since these images (I actually call them pseudo-hallucinations of vision) are for the most part disgusting and painful for Perevalov, since they appear and remain before his spiritual eyes not only independently of his will, but even in defiance of it, so that in spite of all In his efforts he is unable to get rid of them, the patient is convinced that this phenomenon is artificial. He explains the matter to himself as follows: in order to increase his torment, the Tokists deliberately irritate their imagination by artificial means and evoke certain, very vivid visual images in themselves in order to transfer them to him.

Finally, h) in addition to “direct speaking”, the tokists arrange for Perevalov to “speak via the current”; it means that the patient must internally (and not with his ears, as in “direct speaking”) hear what the tokists want to make him hear, even if at this moment it was completely undesirable for him to think about the corresponding things; quite often, at the same time, Perevalov hears an internal repetition of words that he had actually heard from doctors before, or words that had long ago been uttered in his presence by one of the people around him (this internal hearing is actually a pseudo-hallucination by hearing).

“Tokistic exercises” on Perevalov have been conducted continuously since 1876. Until 1878, there was no “direct speaking” (that is, real hallucinations of hearing), because “back then the tokists were ordered to conduct the exercise in silence.”

At first, this operation was dominated by the following method: tokists, by various methods, caused “natural fright” in one of their own, specially designated for this function; of course, the fright was instantly communicated to Perevalov, who at that moment was brought into a “tokistic connection” with this specialist. Doctors, hospital servants, surrounding patients are not seen by Perevalov as persecutors; but the power of physicians is not sufficient to prevent toxic exercises. The latter are currently being conducted constantly, without interruption even at night.

At night, if Perevalov sleeps incompletely, then the tokists continue to act with all the above methods used by them during the day, by the way, even “direct speaking”, because in a state of incomplete sleep, Perevalov, according to his explanations, can hear with his ears all the sounds heard around him, and therefore, he also hears phrases directly pronounced by tokists. If Perevalov falls asleep very soundly, then the tokists act in all the previous ways, with the exception of “direct speaking”, in particular they like to “make voluptuous dreams”, “arrange wet dreams”, etc. In order to show the very course of the tokistic exercises on Perevalov, I am making an extract from his diary, which is distinguished by accuracy, but at the same time by laconicism. But since this diary is replete with peculiar technical terms, completely incomprehensible without acquaintance with the language of the patient, I add my comments and explanations in square brackets and, moreover, I do this on the basis of detailed and accurate questions from the patient regarding this or that act of “exercises” that took place in given days; parentheses belong to the patient himself.

“December 11, 1881 … On the nights of December 9, 10 and 11 — talking [halluc. hearing] with incessant imaginations [vis. Pseudo-gall.], staying up until midnight and waking up early in the morning, which is why they [Tokists] sleep during the day and after dinner, which I should already follow. During the day — not letting me, as before, engage in French and German exercises, provocations [hearing, hallucinations], obscenity [partly simple obsessive ideas, partly haunting pseudo-hallucinations of vision], itching, needle stabs [hallucinations or illusions of skin feeling], as well as induced feeling of indifference. During all the days of the duty of the upper tokist (on the second floor), a reminding, by thinking and speaking directly, how I stood the day before in front of Duke… [head doctor of the hospital] with an interpretation [again, both hallucinations and pseudo-hallucas. rumor] that he himself, the tokist, was standing like that at that moment and that all this was done for the civilian (that would be O., a member of the board of the Obukhov plant), who was then passing with Dr. Duke. Before going to sleep — transmitted imagination of a penis by a tokist placed behind the fence [sees, pseudo-halluc.].”

“12 December. All night — half asleep, direct speaking with imaginations [pseudo-halluc. vision], forcing my speaking in a dream [the violent innervation of the central apparatus of speech, not being suppressed by a half-asleep patient, actually makes the vocal apparatus work: Perevalov, according to the testimony of his neighbors in the beds, often really speaks in a dream]. Awakened around 3 am; after that — continuation of pestering, together with speaking [various kinds of pseudo-halluc., together with halluc. hearing]. Internal hearing [pseudo-halluc. hearing], which is why the other tokist (located below me, on the lower floor) is frightened and then, when the third tokist adds to this the thinking of killing and fighting [violent thinking], he becomes irritated with the latter, after which mutual swearing begins between them: “idiot!”… “commoner!”… [auditory hallucinations].

This was followed by insolence addressed to me, obscene things, while talking non-stop [halluc.] from behind the fence of the hospital, etc. adding to this the same content of phrases from the tokist and the tokist from the wing where the housekeeper lives, with the intention to make me laugh by paraphrasing before what happened and comic presentation of events (“won a cigar”). In the morning — swearing at me. During tea, the tokists mutually tease each other (jealousy because of the seamstresses who came here for some time) [the patient mistook students from women’s medical courses for seamstresses, who sometimes came to look at the patients].

Before lunch — jokes and witticisms [partly just violent thinking, partly pseudo-halluses. rumor] of that tokist who is convinced that he benefits me by putting me in a cheerful mood. During dinner, the stench of excrement (this is produced by an idiot placed in the carpentry, he smells excrement from a bottle or from a piece of paper at this time) [halluc. smelling] and thinking about it [obsessive ideas]. During the German language classes, from the street — insinuations, joking [rumour, hallucination], distracting, tokist upstairs — irritating, tokists from the housekeeper’s wing — helping…

Further, they began to play with my feelings (flattering them and implying that their exercises will soon be rewarded), then — their mutual arguments, which I was mentally forced to follow. In the evening, when I was writing a note to my brother asking him to make some purchases for me, the tokist in the upper section insisted on Laferme tobacco, and the tokist from the wing insisted on cigars and Reif’s dictionary [sic]; from this, the nervous idiot downstairs is thrilled with the foreseeing of some kind of their luck. When I enter this into a notebook, another idiot from the same place whispers in a buffoonish tone: “Here’s the Reif’s dictionary for you!”. Then, when I began to read Margot’s French textbook, the speaking began during reading, which turned into pestering me with provocative thinking that “although there is no benefit to me (in the sense of treating me) from them, however, they will still be continue …” When I went to bed, they arranged voluptuous thoughts for me, and they produced an image before my eyes of the female genital organs.

I hope this was an insightful read.

If we look carefully, we can see that Perevalov doesn’t just experience a set of sensations and events instantly recognizable by most of TIs. He also makes the same mistakes modern TIs do.

For example, he believes that tokists use some sort of syncronization with him and burn themselves with cigarettes to cause the same sensation in him. Why does he have this idea? Surely he was trying to figure out how they do it, and either assumed this or was told it by tokists themselves. Still, having no evidence, he is assured in methods of tokists.

Is it so different from today’s experience? We assume it’s modern tech, but did we ever had it hands-on? If so, then how Perevalov was experiencing the same before developments and discoveries needed?

In that sense, we didn’t go far from Perevalov, and have to be careful in our conclusions, not to let our assumptions to become our truth too easily.

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Objective TI Research (OTIR)

OTIR (Objective Targeted Individuals Research) is a group founded to conduct research of gangstalking and other aspects Targeted Individual phenomenon