Stockholm syndrome describes the brainwashing of captives to the point that on release they are sympathetic toward their abductors, displaying their empathy by adopting a Scandinavian accent and insisting on visiting Ikea. As the name suggests, the syndrome was first identified following a bank robbery in Sweden, where the released victims complained about police treatment of their captors in a strangely modulating pitch, using words that they appeared to be making up as they went along. However, as the captives had all been born in Sweden, their mental anguish was manifested as increased Swedish-ness which, in the case of three of them, involved the consumption of industrial quantities of Akavit, which eventually caused their livers to explode, raining entrails across the Strömsholm Palace, where they had been staging a naked protest.
It was still unclear whether Stockholm syndrome was a purely Swedish condition until Sara Agnethasdottir and her brother Benny were abducted from their parents in Oslo in 1987. On their release, Benny was so disgusted with the Norwegian-ness of his parents that he began construction of a wooden long-ship, on which he carved the head of a dragon before later immolating himself, his war horse, and several household servants. Tragically, Sara was murdered by her father, who admitted to being “disgusted at the ridiculous noises that emerged every time she spoke. But most of all it was the ludicrous satin flares she wore and the never ending songs about Waterloo."
Sadly, though kidnapping is not common in developed nations, it is still a major threat in Somalia, Colombia, Pakistan, and Detroit. Stockholm syndrome has been observed in cultures across the planet, with the degree of Swedishness exhibited by victims varying from place to place, often with tragic results. Despite some psychologists claiming that Stockholm syndrome is an invention an examination of famous historical kidnappings demonstrates that freed abductees have been channeling their inner Swede for centuries.
1974: Patty Hearst
The most famous victim of Stockholm syndrome was American heiress Patty Hearst, granddaughter of publisher William Randolph Hearst. The elder Hearst was the inspiration for Citizen Kane, Orson Welles's Oscar-winning movie about a south London actor who “only wanted to blow the bloody door off” his stagecoach when faced with a troop of “zulus — thousands of ‘em.”
Hearst and her boyfriend were abducted from their Berkeley apartment in 1974 by the SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army). Little is known about her treatment while in captivity, but Hearst later wrote to the LA Times committing herself to her captors' cause, and was filmed robbing San Francisco's Hibernia Bank dressed in firs and a horned helmet while wielding a mighty battle-axe. In later days, she issued a press statement committing herself to “fur-ter acts of violence tills the aims of dem Symbionese Liberation Army have been met, don'cha'know.” The SLA initially offered to swap Hearst for imprisoned members and, when this was refused, demanded $70 million to be distributed to California's undeserving poor — another demand that could not be met, as it was discovered that most of them actually deserved to be poor. Despite these set-backs, Hearst’s father provided $6 million directly to the SLA. But Symbionia remains un-liberated to this day, and is likely to continue being so until it ceases being a fictitious country, discovers oil, and is invaded by the United States.
By September 1975, Patty Hearst had moved across state to show her “empat-y wit' the world’s oppressed urban slum-dwellers, you-betcha,” by taking an apartment in Sacramento, where she was eventually arrested by the FBI dressed as Ingrid Bergman. In her autobiography, she claimed that the federal authorities would never have found her had she not developed an allergy to fake beards that forced her to abandon her previous Bjorn Borg and Alfred Nobel disguises.
At her trial, the evidence of acclaimed Hungarian psychologist Torkfor Kash, along with her father’s estimated $250 million trust fund, was enough to see her exonerated for her actions. Trial judge Peter Grosmann said, “Miss Hearst should be free to enjoy her fortune, as should I,” before retiring to a Caribbean island he had “recently won in a poker game.”
In later life, Hearst had a minor career as a movie actress, specialising in roles in black-and-white movies that required her to stare moodily over bleak seascapes, play chess with the Devil, and confront her inner despair while eating candle-lit dinners with her dead mother.
1932: Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr.
On the evening of March 1, 1932, the most famous kidnapping in United States history was perpetrated. (Shock waves echoed across the globe, but these were a result of a simultaneous sub-marine earthquake off the coast of Nova Scotia.) At only twenty months old, Charles Lindbergh Jr. became the youngest known victim of Stockholm syndrome and was last spotted being carried in a papoose on the back of a 6'3" bearded blond man in sandals. Witnesses claimed the man appeared to be navigating by the stars with the use of a moonstone carved with mystic runes while eating a tofu-burger. The final sightings place the baby still in the company of the tall blond man, as the latter escaped by Volvo and headed west into the setting sun, singing songs about gold and social democracy.
The body of a baby was found in May that year and initially identified as Lindbergh Jr. After being repeatedly grilled by police, British nanny Violet Sharp was found guilty and ritually executed by the “Blood Eagle”, although doubts remained about the veracity of the evidence against her. To make matters worse, Lindbergh insisted on a cremation before an autopsy could be carried out. The autopsy carried out after cremation suggested that the baby had burned to death rather than having been strangled as Sharp's confession had suggested. Some months later, a witness confirmed Violet Sharp's alibi and she was posthumously exonerated, allowing her soul to pass across the bridge of swords, into Valhalla where she has surely since been feasting on wild-boar and drinking mead from the udders of the goat Heiðrúnand.
Many have speculated on what would have happened to Charles Lindbergh Jr. if the body (as is now strongly suspected) was that of an Anglo-Saxon child, taken during a raid on Jarrow and exposed in the forest as a gift to Odin. Though no conclusive evidence has ever been found that the baby survived, the body of an eighty-year-old man was found, having apparently hanged himself from an Ygdrassil tree in Cadwalader Park, Trenton, New Jersey in 2012. A Discovery Channel investigation broadcast on January 5th, 2013 and later repeated January 7th, 9th, 11th, and twice daily ever since (except Shark Week) identified the man as Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jnr. though the evidence was circumstantial at nest: he was said to have a distinct likeness to Lindbergh Sr. and to have lived locally as Karl Lyndbergssohn, former owner of the Trenton smörgåstårta restaurant.
Police investigation showed that Lyndbergssohn had been a meatball cook in a flat-pack furniture store, had enjoyed some success as an author of feminist literature, and was a keen member of the Mercer County naturist association where he looked after the saunas. An autopsy confirmed that he had consumed over a litre-and-a-half of mead from a drinking-horn prior to his suicide, and that the body was richly decorated with gold looted from poorly defended religious establishments on the east coast of England.
1448: Vlad Tepes
Vlad Tepes (later Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia) was born in 1431 in Sighișoara, a town in what is now Romania. In modern times, he has come to be known by his patronym, Dracul, and unfairly labelled a vampire despite only being able to transmogrify into bats and wolves as a youth and evidence that he gave up blood-drinking each Lent. Romanian scholars now routinely de-bunk the notion that he was a villainous monster as Hollywood nonsense, pointing out that he was fond of garlic bread, and filled his castles with mirrors so he could watch himself de-flowering local virgins prior to murdering them and having their hides made into curtains.
Few people outside the Balkans now know the tragic story of Vlad's early years, when he was taken hostage from his father (Prince of Moldavia) by Murad II, Ottoman sultan. He and his brother were kept hostage at court and educated in the traditional Turkish manner, focussing on the interpretation of the Koran, political corruption, and advanced pederasty. When he returned to rule Wallachia in the late 1440s, Vlad was initially sympathetic to his Ottoman captors, and mystified his fellow countrymen by insisting on his warriors dyeing their long hair blond, plaiting it into braids, and pushing small melons into their yellow and blue boob tubes.
Traditional sources claim that the army were prepared to accept this new but unusual form of armour, but rebelled when rations were limited to raw fish, Gravlax, and blood pudding. In order to placate his angry retainers, Vlad was forced to raid Ottoman territory, looting monasteries, raping nuns, and feeding the bodies of the vanquished to his pet ravens.
Eventually, his depredations of Hungary and the sheer number of Janissary corpses impaled along the highways of Southern Europe began to generate the Dracula myth we are familiar with today. However, even Ottoman sources agree that Vlad’s hordes contented themselves with raping, pillaging, and setting out on journeys of discovery across the Atlantic Ocean rather than biting necks in the hope of adding his enemies to his undead horde.
After many years of triumph, Vlad's army was finally cornered by Mehmed IV following defeat at the Battle of Klutz. King Vlad was initially unable to flee across the Danube by day for fear of catching sight of his reflection in running water, but escaped his captors as a cloud of smoke. But without the support of his army, he was soon overthrown by his own people, when popular discontent grew due to high crucifix taxation and compulsory suicide for all men over 45 and all women below 34D.