Marilynn was watching television with her husband. Her eye caught some movement in the corner of the room. She screamed, “Harold, a bunch of little people running all over the bedroom!” Harold was used to Marilynn’s hallucinations; she had several a day, usually little people. Harold was used to hearing about Marilynn’s hallucinations; she had several a day, usually little people. He understood her diagnosis of dementia was because of Lewy Bodies’ disease and it caused hallucinations but he had trouble living with it.

Exasperated he said, “Oh, for God’s sake Marilynn I’ve told you a thousand times they don’t exist. There are no little people!”

Marilynn began to cry as glancing towards the bedroom she sees sinister little eyes peeking at her from behind the half-closed door. Harold tries to reassure her more gently this time. But she can see them clearly, he can’t. One of the little people leave the room and boldly stand in front of him.

“Look at that! He’s right in front of you!”.

“Honey, they don’t’ exist,” he replies.

But Marilynn knows something is very wrong.

Surprised, she yells, “They’re now running into the kitchen!” She noticed Harold’s exasperated expression as he tells her again there are no little people, they don’t exist, she’s just imagining them.

A pit of fear grows in her stomach as the panic mounts. Now more little people are climbing out of the television screen and joining others who are coming out of the closet. They are all smiling wickedly. She covers her eyes with her hands and begins to cry.

Actually, I used to care for Marilyn on weekends and this is a true story. She had a lot of issues with little people and it was difficult to get her to go in the bathroom where she claimed most of them lived. I’d have to go in first and begin to herd them towards the door saying “Ok you little creeps, get out now!” Then I’d ask Marilyn if they were all gone. Sometimes she’d point behind the toilet and I’d have to herd that one too. Then she would finally feel safe enough to go into the bathroom.

Her husband’s continual denial of what she thought was real made her feel unsafe and the anxiety seemed to increase the little people population. Entering into her world to solve the problem of the little people infestation helped calm her down and often they stayed gone for days.


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