Runaway explanations

Jennifer Wilbanks

Case of the fugue?

We were all puzzled about the case of the "Runaway Bride" that was covered so exhaustively, and exhaustingly, in the media a few weeks ago. Probably few were surprised to learn that she has since turned her time in the limelight into a book and TV interview deal. Probably fewer still were surprised at the conclusion in the recently-released FBI report that she ran away because she feared she could not be the perfect wife.

However, I received an email note the other day from a researcher in Georgia who has another idea of why Wilbanks ran away. The author says that "a conflict of physiology that may be the true cause" and pointed me to a page on their website, VisionAndPsychosis.Net, that suggests Wilbanks' disappearance may be a case of dissociative fugue.

Having never heard of dissociative fugue, I did what any curious person would do, I Googled it. Somewhat to my surprise, the description of dissociative fugue found in the Merck Manual has a lot of elements that do seem to map onto Wilbank's experience.

This is not an endorsement, by any means, and having roundly criticized Senator Doctor Fritz for making a diagnosis by videotape, I would not presume to make any claims about Jennifer Wilbanks. But it is a provocative idea that her story may be something more than an unusually bizarre case of cold feet.