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The starting point of the exhibition "Case No. 18. James Tilly Matthews" is the medical history, written down by doctor John Haslam in 1810, of a patient named James Tilly Matthews, treated by Royal Bethlem Psychiatric Hospital in London. The patient was convinced of being mind-controlled, just like other politicians, by a machine named Air Loom, created and operated by secret government agents. It is the first documented case of paranoid schizophrenia* of a patient who believed modern technology manipulated his mind. Matthews can, therefore, be considered a patient zero. The book by Haslam also includes detailed drawings by Matthews of the machine alongside his descriptions of its working mechanisms.

In the following centuries, in parallel with technological development, the miscomprehensions of patients with this disease have changed. For example, the fear of surveillance has taken new forms after the advancement of radio communications, the development of cameras, and the introduction of GPS. Surprisingly, many cases of untreated schizophrenia have similarities with beliefs in conspiracy theories, also driven by the implementation and fear of new technology. Suspicions of 5G mobile networks or chemtrail conspiracy theories are some examples of this. Another aspect that makes Matthews' case intriguing is his background in politics, and according to one (conspiracy) theory, he was committed to a psychiatric hospital to silence him.

* In the book James Tilly Matthews was described as insane and maniac. The discovery of schizophrenia is attributed to Emil Kraepelin in 1800s and the term was first used by Eugen Bleuler in 1908.