“ON THE EVE OF THE GREAT WAR”

Shortly after the Musikverein Golden Hall’s incident, Freud said during the Wednesday meeting of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society that lately he had the impression of being followed. Otto Rank expressed his fear that the Master was becoming paranoid. But, on behalf of the Society, he took it upon himself to check it. And it turned out that Freud was right: a patrol of hussars in their colorful uniform and on horseback followed him wherever he went. They even performed the ceremonial relief every three hours. This confirmed Freud’s suspicions that psychoanalysis was now in the government’s spotlight. His disciples were in charge of safeguarding all the case histories of patients analyzed by Freud in the last decade. Taking advantage of the ceremonial relief of the patrol of hussars, they managed to sneak all the files out and bury them in the Schöpfl forest, where they remained hidden until, in the middle of the 20th century, a poisonous mushroom picker found them by chance and sold them, along with the mushrooms, to an Italian psychopath (the man did not appreciate the difference between “psychopath” and “psychoanalyst”) who in turn resold them to an American psychoanalyst named Alfred Gurtitz, who dedicated the rest of his life to study and classify the documents. (Thanks to him we know the vicissitudes of the origins of Psychoanalysis, as well as the most important cases treated by its pioneers). It was the eve of the Great War, and Vienna was a hotbed of spies. The famous Mata Hari was one of them. Her art as an exotic dancer dazzled Freud and inspired the disproportionate importance he would place on the Libido. Under the pretext of acquainting himself with this subject, he became her lover. For her part, she managed to worm everything he knew about the Id, the Ego and the Super-Ego, which latter would ease the “Operation Michael” of the German Spring Offensives against the Allied troops.


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