Madness at Midnight


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165 in stock


By Bianca Benjamin


ISBN: 978-1-904697-12-1
Published: 2005
Pages: 48
Key Themes: schizophrenia, depression, the occult, old age, autobiography


This is the story of an actual encounter with deep, dark and largely unexplained forces. Not a nice comfortable story with a happy ending but rather a raw, emotional journey littered with the sort of trials and challenges most of us will be fortunate enough never to have to face. Bianca is a schizophrenic, she has spent much of her life in hospital, battling her illness. This is her unique story.

About the Author

Bianca Benjamin’s first mental breakdown was in her early fifties, her subsequent psychosis left her isolated from her family. She became a figure of humiliation and embarrassment amongst her friends and eventually ended up sectioned in a North London hospital under the Mental Health Cct. She was diagnosed as schizophrenic and has spent the rest of her life battling not just her mental illness but also the prejudices and ignorance of friends and family. As she herself says; “No psychiatrist ever made a jot of difference to my mental recovery. The only thing that has helped me has been the love and support I have received from other mentally ill people and sympathetic friends.

Book Extract

In 1981 I joined the Rosicrucian Order based in California. They sent out monthly monographs which I read and studied avidly as did Leon. They were essentially metaphysical teachings showing how to open the psychic centres. I practised the exercises and in 1982 I had my first out of body experience. I awoke and felt as if I was having a heart attack. My astral or dreaming body was struggling to get out of the physical and managed to do this. My astral body reached the door of my room, opened it, and there was the ghostly body of a little child on the other side. I was so afraid I slammed straight back into my body on the bed. From then on astral projection became an habitual occurrence in my life. I also taught myself how to read the tarot and became very immersed in the archetypal images of this great mystery.

However I was depressed. I put this down to the fact that I had no money. I had tried to go back to teaching Economics and accepted a post at Barnet College. However when faced with the students and the blackboard my knowledge dried up and I found I could not remember my economics. The students liked me but I had to leave, that part of my life was over. I had taught Economics for twenty years very successfully both in Sierra Leone and in London. This was now over.

When I reached home Adrian had decorated my room and all was harmonious. Leon brought me magic mushrooms – the first time I had taken mind expanding drugs. I played Oxygene and Gregorian chant on tape while I tripped. The trip was incredible. I saw God as an everlasting truth infinitely revealed and I saw him as a dealer of cards.

In November 1982 I had an anaphylactic shock, a combination of pain killers and alcohol. The painkillers were subsequently withdrawn from the market. I was in a lot of pain and decided to go to Newcastle to visit Muriel Hedman my Rosicrucian friend. She proved a great source of comfort and inspiration to me and by the sea I experienced a healing process. Muriel and I visited one another on a fairly regular basis for a few years and our friendship lasted until I became chronically mentally ill when it ceased. I had a few friends visiting at “Prescott” though I had already embarked on what was to become an increasingly solitary path. My creativity had been activated in Montreal 1980/81 and I did most of my writing in this period not all of it metaphysical. I did start a text book in “A” level economics which I never finished.

That which I dreaded came upon me and in July 1983 I had to sell “Prescott”. I gave Adrian a deposit for a beautiful two bedroom flat in Bounds Green. Chantal obtained a reasonable council flat in Arnos Grove and Leon and I had a department of transport flat at Pymmes Close right on the north circular.

There was great sorrow all round at leaving our home. Kerry and Sarah were particularly inconsolable. But I could no longer afford a four bedroom, three reception houses which needed a lot of work. It had been magical while it lasted despite confrontations and conflicts. But now Leon, Kerry and I took up residence at No 1 Pymmes Close. We all settled down quite amicably despite the tremendous noise from the north circular.

I visited the College of Psychic Studies in Kensington at fairly regular intervals to glean some insight into my personal predicament of depression. I was told repeatedly that I had a good future. I had also consulted Mir Basir a quite well known palmist in 1981 and I named his tape Life Line. He predicted a golden future for me including a third husband, a life in the artistic world and a prestigious position in a voluntary metaphysical organisation. He told me I’d have a lot of money in my own right and publish successful books. I often played his tape when I was feeling down. I subsequently destroyed it when I became mentally ill, but that is another story.

Leon and I had become especially close for we were both on the path together. Leon filled me in on scientific mode of esoteric knowledge, and I would feed him knowledge on the work I was doing which was largely ontological and epistemological. I was fired into writing. Much of it was in the theory of vampirism but there was much else on alchemy catalysts and peak experiences.

Pymmes Close was a hive of discussion and an experiment on omenology. I watched moths and birds and the skies and read into them for what was to be and what was occurring underneath the obvious. One day a deaths head moth materialised in the kitchen and we all knew a crisis was ahead. Moths materialised in the maisonette in the middle of winter and Carlos Castaneda had stated that knowledge was a moth. I had a friend Ann Cummer Price who had read “Tales of Power” and rang me to say she knew precisely what the moth meant. I wasn’t to know but she was having a psychotic experience which I interpreted as a mind expansion. For suddenly she knew everything. Why things were arranged on a table in a particular way, why we thought as we did. And I marvelled at her experiences not realising she was ill. She recovered but went into depression which was hard to bear. She eventually recovered and denied all her experiences in an altered state. Ten years later she again had a psychosis and saw space beings and colour therapy and reincarnation. But again she recovered and denied her experiences. Though this time she did not become depressed. She now lives a full and meaningful life with her husband.

I was very creative at Pymmes Close. I wrote an article “Black or white- the half caste’s dilemma”. This was originally written for a proposed magazine called Synergy which Bill Webb was initiating. He rejected the article as being too cold and intellectual. I subsequently showed the article to an Oxford don who said it was too emotional.

Anyhow I wrote a lot mostly along on ontology and epistemology. I also began a book called “The Race Odyssey” which described interracial dynamics in this epoch. I was trying to get an inquiry into half castes and their dilemma launched and applied to the G.L.C for funding. Paul Boateng dismissed my work but Peter Pitt liked it and only needed his racial inspector’s approval to launch it. Unfortunately she classed my work as racist and nothing came of the project. It was a very disappointing time especially as I’d launched so much energy into the work. After my first psychosis I tried to get “The Race Odyssey” published but received six rejections and thereafter became too ill to peruse publication.

Leon and I became very close and shared much together. Unfortunately Leon had me on a pedestal which was to prove disastrous when I became both actually and chronically ill. However we enjoyed one another’s ideas and inputs. Kerry at this time was very much in the background. She was depressed and feared that Leon did not love her as much as she did him. I encouraged her to develop, taking her to the College of Psychic Studies where I went quite often. I must admit that I no longer have faith in psychics – they all promised me a splendid future which never materialised. Kerry didn’t find them useful either and in the long run neither did Leon.

4 reviews for Madness at Midnight

  1. William Harvey (verified owner)

    Bianca Benjamin’s autobiography tells of terrific suffering. Most of us can only imagine fighting for your family as well as fighting mental illnesses. Her story is an amazing read!

  2. Brian May (verified owner)

    This book is moving indeed. The author deals with madness in a very particular way, which allows a great category of readers to easily understand the subject. I would recommend this book to the greatest number of people.

  3. Steven Michaels (verified owner)

    Bianca fights against mental illnesses: depression and schizophrenia, but this is not her only battle; she has to fight with family and friends in a bid to make them understand what is happening to her. As society does toward mental health sufferers humiliating them, her relatives acted in the same way. However always keeping hope she ends her book on an happy end!

  4. Donald Neville (verified owner)

    Bianca Benjamin writes her first mental breakdown. Schizophrenic, she had to fight all her life against prejudices and ignorance of her friends and family, and so underlines the importance of a good circle for the way to healing.

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