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Nana Osei Quarshie, “Archives of False Prophets: Inventing the Future in a West African Psychiatric Hospital”: How do the clinically delusional strive to reinvent their world as they speak? Scholars of psychiatry have long theorized that delusions are medical symptoms, but ones uniquely shaped by contemporaneous political and social circumstances. However, delusional speech is not simply a reflection of the world; it is often an attempt to mold future action. This chapter presents a case that highlights the inventive potential of delusional speech. It examines a petition letter in which Akla-Osu, an inpatient at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital from 1969 to 1976, requested financial support from his doctors based on his alleged status as Ghana’s “SUPERLANDLORD” and “GOLDMANGOD.” Akla-Osu was a failed truth-maker, who spoke and acted as a truth-teller, a prophet. Delusional utterances in African psychiatric hospitals constitute the archives of false prophets: troves of hauntings, unrealized callings, failed and unintelligible representations. They are also starting points for new African intellectual histories.

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