One of the strangest recent tales of amnesia is the story of Michael Boatwright. On February 28, 2013, the 61-year-old was found unconscious in a Motel 6 in Palm Springs, California. When he awoke in an emergency room, the American—who had a driver’s license in his own name—spoke only Swedish and claimed his name was Johan Ek. Not only had he forgotten his native language, but he no longer recognized his own face. Boatwright’s sister later emerged, claiming her brother was a “wanderer” and saying that she hadn’t seen him in a decade. Other than his memory loss, Boatwright is in good health.
Diagnosed with “transitive global amnesia,” doctors believe that Boatwright suffered some kind of psychological trauma. Others believe he might be faking in an attempt to escape some element of his past—however, this seems unlikely, as the case has only put him under intense public scrutiny. The true story of Michael Boatwright may never be uncovered.