USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘ypsilanti’
Legends
Narrative

The Three Christs of Ypsilanti, MI

The informant, a screenwriting major, mentioned to me he one day wants to write a screenplay involving “The Three Christs of Ypsilanti.” Ypsilanti is a city in Michigan, the informant’s home state. TP is the informant, PH is myself.

PH: What is that? Is that a legend? Could I collect it for my folklore project?

TP: You can collect it, I’m not sure if it’s folklore because I’m pretty sure it’s true

PH: How about you tell me and then I’ll decide later whether to put it in?

TP: Okay. The Three Christs of Ypsilanti. There was a really well known mental institution in Ypsilanti in the ‘50s.

In it, there were three different men who thought they were Jesus Christ and they decided to put them in a room together and see what happens.

So they spoke to each other for eight hours and at the beginning of the conversation they all got along really well but when they got into who is Christ there was an argument and by the end of it they each decided that the other two were mentally ill and they were Jesus and then they were friends after that

For a published, book-length detailed version of this legend, which was in fact a psychiatric case study, see The Three Christs of Ypsilanti by Milton Rokeach

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