Sunday, July 10, 2016

Ghost Kills Girl: Real-Life Horror

Not many people know it, but I am a survivor of a real-life horror story, chronicled in a website I recently created, marthacorey-ochoa.com.

In 2008, when she was fourteen, my brilliant and beautiful daughter, Martha Corey-Ochoa, read in a book about an eighteenth-century Russian prince named Aleksei Petrovich Romanov, who was tortured to death by his father, Tsar Peter the Great. (Aleksei really existed, you can look him up here.) Martha fell in love with Aleksei, despite the three-century gap in their ages, and believed that he loved her back. She considered herself his wife and widow, and often wore black in mourning. She put a toy plastic silver ring on her finger as her wedding ring.



Martha experienced heights of ecstasy in her love affair with Aleksei, and suicidal depths of depression at his absence. She physically felt his touch. Her marriage to him separated her from her friends and kept her from pursuing romances with living boys. She kept her love a secret from my wife and me until June 3, 2009, when she told us about him. I had her see a psychiatrist, who diagnosed her with an unspecified mood disorder with psychotic features that was probably bipolar disorder. From then on she was under psychiatric treatment, including psychotropic drugs and psychotherapy.

In 2010, Martha was torn between her love of Aleksei and her desire for a living boy, Yihan, and attempted suicide by drinking laundry detergent. She survived, but fell into a deep depression. She believed herself to have been unfaithful to Aleksei and to have lost him as a result. She considered suicide again in 2011, and spent a month in a mental hospital. Finally, on August 27, 2012, at the age of eighteen, she committed suicide by throwing herself out the fourteenth-story window of her dorm room on her first night at Columbia University. Her death made international news, even reaching the London press.

I will never know exactly why Martha killed herself, but I believe that Aleksei played a role. If what she said was true, then the ghost of this Russian prince was a deformed destructive being (a DDB), deformed positionally (because he still lived even though he was dead), destructive in the effects he had on her. If he was only a delusion caused by mental illness, then Martha herself was the DDB, deformed psychologically in such a way that she destroyed herself.

Martha enjoyed the movie Bram Stoker's Dracula, because it bore such similarities to her own life: eastern European undead prince has love affair with living girl that leaves her forever marked. She was also partial to Twilight and its sequels, again because of the love affair between the undead male and the living female.

The only difference between Martha's horror story and the ones I've seen in movies is that the effect on me was not horror, but grief. I lost my only child to this monster. Still, she lives on in my memories, and to honor her, I created a website of her writings--poems, essays, journals, fiction--most of which focus on or are inspired by her marriage to Aleksei. I encourage you to visit the site: marthacorey-ochoa.com.

George Ochoa



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