CASE STUDY: Martina Gomez
KNOWN ILLNESSES: Depression, Paranoia, Insomnia, Panic Attacks


Our team met with 25-year-old Martina Gomez on the morning of October 1, 2009, at the insistence of her mother. Mrs. Gomez reported an alarming increase in the severity and duration of her daughter’s panic attacks and paranoia, and received a referral to us from Cobalt Valley Medical Center outside of Houston.

Our team included an American Sign Language expert, as Martina Gomez lacks verbal ability due to an accident suffered on her 18th birthday. For personal reasons, Mrs. Gomez declined our offer to videotape the session.


For ease of analysis by Hagersall Center faculty, Ms. Gomez’s sign language is formatted as verbal speech.

STAFF: Tell us a bit about what happened to your throat, why you can’t speak.

MG: I was 17 years old. I used to sing. It happened not long after school let out for summer, when I was planning to go out with my girlfriends and some boys to a party at a motel a few miles away.

STAFF: The official cause listed on your medical sheet says a fall outside a motel room damaged your throat.

MG: That isn’t how it started.

STAFF: You never mentioned this to the doctors? You never wrote it out in your account of the incident.

MG: I couldn’t write it. Until now, thinking about it made my heart race and I felt like I would die. I felt like I would die, you see?

STAFF: Explain what happened, then. Take your time.

MG: It happened to my grandmother, too. She died when she was 18. My mother was an orphan as a baby. I didn’t believe it when I first read her journals, while I was recovering at home. She was murdered.

STAFF: You’ve mentioned this before, according to your history. Medical records show your grandmother suffered a massive stroke resulting from a malformed artery. She died naturally.

MG: No. You’re wrong. It doesn’t murder like you think it does. It takes what’s inside you and feeds. The same thing came to me. I saw him at the motel, standing in the dark at the end of the row of rooms. He followed me home. He followed me everywhere for weeks.

STAFF: A person did this to you?

MG: Delgado.

STAFF: Is that his name?

MG: That’s what he is. Delgado. Thin. Thin and tall, taller than anyone I’ve ever seen before. And his body was so tiny, you could put an ankle bracelet around his waist. And his face—

At this point, Ms. Gomez suffered a panic attack of such severity that even senior researchers on our team expressed concern that she would require immediate transfer to a regional medical center. Our diagnostic machines were of no help, as they recorded Ms. Gomez as lacking any blood pressure. Further transcribing was halted due to the tremor in Ms. Gomez’s hands.

STAFF: If you can, Ms. Gomez –

MG: It was nothing, you see? His tiny body, he had on a black suit and a white shirt, but it didn’t even look human. He was too thin. You looked down and couldn’t tell where his legs ended, they just faded away. And his arms, so long, almost down to the floor, just blowing back and forth like they were empty sleeves! I told my friends but they didn’t see! They said I was too nervous about partying with boys!

STAFF: How tall would you say this man was? Six feet? Seven feet?

Ms. Gomez pointed from the floor to the ceiling, a span of nine and a half feet. We asked our ASL volunteer to confirm she’d heard the question properly. Ms. Gomez again insisted the man was at least nine feet tall.

MG: Grandma’s journal, she wrote about him. He followed her for weeks. Only children can see him, only young people. He just stood there and looked at me, but he had no eyes! His face was white like paper, and his head leaned off to one side. He just kept looking at me, with his arms blowing like they were!

STAFF: Did you tell any—

Further investigation was interrupted as Ms. Gomez jumped from her chair and moved quickly to the corner of the room, where she curled into a tight ball. She let out a piercing scream, which her mother later confirmed was the first sound she’d made in 7 years. One of our junior researchers became so unnerved by the sound of her scream that he requested and received a medical leave of one week.

MG: When I went out to smoke a cigarette I walked out by the soda machine. When I looked up from lighting the cigarette, he was there! He was an inch from my face! He had no mouth but I felt his breath! I could feel those sleeves running up the backs of my legs!

Ms. Gomez began to shake, prompting our staff to restrain her.

MG: I tried to scream for my friends but nothing came out! All I could feel was the breath on me, it was so thick I could hardly breathe. It was blocking out the air from my lungs! I felt those arms grab me, and then everything went black.

STAFF: According to the police report, your friends found you an hour later in the same area, unconscious. Is that correct?

MG: Yes.

STAFF: It says here you nearly drowned on your own blood on the way to the hospital, that your larynx was crushed and required two years of major surgery.

MG: Yes

STAFF: But if this slender man kills young people, why were you left alive? You said he murders young people.

MG: The motel party. It was my birthday party. I’d turned 18 a few minutes before I went out. That cigarette was going to be my first.

At this point in our conversation, Ms. Gomez’s mother grew upset and withdrew her daughter from the study. Further access to Ms. Gomez has been blocked, leaving us no choice but to close the file on this case pending further case studies.

Roger Hagersall, Ph.D
Lead Session Director

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