Home / Facts / ‘Ghost Boy’ Was Trapped in His Body For 12 Years Until a Woman Notices Something that Changed Everything

‘Ghost Boy’ Was Trapped in His Body For 12 Years Until a Woman Notices Something that Changed Everything

By Andrew Alpin, 20 March

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How would you feel if you were confined within your own body, with your brain left functioning but without any means of communication? How do you stay emotionally healthy and mentally sane when everyone you care about isn’t even aware that you are conscious of them? Being confined to your own body while conscious of your thoughts and feelings but unable to express them or move is the stuff of nightmares. For more than a decade, Martin Pistorius lived with this reality. Martin even wrote a book titled the ‘Ghost Boy,’ which explains what he went through when he, unfortunately, fell into a vegetative state where he was conscious of everything but had lost all control over his body.

Martin had a normal upbringing until he turned 12

Martin Pistorius was raised in a normal household in South Africa. When Martin Pistorius was a kid in the 1980s, he was more interested in electronics like resistors and transistors. But his luck took a turn for the worse when he was just 12 years old.

Martin had a normal upbringing until he turned 12

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He suddenly fell ill, and the doctors couldn’t figure out why

Something unexpected happened, which caused him to get sick, and suddenly lose the ability to walk on his own. Soon after that, he fell into an unconscious vegetative state. Doctors, at first, couldn’t figure out what was wrong, he had no significant brain activity, and they told his parents that he would most likely never wake up. Finally, however, their best guess was that cryptococcal meningitis caused his condition.

He suddenly fell ill, and the doctors couldn’t figure out why

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Martin’s condition began worsening over time

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As time went on, Martin got progressively worse. He lost his ability to walk on his own, to make eye contact, and to speak. Finally, his parents, Rodney and Joan Pistorius, were told that he was as good as “a vegetable” and that he wasn’t there anymore. The hospital told them to take him home and care for him until he passed away.

Martin’s condition began worsening over time

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