Donald Campbell, the man who couldn’t stop talking

In 1933, Donald Campbell, a truck driver, fell from his truck and hit his head. A year later he developed a bizarre condition. He started talking incessantly, non-stop. His talking was so compulsive that he couldn't even sleep. His talking was perfectly rational. He answered questions clearly. But he couldn't stop.

Doctors attributed his condition to encephalitis, or brain swelling. After about a month his non-stop talking subsided, and doctors thought he had recovered. But within four months he was dead. Strangely, the cause of his death was cancer and seemed to be unrelated to his non-stop talking.

Pottsville Evening Herald - Aug 17, 1934

Pittsburgh Press - Sep 5, 1934

Cincinnati Enquirer - Jan 6, 1935

Update — A newspaper recorded an example of some of Campbell's rambling monologue:

Cigarets should never be taxed in Ohio. When I was a boy, Joe and I used to go swimming in Willow Creek together. Now he thinks cigarets should be taxed. Sometimes I believe that Joe doesn't realize how hard it is to be a truck driver in Columbus. But I am not getting any better. The radio seemed nice last night although truck driving wasn't mentioned. We will take the whole thing up when we get home, but I'm not getting any better, do you think?
     Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 07, 2021
     Category: Health | Mental Health and Insanity | 1930s

WU-vies might be interested in my piece of free-to-read flash fiction on this very theme!
"Let All Sing Like the Birdies Sing"
Posted by Paul on 01/07/21 at 12:31 PM
Thanks, Paul! Great story! Real life imitates art.
Posted by Alex on 01/07/21 at 01:25 PM
And they say that women are the talkative ones.
Posted by Yudith on 01/09/21 at 10:29 AM
Neat story! I love it when an sf story is somehow prophetic!

Also, thanks for turning me on to that site.
Posted by Phideaux on 01/11/21 at 06:51 PM
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