Zora: Hysteria or Histamine?
A Case Study
Zora first came to me on the counsel of her father, Herr Z, for whom I had elucidated the origin of a chronic catarrh two years previous. Zora was 18 years old, engaged to be married to a man sixteen years her senior, Herr E. The poor girl was much perplexed by a symptom that presented itself with vexing regularity whenever she was in his presence: she began sneezing uncontrollably. I immediately seized on the sneezing for its sexual subtext, as explicated in my groundbreaking work with Krafft-Büggheroff––namely the similarity between losing oneself in a sneeze and losing oneself in the climactic moment of coitus. In both cases, one achieves an instant very like death: the world ends momentarily while one is in thrall to the intensity of the pleasure.
“Obviously,” I averred to Zora, “you are in love with a man other than Herr E, and quite possibly the other man’s wife, mistress or governess too.”
At which point she slapped me and started sneezing with great gusto.
And so, I thought, here it begins: the transference onto myself, her psychoanalyst, of what she feels subconsciously for the man other than Herr E. This was of singular importance, as it occurred earlier in the treatment than I’d ever experienced this phenomenon.
“Come, come, my dear,” I comforted, handing her a handkerchief, “you must tell me about the dream.”
“Of course. There’s always a dream.”
And there was. After much deliberation, Zora brought it forth. These are her words as I best remember them: “I am in a forest. I find a gray diary. On every page is printed the word OTTO in capital letters. I find a mirror. When I hold it up to the page, it reflects back OTTO, the same spelled backward as forward. I meet a man with the head of a duck.”
“Do you know any men who look like ducks?”
“No, but I know Herr Gluck.”
“Have you spent much time with Gluck?”
“He is a friend of the family. I read books to his children while he and his mistress take walks on the Blitzenstrasse. Their governess is a nervous sort, practically useless––always grabbing people and talking of ghosts, apparitions.”
“Then your dream, at least on one level, is clear.”
“The duck is Gluck.”
“You have transposed the two in your subconscious and your sneezing is a symptom of hysteria to deny the fact that you are bisexual and in love with both Herr Gluck and his mistress, and very possibly Pope Innocent XI.”
“This is too much. I cannot bear.”
“I have been in Gluck’s study. There is a painting of the pope. You are familiar with it?”
“It would be only natural, in sneezing hysteria cases such as yours, to develop a deeply buried unconscious love for a figure of religious authority. This would counteract the not as deeply buried guilt you feel over your illicit love for Herr Gluck and his mistress.”
It was apparent my patient was not up to agreeing with my findings, but the signs were clear: The comme ci-comme ça neutrality of the gray diary in the dream. OTTO being the same name backward and forward. Both of these signaled Zora’s bisexuality. It might also be counted as evidence of Zora’s amphierotic nature that the dream takes place in a forest. The deep woods, in dreams as well as reality, frequently symbolize a place of dark secrets––such as one’s bisexuality? It isn’t a Brobdingnagian leap.
Of consideration also is the syllable uck. We have Herr Gluck. In her dream, Zora sees a man with the head of a duck. Perhaps most telling, she exclaims “Yuck” when I press her with my potent analysis. This root syllable, as we well know, when preceded by the sixth letter of the alphabet, constitutes a commonly used synonym for the sexual function. When I suggested this to Zora, she shook her head and simply said, “No.”
Which of course means yes when uttered by someone as hysterical and prolifically riddled with delusion as Zora. Any analyst of hysteria worth his salt will tell you so.
After I pointed this out to Zora, she fainted. When she revivified, she left our session and I never saw her again. One final letter from Zora eventually did arrive, informing me of her upcoming nuptials to Herr E. I believe she was using the marriage to try to spite me, and suggest that my findings in her regard were just so much applesauce; in other words, how could someone as afflicted as she, be marrying a paragon of society like Herr E? One revelatory sentence in the letter seemed to indicate her true designs:
I’m rubber, you’re glue; whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.
However, I expect to hear more of Zora in the near future. Herr E, her fiancé, is of my acquaintance, and unless I am greatly mistaken, he will shortly be seeking my services in regard to his relationship with his new bride.
I will be ready.
 An inflammation of the mucous membrane.
 Sexualtheorie zur Gesundheit, 1887.
 Hysteria und Transference, Freud & Krafft-Gotterdam, 1896.
 I must apologize for using the actual name of Herr Gluck. Usually, I simply say Herr Z or Herr E, but the name Gluck is too significant to the case study to be expunged. That, as a result, Herr Gluck has had to leave Vienna and is now living under an assumed name in Uruguay is to be regretted. However, his misfortune has prodigiously advanced the understanding of sneezing and expectorating hysterias.
 Although the woods and forest carry significant weight in dreams, I have altered my views from those expressed in my 1897 collaboration with Krafft-Riemenschneider, Neurologie und dur Big Bad Wolf. In fact, I now consider the supposition that bushes are symbols for pubic hirsutism and that trees are phallic in nature to be hokum of the highest order. Let it here be known that Krafft-Riemenschneider was the author of that particular bit of banana oil and it had nothing to do with me. I have since divorced myself from having anything to do with Krafft-Riemenschneider—a poseur and quack if ever there was.
 Psychopathie Sexualis zur Ja-Nein, Freud, Krafft-Macaroni & Tchiez, 1899.
 I would like to clear the air about the accusation that I, Siegfried Freud, am trying to hoodwink the public and make people think I am my somewhat more famous second cousin, Sigmund. “Ha!” I say. This is errant nonsense. True, I only use the initial S, but many people today use only initials. In this paper alone, we have Herr Z and Herr E. Further, my more celebrated relation Sigmund always identifies himself as Sigmund, not S like myself. So where does the confusion lie? That I have profited at all from this so-called confusion is blatantly untrue. My success is due only to my consummate skill in my chosen profession.