My relationship with Sylvester continued for over three years, eventually culminating in a court proceeding where he was removed from his home and placed in foster care. Over that period there were many contacts and attempted interventions, all unpleasant, where every thing that could be done was tried. None of it to any avail. His demeanor was more like a 40 year old, hardened psychopath than a small boy. There was nothing remotely child like , that I could glean, within him on any encounter we had. I had learned the hard way from our first encounter to control the setting and the context of all future meetings. He seemed to defy classification from the medical perspective as Oppositional Defiant disorder did not come close to describing him. There was clear evidence of psychopathic traits but this personality disorder was meant as a description for adults who had formulated their personality, not a 6 year old boy, who was in the early stages of forming his. His consciousness and actions seemed to be controlled by something far more ancient and seasoned than the developing psyche any 6 y.o. could develop from scratch. There arose the constant but unspoken worry of possession of his consciousness by some entity that WAS a seasoned psychopath, familiar with manipulation, cruelty , fear and rage. This gave rise to cunning ,antisocial behavior that was always punctuated by defiance, arrogance, fearlessness and remorselessness.
The progression of his antisocial behavior continued unabated punctuated by events that usually involved the police, ambulance or fire service. On one occasion when Sylvester was about seven, he accompanied his mother on the small community bus that travelled once daily to the nearest town of size. This was about an hours drive and his mother had decided to purchase groceries on their trip. Included in the purchase was a large 20 lb bag of flower. On the return trip Sylvester managed to open the bag and grasp a heaping amount of the white substance in each hand. He had positioned himself in the seat directly behind the driver. There were about 10 passengers and they were blissfully unaware of his intentions. Sylvester waited until the bus was approaching a fairly sharp turn along the coastal highway. The grade was steep falling off to the shoreline hundreds of feet below. Without warning he stood and slapped the flour in the drivers eyes with an arm reaching around either side of his head. The driver was blinded and unable to steer the bus. Fortunately through luck, skill or a combination of both he managed to stop after several scrapes on the guardrail and considerable damage to the vehicle. Everyone was shaken and realized how close they had come to a catastrophic end. It certainly appeared Sylvester had timed his action for the most potential destruction, ignoring the obvious repercussion to himself as well. That was the beginning of court ordered psychological and social services assessments. Sylvester defied categorization or assistance.
Within a short period of time I was called to the scene of a major event in the middle of Enasni. Sylvester had managed to climb to the top of the massive four storey water storage tank that serviced the town. There was a small metal ladder attached to the side of the tank which he had managed to climb. I stood there amazed that a seven year old had the courage and strength to manage the feat. There was a large crowd of residents watching the spectacle. The fire department had been called as had the police. An RCMP officer was nursing a large hematoma on his scalp. He had attempted to climb up to “ rescue” Sylvester. On nearing the top he was repelled by egg sized stones fired by Sylvester with remarkable accuracy. Sylvester was standing on the tower holding a plastic bag half filled with smooth beach stones which he would randomly throw into the gathering crowd. His mother was crying at the base of the tower imploring him to come down. I heard Sylvester yell “ Go the hell home and take a nerve pill you old bitch “. The next approach was the fire truck with its extendable ladder. A fully protected fire fighter with helmut and all attempted to climb the ladder. Sylvester managed to repel him with the help of a slingshot that increased the velocity and danger of the stones immensely. Eventually the authorities decided to wait him out until his ammunition had been completely depleted and then completed their rescue with the boy biting and screaming in response. Sylvester heaped derision and contempt on all of the authorities and as usual it ended with admonishments to his mother to “ Watch him carefully” and “ Get that kid some help”.
Unfortunately, I was the one who was supposed to provide that help. The psychologists and social workers were stymied. No behavioural modification was helpful. The rare decision to keep him out of school was based on the firm belief that he would pose a serious threat to the other students, teachers and the school itself. Sylvester had been suspected in several fires as well but there was no evidence to confirm these suspicions. His mother was steadily deteriorating and on visits with me she was becoming increasingly more emaciated. She was covered with bruises from Sylvesters assaults. He was in complete control of the home and dictated all meals and sleep times. His sleep schedule was chaotic and she was exhausted from random assaults that may occur at any time of the day or night. Her coping skills were exhausted and I suggested we hospitalize Sylvester to give her a chance to recover.
I arranged admission to our small 12 bed hospital under my care. We managed to keep him for 5 horrendous days during which he wreaked havoc on the facility. I thought it would be a good opportunity to run some blood test and observe his behavior and possibly build some raport. Sylvester did not take kindly to this intervention in his life. Despite my best efforts at trying to build a relationship he either ignored my attempts at conversation or stared at me silently with contempt. When his breakfast tray was delivered with egg and toast he threw the tray on the floor and demanded a hot dog. He absolutely refused to eat anything but hotdogs and after days of sticking to the menu we relented and gave in. As in most hospitals there was an oxygen outlet in his room and he was caught opening the valve and trying to ignite the gas with a lighter. Apparently he had stolen the lighter from a nurses purse. We had to bring in extra staff to observe him for safety reasons. Despite that he managed to lock himself in the washroom and block the overflow drain in his sink and with the faucet wide open caused a serious flood in that end of the hospital. The nursing staff were becoming upset with me and stated that they were there to care for the ill not be jailers of a dangerous delinquent. The administrator had words with me the next day and I realized I had no support to continue this intervention. When his mother came to pick him up he beat her repeatedly over the face and kicked her legs and buttock while he screamed “Take me the f***k home you old bitch”. It was only a matter of time before he would kill her or someone else.
The next year or so involved a good deal of surveillance and assessments by multiple social workers and I had many meetings regarding Sylvester to determine best approach. About a year later Sylvester was brought in to emergency by his mother, who now looked like a 70 y.o. frail lady rather than the 47 y.o woman she was. I was shocked at the condition of Sylvester. He was ghastly pale, with dark circles under his eyes. He had a high fever and was trembling. He looked emaciated with clearly visible bulging lymph nodes protruding from his neck. He was coughing with heavy discoloured nasal discharge. I felt pity for the suffering child and for a moment I let my guard down and leaned close to him and said” How you doin little man”. His hand streaked out and caught me across the left cheek. He smirked and said “ Leave me alone you c***k sucker.” I examined him as best I could and eventually tried to look in his throat with a tongue depressor. As I drew my face downward to peer into his mouth he spat a large wad of infected sputum across my face. After exam, bloods and chest x ray I determined he was suffering from pneumonia and Strep tonsillitis. We admitted him to hospital and treated him with antibiotics and aerosols for his breathing. Of course he required one on one nursing care because of his risk to the facility and other patients. We determined that he was malnourished( years of only hotdogs and ice cream and pop), He had extensive dental cavities and he was filthy as he refused to bath for his mother.
Clearly his mother was unable to provide a basic level of care, and the consciousness that was Sylvester had no regard for the survival of the body that was Sylvester. The Dept of Social Services spearheaded the legal proceeding to have him removed from his parents and placed in care where he could be provided the care and guidance he so desperately needed. I testified in court, feeling the hatred of his exhausted mothers stare, as I described my experience with Sylvester and provided my medical opinion. He was removed on court order and moved to a facility in another part of the province. I never saw him again.
At the time I was dealing with him from the perspective of a young man of science and medicine using my training to deal with him as best I could. But with the fullness of time and the wisdom of life experience I realize now that I was not dealing with a 6-9 year old boy. The consciousness that controlled Sylvester was old and perhaps ancient. It lived off chaos and destruction. It had no concern for the welfare of the body that housed it. I saw this all clearly on the first night I met him when we made eye contact and it was transmitted to my heart in a flash. The evil of Enasni manifesting its consciousness in a child. My mind just refused to accept it. My sincere wish is that with time it may have left Sylvester so that he could pursue his own destiny.
For years I feared opening the door, to a knock on some cold dark evening, to see a fully grown and vengeful Sylvester staring at me. To tell you the truth it continues to be one of my greatest fears.