Chef Victor Sharrah’s ‘Demonic’ Vision: The Reality Behind Prosopometamorphopsia

The Bizarre Visual Disorder of Prosopometamorphopsia: Living in a Prolonged Nightmare

Chef Victor Sharrah from Clarksville, Tennessee, woke up one morning to a terrifying sight: his roommate had pointy ears, giant eyes, and a slanted mouth that extended to the edges of his face. Trying to remain calm, Sharrah took his dog for a walk, but the people he passed on the street also had equally strange and twisted faces. Feeling like she had entered a demonic world, Sharrah began to panic and even considered being admitted to a psychiatric unit.

With the help of experts, Sharrah soon discovered that he was not losing his mind as he feared. He was suffering from a rare vision condition called prosopometamorphopsia, or PMO. People with this condition see distorted faces in various ways. While Sharrah saw demons, others may see elves or faces that constantly move.

Despite experiencing PMO for over three years, Sharrah’s condition is unique in that faces on flat screens appear normal to him. Researchers at Dartmouth College have created photorealistic images to depict how individuals with PMO perceive distorted faces. The exact cause of prosopometamorphopsia remains unknown, but it is believed to be a symptom rather than a disorder with multiple potential causes.

Sharrah found relief in learning about PMO through an online support group. He now wears glasses with a green tint to alleviate the severity of the distortions. While he has largely adapted to his strange new world, crowded places can still be overwhelming with “demons” surrounding him.

Many individuals with PMO face a difficult decision on whether to tell others about their distorted perceptions. Some choose to remain silent to avoid being perceived as crazy. Sharrah shared his experience to help others with PMO avoid unnecessary hospitalizations for psychosis. By raising awareness about this condition, he hopes to prevent others from experiencing the trauma he went through.

Victor Sharrah woke up one morning feeling terrified as he saw his roommate with pointy ears

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