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February 12, 1982

The Golem of Ginchey Street

JAMA. 1982;247(6):765. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320310021018

The golem of Ginchey Street, dull eyes gleaming in the moonlight, wanders his neighborhood, where pecans and figs grow wild. He loves fig trees, especially the way the leaves make a mosaic of the moon on his nightly meanderings.

The golem of Ginchey Street came to the clinic with his mother, who sat him down in a chair near the wall by gesturing to the chair and gently pushing his shoulder, as if to help him turn around. Even slumped in the chair you could tell he was big, with his shoulders hunched forward, his big body still, watching me as I entered the room. I didn't know who he was when I spoke to him for the first time, not even when he replied with a grunting laugh. But when he grunted a second time I instinctively looked at his mother for an answer.

"He had meningitis when he