In a report scheduled to be published next week in the New England Journal of Medicine, Doctors David Cutley and Morgan Morganthau announce findings which will likely prove disturbing to parents throughout the world.
"We discovered," began Dr. Cutley, "that imaginary friends, once thought harmless, are in fact a precursor to psychotic behavior. Children who have imaginary friends or playmates are over 90% more likely to experience difficulties later in life differentiating between right and wrong, that is, as their society defines right and wrong. These experiences are lost in the greater violent world we live in. For example, everyone focuses on serial killers who are very often psychopaths but who are NOT psychotic. However, familial murderers are 72% more likely to have psychotic episodes which bring about violence. The psychosis often gets lost in the context. This is a fascinating social dilemma, but a terrifically dangerous one."
"Basically," broke in Dr. Morganthau, "they go totally nuts. This is not, of course, a medical term, but never-the-less it describes the event."
"Yes, exactly. Dr. Morganthau is right. Hatchet attacks are perpetrated by persons, as a group, who were 89% more likely to have imaginary friends than the base population. We even looked at automobile accidents. Drivers causing car wrecks are much more likely - 63% more likely - to have had imaginary friends when young."
"Across the board," Dr. Morganthau pulled out a piece of paper with a chart on it, "having imaginary friends is bad news. Look," he pointed at the chart. "Every crime increases with imaginary friends. Some a little - most a lot."
"No matter how you slice it and I believe Dr. Cutley will agree with me, if your children have imaginary friends, you need to encourage them to move out as quickly as possible. If they're girls, encourage them to have boyfriends, get pregnant and move away. But no matter what, get them out of the house before they split your skull open with a meat cleaver!"
"Yes," Dr. Cutley concluded, "that's about the size of it."