Michael Ingall

Dr. Michael Ingall died over two years ago in Providence, Rhode Island. He was a humanitarian and a psychiatrist, with a profound fascination for the workings of the human mind, and a great affection for history --- especially the personal histories of those around him.

Twenty years ago, Michael fell in with the late lamented and slightly disrespectable Fessenden Review. We had attended "The Evolution of Psychology" Conference held in Phoenix, 1987 and published a three-part article in the magazine. We saw to it that all conference-goers got a free copy.

Michael, one the first to respond, sent along a manuscript, and went to the trouble of having one of his artist friends draw up an "undressed stampeding peeing elephant" (we had stated that such as required along with any unsolicited submissions to the magazine).

This is what he wrote:

    Dear Editor,

    An "unsolicited manuscript" sounds as appetizing as an "unwashed leper," or an "uncircumcised heathen." Still, I enclose one copy of same (the manuscript, not the leper), in the hope that you will find it of enough interest to publish in TFR. I'm not sure if it's up your alley, but then, having been a subscriber for the past year, I'm not certain of anything that is up your alley.

    The main reasons I'm sending it along are to tell you that I love your publication, and as an excuse to enclose a stamped, peeing, undressed elephant. I could not find an undressed stampeding elephant as requested in your instructions to contributors, but I hope that the enclosed elephant will do.

--- Michael Ingall

Michael always had a hankering to write, and had found few places to publish. When his articles first arrived on our doorstep, we were charmed by the quality and wit ... especially since he came from that class of unlettered, stylistically impaired subcultures called psychotherapists.

He wrote compellingly of his family, his early days in practice, his travels, and --- most sensitively --- his patients. The writing was graceful, so much so that sometimes, when our day-to-day went topsy-turvy, we wanted to adjourn to Providence and spend a couple of weeks to let him have a chance at untangling our sanity and our souls.

--- Lolita Lark
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by Michael Ingall

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