FACTBOX - Seven stages of the Jerusalem Syndrome psychosis

(Reuters) - A rare psychiatric disorder known as the Jerusalem Syndrome can make tourists in the holy city believe they are characters from the Bible.

In a 2000 article published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, Gregory Katz from the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Centre in Jerusalem described the seven clinical stages of the syndrome:

STAGE 1-The afflicted tourist becomes agitated, nervous and tense.

STAGE 2-The person declares a desire to split away from his or her group and tour Jerusalem alone. Katz warned tour guides to be aware of this symptom because after stage two, the progression is usually irreversible.

STAGE 3-The individual has the need to be clean and pure and will obsess about bathing and cutting fingernails and toenails.

STAGE 4-The person prepares a long, white, ankle-length, toga-like gown, often using a hotel sheet. Katz said this act stems from passages in the Bible that mention dressing in white.

STAGE 5-The person feels the need to shout or sing psalms, verses from the Bible or religious hymns.

STAGE 6-The person marches to one of Jerusalem’s holiest places, often along the Via Dolorosa or near the Western Wall.

STAGE 7-The psychotic traveler delivers a sermon at the holy place. Katz described the sermon as being: “very confused and based on an unrealistic plea to humankind to adopt a more wholesome, moral, simple way of life”.

Editing by Sara Ledwith