The Martha Mitchell Effect

Gaslit is a political comedy series currently being shown on STARZ. It retells the crazy story behind the Washington D.C. Watergate scandal back in the 1970s. At this writing three of the eight episodes have been aired however the whole series will be soon be available for viewing. While many today are not familiar with this political intrigue, they will thoroughly enjoy the depictions of Sean Penn and Julia Roberts as the unbelievable Mr. and Mrs. John Mitchell.

Sean Penn and Julia Roberts as Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell

The title of this series comes from the 1944 Academy Award winning film Gaslight. It is the story of a devious husband, depicted by Charles Boyer, trying to convince his innocent young wife, played by Ingrid Bergman, that she is losing her mind. He accuses her of going mad and locks her away to divert attention from his criminal behavior. It was the unexplainable flickering of the gaslights in their home that unraveled the truth of their horrible situation. Since then the term “gas lighting” has come to mean being forced to doubt your personal experience.

It is a common occurrence for “gaslighting” victims to be dismissed as being “off their rocker.” This was the experience of Martha Mitchell, wife of the 67th Attorney General of the United States under President Richard Nixon. Mrs. Mitchell was physically restrained just as she was about to blow the whistle on the illegal activities of the Committee to reelect the President. The fact is that her husband should NOT have served as the director of Nixon’s 1972 presidential campaign and he should have kept himself better informed as to their nefarious activities.

A final reminder at Martha Mitchell’s Funeral

The one good outcome of this peculiar event is the recognition of “Martha Mitchell Effect.” It is defined as the process by which a psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health clinician, or some other medical professional labels a patient’s accurate perception of real events as delusional. It is true that Martha Mitchell’s vivid assertions of being drugged and kidnapped were never actually proven, however everything that she claimed regarding Watergate was absolutely true. And a number of people, including her very own husband, were imprisoned for these crimes.

By the way gaslighting is also experienced by groups of people who are presented with false political or religious narratives to shape their responses. One wonders how these outrageous claims are accepted, but it is happens all over the world. Humanity should wise up to all these deceptions, but doing that would require a bit more self-awareness than we have today.

UPDATE – There’s a good documentary now on Netflix called The Martha Mitchell Effect. It’s funny how “real life” makes a professional production like Gaslit look pale in comparison.



Martha Mitchell was born on a Monday in the zodiac sign of Virgo. The ruler of her INNER Self is the Moon and Mercury governs her OUTER Self. Females with the #18 MON VIR Dayology signature are not easily satisfied. They generally respond emotionally to their personal affairs.

John Mitchell was born on a Monday in the zodiac sign of Virgo. The ruler of his INNER Self is the Moon and Mercury governs his OUTER Self. Males with the #18 MON VIR Dayology signature act in the most expedient manner, but they are more impressionable than they care to admit.

Yes, this bad behaving pair have the exactly same #18 MON VIR Dayology signature. Based on our Dayology Research it has been discovered people rarely choose others with the same Sun Sign/Day Ray combination as an intimate partner. Actually there is only a 1 in 84 chance of this happening. Still when people with the same signatures meet, they usually like each other. They sense similarities in their individual approaches to life and enjoy their commonalities. After a while they begin to notice and dislike each other’s bad habits.

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