OXFORD, OXFORDSHIRE — Matilda Wormwood (Honey) passed away yesterday, aged 32, at Warneford Hospital. She is survived by her brother, Michael, and her children, Dickens and Melville Wormwood.
Emancipated from her parents at a young age, Matilda was a ward of one Miss Honey, about whom little is now known other than that Matilda identified as her daughter for some years, signing documents and papers under Honey’s surname.
A precocious scholar, Matilda began attending Lady Margaret Hall, a University of Oxford college, when she was 15. She received every prize her chosen programs (English and Classics) would offer: the Gibbs Prize, Sir Roger Newdigate Prize, Matthew Arnold Memorial Prize, Chancellor’s English Essay Prize, Lord Alfred Douglas Memorial Prize, Shelley-Mills Prize, English Poem on Sacred Subject Prize, and more. Moreover, she helped found two new prizes, the Chalkboard Prize for Remote Penmanship and the Wordsworth Prize for Worthy Words. She remains the most decorated Oxford graduate to date.
In 2004, aged 22, Matilda received a DPhil in English Literature. Her dissertation, published by the Oxford University Press under the title Reader’s Telekinesis: Moving Metaphors With Your Mind and already becoming a staple of English Lit courses around the world, focused on the practice of interpretation, and the “death of the author” concept, with which Matilda had been obsessed since late 1990 according to the introduction.
In 2005, Matilda moved to New York to accept a position at Columbia University. She remained there for four years and had her two children, Dickens and Melville, who are now being taken in by her brother. She is said to have never told anyone the identity of the boys’ father, though a colleague of Matilda’s at Columbia has said that “they were smart enough to be DFW’s kids, and you know, if anyone could have had an affair with him it was her.”
Matilda was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2010 after having experienced years of myoclonic and absence seizures. She moved back to the UK with her sons in 2012, where she began exhibiting strange behaviors, possibly connected to her diagnosis. A report in the Oxford Mail in early 2013 had her climbing to the top of the Bodleian Library’s Radcliffe Camera in order to “move mountains with my eyes,” as she told police and journalists at the scene. Soon after the incident she suffered her first psychotic episode, standing on a crate filled with bars of soap in the middle of High Street, Oxford and proclaiming her role in the famed murder of Agatha Trunchbull, Director of Education in Essex County. (No links have been found between Matilda and the murder according to police officials.)
Matilda’s psychotic symptoms grew so severe thereafter that she was committed to the psychiatric unit at Warneford Hospital. There she began undergoing ECT, commonly known as electroshock therapy. The treatments were said to be helping. Tragically, she was found yesterday morning crushed to death beneath a soda machine.
Staff at Warneford released a statement claiming that “the machine in question had been bolted to the wall. We do not know how this terrible accident occurred. We’d like to assure the public that we are looking into the matter and as a precaution are removing all soda machines from the premises effective immediately.” An inquest is expected to be held in the coming days.
Michael Wormwood has already appeared on one prominent talk show (and is rumored to be booked on several others this week) claiming that he is planning on suing the hospital for malpractice and abuse. A doctor at the hospital who wished to remain unnamed said that Matilda’s once-guardian, Miss Honey, long assumed to be dead, called the hospital to tell them that “Matilda must have magicked the bolts out of the wall.” The doctor later speculated that perhaps he had been on the receiving end of a prank call.
Matilda will be buried at St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England.