The Listening Cure

ILLUSTRATION FOR TIME BY ALISON SEIFFER

At the age of 7, Peter Bullimore experienced his first auditory hallucination: a comforting voice that told him everything would be all right. By the time he was 10, he recalls, it had turned into 20 "threatening and demonic" voices; over the next two decades, they compelled him to steal, convinced him he was Jesus, and persuaded him to attempt suicide. "They told me to burn in hell, so I bought gasoline and poured it over myself," he says. Years of psychiatric treatment offered no relief, so Bullimore joined a support group for people similarly afflicted. A decade later, he says,...