Who am I: Benjaman

Do You Know This Man?

"The cleaning woman at the Burger King found me just before they opened, so it was about 6:00 a.m. The day is pretty hazy to me. I don't remember too much about it. I was unconscious. I had ant bites all over me, [and was] beaten. I have no idea how I got there. I don't remember anything about it. I had no memory of my name, parents, relatives. I don't even know where I worked," says Benjaman.


An ambulance was called to the scene. "He was totally naked. He was unresponsive. When I looked at him, he had a lot of sores on him," recalls paramedic Sue Usry.


"I remember being in the ambulance. I remember an EMT pinching me. People were asking me questions or practically yelling at me. I think they were trying to get a response," Benjaman says.  

Benjaman appeared homeless and was shuffled from hospitals to homeless shelters. He says he was startled when he first looked at himself in the mirror one week after getting cataract surgery. "I started to shave and I just couldn't believe how old I looked, because I looked like an old man compared to how I felt. Geez, the gray hair, the bags under the eyes; I didn't feel that old. I didn't think I should be that old," Benjaman says.

Although he doesn't remember his past, Benjaman says there are certain things about himself and his life that he just instinctively feels are true. "The name Benjaman just popped out. I just knew it was my name," he says. "I'm 10 years older than Michael Jackson, to the day, and he was born on August 29, 1958, so that makes me August 29, 1948, and that fits, because that's how I remember dates. I connect them with something. That feels to me like it is always how it's worked."


Benjaman says he has memories of being around nuns and attending Catholic school in Indianapolis. He also remembers the day John F. Kennedy was shot and attending the Indiana state fair.


"I'm worried everyone expects me to be this big somebody, and I'm just going to turn out to be an average Joe," Benjaman reveals.

"One of the things that I'm really committed to today is showing your face to millions and millions of people, in hopes that somebody will go, ‘I know him,' and pick up the phone and call," Dr. Phil says to Ben. "What has this been like for you?"

"Frustrating," Ben replies. "I try not to think about it. I try to keep busy."

"Do you have any idea of what you were doing in Georgia?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I think I came down there to see the ocean," Ben says.

Dr. Phil reviews the information Ben feels he knows for sure: He believes his name is Benjaman, he remembers a lot about the city of Denver, and he thinks he was born in Indiana.

"Is this something that you don't really remember, but you just have a sense that it sounds right?" Dr. Phil asks. "How does that work for you?"

"You know, I don't really know how it works. I wish I could explain it," Benjaman says. "It's just instinctive, maybe."

Because he was naked when he was found, Benjaman had no wallet, ID or belongings. He says that a quick investigation was conducted, but no information was found. "I think the assumption was that I was just a bum, so the hell with it. They didn't need to inspect," he says.


If you think you recognize Benjaman, e-mail the show.