this is a story within a story that makes a new story and then tells that story. In 2000, Mark Hogancamp was savagely beaten outside of a bar by five men. The severity of his injuries were extensive, almost taking his life. Amongst devastating brain injuries, he experienced physical injuries so terrible he was unrecognizable.

Hogancamp, unable to afford therapy, created his own therapeutic approach…creating a miniature town, called Marwencol, in his backyard. Using dolls to serve as the inhabitants, he made a new world for himself. One that he could control. He used this fictional town to understand, deal and heal from the immense amount of psychological and emotional trauma he experienced. It also served as a form of physical rehabilitation, allowing for his hand&eye coordination to strengthen.



“In this photo, an SS dispatch rider blows past the sentry post at Marwencol with an urgent message.”




“Deja puts her stockings on s-l-o-w-l-y, because she noticed Cpt. Hogancamp staring at her…”




“A B-17 turret gunner who bailed out of his burning plane over  Belgium and eventually found Marwencol. He’s having a drink in front of my bar, ‘Hogancamp’s Ruined Stocking Catfight Club’.”



"A Wehrmacht MG-34 gunner at his guard post, back when the Allies and Axis first shared the town of Marwencol."

“A Wehrmacht MG-34 gunner at his guard post, back when the Allies and Axis first shared the town of Marwencol.”

Source of images:


On the theme of storytelling…Hogancamp used this town as a form of self-therapy. He developed complex stories, created deep relationships, and nurtured this alternative world into, not only a solace, but into a living, breathing reality. He began documenting the lives of his dolls through photography and through these behaviors…his memory began to return. As bits and pieces were remembered, they materialized in the people and in the story of Marwencol.

Proves the immense power of telling stories. Whether to yourself or to others.