Parasomnias are still very mysterious. Sleepwalking or noctambulism is part of this set of sleep disorders, and although it is the best known, there are still many mysteries around it.
A paradigm in this regard is that of sleepwalking killers, who on more than one occasion have put courts in check. It is still incomprehensible that a person in such unconscious state is able to carry out complex and chained actions that lead to murder.
Kenneth James Parks, a man drowned by multiple debts from his gambling addiction, suffered an episode of sleepwalking the night of May 24, 1987. He had not been able to sleep properly for a while. He suffered from insomnia and his financial problems didn’t help. Unconsciously, he took his car keys and drove 23 Km from his home in Pickering (Ontario, Canada) to his in-laws’ home in Scarborough (Toronto), with whom he had a cordial relationship. He took a wrench from the trunk, opened the door of his in-laws’ house and murdered his mother-in-law with a violent blow to the head. His father-in-law was miraculously saved as he became unconscious when Parks tried to strangle him. Finally he went to a police station, completely deranged and disturbed, to report that he had murdered his in-laws.
Kenneth Parks was absolved. The numerous medical and psychological studies could not attribute to him any kind of mental illness and considered highly unlikely that all the circumstances that would provoke a similar event in the future would occur again. It was not the first or the last time that a court had to face a sleepwalking killer.