By Jack Ryan
Check out this excerpt from his book cited below:
“I liked their mother, Eugenia, but she was a complicated and unhappy woman, and my affection was born largely of compassion. You see, she suffered from what I can only assume was a type of mental illness, represented most glaringly by an irrational and sometimes paralyzing fear of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now, I understand that Jehovah’s Witnesses confuse nearly all of us who are not of their particular Christian faith and interpretation, but Eugenia’s feelings about them went well beyond annoyance; she was inordinately terrified of them. I don’t know the origin of this phobia.
During World War II, Dutch Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses (among others) were rounded up and hoarded away in concentration camps. I know only that it was excessive and irrational. Eugenia firmly believed that Jehovah’s Witnesses had followed her from Amsterdam and were trying to destroy her. She would pull you aside as if she had a secret to tell you; then she would reveal her fears and suspicions, and eventually get around to asking whether you were “one of them” and intended to do her harm. The first time this happened to me, I mistakenly presumed that she was joking. She wasn’t. Instead, once assured that I wasn’t a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses dispatched to hurt her, she would ask if I had seen any of “them” on my way to her house. Were they lurking nearby? Hiding in the trees, perhaps? I didn’t know how to respond; I simply felt sorry for her. It was clear from the look of abject terror on her face that this nightmarish scenario was entirely real to her. And it was crippling.
Irrational and unfounded though it might have been, this fear resulted in Eugenia’s becoming largely a prisoner in her own home. While the boys played music often in front of Jan, their mother was an infrequent presence at concerts. As the wealth of the Van Halen brothers grew, I couldn’t help but wonder whether they had done everything they could to help their mother. Then again, maybe they did. Perhaps there had been private consultations and medication and interventions of one sort or another. I can only assume that they did try, and that their efforts were unsuccessful.”
Excerpt from: "Runnin' with the Devil: A Backstage Pass to the Wild Times, Loud Rock, and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Making of Van Halen" by Noel Monk.