32 children and 4 adults had extensive investigation and treatment for epilepsy because of false seizures invented or induced by a relative, usually the mother. They also suffered needless hospital admissions and restriction of education and activities. Follow-up of the children suggests a danger of abnormal illness behaviour continuing into adult life. For a few young children seizures are really anoxic episodes caused by the parent. In some cases these lead to brain damage and death, and an important association with sudden unexplained death of infancy (cot death) is emerging.