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This article contains major plot details about the game.
Mae gained notoriety among the townsfolk after being involved in a violent episode at her school's softball match. Six years prior to the events of Night in the Woods, Mae experienced a sudden form of dissociation from the real world - which seemed like an acute episode of derealization. She saw objects and people as just meaningless shapes, and not really existing. She felt a deep sadness for everything around her, lamenting that nothing was there for her anymore and that everything was just "stuff in the universe."
The next day at the softball match, a second episode occurred, something "broke inside her" and before she knew it, she was beating Andy Cullen's head in with a bat in front of the entire school.
Following that, most parents told their children to stay away from Mae. By the events of Night in the Woods, most of the kids in town know Mae through the attack, nicknaming her "Killer". The incident put a strain on Mae's relationship with her family. Financially, the Borowski's went deep into debt trying to treat her.
Mae was sent to Dr. Hank for treatment, where he prescribed keeping a journal as a means of keeping her emotions in check. Mae claims it helps her feel grounded with reality and that it works somewhat. She seemed to be doing alright until she left for college.
There, the effects of dissociation seemed to intensify and Mae never made a single friend at college because she was terrified of leaving her room. She was left starving or else downing entire pizzas in one go. She drank cough syrup just to sleep and forget about her living nightmare. Mae was especially terrified of the rusty statue of the founder outside her window: always a mess of shapes watching and pointing down at her. She felt too scared to phone anyone for help.
After three semesters, Mae finally mustered up the courage to leave and return to the safety of home, where things weren't just "dead shapes."