Pseudologia fantastica is one of several terms applied by psychiatrists to the behaviour of habitual or compulsive lying. It was first described in the medical literature in 1891. The characteristics of pseudologia fantastica are: (1) the stories are not entirely improbable and often have some element of truth; (2) the stories are long lasting; (3) the stories are told for internal psychological reasons rather than external gain, and tend towards presenting the person in a good light (for example, as being fantastically brave, knowing or being related to many famous people); and (4) they are not delusional (that is, upon confrontation, the person can acknowledge them to be untrue).
More specific symptoms from the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law:
"These ego-boosting lies, harmless as they may seem initially, may lead to serious difficulties for the liar when discovered." (Notre Dame Football Player)
"Although many of these individuals may not have cause to seek treatment and may indeed continue to lead highly successful and productive lives, it is not uncommon for their lying to cause them hardship through clashes with the law or other authorities, with resultant adverse consequences." (Perjury and Campaign Finance Violations)
"In their work involving pathological liars, Healy and Healy observed that utterance of lies comes just as quickly and naturally as speaking truth comes to other people." (It's my money - I lead a very frugal lifestyle)
"In the final evolution of the pathological lie, it cannot be differentiated from a delusion because, to the liar, it has the worth of a real experience." (Catholic ghetto)
"An external reason for lying often appears absent and the internal or psychological purpose for lying is often unclear" (No member of the Republican Party has asked me to step down)
"The pathological liar gets himself/herself in a tight spot by lying and then tells more lies to extricate himself/herself. After a while, the only way out may be to run away to a different location." (Is Kelty's House for sale?)
But just to show that I care I've included a statement that might help shape Kelty's defense in his upcoming trial:
When pathological liars deliver obviously false testimony under oath, is it legitimate to characterize such testimony simply as perjury or do these individuals deserve better framing of their behavior to get some dispensation from being held to the usual standards of truth-telling?