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1830s-1990s Media Accounts
of Multiple Personality
Show these articles to people who claim there were "no cases before Sybil" or that this is a therapist-manufactured condition or fantasy.
Here are many newspaper and magazine accounts describing multiple personality. (For articles about "Sybil", click here.) These are the items we collected in our search for information after realizing that "multiple personalities" described our lifelong experience of many selves sharing a body.
It was when we noticed how our experiences differed from these narratives that we started writing the articles that became this website. We have met dozens of multiples on line whose experience is nothing like these standard narratives, or only in certain ways; others who fit them perfectly.
The earliest of these documents serve another purpose. Many people do not realize that Sybil was not the first documented case of multiple personalities, nor was Chris Costner-Sizemore (Three Faces of Eve). Medical files and case histories show that this condition was known long before the age of "hysteria" and rock star psychiatrists like Pierre Janet who put his patients on public display.
The much-reported "sudden increase" in MPD diagnoses and interest in dissociation and multiplicity did not begin in 1973 after the publication of Sybil. It started after Billy Milligan's landmark 1978 court case (he was never put on actual trial), in which his attorneys tried to get him declared "not guilty by reason of insanity". Criminal defendants subsequently began claiming another self was responsible, and doctors like Ralph Allison and Frank Putnam began researching these claims' veracity.
Prior to Sybil
The Dissociation & Trauma Archives of the University of Oregon Here are many case studies by psychiatrists and medical doctors, going all the way back to Thomas Mayo's A Case of Double Consciousness which took place in 1831.
Jeanne Fery: A Sixteenth-Century Case of Dissociative Identity Disorder (PDF) Thank you to ResearchGate for making this available.
Allie Shand, 1897 London Daily Mail
Allie Shand, 1905 New York Times
Review of 'The Double Life', a play by Rinehart Roberts (Mary Roberts Rinehart). New York Times, December 25, 1906. (PDF)
Chris Costner-Sizemore ~ Three Faces of Eve
Chris Costner-Sizemore, 1975 Lakeland Ledger
Chris Costner-Sizemore, 1975 Milwaukee Journal
The Man with Ten Personalities Billy Milligan, Time, 1978.
The Strange Case of William Milligan St. Petersburg Independent, October 12, 1978.
Multiple Personalities Looks at the 10 Faces of An Ohio Rapist People, January 10, 1979. Interview with Dr. Cornelia Wilbur. "It is their sensitivity and brightness, combined with the severe battering they receive as children, that makes them a multiple personality."
The strange case of Billy Milligan's jigsaw psyche Columbus Monthly, February 1979.
Woman with Two Identities Absolved of Murder Juanita& Maxwell New York Times, August 18, 1981.
Arthur, Ragen, Allen et al New York Times review of The Minds of Billy Milligan. November 15, 1981.
When Many People Occupy a Single Body Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 11, 1982.
Multiple Personalities Proof of Brain's Versatility, Brain-Mind Bulletin Oct. 3, 1983
Nancy& Ross1984, San Diego Tribune
New Focus on Multiple Personality New York Times, 1985-05-21.
Mind Menageries, Omni, January 1986
The Multiperson First article on the Troops, prior to the publication of When Rabbit Howls
Truddi& Chase 1987, Washington Post
Truddi& Chase 1987, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Truddi& Chase 1987, Chicago Tribune
Probing the Enigma of Multiple Personality New York Times, June 28, 1988.
Juanita& Maxwell 1988
Sarah 1990 - the Wisconsin rape trial
Truddi& Chase 1990, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Jennifer& circa 1990
Juanita& Maxwell 1991
Jay& 1991'Meet Jay's Group', Washington Post
Quiet Storm& 1993, For Women First
Gloria Steinem 1993 Multiples as superbeings, "the mind can do anything" and such.
The story of Susan Houdelette, 1993.
Susan Houdelette's civil action requesting that Guss' license be revoked.
Susan Houdelette's lawyer suspended for unethical practices, 1995.
Juanita& Maxwell 1995
RaLynne& rejecting integration and living multiple, 1998
Juanita& Maxwell 2006
Truddi& Chase and daughter Kari with Kim Noble, Summer 2010
Also of interest:
The Inner Mind: Multiple Personality Before Eve By Adam Crabtree. This is part of a longer article speculating how the mind really works. Here he looks at the documented or recorded history of multiple personality and what people have thought about it in centuries past. These are by the author of Multiple Man: Explorations in Possession and Multiple Personality (Contact the author here)
The Story of Mary Reynolds (d. 1854) by Joshua Nichols. A modern examination of a 19th-century multiple, with source documents. Of course he calls it "multiple personality disorder", but never mind that. The theme of this collection is that Reynolds' little system existed independently and was not iatrogenically created; therefore, multiple personality can occur without benefit of suggestion by therapists. Miss Reynolds seems not to have been abused or mistreated as a child. Back then, emotional sensitivity, and sometimes chronic illness were thought to be the psychological origin of multiple personality. If you like Mary, read more about her in The Passion of Ansel Bourne by Michael Kenny.
The Story of Mollie Fancher By Anthony Walsh. A recap of Mollie's life, focusing on her symptoms of "hystero-epilepsy" and multiple personalities rather than on her much-vaunted psychic abilities. If Mollie interests you, you can read the People's Almanac article to learn more about her group:
Trivia Library: Mollie Fancher, the Brooklyn Enigma, part 1
Mollie Fancher part 2
Mollie Fancher part 3
The Inner Self Helper - Angel or Artifact
Click on the RealAudio icon (or the word "Listen") to hear these. These are fairly large files and take several minutes to open. Please be patient. Sorry about the sound quality.
Truddi Chase television interview, sometime in 1990
"Living with a Multiple Personality" -- Geraldo Rivera interviews Chris Costner-Sizemore, Nancy Lynn Pierson, and Dr. Robert Mayer, sometime in 1987
Chris Costner-Sizemore and the Lawsuit, Entertainment Tonight, 1988
Sally Jessy Raphael interviews Hannah, Jere & her mother, Sherry and Doug, ca. 1990. Dr. Lillian Gross, Hannah and Sherry's doctor, subsequently had her license suspended for five years after being found guilty of negligence and failure to keep medical records. However, she is practicing again now and is involved in the emotional freedom technique movement. She was also one of the doctors interviewed for BBC's Horizon segment on multiplicity, Mistaken Identity.
Geraldo Rivera interviews Zoe Parry (from the book Angel Child), whom he refers to as "Dorothy", Linda, Jane, Drs. Mohan Nair and Robert Meyer, and Jill Cannon, ACSW.
We have tapes of some of the CBS News reports on the Sarah trial, and as soon as we find them, they'll be up too.
If you have tapes of TV coverage on multiple personality -- interview shows, 20-20 documentaries or whatever -- please write to us and let us know.
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Truddi Chase (& The Troops) died March 10, 2010.
Lynn& Wasnak 1945-2013
Click here to read their obituary and sign their memorial guestbook.
Who decides who is "mentally ill"? Read about mental health professionals calling for major reforms to the DSM-5.
Created on... September 19, 1995
This version created on ... September 14, 2007
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