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[personal profile] lb_lee
Okay, so for everyone's geeky entertainment, here is the full-text transcription of my first exposure to the concept of multiplicity: Pg. 377-380 of The Book of Lists #2, by Wallace, Wallechinsky, Wallace, and Wallace, copyrighted February 1980.

Many of the cases listed in this book have since been recategorized as non-multi. And this is a pop culture book that gets a good few of its solid facts wrong, but I still hope you guys will enjoy it.  I will add my notes on the cases in brackets, correcting facts that the book gets wrong, and adding sources.  Besides those, all the rest of the text is the original article.


The existence of more than one personality in a single mind is a rare psychological disorder. Only 100 verified cases have been reported. In such cases of multiple personality, the separate selves often have different names and distinct handwriting and electroencephalograms. In other words, the various personalities lodged in the same mind are different people with individual thought and behavior patterns. The following include some of the most notable occurrences of multiple personality.

1. MARY REYNOLDS (1793-1854)

The case of Mary Reynolds, described by Andrew Ellicott in 1815, is believed to be the first published account of multiple personality. Born in England, Mary Reynolds moved to the U.S. at age four, when her family settled in Pennsylvania. She grew up to be a pious, withdrawn, and melancholy young woman. At age 18 she began suffering from "fits," one of which left her blind and deaf for several weeks. After a subsequent attack, she lost her memory completely and underwent a profound personality change. She became an exuberant, gregarious, outdoor person. Five weeks later she fell into an unusually deep sleep. When she woke, she had reverted to her earlier self and had no recollection of the new personality that had emerged. The two personalities alternated at irregular intervals until she was 36, when the second personality took over completely and remained in control for the rest of her life.

[Note from LB: Mary Reynolds doesn't get talked about much these days, and in one of my old psych textbooks from 2002 or so, she had been recategorized as "conversion disorder." Sadly I no longer own it so can't check, but The Book of Lists #2 gets a basic fact wrong: the second personality didn't take over when she was thirty-six, it only started appearing when she was thirty-six, according to History of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, edited by Wallace and Gach.  According to "Mary Reynolds: a post-traumatic reinterpretation of a classic case of multiple personality disorder," by Goodwin, Mary never reported any trauma in childhood, and shaped a great deal of the discussion around multiplicity in the 1800s. The article tries to retcon trauma into her life, for lack of a better term, so as to fit the DID narrative better.]

2. ANNA WINSOR (?-?)

In the early 1860s, Anna Winsor, emotionally distraught and suffering from paralysis of her right hand, went to Dr. Ira Barrow for treatment. Barrow discovered that Miss Winsor had a distinct second personality, which expressed itself by using her right hand. Because it employed the paralyzed hand, the second personality was nicknamed Old Stump. Independently of the primary personality, Old Stump wrote poetry and sketched; it also protected Miss Winsor when, in a suicidal state, she attempted to injure herself with her left hand. Dr. Barrow observed that Old Stump never slept, even when Anna Winsor did. At night, the right hand would communicate with Dr. Barrow in sign language, write letters, or summon a nurse by rapping on the bedstead.

[Note from LB: This one is a weird one by all standards.  You can read a few pages of the notes from this case here, in Essays in Psychical Research by William James, but it's no real surprise that most folks don't talk about this case anymore.  It's full of stuff on automatic writing, clairvoyance and proclaimed psychic stuff, since multiplicity was overwhelmingly associated with spiritualist stuff from the time.  This case also gets mentioned in History of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, mostly noting that this is arguably the first time anything close to plural co-fronting was reported--after all, Anna didn't switch with Old Stump, they were both interacting with the corporeal world at the same time, and often at a cross-purposes.]

3. ANSEL BOURNE (1826-?)

In 1857, Ansel Bourne began suffering from excruciating headaches and became deaf, mute, and blind. When he recovered a short time later, he attributed it to divine grace and decided to devote the remainder of his life to spreading God's word. For the next 30 years Bourne divided his time between preaching and working his Rhode Island farm, until he suddenly disappeared on January 17, 1887. When Bourne "came to" on March 14, he found himself living in a small Pennsylvania town, operating a variety store, and using the name Arnold J. Brown. Under hypnosis in 1890, the personality known as Brown reemerged and discussed in detail what had transpired during the "lost" period in 1887. Although Brown stated that he had heard of Bourne, he was unaware of ever having met him. The Brown personality never spontaneously surfaced again. It could be reached only through hypnotic trance, and over the years it was observed to deteriorate gradually.

[Note from LB: Mr. Bourne has since been recategorized as a case of dissociative fugue.  Movies like the Bourne Identity got named after him.  If curious, there's a little more about him in this article by the Pennsylvania Historical Society, entitled "The Ansel Bourne Identity."]

4. JOHN POULTNEY (1888-?)

In December, 1929, a man wandering aimlessly in the streets of Los Angeles was picked up by the police and taken to see Dr. Shepherd Franz. The man identified himself as C. J. Poulting and gave an account of his life for the past 14 years. However, he had no memory of any event prior to 1915. In March, 1930, C. J. Poulting again became disoriented. When he regained his senses, he identified himself as John C. Poultney, born in Dublin in 1888 (information corroborated by his family in Ireland). He said he was a member of the Irish army and insisted that the present year was 1914. For many months, Poultney continued to slip in and out of "dreamlike" states, during which he would change back and forth from personality 1 (pre-1915) to personality 3 (post-1915). An additional personality, which Franz labeled personality 2, also surfaced occasionally, but its activities remained unknown to personalities 1 and 3. After a year and a half of therapy, Poultney achieved a successful integration of personalities 1 and 3 and returned to his native Ireland.

[Note from LB: Poultney has likely also since been recategorized as a case of 'dissociative fugue.']

5. SYBIL DORSETT (pseudonym, 1923- )

With a tested IQ of 170, Sybil Dorsett graduated from college and led a seemingly normal existence as a schoolteacher. However, in 1954, while working on her master's degree at Columbia University, Sybil sought the help of psychiatrist Cornelia Wilbur because of the anguish caused by progressive periods of amnesia. Dr. Wilbur learned that Sybil as a child had been brutally tortured by her schizophrenic mother. In an attempt to cope psychologically with the situation, Sybil's mind dissociated at an early age and developed three new alternating personalities. Twelve more emerged over the next 20 years. The various selves included a home-loving matron, a religious fanatic, a vivacious seductress, two male personalities, and a central memory personality who called herself Victoria Antoinette Scharleau. After 11 years of therapy, the 16 selves were integrated into a 17th personality. Since leaving therapy, Sybil has become a recognized artist in New York City.


In 1952 Chris Sizemore sought psychiatric help because of terrifying blackouts. During therapy, it was discovered that Mrs. Sizemore had two distinct personalities, which her psychiatrist, Dr. Corbett Thigpen, labeled Eve White and Eve Black. Eve White, the personality that had sought help, was very religious, prudish, and soft-spoken, while Eve Black acted out all the anger, aggressions, and sensuality that Eve White suppressed. At hird personality, Jane, developed during the second year of therapy, but she gave way to an apparently stable and well-integrated fourth personality in 1954. Dr. Thigpen dismissed Mrs. Sizemore as cured and publicized her case history in the highly successful book The Three Faces of Eve, which later became a movie. In 1977, however, Chris Sizemore published her own account of her illness and revealed that during the previous 23 years many new personalities had emerged. In all, she had experienced 22 personalities, nine of which had preceded the basic schism between Eve White and Eve Black. Finally, in 1975, she became aware of her "real self," and she has been well ever since.

[At this point in the book, there is a photo of Ms. Sizemore, a made-up woman with short dark hair and a smile, with the caption, "The final face of the 23 faces of Chris Sizemore."]

[Note from LB: Sizemore's case was a total clusterfuck. She had to legally fight for the rights to her own life story after one of her system members signed them over to her therapist. She also reported no abuse in her childhood, only multiple family deaths, and her system came in constantly-cycling rosters of three. I highly recommend picking up her final book, A Mind of My Own, which starts with her integration. I haven't read her other one. Ms. Sizemore died in 2016.]


Henry Hawksworth's mind has been the home of six separate personalities, four of which developed during his early childhood. His central, usually dominant personality was Dana, a hardworking, intelligent person who became a successful California corporate exercutive. A second personality was Peter, a young boy who went to amusement parks and wrote poetry. A third was Johnny, a violent, often sadistic character who loved gambling, barroom brawls, and prostitutes. And a fourth was Phil, who emerged only to deal with crises. A transitional fifth personality, Jerry, came into existence later as a result of psychiatric therapy with Dr. Ralph Allison. Since 1976, the five formerly distinct selves have been integrated into a sixth personality--Henry. After the personality fusion, Henry appeared in court to face an old drunk driving charge against Johnny. For the first time in history, multiple personality was used as a defense, and Henry was acquitted because Johnny no longer existed.

[Note from LB: Hawksworth wrote The Five of Me, which became a movie in 1981. He's mostly forgotten today, probably because his narrative was very similar to the more popular The Minds of Billy Milligan. Also, Ralph Allison is a blue-headed loon; I wrote about him here.]

8. GINA RINALDI (psuedonym, 1934- )

In December, 1965, Miss Rinaldi, a successful writer, went to see Dr. Robert Jeans because of repeated episodes of amnesia, sleepwalking, and erratic behavior. She revealed herself as a tough, callous woman, full of anger and suspicion and quick to take offense. Within a few months, Gina began referring to the existence of a second personality, Mary Sunshine, who apparently was the original infant personality. A tug-of-war began between Mary and Gina, and in early December, 1966, Gina informed Jeans that Mary Suicide was planning to strangle her on December 31. No suicide attempt occurred, but when Gina met with Jeans in January, 1967, a third personality, Evelyn, had emreged. Althought Evelyn was intially shallow and unfeeling, she developed rapidly through therapy. By May, 1967, the patient was sufficiently well for treatment to be terminated. Now married to a physician, she is leading a normal life and is free from all symptoms of her former illness.

[Note from LB: Ms. Rinaldi is the Amazing Disappearing Multiple.  I can barely find any mention of her existence at all, never mind anything concrete.  No clue why.]


When she was five years old, as the result of being raped and tortured by her father, Christina splintered into Marie, an altruistic but essentially weak personality, and Linda, the repository of all Christina's rage. The worst of Linda's violence excesses were curbed by a third personality, Charlene. In 1974, after repeated suicide attempts and imprisonment for drug and alcohol addiction, the various personalities became receptive to psychiatric help. A few months into therapy, two new personalities appeared: Babs, a childlike creature with Marie's memory bank, and Michael, a strong figure who helped bring about the eventual personality fusion. In October, 1975, the real Christina was at last able to reemerge. The other personalities lost their separate identities, and Christina began the difficult task of growing into emotional adulthood.

[Note from LB: her name was Christine Peters, not Christina. She was another of Ralph Allison's patients, and the author of the book, Tell Me Who I Am Before I Die.]


In December, 1978, Billy Milligan was tried for the rape of four Ohio State coeds and found Not Guilty by reason of an unusual form of insanity--multiple personality. The son of a nightclub performer who committed suicide, Milligan fragmented into other personalities by age nine, after a history of alleged sexual abuse and torture by his stepfather. In addition to his core self, Milligan has at least nine other personalities, which include Christene, an affectionate and artistic three-year-old; David, a troubled little boy who bangs his head against the wall; Arthur, a British intellectual; Ragan [sic], an aggressive Slav; and Adelena [sic], a lesbian who is believed to be responsible for causing Milligan to commit the rapes. Doctors predict that during the course of therapy Milligan may reveal yet more personalities--which perhaps have committed undiscovered crimes--but they are optimistic about his eventual recovery.

[Note from LB: This article predates The Minds of Billy Milligan. Adelena's real name was Adalana, and Ragan's was Ragen. Other information may also have been gotten wrong. Milligan died in 2014.]

Date: 2017-08-10 01:55 am (UTC)
desertroot: Agave - a smooth and spiny desert plant with wildflowers growing in front (Default)
From: [personal profile] desertroot
Thanks for sharing this!

Really need to check out A Mind of My Own one of these days.

Date: 2017-08-11 05:48 am (UTC)
lithophiles: Medium-sized rocks of varying colors and shapes in a stone wall. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lithophiles
I recall trying to read "I'm Eve" at the library when we were in high school and being freaked out by the fact that she struggled to integrate, from what we read of it. It probably sounds kind of funny nowadays that we would be freaked out by a book about not integrating. I think we had gotten the idea in our head, at the time, that if this was multiplicity, then integrating would take away all the struggles and fears over the person at front feeling like they "weren't a real person" and "couldn't express themselves." A lot of that later turned out to be due to autistic communication issues, but we thought maybe it was because we had dissociated away all of our ability to communicate in certain ways. And if that was the case, we could hang on to the idea that we would "get them back" if we integrated.

And most of the books out there made it look like integration was this easy and natural process, once you had found a good therapist, and someone who knew everything about the system would always be in there. (We had someone who... tried to take on that role, but she didn't really know much more than the rest of us did at the time.) So the idea that maybe, for some people, it might be out of their control and you would never find anyone with full knowledge of the system was disturbing to us back then. We should probably re-read it for a lot of reasons nowadays.

Date: 2017-08-10 01:58 am (UTC)
desertroot: Agave - a smooth and spiny desert plant with wildflowers growing in front (Default)
From: [personal profile] desertroot
Also, maybe slightly off-topic, but since being more open about such things, we've discovered that there are a lot more people out there who have "more than one" stuff going on, just more low-key about it and don't share first.

It's making us wonder exactly how common and varied an experience it is.
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