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By Phoenix& ^Thane, ^Raven,
By Phoenix& ^Thane, ^Raven,
All in the Mind
Lastly, the library search turned up a shady looking book All in the Mind, written by Ian Wilson. The cover of this book boldly states; ‘Reincarnation, Hypnotic Regression, Stigmata, Multiple Personality, and Other Little-Understood Powers of the Mind’. All ready, it’s off to a bad start. Multiplicity is not a mystical ‘power’, nor does it make the group capable of anything more than really good team work. Inside there are chapters devoted to each of these boldly stated ‘powers’, and when at last you reach the chapter on multiplicity, the first thing it does is disappoint.
It starts out with an explanation of why Multiple personality was, and still is, often confused with possession or schizophrenia. Immediately after it details the case of Ansel Bourne, who did not have multiple personality by the description given, but instead suffered from fugue. He abandoned his life in Rhode Island, to set up a candy shop in Pennsylvania, without a single memory of his previous life. 'A.J' - Ansel's other 'personality' never returned again. As discussed in our other reviews, this is fugue - as one day he came back to himself and remembered who he was.
Then it launches into a vague and generalized definition of multiplicity - stating that ‘The outward self’s unconsciousness of the possessing entity of entities is perhaps the single most consistent feature of multiple personality condition.’ Which is a generality that is largely untrue. Multiple systems are not limited to just one ‘outward self’, often there are several that will make up the ‘person’ presented to the outside world. They work together, and may be aware of everyone who does not work at the ‘front’, also. Multiples who attend therapy often have trouble communicating, therefore this misconception is understandable - but not in such a repeated manner. This evidence can be found on webpages and accounts of different multiple experiences available all over the net.
The first case it details is that of Sally Beauchamp (Claire Brenner), which the last passage also went over - and more accurately, I believe. This book neglects to mention the patient-doctor dynamic that went on between Brenner and Dr. Prince, thus glossing over some of the details. It does, however, mention that Brenner’s other people did like to play tricks on her, leaving her in embarrassing situations without any memory of how she got there. Secondly, it goes into the case of Chris Sizemore (Eve), with great detail. It reveals today that she is ‘a happily integrated housewife’, but that her story ‘forms the best introduction to the condition’s myriad of astonishing features’.
Apparently, Chris witnessed several terrible accidents as a small child - a drunken man who had apparently drowned in an irrigation ditch her mother had warned her contained a monster, her mother cutting herself badly on a broken jar, and a sawmill accident that cut a man in two. Due to such scenes, Chris began exhibiting signs of multiplicity early in her life. She blamed a number of misbehaviors on ‘the other girl’ whom she had ‘seen’ doing it. These became more serious as deaths in the family occurred - leading to several spells of blindness and pneumonia, all mixed with bad behavior.
As a teenager, Chris’s problems grew significantly worse, when she was sexually abused and beaten by a racing driver who she had fallen for. After this she entered into an unhappy marriage and had a daughter, but her deep unhappiness with her life caused her multiplicity to resurface again, in even more alarming forms. She heard voices that told her to act out against her husband, and even sometimes found herself obeying. She suffered from a fugue period, going to stay with a cousin for a week without speaking a word to her family.
Her husband, understandably flustered, returned her to her family. Her family then referred her to Dr. Thigpen. Dr. Thigpen observed that her condition had no obvious physical cause, and that her marital issues were in no way out of the norm. However, shortly after he received a rather puzzling letter from Chris, a new personality revealed herself to Dr. Thigpen rather suddenly during therapy. This was the beginning of a fourteen month period during which Dr. Thigpen, and his associate Dr. Corben struggled to understand this unusual case.
The second person - Chris Costner, as she called herself - acted in a manner directly opposite of Chris Sizemore’s norm. She smoked, and dressed loudly and attractively - but not tastelessly. She wasn’t unpleasant, simply less reserved than her counterpart. Readings from an electroencephalograph turned out remarkably different when taken from each Chris - as if they were two bodily different people.
Lastly Jane emerged, who as discussed above was cool, and confident - markedly different from both of the Chris’s. She also had an awareness of what both of the others would do, and Dr. Thigpen assumed her to be the ‘link personality’.
Dr. Thigpen then attempted to ‘phase out’ the other personalities, attempting to promote Jane to be the sole, or ‘integrated’ personality. For a while, this worked. Chris met up with a new husband, and happily married - all the while remaining solely as Jane. Her daughter came to accept her enough to move in with the couple - she had been living with Chris’s parents. Dr. Thigpen and Dr. Corbet then wrote the book ‘The Three Faces of Eve’, which was also made into a film - confident that Chris had been cured.
However, Jane had been unconsciously modeled after Chris’s cousin, Elen - down to having memories that never actually happened to Chris. The realization that she was not all that she remembered herself to be came about one day when she wrote off to a college that she remembered having attended, but had not, and received in reply a response that she had never attended the college.
This loss of identity was such a critical blow that the blind spells returned, as did the voices, and Chris’s suicide attempts. Thigpen returned to treating Chris, and made attempts to dismiss Jane - the book states that, ‘while Jane did indeed ‘die’ not long after,’ new and more bizarre personalities emerged. The book casually tosses off the death of what was, in essence, a healthy person as if it didn’t matter because the body was still alive.
While Chris Sizemore’s case is obviously that of a trauma-based multiple, this does not mean that the people occupying her body were merely nuisance ‘personalities’ to rake through and look for the best properties of to smoosh together into one ‘person’, and discard the rest. This is like saying you should look at any group of people and take out only the best, killing the ones who do not make it up to standard.
Continuing to detail the case after the timeline of ‘The Three Faces of Eve’, the book details Chris’s other people. Three collectors emerged - the Bell Lady, who was older than Chris, and collected bells. The Turtle Lady - who was introverted, and had a fondness for anything in the shapes of Turtles, and the Card Girl, who loved to collect playing cards and was obsessed with astrology.
Also there was the Blind Lady - who was shy and insecure, and was assumed to be the person behind Chris’s blind spells. Chris’s husband was plagued by the Virgin, who was also much older than Chris’s body, and would spray her hair white and flee in terror if she found herself in her husband’s bed. Upon the deaths of her mother, and her husband’s mother the Banana Split Girl and ‘Strawberry Girl’ emerged. Each would only eat what their name indicated, and both were childish, and considered themselves much younger than Chris’s body. Banana Split girl was only 5, and would often consume so many banana splits that the next person to emerge would be immediately sick. Each of these people were named by Chris’s daughter, who was serving as her mother’s watchdog at the time.
These events occurred for some twenty years, with an estimated twenty-two personalities before all of the personalities ‘died’ and ‘Chris found her real identity’. This was achieved with the help of new therapists, painting, and writing her own autobiography - which helped her ‘live out’ her past.
Chris’s case is not the only one stated in this book - but all of the other cases detailed - like Sybil’s, and Billy Milligan’s - are also cases of disordered multiples. Obviously not a single healthy multiple is cited. This book does detail and explain all the cases in brief, but doesn’t bother to explain fully that these are only the most extreme cases of multiplicity. Not all multiples are created by abuse, and not all of them are unable to work together to live a healthy lifestyle.
The book, however, was published in 1982, and contains many other subjects. Therefore, it can be forgiven that Wilson's research is primitive and incomplete. Unfortunately, it seems to be the norm for all books and articles on multiplicity to state the most ‘notable’ cases of Chris Sizemore, Sybil, Sally Beuchamp, and Billy Milligan. They however, don’t explain that the cases are notable because of their extremity.