Go down the memory lane and picture yourself being drunk, waking up the next day and not remembering what you did the previous night. Now, take the alcohol out of the picture. If you still picture a blank then you sure have something mutual with these famous cases of DID (dissociative identity disorder).
DID, formerly known as multiple personality disorder, refers to a grave ailment in which two or more separate personalities, or character states, are present in, as well as interchangeably take control of a person. The individual also goes through memory damage that is very wide-ranging to be described by normal absentmindedness. In simpler terms, the person might not even know that the other personalities exist.
Actual cases of dissociative personality disorder are very infrequent, and are mostly the consequence of intense exploitation or shock. The illness acts as a psychosomatic coping device in which the psyche classifies the shock. Eventually, the illness is a failure to assimilate numerous memories, character traits, individuality, and awareness into a solitary, multidimensional personality.
The following cases hold true in all senses and are very well documented. So, here’s a look at 12 of the most famous cases of DID which comprise of actual individuals with the disorder.
12. Juanita Maxwell
Juanita Maxwell has absolutely zilch recollection of thrashing Inez Kelly to death, using a lamp, in the year 1979. Nevertheless, Wanda Weston recollects the event with delight. She self-confessed as much at the time of the murder trial. The twist is that Wanda and Juanita happen to inhabit the same individual. Juanita worked as a maid at the inn where Inez was spending the night. As per Wanda, she lent Inez her pen and when she asked for it back, Inez refused. Wanda went into Inez’s room and when she was asked to leave by the elderly lady, Wanda murdered her. Post Juanita’s alter was persuaded at the time of her trial, the magistrate ruled that she wasn’t guilty because of insanity. Juanita was then admitted to a mental organization.
11. Chris Costner Sizemore
Chris Costner Sizemore, who died in 2016, had 22 separate personalities. ‘The Three Faces of Eve’ is a book, as well as a film, that was based on this very case. However, in the illustrations, Sizemore was shown to have only 3 personalities that were Eve White, Jane and Eve Black. In actuality, Jane’s appearance did not halt Chris’s sorrow. These three personalities died and were substituted by other characters like the Spoon Lady, the Banana Split Girl, and several more. They all had different skill groups as well, for example, some had the ability to drive and some didn’t. It was not until 4 years of treatment with her eighth medic, Tony Tsitos, that Chris was able to commence assimilating her character states. She once stated that one of her dreams included all the characters being present in a Greek arena, holding hands, going behind a screen and disappearing. She also stated that after that dream, they never came back.
10. Herschel Walker
Former American football player, Herschel Walker, put forth his struggles about handling several personalities in his book, Breaking Free. As a kid, Herschel was obese and had a speech impairment. He thinks that the development of DID was caused because of him looking at it as a coping mechanism. For many years, he handled the illness without knowing what it really was. He doesn’t have any memory of even winning the Heisman Trophy. Post his retirement from football, his several identities started getting mixed-up. Herschel’s spouse, Cindy Grossman, divorced him after an incident where he held a gun at her head. It was after this that Walker decided to seek psychiatric aid and was diagnosed with DID.
9. Shirley Mason
One of the most well-known cases ever documented is mostly a lie as per a book named ‘Sybil Exposed’, by Debbie Nathan. It looks like the actual Sybil, Shirley Mason, lied about her disorder. Initially, Mason required psychiatric care due to her emotional instability. But eventually, she became attached to her doctor, Dr. Connie Wilbur, who had a fascination for DID. Learning that, Shirley, during a session, started behaving like a completely different individual, speaking in a childlike voice and altering her behavior. During one such appointment, Shirley even attempted to admit that she was putting up an act, but her confession was terminated as part of her neurosis. Fascinatingly, a therapist named Herbert Spiegel, who came across Shirley often, also stated that she was perhaps faking it, in the year 1997.
8. Karen Overhill
Whether or not it’s possible to cure DID is not an easy question to be answered. Especially after Karen Overhill’s case. She was around 29 years old when Dr. Richard Baer was assigned to her for treating her depression. As their sessions commenced, she began opening up about the abuse that was inflicted on her by her father and grandfather. Karen was under therapy with Dr. Baer for more than 20 years as he gradually understood that Karen, in reality, had 17 different personalities. He used hypnosis and visualization to help Karen reintegrate her characters into a functioning whole, bidding goodbye to all her other personalities forever.
7. Kim Noble
Can you even think of having more than 100 different personalities straight? This is what Kim Noble had to go through. Born in 1960 in an extremely unhappy marriage with both parents being factory workers, Kim’s formative years were spent at her friend’s and family’s and at a certain point in life, she underwent repeated abuse. It was around this time her psyche disintegrated, entirely compartmentalizing her shock. Her state was not diagnosed all through adolescence, even though she was on suicide watch in a psychiatric medical institution post regular overdosing. During her mid-twenties, due to an unexpected switch, she crashed her van into a line of parked vehicles. This led to another psychiatric exam, and she was then diagnosed with schizophrenia. Post her release from the mental institution, Kim somehow got caught up in a pedophile ring. She reported it to the cops but soon started receiving threats of reprisal. Acid was thrown at her face, her mattress was lit on fire with her sleeping on it, and while she managed to save herself, her house was entirely eviscerated. The surprising part? She does not remember this incident. In 1995, Kim was finally established to have DID. Her dominant character’s name is Patricia, and with her in charge, Kim is now an artist and resides with her daughter.
6. Truddi Chase
When Chase was just around two years of age, she had to move out of the country with her stepfather and mother. During this time, sexual abuse was inflicted on her by her stepfather, and the shock ultimately led to DID. For many years, Truddi was successful in suppressing her memories by shifting them to her alters that hardly ever came to the surface. All of her 92 characters served dissimilar roles and held dissimilar reminiscences. Black Catherine, one of her characters, was the one who held maximum amount of her rage. Rabbit, another character, detained pain. Truddi penned a book named ‘When Rabbit Howls’ which described her entire life. The Voices Within: The Lives of Truddi Chase was a TV movie that also represented her life. She was also later interviewed by Oprah.
5. Louis Vivet
Vivet lived in the concluding part of the 19th century. His young age comprised of abandonment and exploitation, and when he was 8 years old, he was sent to a correction house. By 17, he was an intelligent and operational man. One day, as he was working in the field, a viper coiled itself around Vivet’s arm. This incident scared him a lot and he last consciousness and started having vicious spasms that evening. This happened many times and eventually led to his legs getting paralysed. Louis was admitted in the Bonneval Asylum in 1880. He suffered from extreme bouts of epileptic convulsions and lost consciousness as well. After around 50 hours later, when he regained consciousness, he had recuperated his ability to walk. His behavior changed completely too. He was then discharged and was stated healthy. Later, he ended up in another asylum, where he continued to have seizures and switched between not being able to walk and being able to. He was studied expansively and various experiments were conducted too attempt to bring the other personalities to the surface. To sum it all up, Louis had minimum 3 and maximum 10 personalities.
4. Mary Reynolds
Born in 1785, Mary Reynolds moved to Pennsylvania as a child. She had a sincere and depressed demeanor and spent a lot of time in religious devotion. When she was 19, she became blind and couldn’t hear for around six weeks. A couple of months after that, she, out of nowhere, forgot how to write and read, but she learnt that eventually. Then, Mary’s mannerisms changed, and she was defined as wise and buoyant and as a nature admirer. Post 5 months, she then got back to her original self and switched between two personality states for around 16 years. Her second character took over her when she was in her mid-thirties and she stayed ‘’wise and buoyant’’ till she died at the age of 61.
3. Robert Oxnam
Robert Oxnam, in the 1980s, was suffering from alcoholism, sudden blackouts, bulimia and a failed marriage. During one of his sessions with his psychiatrist, Robert’s mannerisms changed completely and he turned into an agitated young boy named Tommy. As a child, Robert went through physical and sexual abuse and that was the cause of his DID. He had around 11 different personality states. A Fractured Mind is a book written by Robert about his life experiences.
2. Ansel Bourne
A small store was opened by a man called A.J. Brown in Norristown, in PA, in the mid-19th century. In a couple of months, A.J awoke with no memory of where he was. It was then found out that A.J. Brown was actually Ansel Bourne, a missionary from Rhode Island. He had dissociative amnesia or fugue, a disorder that’s analogous to DID. Dissociative fugue causes an individual to lose all memory of himself, but fundamentally goes on operating in an involuntary state. It can last for a couple of months or even a lifetime.
1. Judy Castelli
Castelli grew up in New York State and went through physical and sexual exploitation and also fought with depression. She was admitted in hospices numerous times for attempted suicide and was diagnosed with chronic indistinguishable schizophrenia. Once, during a session with her therapist in the year 1994, numerous personality states started to surface. There were seven at first and as the session went on, around 44 personalities surfaced. Post discovering that she had DID, she became a powerful promoter of the disorder. She was on the panel of the NY Society for the Study of Dissociation and Multiple Personality. She still lives on as an artist and an art teacher with mental disorder.
These mind-blowing multiple personality disorder cases got you thinking, didn’t they? Well, that’s what they are meant to do.