Saturday, July 25, 2015

Modern Witchcraft

          In my junior year of High School we watched the 1976 movie, Sybil, and ever since then I have been so intrigued by multiple personality disorders. The belief is that MPD is caused by severe childhood trauma and through having multiple personalities; the victim can escape the reality of their trauma. This is such a controversial disorder because it is impossible to diagnose. The majority of people who suffer from MPD do not show symptoms under they begin receiving treatment with MPD proponents.
            Before 1970, there were less than 200 cases and by the 1990’s, there were tens of thousands of cases! One of the most interesting things that I came across while reading more about this disorder was that this disorder dates back to ancient forms of shamanism and demonic possession. The idea that an individual can have multiple personalities is present in many cultures, each with distinct differences, but the biggest thing that all of them have in common is that these individuals are greatly influenced through hypnosis because they are in a dream state.

            It is amazing to me how there is still a debate on whether or not this is truly a disorder or not. I also agree with the argument that both the client and the clinician can be at fault for this “disorder.” The following YouTube video points out that this disorder became a cultural phenomenon after the movie Sybil came out. This special New York Times report does an amazing time discussing the history on Eve and Sybil. I highly recommend watching this video to see how the case of Sybil evolved.


  1. Years ago I read a book called The Minds of Billy Milligan, about a felon and rapist who was the first person to ever use multiple personality disorder as their defense. He was diagnosed while awaiting trial and they said he had two alternate personalities that committed the crimes. He was eventually acquitted. Apparently a movie is being made of his life called The Crowded Room, with Leonardo DiCaprio.

  2. After reading up on this subject I find it to be really interesting. The fact that so many doctors are skeptical about its even existence must make it hard for those that suffer from it, assuming it exists. Just going through everyday life and not remembering what your other personalities have done must make a normal life very difficult.

  3. I too have always found MPD fascinating. It's like, i know it exists but how many people truly suffer from it. There's a movie called Primal Fear, with Ed Norton and Richard Gere (PHENOMENAL movie), in which Ed Norton plays an alter boy who is accused of killing a priest, and is found that he suffers from MPD. Richard Gere plays his attorney and has to figure out what really happened.

  4. I've never heard of this case until now but I have heard of MPD from TV and a little bit in Psych 101. This video was very interesting and I think its cool that the psychiatrists questioning techniques such as using hypnosis and hallucinogenic injections can be linked back to what we've learned from our lectures. Is it possible that the patient believes recalled false memories of the other personalities? I think its is definitely possible, but I also do not doubt that this woman had some serious mental issues.