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The History of Plurality

Some want to say that "DID" or plurality was made up, that short of the last century ? or even the last half-century ? it didn't exist.

Untrue, so we're going to document plurality going back through the ages of mankind.

This article is a . These are notes of things to research/look up and document ? and is heavily DID-centric since others have been digging up the history of DID, and because most plurals basically blend into society easily enough if they wish to, the most likely plurals to discover will be in the documentation of accusations at events like the Salem Witch Trials, in highly unethical experiments during the Holocaust, etc. Historians may know more about people writing odd letters or journal entries to themselves, and there's other cultures' to dig through on the planet to try to find traces of plurality. DID, however, is a little easier ? especially now that the DSM-V has folded dissociative possession disorder into DID.

Copyrighted summaries

Text below have been pulled from copyrighted original sources to the below section, for educational and research purposes ? please delete chunks as the sources are checked and anecdotes/original texts summarized by wiki authors in our own history section.

This How Stuff Works article3 has a lot of good chunks need references (breaking the article down into things to search for):

  • The symptoms of DID were first diagnosed in 1791. At that time (1791), hypnosis (then known as animal magnetism) was quite popular, and a doctor who practiced hypnotism used it to treat a patient who was switching between two distinct personalities -- the normal personality of the German woman, and a personality of a French woman. Under hypnosis, the French personality could easily be drawn out, and at the conclusion of a session the German personality would emerge from the hypnotic state.
  • Until about 1880, a commonly held belief was that everyone had a background consciousness that was greater than the consciousness responsible for the primary personality. Mental illness occurred when this greater consciousness became ill. The greater consciousness could then be brought out and treated through hypnosis.
  • Around the same time (1880), doctors began to make a connection between the symptoms of DID and early childhood trauma, and also to recognize that more than one distinctly different personality could develop as a result of the mind compartmentalizing the trauma -- its attempt to protect the host personality.
  • A 22-year-old French patient, Louis Vivé, and his six distinct personalities made an appearance in an account published by his doctors in 1888 -- "Variations de la personnalité." The personalities didn't have overlapping memories, but doctors viewed the alters as hypnotic variations of the host personality and not truly separate personalities.
  • Another doctor of the same time period, Pierre Janet, had a different way of thinking, however. He was working with patients described as hysterical, and he concluded that some of them did have different, distinct personalities, born of things they'd witnessed during traumatic episodes.
  • The first real cure to be documented was in 1905 by Morton Prince. He published his account of a pseudonymous patient, "Miss Beauchamp," who exhibited three distinct personalities. Prince attempted to and -- by his own account -- fully succeeded in re-integrating the personalities and forcing them back into the subconscious, resulting in a unified and permanent personality.
  • In the 1970s, a doctor named Cornelia Wilbur treated a patient named "Sybil" and subsequently was the subject of a bestselling book on the case by Flora Rheta Schreiber. The book was later made into a movie. As we'll see in the next section, this brought about changes in treatment, public perception and public scrutiny.

1 printed/published in 1886 by "Paris : Aux Bureaux du Progrès médical" contributed by The University of Ottowa at the Internet Archive

2 See the Internet Archive at — note this book is NOT public domain, the original & the facsimile pages ought to be, the English translation is the recent hard work of Sonu Shamdasani. Many plurals have been purchasing copies of this book or the more reasonably priced Reader's Edition without the facsimile pages to do research for the community. We recommend the Reader's Edition or the audiobook and visiting a local or University library to view the oversized reference work with the full-sized images in person. The copy at the Internet Archive cannot do this book justice. It's enormous, and beautiful. Also see The Art of C. G. Jung (2018).

See Also

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