Sybil Exposed

I’m sure many of you have already heard about this book Sybil Exposed, which is said to challenge what must be the most famous Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) case: Sybil.

Last week, the author of the book and a few scientists were guests on the show Science Friday. I wish you would all go listen to it here, because one of the scientists was such a jerk, and in such an unnecessary way. I came across this so many times while working on the Duke book. Just make your point. If it’s a valid one, why the need for all the nastiness piled on top? Also, the author of another Sybil book calls in and by the end of his phone call they were all just laughing at him, which was unkind, but if you listen I think you’ll see how it came to that.

I just read some of the comments about the book on Amazon. Fascinating. I haven’t read Sybil Exposed, but the comments seem to suggest that the author is also debunking MPD as a diagnosis and some of the commenters have been diagnosed with MPD. If you go you’ll see some of the reviews have prompted discussions.

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Police walking by Grace Church last Saturday, at the end of the anti-police brutality protest. I was singing there just before the march started.

Police Marching Past Grace Church during Police Brutality Protest

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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5 thoughts on “Sybil Exposed

  1. I’m surprised in all this that there hasn’t been a mention of a much earlier book, “Dissociation of Personality”, by Morton Prince MD. It was written in 1906, and is one of the first books to document MPD. Fascinating book.
    A lot of scientists, and a lot of academics in general, are real overgrown egotistical babies.

  2. Even in the bible we see one or two cases of Multiple Personality Disorder: The most common is of the re-telling of a pericope that appears in Mark’s gospel where Jesus encountered a “demoniac” or possessed person as was the understanding of the time. Jesus asked the name of the “demon” and the demoniac replied “legion-for there are many of us….” Jesus would not have been interested in the mechanics of the persons mind as he was in the recovery of the man’s peace of mind. He healed the man…He…maybe…integrated him? And the energy change was so great that it frightened local livestock. The story explains it in the language and imagery of the first century of course. But. Whatever one’s belief, A person called “legion” in a two thousand year old document, I believe, is a pretty good indicator that there is something to MPD. Theologians remind us that demonic possession could possibly be a primitive understanding of deep psychological conditions. Is “legion” a multiple personality?

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