Multiple Personalities

Multiple Personalities

Ratings: 7.29/10 from 131 users.

Multiple PersonalitiesIn early times, evil spirits were thought to possess people and make them act in strange and frightening ways. By the 1800's, the study of this hysteria led some doctors to believe one person could have separately functioning personalities.

In this rare research film from the 1920's, a woman has different personalities who believes they are separate people. One is a male that is not comfortable in women's clothes. Another is a small child. The affliction has been known by different names, but recognized for centuries. Today it is called multiple personality disorder.

Why have they become tormented and broken into different personalities? What is the childhood pain that lies buried in the unknown depths of their mind? How can they search for the deadly memories that holds the secrets of their paths and the promise of their healing?

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jacinda lemoine
2 years ago

i needed this because my friend at school has it and i dont understand i just say hay lunar,void,midnight,storm,and fang i still dont undersnad alot but some any help for me

4 years ago

In the aftermath of the Sybil story, DID (dissociative identity disorder) is still something that will divide the psychiatric community. Some therapists help create personalities -like Sybil- to help the patient deal with childhood trauma. As such, some cases raise questions and will continue to do so because they might seem unethical and may worsen psychological damage.

In John's case, he found out about his personalities in therapy. I also wonder why he switches when a new situation/setting/task etc presents while at work, and why do the children personalities only appear in therapy? Sure, one showed up while at home with his dog but I would not feel safe if my life depended on a police officer with DID. As much as I sympathise with patients, some will cause skepticism in me.

The DSM-5 provides the following criteria to diagnose dissociative identity disorder:
1. Two or more distinct identities or personality states are present, each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self.
2. Amnesia must occur, defined as gaps in the recall of everyday events, important personal information, and/or traumatic events.
3. The person must be distressed by the disorder or have trouble functioning in one or more major life areas because of the disorder.
4. The disturbance is not part of normal cultural or religious practices.
5. The symptoms can not be due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (such as blackouts or chaotic behavior during alcohol intoxication) or a general medical condition.
Also, as someone from Europe, DID is much more prevalent in the United States (1% of general population) while it's not in the EU. We often tend to look at it as a cultural phenomenon rather than a widespread factual one, and as such it raises even more questions. Some psychiatrists will only see 1 person who has DID I their career.

8 years ago

It is actually called dissociative identity disorder now, not multiple personality.

8 years ago

how can that guy be a police officer isnt that a bit dangerous.. he can switch at any time.... like... wtf.

10 years ago

Excellent documentary. Understanding these MPD individuals helps me understand all of us from another vantage point. I can see the goal of these individuals is to become whole again, truly mature, and this is the goal of us all, even though most of us are not considered sick. I believe wholeheartedly that those who are aware of their blocks or obstacles and strive to overcome them are much closer to wholeness than the average person. I believe that is our universal goal: to grow unfettered, and pull in as many positive rays as we can to grow more and feel more and express more.

Excellent editing of what I'm sure must have been hours upon hours of video documentation.
I feel privileged that I was able to see this moving documentary. Thank you.

10 years ago

This was a good documentary. Very hard to watch what these poor people went through. It would be interesting to have a follow up documentary to see how they are doing today.

11 years ago

This was a great documentary. It is always interesting to see how the mind coupes with its ever-changing environment. Regularly, our intelligence pushes us to adapt or to flight, and through experience, we develop a complexity to our personality. When the mind is faced with an environment that denies both options, to see their splits, not only taking the complexity of personalities, but also, most importantly and more critically, the memories with them. Maybe this is an evolutionary step forward in the state of consciousness, perhaps wielded in a primitive manner. The most interesting thing that strikes me though, and one that the film did not seem to take notice, was with Barb in the cereal isle when she switched to the 5 year old girl. Pat took off the glasses saying that the child had problems seeing through them. Now, did the child think she had problems with the glasses, but could not really see without them, or did her vision physically change with the personality switch. If the latter, then we might as well throw out all our understanding on physical medicine to date because its all wrong. That moment blew my mind.

11 years ago

I have another personality left over from my own childhood trauma, her name is Jade. Jade is everything I'm not; tough, selfish, mean, angry, self destructive. She was the fighter that got me though it, but now that its over she has nothing to do so she fights with my mom. I know she had good intentions, even though she's mean to me, she came around to protect me emotionally. As I get older it makes it worse becuase I can't fight with everyone. Personally, Jade is really upset that she's "losing" me in a way. Its really hard to describe.
But I never black out. I lose control of my body, but I still see whats going on. It makes it really hard because I can see and hear myself being incredibly nasty to whoever Jade thinks is threatening me. She also caused me to become clinically depressed and made me attempt suicide 3 times.
There was nothing I could do except sit back and watch while she slowly destroyed "ourself".
We have conversations and function like two people. But we're not friends.
I don't think.

11 years ago

I think that in the era this film was made the psychiatric/ therapeutic system seems WAY too eager to "discover" "repressed" memories.

I think this is not always a good approach. I would never let someone do it on me.

11 years ago

Yeah right, a 10 year old police officer who carries a firearm?

Rosa Cabrera
11 years ago

I have DiD ( multiple personalities) and borderline personality disorder followed by depression. All my life i have lived with different parts of myself, i have four personalities, Alice, Elisa, Sarah, Rose ( host aka me) . The oldest is Alice she is 16 , loves to drink/smoke and is often linked with my impulsivity behaviours (also linked to BPD) Elisa is 4, Sarah is 6 and I am almost in my 20's. I can assure you, this illness is VERY VERY REAL. Some nights i find myself drawing and painting for hours, i go into a daze often switch back and forth ..these days its more Alice (impulsivity,Anger,Sadness) but while i was dating my ex boyfriend my alters would come out and literally manifest themselves to him. Sarah The six year old was most fond of my ex boyfriend..she always told me that she loved playing and listening to his music...ive gone through alot of abuse and trauma in my short life and ladies and gentlemen if you are telling me creating different parts of yourself to hide away the pain isint real, then what is. We all inside, have parts of ourselves we manifest in our lives.

11 years ago

Ah? Cop? Gun? Severe mental illness? WTF?

11 years ago

It almost doesn't seem real. I don't mean to imply that these people were faking their disorders or inventing their trauma. It's just such a surreal state of mind to conceive of. The cop was especially interesting. I'd like to know if there have ever been cases of conversations between personalities. Not like through a journal but literally constant switching between personalities. As sad as these stories are, things like this really do make me marvel at the minds abilities.

11 years ago

Barb's husband seems like an incredibly good guy. I can't imagine having to put up with a partner who has MPD. Wow..

Desiree Welvaert
11 years ago

Thankfully I have been to many Dr.'s getting the loving therapy that I needed, to resolve my childhood abuse issues, and am now living as one integrated individual person! Living with the "Hollywood" stigma of a person with "multiples" is hard enough without having the ignorant people misuse God as a weapon towards people who have already been abused enough in their lives.
God is love. Jesus was loving. We need to be loving to each other as well.

Desiree Welvaert
11 years ago

I don't even have to watch this documentary...why?...because I was diagnosed by five different doctors as having Multiple personality disorder, now called Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.). I will speak to any who are reading these comments, from my vast knowledge on this subject. I am also a Bible teacher and student of the Holy Scriptures, and have been for 30 years.
Are we on the same page? I know the Scriptures God gave us, and I also know anything you want to know about living with D.I.D. ! God is Love. God sent His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus to live and die for us. Jesus death gave the ransom to buy back what Adam lost. Jesus cured many demon possessed people, including children. Is having D.I.D. being demon possessed? NO!
It is showing ignorance to type away your personal feelings, without having the facts. Your personal feelings could hurt other people, and then God will hold you "accountable". Please read your whole Bible, and then ask one of Jehovah's Witnesses to explain to you what you've just read. God's Holy Name is Jehovah = YHWH Ps.83:18 Ex. 6:2-4

11 years ago

At the end of the movie, we see a a text: "...and these people also show us that when allowed to give up its secrets, the human mind can heal itself."

It makes me wonder, does it generalize to society at large. If so, there are tremendously important reasons for Wikileaks to exist.

11 years ago

this was made in the early 90's on HBO lots have changed in treatment and such

11 years ago

Troy, I really, really hope that you're kidding. There has been ample evidence to support the existence of MPD/DID. These people were brave enough to put their entire livelihoods on the line to make an important point to us. The suffering that we see in this documentary is not them "believing a lies." The fact that you, personally, only had "multiple personalities" in the sense that you didn't want to like or accept the truth and you were excessively prideful, doesn't negate the suffering of those who truly have this disorder. I can't imagine that the police officer on this video chooses to turn into a frightened child, hugging a teddy bear, nor do I think that Barb would check herself into a psychiatric hospital because she's scared of personalities that want to kill her because she desperately wants to be someone who wants to kill her. I'm far from an atheist, and no disrespect, but this is just ridiculous.

11 years ago

I speak from experience. I used to have what these people call multiple personalities. Yet it is
They are believing a lies!! They have made up different personalities/persons that they want to be. They don't like or accept the truth, they were abused they did have these bad things happen to them. They just don't want to accept reality.
Sad to say but they are prideful, humility defined is a right view of yourself in relation to God and man with the proper heart response.
The right view of themselves is that they are the person that had this evil happen to them and man meant it for evil but God means it for good. Genesis 50:21 They have a wrong view of themselves because they have a wrong view of God.
The Bible defines the hate and anger they have as sin and needs repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to save them from the punishment they deserve for being angry and Jesus will cleanse them of their anger and give them love to their enemies.
Take each statement that is being said and define it biblically and you will be able to make sense of everything that is being said. Psychology is a lie and the Bible is true.
Depression is downcast in the bible, which says "Why are you downcast oh my soul, put your hope in God" Psalms
Stress is anxiety. Stress, anger, downcast, obsessive drinking are all sin and need repentance and also faith in Christ.
And the priest that abused the man is a hypocrite and needs repentance as well.
Blessed are those who read and obey the scriptures!!!

11 years ago

Interesting documentary! As a med student, and having studied some neuroscience, the brain and its many functions and how they correlate with our behavior .. it is simply amazing.

My simple opinion is this: Psychology is a behavioral science; behavior is ever changing, ranging from day to day, person to person, unable to be definite...therefore psychological analysis is never definite.

I've read most of the posts here and some were very intriguing. We will all, at the end of the day, have our own views on this subject...the key is to never dismiss nor discriminate..Having an academic background does not automatically give validity to a point... There are so many other aspects we must factor in if we decide to search for enlightenment, truth and wisdom!

11 years ago

The truth hurts

11 years ago

WOW! I was not expecting that ending quote about how "the mind will invent ways of bearing the unbearable." It spoke to me in ways that words cannot describe because words themselves cannot describe the unbelievable. But your mind can protect you from the unbelievable. So who knows, maybe we all have this inside of us and its just waiting to tell you the truth.

P.S. Please don't pretend to know more about everything then you do, live in the realm of possibility. You just may become enlightened.

11 years ago

Well... that was extremely unsettling...especially the cop sitting in the chair hugging a teddy. Not that Im trying to be critical, I understand this is a serious disorder, but this doco was disturbing...

nolasco napoleao
12 years ago

Well, the stories that are being shown are extremely personal and that should be the main reason why they don't go deeper. But still you have a kind of inside on what causes it, syntoms. But still I agree with you since this is a theme that isn't really widespread in the place I live (Portugal).

12 years ago

So these people and their stories were so interesting that I found myself disliking this documentary because every story was cut short. They didn't provide all the information you wanted to know about these people, and they didn't provide any sort of conclusion to their story. This might have been better if they had concentrated on one person and told the whole story.

12 years ago

so, to get a gun...didn't the police officer have to answer the question: have you ever been treated for a psychiatric disorder? And, I guess that didn't make any difference?

12 years ago

amazing. i found myself wishing that this would be 5 hours long because it is just SO interesting. i've known about MPD for quite a while but it is still so awesome and interesting to see and learn about because it's something that i will never personally experiance. it is amazing how well your brain can try to protect you when you go through such tramatic experiances. it makes me realize just how brilliant our bodies are as human beings.

12 years ago

DID/MPD definitely exists, happens a lot more than most people realize, and is caused by severe, repeated child abuse. For more information, see
childabusewiki(dot)org and type in "dissociative identity disorder"

12 years ago

Wow, that is amazing.
They are so strong, and we are so fortinate to here their stories.
Amazing doco. Very powerful.

12 years ago

@ Lori, using poor grammer and structure of ALL SORTS OF KINDS OF STUFFS, I will say, you are an elitist acanemic. You suffer from anemia caused by too much academia. You have no substance in your blood enabling you to pump a rich heavy source of perpetuating life in your brain. You, basically, don't have the resources anymore inside to know that education and expression do not equal intelligence or any ability to reason a subject to a classically logical conclusion and now cannot grow in anyway outside the limitations of your condition.
You spoke early on in your comments that you were considering not addressing a person's ideas since they were expressed, as you intimated, poorly and from a mind that you believed lacked a formal education.
Jesus, I hope you are not a must have some beside manner with anyone sick or poor or uneductated if you do. Your reasoning suggests you would tell them what they thought and what conclusions to draw since they were in your poor intellectual dietary state, seen cloudily as unable to have any rational conclusions from information they retained at all.
I wonder, if someone had an idea and did not express it well in your language, would you dismiss them if they were named Socrates, maybe even Plato, or does the fact they could not speak clearly to you in your language and had not attended your schools to learn the "proper structure" of representing ideas to masses of students and teachers cause you to dismiss them since they had to be translated into our languages and grammar usage by another person? Yet, speaking Greek and Latin, these men have structured logic in many ways and are seen as founders of classic reasoning...oddly, their languages for thought and speech, are extrodinarily different than ours in spelling, structure and usage of each particle of a dynamic sentence. Tenses are flexible in these languages, the usage gender, nouns, nominatives, are all quite incoherent if translated word for word into English, in fact, they CANNOT be translated directly in a majority of cases. They used slang as well, did you know this? Have you ever wondered, if you are not well? Maybe you don't see well? You seem to take in visual information and direct it in some very odd ways suggesting scarring inside your visual seem to be unable to see anything outside a certain framework...are you sure your visual to thought process has not been damaged? You see poor usage of a language and you seem to be unable to respond without an increase in negative deductions and emotions...maybe you have a illness, like ignorance? It mimics rascism, bigotry and other visual to conclusion disorders exactly. What you see, you conclude upon without any further thought as alien, less than you in intellegence and worst of all, less worthy to have a forum for their expression and freedoms. You also seem to be highly aggressive to these visual cues. Are you sure you can think about more than what your eyes tell you?
Back to the founders for logic and science, I wonder,
does the fact that they did represent the highest proper use of their own languages impress you enough to accept them as having important theories and ideas? Or does it concern you what content lay in their well spoken words in any way? Did you listen to them simply because they spoke in a manner you approved? Oddly, they would be unlikely to listen to your reasoning above to ignore a source of input from a conclusion drawn without more study that the source was flawed, as insane reasoning, and dangerous reasoning from a ingnorant mind.

If someone lacked any formal education and made a comment here, have you taken the time to see if they represent the top echelon in their communities or tribe or families or socieity? Have you asked for a translator? Have you asked if they had any desire to learn your language or have you demanded that this form of expression is the idicator of intelligent ideas in a human being?

Are you a natural elitist, or were you taught to be one? If taught, you are one HELL of a student.

12 years ago

Wow, some people commenting are so open to knowledge of all kinds they have mastered these subjects so thoroughly they are able to tell us they don't exist or who is a "nut" or not...they use words like "nut" since they are experts in psychology or medical science and even am really impressed these experts have taken the time from their certainly overwhelmingly arduous lab studies and teaching and explorations into these myriad fields to even watch this documentary or furthermore, comment to us who are not as well educated amazing users of classical logic. Thank you!

12 years ago


12 years ago

I think it is a scam that these therapists are suggesting that these people suffer from "repressed memories"..... I bet a million dollars that the so called "memories" that "caused" their disorder did not really happen. That is, these memories were made up or implanted by the therapists. Psychoanalysis is dangerous. If this therapy does help, it probably helps by giving these people a comforting surrounding with people who care and support them for a certain amount of time.... Anyone check out the guy who made the comment saying that demon possession really does exist.... and he says he has personal experience of it.... What a freakin nut.

12 years ago

She's faking...

12 years ago

I wonder "spambot": when you say grow up do you mean I should be more like you? That's usually what people mean when I hear them say that. Really, people almost always say that just because they can't think of anything else to say. Basically "Grow up" is just another way of putting your fingers in your ears and saying "lalala I'm not listening!!" but with the bonus meaning of "It's you that needs to change, not me!"

And don't worry, I know I have a multifaceted personality.
But you know... so do several other people who happen to live in in the same brain/body that I do. I'm not entirely sure why it bothers you so much that someone like me is so different from you. Maybe you think Us being multiple gets us a lot of attention and respect? I'll tell you, it doesn't really go over well at parties. In a lot of ways I might get a better reaction if I claimed to be from another planet. At least not all of them are evil in movies. So far multiples haven't had the PR benefit of an E.T. or Avatar movie. Generally we're portrayed as either severely unstable(some plurals are but then, so are some "normal" people) or maniacal killers(I don't know of any multiple serial killers, but even if there were the same argument applies).

Right now, we're gearing up to do a public project on multiplicity for school that will out my group to both my peers and my professors. We not only risk losing their respect, but also being permanently marginalized in the department and the college. Since this is our second attempt to finish school, we're really worried about the ramifications of this for our future. That is very important to us, but it's also important that I maintain my personal integrity and not avoid this topic when an opportunity to speak out and raise awareness, just because the subject is a contentious one. It's probably so contentious because it's important.

So maybe I see things a bit differently than most because my perspective is naturally influenced by my "roommates". They think a bit differently because of me as well. But you think a bit differently because of the people you associate with too right? In the end we're both human right? We both have lives with some sort of family and friends and have our own peculiar likes and dislikes. I think really we probably have more in common than either of us might be comfortable thinking about.

The main difference that I think is between us right now is this: I'm willing to listen to your opinion about life, and not dismiss you, even though you're being rude to me, but you are dismissing me out of hand just because you don't want to have to think about how "There are more things in Heavent and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy" (Hamlet)

So I guess what I should say spambot, and anyyone else here who is simply dismissing my experience as though you are an expert on what does or doesn't happen in my mind is this: thank you for showing in such a public way, just how tough it is for people who are thought of as "different" to actually be themselves in a public way.

But many more thanks to those who actually put just a bit of time or thought into this issue. You are the people who give me the hope that choosing to not hide anymore and to be honest about who We are won't necessarily end with complete ostracism or being sent to a mental hospital just for being different.

Because in the end I'm just enough of an optimist to think that most people will listen and respect others once they break out of prejudiced ways of thinking. :)

12 years ago

and kent: it's rubbish. Grow the f*ck up.

12 years ago

I always felt it's simply a case of someone not wanting to accept that they have different facets to their personality, plus a certain amount of play-acting.

12 years ago

A drunk,abusive 10 yr. old cop

What in the hell is going on in this world? I think I have multiple personalities...and I can prove it!:

- sometimes I feel like paying bills....sometimes I don't.
- sometimes I feel like going to work..sometimes I don't.
- sometimes I feel like being around my wife..sometimes I don't.
- sometimes I want "ATTENTION"...sometimes I don't.

No wonder I not a pschologist. I'd probably go into one of my Dr. Phil personalities and live off of Oprah and the pharmacutical companies....Where's Penn and Teller and one of their "Bulls$&t" eposodes when you need um'.

12 years ago

People with so called multiple personalities are people who are pretending to have more than one personality. Pure and simple.

12 years ago

These are people with borderline personality disorder looking for attention. The therapsts are money hungry and are just feeding into the attention seeking behavior. They should be reported to their board.

12 years ago

Gretchen's problem was being sexually assaulted as a child. Why does rape happen?

12 years ago

WOW.... 1920's??? Really??? I can see this was well researched.

Date fail.

Cody H
12 years ago

Somehow I don't think this film was made in the 1920's...

12 years ago

Alden, most stories of DID are similar but don't assume they are because they are copied from some sort of movie or text. There is a reason for their similarity. It is not copied but it is the similarity of experience and how we as human beings cope with torture, mayhem, and many of the things we are forced as children and later as adults to do. The only similarity is the fact that we are all human beings.

12 years ago

@D. It sounds like you just copied exactly the plot of the movie Sybil with Sally Field in it, like exactly.

12 years ago

The first story is a classic example of planted memories. There were hundreds and hundreds of cases like this in the 90's. "Truth serum" is no longer used in therapy. It's kind of funny how most of the time these "repressed memories" only come to light when therapy has begun. Don't get me wrong, memories are repressed, but they cannot be trusted to be true memories if they don't come back on their own.DID does exist, but it is rare, and only occurs as result of severe, prolonged childhood abuse.

How the hell did that cop pass the psych testing required by most police forces. What happens when 10 year old Johnny makes an appearance at a crime scene?

Poor Pat deserves much better than this. No one could blame him for leaving, and taking his daughters far, far away.

Lori, whichever personality is posting isn't very nice. Wait until someone kinder appears to post again.

12 years ago

A.T. Heist, you have no idea what you are writing about. Go back to bed.

A. T. Heist
12 years ago

Everyone has multiple personalities, the trick is not to name them.

13 years ago

I need to go to bed as well, but I'll end for today by saying that I know that DID exists as a disorder and know a couple of groups personally that were formed because of childhood trauma. I don't really understand why you seem unwilling to listen to the ideas that I'm presenting: that one does not have to fit the medical model to be multiple.

And it's not that I think your reaction is extreme, just a bit limited in it's scope and to a certain extent condescending to those of us who are plural without having been abused. Maybe I'm misunderstanding you because I am tired and need to go to bed as well(I'm on third-shift and am already up past my bedtime!).

Also I think I'll have to say that as long as you keep saying "people who suffer from this problem" or insisting that everyone who is multiple is "disordered" it's going to be hard for me to not react negatively. I realize that that is the case for plenty of people but it's not how things work for me and my group, so it feels as if you are dismissing our existence or treating us as a disease, which seems discriminatory in and of itself.

I do appreciate that you are trying to support multiples in your own way, but the way you are trying comes off very much like other forms of supportive discrimination and sorta rubs me the wrong way.

Anyway, thanks for the interesting discussion today. :)