A Girl's Ten Minds

Amazing Experience of Multiple Personality After Influenza.

Article from the New York Times, April 14, 1905.

In 1897 Dr. Albert Wilson presented and gave a discussion on his patient (referred to as Miss Shand in one source) who was 'two girls in one' to the Clinical Society of London. Eight years later this article appeared in the New York Times. We are grateful to the New York Times for dispensing with premium accounts and opening up their archive to full accessibility.

The London newspapers are printing extracts of a report of the Psychical Research Society, which contains the history of an astonishing case of a girl possessing ten separate and distinct personalities within twenty months. The case is being much discussed in medical circles.

The girl was a patient of Dr. Albert Wilson and so remarkable was the case that Dr. Wilson laid it before a committee of the Medico-Psychological Association, the members of which body, many of whom were at first sceptical, all agreed that the manifestations were undoubtedly genuine. But they are unable to offer any explanation of the occurrence.

Dr. Wilson reported the case to the Psychical Research Society, which has now published it in its proceedings.

In April, 1895 -- just ten years ago -- the girl, who was then under thirteen years of age and indifferently educated, had an attack of influenza. After remaining in bed for ten days, she went out into the cold air and suffered a relapse. Within the next two days she was on the point of death, but gradually recovered her strength.

Then commenced to appear in succession the ten personalities. The last one, which occurred a year and eight months after the first, took the form of blindness and imbecility. She understood nothing, and at times apparently could not hear. But she could draw perfectly though sightless, notwithstanding she had never learned to do so in her normal condition. She was also able to detect by touch a pencil mark on paper.

Now at the age of twenty-two, she is in good health, the best of her personalities that showed itself having been educated and developed.

The personalities manifested themselves as follows:

(1) April, 1895.--Acute mania and intense fear, blindness, illusions as to the presence of snakes, and a craving for oranges and lemonade.

(2) About a Month Later.-- A simple child, with reversed ideas as to writing, &c. She repudiated her name, but would respond on being referred to as "a thing."

(3) July, 1895.--Physical health improved, and she became very passionate, attempting to eat her clothes. She could read and write, though unable to do so when possessed of personality No. 2.

(4) August, 1895.--She became a deaf mute, and failed to hear loud noises close to her ears, but could speak in deaf and dumb language.

(5) December, 1895.--She again reversed things; called black white, and thin people fat; she spelled backwards, but wrote forwards. She believed she was three days old, but understood everything that was going on around her. She was paralyzed in her legs at this stage, but her condition changed in an instant. She leaped from her bed, ran upstairs, where she threw herself to the floor, and revolved on her back and shoulders; also she rested on her head, and attempted to walk up walls. A few days later she was again normal.

(6) May, 1895.--A sweet child, but totally ignorant of spelling, reading, and writing. This is the personality that is now being developed satisfactorily.

(7) June, 1896.--Remembered clearly her early childhood, but not of and subsequent to her illness. This stage lasted a fortnight.

(8) June, 1896.--A fit of convulsions; complete loss of memory; patient believed she had been born the day before. She called her father "Tom" and her mother "Mary." Lasted three days.

(9) October, 1896.--Transition came gradually; fits of temper were noticed; she talked like a young infant, and could not walk; but she could speak a little French, of which language she was quite ignorant in her normal periods.

(10) December, 1896.--The blind, imbecile stage.

Two Girls in One The initial report about this strange case.

This case was written up in several journals. In Robert Rieber's otherwise execrable book Bifurcation of Self, he mentions that the girl's family name was Shand. There is a bit more about her in Chapter 22 of Boris Sidis' book Multiple Personality, entire book available online here.

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