Sybil: The Classic True Story of a Woman Possessed by Sixteen Separate Personalities Info

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More amazing than any work of fiction, yet true in every word,
it swept to the top of the bestseller lists and riveted the
consciousness of the world. As an Emmy Award-winning film starring Sally
Field, it captured the home screens of an entire nation and has endured
as the most electrifying TV movie ever made. It's the story of a
survivor of terrifying childhood abuse, victim of sudden and mystifying
blackouts, and the first case of multiple personality ever to be
psychoanalyzed.


You're about to meet Sybil-and the
sixteen selves to whom she played host, both women and men, each with a
different personality, speech pattern, and even personal appearance.
You'll experience the strangeness and fascination of one woman's rare
affliction-and travel with her on her long, ultimately triumphant
journey back to wholeness.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Sybil: The Classic True Story of a Woman Possessed by Sixteen Separate Personalities:

4

Oct 02, 2007

Another old book review from my blog:

This was one seriously fucked up book. I have never seen the movie but, of course, knew what I was in for when I got the book. The name "Sybil" is very well known, and carries some stigma, in pop culture.
However, I had no concept of the extent or the perversity of Sybil's mother's abuse which had been the prime instigation for Sybil's dissociations. When I was reading the sections describing what she had done to her daughter, I was literally beating my head Another old book review from my blog:

This was one seriously fucked up book. I have never seen the movie but, of course, knew what I was in for when I got the book. The name "Sybil" is very well known, and carries some stigma, in pop culture.
However, I had no concept of the extent or the perversity of Sybil's mother's abuse which had been the prime instigation for Sybil's dissociations. When I was reading the sections describing what she had done to her daughter, I was literally beating my head with the book and saying "That's so fucked up!" out loud. (Good thing there was nobody around to hear me except for Magnum).

As far as writing style, I wouldn't say it was the best. A little too clinical in the language, and a little lacking in the dramatic elements. I am sure this is mostly due to the fact that the author (Flora Rheta Schreiber) was a psychiatrist, and this was one of her first (only?) novels. Not to mention that most of the conversations in the book were probably transcribed from tapes.

But despite slightly distracting writing quality imperfections, this book was completely absorbing. The more I got to know about Sybil and the strange ways her unconscious had devised to help her cope with her abusive childhood, the more I felt like I was losing my own mind. It was strange, to ponder upon the potential psychoses that our brains/minds are capable of. It seems that no matter how normal we might tell ourselves we are, there are so many things we can't remember....so many events in our childhoods that can only be known through other people telling us...it's frightening to wonder where those memories are, and if there is some unconscious self lying beneath our conscious personality that is hoarding those memories from us, or, from a different perspective, is protecting those memories...and yet they are inaccessible to our waking self.

These are the kind of things I found myself thinking about on the bus, or walking down the street, while reading this book. Also, it was my first step away from sci fi/fantasy in some time, and it opened my mind up to new knowledge of psychology and psychoanalysis that I found fascinating and plenty of food for thought.

I would recommend this book to anybody who is interested in the mysteries of the human mind. ...more
1

Oct 30, 2011

A nasty piece of work. What's worse is it's a fraud. "Sibyl's" doctor manipulated her with drug dependency and emotional blackmail into agreeing with the doctor's pet theories about multiple personalities, which had catastrophic effects on psychology for decades.

It's like reading a transcript of a witch trial confession.

This book does a serious disservice to abuse victims.
1

May 29, 2013

This book is one of the most disgusting books ever written. For all of you about to read this book, thinking it's a true story, please read the following:

This book was the brainchild of three women: Cornelia Wilbur, Shirley Mason, and Flora Schreiber. Shirley, or "Sybil" as she's known, did not suffer from DID. She actually had Pernicious Anemia. Extensive research has been done on Sybil's case, and it has been proven that the entire book was fictious.

Shirley developed all of her "personalities" This book is one of the most disgusting books ever written. For all of you about to read this book, thinking it's a true story, please read the following:

This book was the brainchild of three women: Cornelia Wilbur, Shirley Mason, and Flora Schreiber. Shirley, or "Sybil" as she's known, did not suffer from DID. She actually had Pernicious Anemia. Extensive research has been done on Sybil's case, and it has been proven that the entire book was fictious.

Shirley developed all of her "personalities" after working with Dr. Wilbur. In fact, when talking to another theripest, Shirley asked if he wanted her to "act like Marcia," and when he said no, she said, "Oh, Connie is always telling me to act like Peggy or Tim, or...."

It is not entirely Dr. Wilburs fault however. Flora was doubting SHirley's story, and to make her stay with the project, Shirley gave her a journal from 1941, with proof that she had been switching personalities before meeting Connie. It was later proven to be written in 1945, because Shirley said she had been reading a book not published in 1941, and the journal was written in ballpoint...which didn't exist in 1941.

Instead of reading Sybil, read Sybil Exposed. It's the true story, of the three womens lives, and is factual and much more interesting. ...more
5

Jun 13, 2015

I had to read this in high school for my Psychology class. I'd never heard of Sybil or multiple personalities. I was so skeptical about all of it that when I read the book I had a hard time stopping with the class. We weren't allowed to read ahead and I was chomping at the bit to read the ending. Great book and side note... the movie is just as good. Sally Field was superb in it.
3

Oct 15, 2007

This was a very fascinating and at times very disturbing book. I probably would have given it 4 stars, but I made the mistake of looking up details about this woman online prior to finishing the book which really changed my feelings about the actual author and doctor involved. Apparently this woman's story is very controversial in the mental health field. Had I known that, I would have finished the book prior to looking up details online (more on this under "spoiler"), and I would suggest that This was a very fascinating and at times very disturbing book. I probably would have given it 4 stars, but I made the mistake of looking up details about this woman online prior to finishing the book which really changed my feelings about the actual author and doctor involved. Apparently this woman's story is very controversial in the mental health field. Had I known that, I would have finished the book prior to looking up details online (more on this under "spoiler"), and I would suggest that if you read this book, don't look up stuff online until you finish it.



***SPOILER***



Ok, this spoiler isn't really about things in the book itself, but about the book's publication. Apparently it's not really clear if this woman actually had multiple personalities. Supposedly another doctor was asked if he wanted to be involved in this book, and he said no because he did not consider Sybil a multiple personality - he thought Sybil's main doctor led Sybil to believe she had multiple personalities. The author supposedly stated that the publisher wanted a book about a multiple personality, so they had to write it that way. Regardless of what is true, it really changed my perception of the book. What started out as fascinating to me suddenly looked like it was exploiting this poor, sick woman. It's even in the book that Sybil's main doctor introduces her to the author, and it seems like they wanted to write a book about Sybil before they even consulted her. By the end, I just felt like the doctor and author were trying to make a quick buck off of Sybil which was really sad because she trusted them (the profits of the book were apparently split three ways amongst the doctor, author and patient). In addition, the book has a "happy ending" finish, but that's not really how things turned out (although, in defense of the author, things may have been really good when the book was published - Sybil lived about another 25 years, so the sadder things I read about her may have occurred after the book came out). ...more
3

Mar 25, 2008

As a YA librarian I get tons upon tons of requests for A Child Called It, a fantastically horrible memoir about a childhood spent living with an abusive mother. I frequently get questions from other librarians that go something like "why do teens like to read that junk?" Well, it wasn't that long ago that adults all over the country were caught up in Sybil, a book that is the grandfather of the tragic childhood memoir.

When Sybil came to Dr. Wilbur for analysis, there wasn't a lot of material on As a YA librarian I get tons upon tons of requests for A Child Called It, a fantastically horrible memoir about a childhood spent living with an abusive mother. I frequently get questions from other librarians that go something like "why do teens like to read that junk?" Well, it wasn't that long ago that adults all over the country were caught up in Sybil, a book that is the grandfather of the tragic childhood memoir.

When Sybil came to Dr. Wilbur for analysis, there wasn't a lot of material on multiple personalities (now called dissociative identity disorder). Part of the way through the process of analysis, the doctor invited a writer to come and document the case since it was both rare and scarcely written about in the literature. The result is this book.

Schreiber does a so-so job of elucidating the psychoanalytic process between Wilber and Sybil for the reader. You get to hear about the details of Sybil's childhood including some pretty nasty bits about her abusive mother and absent father. Meeting all sixteen of her personalities and learning about the doctor's various hypotheses about their emergence is pretty interesting too. However the process of Sybil's integration will seem dated to today's reader. Dr. Wilbur's has a Freudian approach to psychoanalysis, which finds her focusing mostly on events in Sybil's childhood that she comes to believe are responsible for personality splits that began as early as age 2 1/2. Finally, it's only with hypnosis that the doctor is able to achieve any semblance of integration.

One of the weirdest aspects of the book are the passages in which the author refers to herself in the third person. During the course of writing the book, Schreiber, like Dr. Wilber, became friendly with her subject. While it's probably natural to become close to a subject during the course of what were probably intense interviews, it does through a certain light on the written material presented in the book.

I would recommend this book to people with a penchant for reading memoirs or for those that like to read about abnormal psychology. As a case study, Sybil remains one of the most controversial written accounts. It will probably remain controversial, as it is unlikely that her psychiatric files will be released and, I think, people will always be reluctant to believe that parents are capable of doing great harm to their own children if so inclined. ...more
4

Dec 04, 2012

10/8 - I have been wanting to read this for nearly two decades, since I first heard about the 'case' when I was 12 or 13. In those intervening 18 years I've seen the Sally Field movie and learned the truth behind this story, but I'm still fascinated by the idea of true DID and even if I have to treat it as a fictional account of DID I'm excited to start reading it tonight. To be continued...

Later - The fraudulent nature of this book aside, the writing is annoying the hell out of me - it's way 10/8 - I have been wanting to read this for nearly two decades, since I first heard about the 'case' when I was 12 or 13. In those intervening 18 years I've seen the Sally Field movie and learned the truth behind this story, but I'm still fascinated by the idea of true DID and even if I have to treat it as a fictional account of DID I'm excited to start reading it tonight. To be continued...

Later - The fraudulent nature of this book aside, the writing is annoying the hell out of me - it's way too flowery. In the preface Schreiber talks about her other publications, most of which are psychiatry journal articles (and the like), and it's plain to see that this was her first full length novel. She knows she needs to engage the reading public, who aren't her normal audience of fellow doctors, and she knows she can't do that with the dry language of a medical journal. Unfortunately she goes way too far in her attempt to not be dry. Sentences like

"The key to room 1113 was the engine that drove her, the motor on which her panic turned."

and

She was ready to go wherever the bus would take her, anywhere, everywhere, world beyond, world without end - anywhere."

smack of trying too hard. I mean what on earth does "...world beyond, world without end..." mean in he context of the situation Sybil has found herself in (she's 'woken up' in an unknown city with no idea how she got there, she walks for ages through deserted streets till finally finding a bus which she gets on figuring it'll take her towards civilisation)? I can suspend my sense of injustice at what the patient was coerced into believing, but I'm not sure I can suspend my annoyance with the writing at the same time.

As I said before, I've wanted to read this for ages and it's a gigantic disappointment to be feeling this negatively verbose only nine pages in (not counting numerous pages of preface). I feel like this is where Multiple Personality Disorder, now Dissociative Identity Disorder, became known to the wider public. Despite being revealed to be fake this book brought a real, though in truth very rare, disorder out of the stuff of myths and legends, something of a silver lining (in that despite none of this book being true, the disorder was no longer completely unheard of) for real suffers. To be continued...

12/8 - On page 45 - Why do we care that her bra is tiny? And if there's a good reason for knowing this inconsequential fact, why isn't it followed up with more information relating to the size of her bra? I don't know, I just found the fact that Schreiber took the time to comment on such a silly little thing strange.

13/8 - This book seems to have a DID of its own. The first chapter was the immature child who tried too hard for affection (using stupid, nonsensical, flowery phrases in a medical true story, pseudo or not, doesn't endear the reading public), but from the second chapter on (where Schreiber begins to detail Sybil's experience with Dr Wilbur from the beginning) we've been reading from a much more assured and confident writer.

The idea that you could experience an emotional moment at the funeral of a loved one, and then wake up at school two years later is terrifying. I can't imagine what that would have been like for a sufferer who actually went through something similar. I don't know how anyone could go through that alone without any understanding of what was happening, without believing that they had truly gone crazy. To be continued...

14/8 - The atrocities that are described here, that were perpetrated on Sybil, are beyond belief, beyond my imagining. The description of the cold water enema was very disturbing. If you haven't got a strong tolerance for unsanitised descriptions of extreme child (and I mean toddler) abuse there are a couple of chapters you should definitely skip - 14 and 15 will not be good for your mental health. All I can say is I hope to God Wilbur didn't hypnotise 'Sybil' into believing this happened to her (if indeed, none of this story is true. The thought that a patient might be 'given' these memories because the doctor didn't know what she was doing and was over-eager at the possibility of discovering a 'modern' sufferer of DID, makes me sick.

Every time Schreiber writes about what Dr Wilbur was thinking after a session with Sybil I can clearly hear Wilbur's excitement at exploring the personalities, being successful in her treatment of Sybil, becoming world famous as the psychoanalyst who 'cured' the most extreme case of DID ever documented. Every time I imagine her I see her eyes with dollar signs spinning in them, like in the cartoons. I don't see her as doing any of this altruistically (despite her claim of feeling like a friend towards Sybil during their trip to the country), she just wants to publish journal articles on the fascinating case of 'Sybil'. ...more
4

Jul 24, 2013

Sometimes when my kids are really pushing my buttons, I remind them if they don't want the "mean" mommy to make an appearance they had better knock it off. And to be sure, the "mean" mommy, the one who loses her composure and who feels as if she could literally pull her hair out, is far removed from the the loving and patient mommy I identify with, the mommy who also happens to be fascinated by the science of brain and behavior and the origin and experience of consciousness.

So this true story Sometimes when my kids are really pushing my buttons, I remind them if they don't want the "mean" mommy to make an appearance they had better knock it off. And to be sure, the "mean" mommy, the one who loses her composure and who feels as if she could literally pull her hair out, is far removed from the the loving and patient mommy I identify with, the mommy who also happens to be fascinated by the science of brain and behavior and the origin and experience of consciousness.

So this true story (which happens to read a little too much like fiction for my tastes) of a woman who possessed sixteen personalities was at the very least intriguing.

Interestingly, I chose to read this in prep for reading Sybil Exposed, the book that suggests the real Sybil and the doctor who treated her is/was a fraud.

I should add that I've read a lot on the topic of brain science and some on the condition once known as multiple personality disorder but since renamed dissociative identity disorder and much of this book seemed in line with/consistent with what I've read in other more scientific and less sensationalized sources.

I think the mode of storytelling chosen and the hype that surrounded the story leaves itself wide open to criticism for obvious reasons, so I'll be interested to see what evidence is revealed in Sybil Exposed.
...more
2

Mar 31, 2018

I read this at 17, doing work training at aa psychiatric hospital and imagining that I had found out what I wanted to do. I liked the book fine - although I struggled with the narrative. One thing I had issues with was that Sybild, being obviously severely so disturbed, could pose as quite balanced and 'normal' in her everyday life. The was certainly not what I saw in the patients I met and interacted with every day. At about half the book I made the mistake of asking a professor about it and he I read this at 17, doing work training at aa psychiatric hospital and imagining that I had found out what I wanted to do. I liked the book fine - although I struggled with the narrative. One thing I had issues with was that Sybild, being obviously severely so disturbed, could pose as quite balanced and 'normal' in her everyday life. The was certainly not what I saw in the patients I met and interacted with every day. At about half the book I made the mistake of asking a professor about it and he told me that the account of the book was not true. This kind of brought the second half down a notch.

I did follow this one up with When Rabbit Howls (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...), however, noting that Truddi Chas was up to 92 personalities from Sybil's 16, I had a nagging feeling that the would either topped by someone with a few hundred - or be discredited at some point... ...more
4

Oct 19, 2019

Whether or not this story is true, it still remains an absolutely fascinating and thoroughly chilling read! At times I actually shuddered because the thought of losing days at a time and having no idea what had happened or what you had done is absolutely terrifying. I really felt so much sympathy towards Sybil, I can only imagine the utter terror she felt. The author does a really good job of making you feel what Sybil is going through and I think that’s what makes this book so riveting. My only Whether or not this story is true, it still remains an absolutely fascinating and thoroughly chilling read! At times I actually shuddered because the thought of losing days at a time and having no idea what had happened or what you had done is absolutely terrifying. I really felt so much sympathy towards Sybil, I can only imagine the utter terror she felt. The author does a really good job of making you feel what Sybil is going through and I think that’s what makes this book so riveting. My only minor complaint is that it was a bit long at times and would have packed more punch if it was a bit shorter. ...more
2

Sep 16, 2012

I don't know if I can give this a fair review. I only picked it up because I was curious to read "Sybil Exposed" and thought I should read the original "Sybil" first. As such, I went in with preconceived skepticism which, according to goodreads trolls, is a mortal sin and means I have no moral right to review this book. So feel free to skip my review if that bothers you, or read on and take it from who it comes.

The story of "Sybil" is certainly dramatic but not particularly credible. The book I don't know if I can give this a fair review. I only picked it up because I was curious to read "Sybil Exposed" and thought I should read the original "Sybil" first. As such, I went in with preconceived skepticism which, according to goodreads trolls, is a mortal sin and means I have no moral right to review this book. So feel free to skip my review if that bothers you, or read on and take it from who it comes.

The story of "Sybil" is certainly dramatic but not particularly credible. The book describes Sybil, a woman who has survived mind-bogglingly horrific physical and sexual abuse by her allegedly schizophrenic mother (disturbingly dated notions of schizophrenia and the doctor's presumed ability to diagnose an unmet person are just the tip of the iceberg here), including episodes as a six-month-old infant and two-and-a-half-year-old toddler recounted by the author in detail. Sybil has learned to cope with her abuse by dissociating and having other personalities, sixteen in total, overtake her body.

Reading between the lines, there are glaring breaches of boundaries by Sybil's doctor which, if acknowledged at all by the author, are framed positively. There are plot holes and numerous questions about the sources for this level of detail. Of course, I may have been looking for reasons to be skeptical but they weren't hard to find.

I suspect that "Sybil Exposed" will simply confirm and flesh out what I'm saying here, but I will read it anyway. ...more
4

May 13, 2017

Unforgettable story that drew me in. This is a true story.

Sybil supposedly had many different personalities and in this book, you meet them all. I know controversy exists today as to whether this really happened or not.

All I can say is that my mom used to work with MPD'S. (Multiple Personality Disorders). They are real. I cannot say with assurance that Sybil was one of them but the book is fascinating whether you choose to believe it or not.

My mom worked with many MPD'S and there is the school Unforgettable story that drew me in. This is a true story.

Sybil supposedly had many different personalities and in this book, you meet them all. I know controversy exists today as to whether this really happened or not.

All I can say is that my mom used to work with MPD'S. (Multiple Personality Disorders). They are real. I cannot say with assurance that Sybil was one of them but the book is fascinating whether you choose to believe it or not.

My mom worked with many MPD'S and there is the school of thought out there now that this is a real illness. I'd encourage everyone to read this for themselves and make up their own mind. regardless of where you come down on the issue it is a fascinating read. ...more
4

Jun 03, 2012

I read this in my freshman year of college, and it gave me nightmares, and really made me think I was going crazy. I saw the movie first in psychology class in high school. Then, when I took psychology in college, this book was brought up, and I was intrigued.

I have heard some say this isn't a true story, but even if it isn't, it is still frightening. The whole idea is just....beyond bizarre.

If you are looking for an interesting, can be scary to some, just....crazy story, this might just be I read this in my freshman year of college, and it gave me nightmares, and really made me think I was going crazy. I saw the movie first in psychology class in high school. Then, when I took psychology in college, this book was brought up, and I was intrigued.

I have heard some say this isn't a true story, but even if it isn't, it is still frightening. The whole idea is just....beyond bizarre.

If you are looking for an interesting, can be scary to some, just....crazy story, this might just be the book for you. I actually had a hard time reading it at times, especially at night because I just got weirded out. ...more
4

Jul 02, 2015

I have read this book 50 some odd times. Regardless of truth or not truth it stands as a very good and accurate description of what it's like living with MPD/DID.
5

Aug 06, 2007

I read this book in the mid 70s and I reread it a few times throughout the next decade or so. It tells a heartbreaking, fascinating and absorbing story of a woman with multiple personality disorder, which is a dissociative disorder. I’ve heard over the years that the story is more fiction than non-fiction, but I still like the book just as much as I did when I believed it was 100% true. A really sobering look at how childhood trauma can seriously affect one’s mental health. Extremely disturbing I read this book in the mid 70s and I reread it a few times throughout the next decade or so. It tells a heartbreaking, fascinating and absorbing story of a woman with multiple personality disorder, which is a dissociative disorder. I’ve heard over the years that the story is more fiction than non-fiction, but I still like the book just as much as I did when I believed it was 100% true. A really sobering look at how childhood trauma can seriously affect one’s mental health. Extremely disturbing passages about child abuse. ...more
5

Nov 21, 2018

This is such a classic. One of the best piece of literature, or one can also say one of the finest example one could find about the beauty, the complexity and the vulnerability of a human mind and heart, and how far we can go to protect ourselves.

A must, must read so as to understand humans better.
4

Jan 21, 2010

The hard work that goes in trying to get your life back on track is heart warming but also heartbreaking.
Rearing a family is hard work and kids never know what their parents will be like.
Will they be abusive as Hattie Dorset was ? Will they be happy people putting in a lot of effort to rear their children with love and concern. Kids never know.
Hattie Dorset may be one of the extremes in society, but to some extent everyone abuses their kids, in benign ways like pushing them for those endless The hard work that goes in trying to get your life back on track is heart warming but also heartbreaking.
Rearing a family is hard work and kids never know what their parents will be like.
Will they be abusive as Hattie Dorset was ? Will they be happy people putting in a lot of effort to rear their children with love and concern. Kids never know.
Hattie Dorset may be one of the extremes in society, but to some extent everyone abuses their kids, in benign ways like pushing them for those endless classes, or parents who are not even aware that their kids exist, remember Matilda.
But consciously or unconsciously we do expect the unexpected from our kids, did we have similar parents, maybe.
The resilient do their best and stick on, the less resilient fall down a couple of times.
But everyone tries to get back on track and that is extremely courageous.
I have such tremendous respect for people trying to get back on track.

Coming back to Sybil, Hattie Dorset was not at all a mother as we define a Mother, she was an abusive person.She abused Sybil in every possible way, sexually, physically, mentally and ways we can never ever comprehend. She abused Sybil so much that Sybil escaped into different worlds. That Sybil's father pretended it was not happening and never lifted a finger to help a toddler is much worse. Of course we tend to excuse such behavior in multiple ways, but in whatever way we want to couch it, in whatever way we want to excuse people such as Sybil's parents, one word stands in my mind-EVIL.
I know it is not in fashion to call any person evil these days, there are so many better sounding words but to me they were Evil persons torturing a small defenseless child ...more
3

Mar 05, 2008

REALLY INTERESTING if you're at all into psychology or childhood trauma. This book is a true story, but it reads like a science-fiction at times just because it is so so sad and horrible.

If this book were better written and a little quicker paced I think it could easily become one of my favourites.

Only read this if you can stomach reading about horrible things happening to little children... Actually, I think everyone should read this just to realize how hard some people have it due to no fault REALLY INTERESTING if you're at all into psychology or childhood trauma. This book is a true story, but it reads like a science-fiction at times just because it is so so sad and horrible.

If this book were better written and a little quicker paced I think it could easily become one of my favourites.

Only read this if you can stomach reading about horrible things happening to little children... Actually, I think everyone should read this just to realize how hard some people have it due to no fault of their own. A good book to inspire a good nature vs nurture discussion.

Oh also, Dr. Wilbur (Sybil's psychologist) REALLY bothered me with how she pressured Sybil to abandon her religion in order to become well. Sybil was a part of a very restrictive Fundamentalist faith and the doctor lowered herself to Bible bashing and arguing the finer points of religion (GOD didnt say to rest on the Sabbath, MEN/prophets did) when I feel it was more than a little inappropriate. My husband and I had a discussion after I read that chapter about how annoyed we are when therepists make "confining religions" out to be the bad guys and act as if no one would have any mental problems if only God would stop being SO demanding... On the doctor's behalf, however, Sybil's religious upbringing WAS over-the-top. ...more
4

Mar 12, 2016

Sybil is a perfectly normal woman in almost every way - except that she isn't just Sybil. She's also several other people. This true story of a person struggling with dissociative identity disorder (originally called multiple personality disorder) is both terrifying and powerful.
4

Feb 21, 2011

I noticed that someone mentioned that this book is more fiction than fact and also another about how unbelievable the story was.

During the 1970's I worked at an adult home where we had a female patient who held a doctorate degree. One day you could talk to her and she was marvelously funny an remembered everything you talked with her on previous conversations. The other twenty days she was a different character from the book "Anne Frank." She also mimicked the activities of guards that may of I noticed that someone mentioned that this book is more fiction than fact and also another about how unbelievable the story was.

During the 1970's I worked at an adult home where we had a female patient who held a doctorate degree. One day you could talk to her and she was marvelously funny an remembered everything you talked with her on previous conversations. The other twenty days she was a different character from the book "Anne Frank." She also mimicked the activities of guards that may of happened when they busted the house in which Anne lived.

On about the twentieth day I would be able to talk to the doctors real ego. I was always amazed and saddened to find someone else inside the next day. On the last day of her life I found her dying alone in her room ruptured internally by a quart coke bottle that broke insider her and then repeatedly ruptured her internals.

I have not recovered from this event which carries with it other horrid events that occurred on this day.

This disease is no joke and probably the least understood till this day. I read Sybill four years before the event with my Dr. friend - by her existence am even more amazed about how little we will ever understand about the human psych.

Similar strange events caused by brain damage is covered in the book ---American Wop: Beaver Buffalo Buttons Brass Boxing and Beer: That's why you're here!


...more
4

May 30, 2017


I don't remember WHEN I read this, I only remember that I did and that it scared the living daylights out of me. I was W A Y to young to be reading this without someone to talk to about it afterwards.
4

Aug 13, 2018

This 1973 published book, faded brown like the coat of a fall fawn with gold lettered spine, and rough to the touch without a book jacket, was my mother’s, who passed away four years ago. The deckled-edge pages hold a strong mustiness, and as I turned the pages, I imagined my mom’s hands running down the uneven pages as she read these same words more than 40 years ago. She had told me I HAD to read it many years ago. Before she got sick, when she was moving, she packed it away for me along with This 1973 published book, faded brown like the coat of a fall fawn with gold lettered spine, and rough to the touch without a book jacket, was my mother’s, who passed away four years ago. The deckled-edge pages hold a strong mustiness, and as I turned the pages, I imagined my mom’s hands running down the uneven pages as she read these same words more than 40 years ago. She had told me I HAD to read it many years ago. Before she got sick, when she was moving, she packed it away for me along with an old brown bookcase. I’ve glanced at the book many times, tucked away on the bottom shelf in my office, but passed it up for other newer reads. I finally pulled this book out recently and left it on my nightstand to get in line, and I’m glad I finally read it. I can see why my mother was drawn to it, as she had a very dysfunctional childhood and could probably relate to much, sadly. I wish I could call her to talk about what she remembered about the book. I imagine our deep discussion. I’d suggest we watch the movie together and we’d probably compare the book and movie. She was a huge Sally Fields fan so I’m sure she loved it. I plan to watch it myself right away, and I’ll think of her as I did throughout this book. I just realized I dreamed about my mother four times while reading this book, very vivid dreams. Perhaps she was visiting to let me know she’s been here with me the whole time. ...more
1

Jun 19, 2012

I started to read this book many years ago - never finished it as it was undoubtedly a big con. The ingredients were obvious - a disturbed and suggestible young woman, a grossly inadequate fame-seeking psychiatrist, and an unethical journalist. It's amazing that despite its exposure as a fraud (e.g. Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan) the book is still being marketed, read, and believed.

What is particularly sad is that all "Sybil's" psychological problems were easily avoidable. Debbie Nathan, while I started to read this book many years ago - never finished it as it was undoubtedly a big con. The ingredients were obvious - a disturbed and suggestible young woman, a grossly inadequate fame-seeking psychiatrist, and an unethical journalist. It's amazing that despite its exposure as a fraud (e.g. Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan) the book is still being marketed, read, and believed.

What is particularly sad is that all "Sybil's" psychological problems were easily avoidable. Debbie Nathan, while researching for her book, visited the family doctor that treated "Sybil" as a child. She had suffered from Pernicious anemia, as had her mother, and the GP had successfully kept "Sybil" in her happy family home symptom free with liver extract. Her mother suffered from the same condition. When "Sybil" left the family home to study she stopped the liver extract and over the next year it seems that her psychological symptoms returned. This time, tragically for her, she went to see the incompetent Psychiatrist who did not take a proper Medical history and so misdiagnosed her.

Many of "Sybil's" memories and other personalities were elicited when she was under the influence of pentothal, some when she was literally in bed with her Psychiatrist. I highly recommend Debbie Nathan's book.

...more
3

Sep 02, 2007

While really unsettling, Sybil allowed me to realise the importance of the psychology of characters in one's writing. An interesting read of a somewhat controversial diagnosis (multiple personality/dissociative identity), Sybil is a must read for anyone interested in psychology.

How each personality is constructed reveals intimate details on how to create fictional characters or how to borrow from real people into characters of one's own.
4

Jan 11, 2014

This story was fascinating to read. And frightening. And too close to home. It stirred up lots of darkness in me, and helped me get rid of some. That's what good books do.

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