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Boris Sidis, Ph.D.

Simon P. Goodhart, M.D.

© 1904




THE formation of many personalities, their dramatic play, their dissociation, new associations, interrelations, and sense of familiarity can possibly be best brought home to the reader by concrete examples from the vast domain of abnormal psychology. A number of cases representing different types of multiple personality are studied and analyzed farther on; meanwhile, I think that a couple of cases will be sufficient for our purpose. The following remarkable case, studied by Dr. Morton Prince of Boston for a number of years, will probably best illustrate the meaning of multiple Personality.1

            “When Miss Beauchamp first came under observation she was a neurasthenic of a very severe type. She was a student in one of our colleges, and there received a very good education. But in consequence of her neurasthenic condition it was simply impossible for her to go on with her work. She was a wreck, I might say, in body. In temperament she is a person of extreme idealism, with a very morbid New England conscientiousness, and a great deal of pride and reserve, so that she is very unwilling to expose herself or her life to anybody’s scrutiny. This has been one great difficulty in the study of her case. To this I would add that she is a person of absolute honesty of thought and speech. I feel sure we can rely upon and trust her absolutely and completely. I have never known her, nor has anyone, I believe, known her—as herself, or the person whom we call herself—in any way to indulge in any deception. Nevertheless, every safeguard has been employed to guarantee the bona-fide character of the phenomena.

            “Now she came to see me in this neurasthenic state, but I found treatment was of almost no use. The usual methods were employed with no result, and it seemed as if her case was hopeless. Finally I concluded to try hypnotic suggestions. She proved a very good subject, and the suggestions produced at the time rather brilliant results. In hypnosis she went easily into the somnambulistic state. This somnambulistic state came later to be known as B. II, while the first personality with whom I became acquainted, Miss Beauchamp herself, was known as B. I. Now I used to notice that as B. II. she was continually rubbing her eyes; her hands were in constant motion, always trying to get at her eyes. Still I paid very little attention to it, or placed very little significance in this fact, merely attributing it to nervousness. One day when I hypnotized her and referred to something that she had done in a previous hypnotic state-that is to say, something that she had said or done in a previous state when I supposed she was B. II—she denied all knowledge of it and said it was not so. This surprised me, and I attributed the denial at first to an attempt at deception. I waked her up and put her to sleep again, and this time she admitted what she had previously denied. This rather puzzled me, and I made various tests to determine her honesty in the matter. The next time I hypnotized her she denied what she had previously admitted, and so it went on, denying and then admitting, until it dawned upon me that I was dealing with an entirely different personality, and this proved to be the case. It turned out that when she went into the state of which she later denied the facts, she was an entirely distinct and separate person. This third personality, which then developed, came to be known as B. III. We had then three mental states, B. I, B. II., and B. III.

            “B. I. knew nothing of the others. B. II. knew B. I., but no more. B. III. knew both B. I. and B. II."

            Thus far there was nothing very unusual.

            “Now B. III. has proved to be one of the most interesting of all the personalities that have developed in the case. In one respect it is one of the most remarkable personalities, I think, that has ever been exhibited in any of the cases of multiple personality, as will, I think, presently appear. B. III., like B. IL, was constantly rubbing her eyes, so that I was frequently compelled to hold her hands by force to prevent her from doing so. When asked why she did this, she said she wished to get her eyes open, and it turned out afterward that it was she who was rubbing the eyes of B. II. in the earlier times. At this time I prevented B. III. from opening her eyes for the reason that I feared that, if she got her eyes open and was thereby able to add the visual images of her surroundings to her mental life as B. Ill., these same images of her surroundings which she would also have, of course, when she was B. L, would by force of the association awaken all her mental associations as B. III., and that, in consequence, B. III. spontaneously would be constantly coming into existence of her own accord. This afterward proved to be the case. B. III. always insisted upon having her eyes opened, complaining that she wished to see, and had a ‘right to see.’ One day, some time after this, while she was at home, owing to some nervous excitement, she was thrown into the condition of B. III., and then, as I was not there to prevent it, she rubbed her eyes until she got them open, and from that time to this she (B. III.) has had a spontaneous and independent existence.

            “This personality dates her whole independent existence from this day, and she always refers to events as being ‘before’ or ‘after she got her eyes open.’ That is the central event in her life, just as mothers date periods before or after the birth of a. child. Now this personality came afterward to be known as Sally Beauchamp. (The name Beauchamp has been adopted in this account for all the personalities.) She took the name for fun one day, a name that she got out of some book, and by that name she has been known ever since. In character she differs very remarkably from B. I. I would say here that B. I. is a very serious-minded person, fond of books and study, of a religious turn of mind, and possesses a very morbid conscientiousness. She has a great sense of responsibility in life, and with those who know her trouble is rather sad and depressed in consequence of the general difficulties and trials of her life. Sally, on the other hand, is full of fun, does not worry about anything; all life is one great joke to her; she hates books, loves fun and amusement, does not like serious things, hates church,—in fact, is thoroughly childlike in every way. She is a child of nature. She is not as well educated as is Miss Beauchamp, although she reads and writes English well; yet she complains constantly that she cannot express herself easily in writing, but she does it quite well all the same. She cannot read French or any of the foreign languages which Miss Beauchamp knows, and she cannot write shorthand; in short, she lacks a great many of the educational accomplishments which the other character possesses. She insists, although of this I have no absolute proof, that she never sleeps, and that she is always awake while Miss Beauchamp is asleep. I believe it to be true. Then Miss B. is a neurasthenic Sally is perfectly well. She is never fatigued and never suffers pain.

            “During the first year Sally and Miss Beauchamp used to come and go alternating with one another. At first whenever B. I, became fatigued or upset from any cause, Sally was likely to come, the periods during which the latter was in existence lasting from a few minutes to several hours. Later these periods became prolonged to several days, It must not be forgotten that though Miss Beauchamp knows nothing of Sally, Sally, when not in the flesh, is conscious of all Miss Beauchamp's thoughts and doings, and the latter could hide nothing from her.

            “Curiously enough, Sally took an intense dislike to B. I. She actually hated her. She used to say to me, ‘Why, I hate her, Dr. Prince!’ and there was no length to which Sally would not go to cause her annoyance. She would play every kind of prank upon her to make her miserable. She tormented her to a degree almost incredible. While Sally would never do anything to make anyone else unhappy, she was absolutely remorseless in the way she tormented Miss Beauchamp by practical jokes and by playing upon her sensibilities. I will give a few illustrations. If there is one thing which Miss Beauchamp has a perfect horror of, it is snakes and spiders. They throw her into a condition of terror. One day Sally went out into the country and collected some snakes and spiders and put them into a little box. She brought them home and did them up in a little package, and addressed them to Miss Beauchamp, and when B. I. opened the package they ran out and about the room and nearly sent her into fits. In order to get rid of them she had to handle them, which added to her terror. Another joke was to take Miss Beauchamp out into the country when she was very tired, and in an unfit condition to walk; that is, Sally would take a car and go out six or seven miles into the country to some retired place, and there wake up Miss Beauchamp, who would find herself far out in the country with no means of getting home, no money in her pocket, and nothing for it but to walk. She had to beg rides when she could from passing wagons, and came back tired, worn out, used up for a week.

            “A great friend of Miss Beauchamp, to whom she was under strong obligations, had asked her to knit a baby’s blanket. She worked on that blanket for nearly a year; as soon as it would near completion, Sally would unravel it and then, like Sisyphus, she would have to begin the task again, only to have Sally pull the whole thing to pieces again. Finally she came to herself one day and found herself, standing in the middle of the room tied up in a perfect network and snarl of worsted yarn; the yarn was wound round the pictures and then round and round the furniture, the bed, the chairs, herself, obliging her to cut it to get out of the snarl. Another favorite joke of Sally’s was to make Miss Beauchamp lie. She had the power when she pleased, of producing aboulia, and also of making B. I. say and do things against her will; for after a fashion she can get control of her arms and legs, and also of her tongue.

            “Sally made her tell most frightful fibs. For instance, when asked who lived in a small squalid little house at the side of the road, she said ‘Mrs. J. G.,’ a very prominent lady in society, and very wealthy. ‘Why, I thought she was rich!’ ‘Oh, yes, but she has lost all her money now.’ Miss Beauchamp would be mortified at hearing herself tell these astounding barefaced fibs, which her listener must know were fibs, but she could not help it. Again, for a time at least, Sally put B. I. on an allowance of five cents a day. She would find the money waiting for her in the morning on the table with a note saying that it was her allowance for the day and she could not spend more. Sally took away her postage-stamps, and if Miss Beauchamp wrote a letter it had first to be exhibited to Sally, and if Sally approved it, it was posted; if not, it did not go, and that was the end of it.

            “Miss Beauchamp is a person with a great sense of dignity, and dislikes anything that smacks of a lack of decorum or of familiarity. Sally had a way of punishing her by making her sit on a chair with her feet upon the mantelpiece. B. I. could not take her feet down, and was mortified to think she had to sit that way. Sally carries on a correspondence with Miss Beauchamp, writes letters to her pointing out all the weak points of her character, dwelling on all the little slips and foibles of her mind, telling her all the reckless acts and secret thoughts, indeed, everything she has done that would not bear criticism. In fact, when she has a chance to stick a pin into her, she does it. When Miss Beauchamp wakes in the morning, she may find pinned upon the wall of the room verses containing all sorts of personal allusions, letters calling her names, telling fictitious things that people have said about her; in short, doing everything imaginable to make her life miserable. Nevertheless, at times when she has gone too far, Sally has got frightened, and then she would write me a letter and ask for help, saying that she ‘could not do anything with Miss Beauchamp,’ and I ‘really must help her’.

            “Although B. I. knows nothing of Sally, Sally not only is conscious of Miss Beauchamp’s thoughts at the moment they arise, but she is capable, as I have said, of controlling her thoughts and her arms and legs and tongue to a certain extent. Sally can produce positive and negative hallucinations in B. I. and frequently does so for a practical joke. During the times when Sally is in existence, B.I. is—as Sally puts it—‘dead,’ and these times represent complete gaps in Miss Beauchamp’s memory, so that she has no knowledge of them whatever. ‘What becomes of her?’ Sally frequently asks. Sally is never ‘dead.’ Her memory is continuous; there are no gaps in it. She not only knows—simultaneously, as I said—all of B. I’s thoughts and emotions and sensations, but more than that;—Sally’s thoughts are entirely distinct from and independent of B. I’s thoughts, with which they are coexistent, but not identical. B. L's thoughts are not Sally's thoughts. Sally’s thoughts coexist alongside of and simultaneously with B. I’s; but Sally's mental life is made up of entirely different and separate thoughts and feelings from B. I's, so that Sally will have a train of thought at the same time with B.I, of an entirely different nature. All this is also true of the relation of Sally’s mind to the personality—B. IV.—who came later, excepting that Sally does not know B. IV.’s thoughts. While either Miss B. I. or IV. is thinking and feeling one thing-is depressed and self-reproachful, for example—Sally is feeling gay and indifferent and enjoying Miss B.’s discomfiture and perhaps planning some amusement distasteful to her.”

            Professor J. H. Hyslop gives me the following account of an interesting case of multiple personality, in which the parasitic “discarnate” personalities claim to come from “other worlds.”

            “A little over three years ago an orthodox clergyman, whose real name I here conceal under that of Mr. Smead, wrote me that his wife had done considerable automatic writing with the planchette, and had received some apparently spiritistic communications, and that he wished I would investigate the identity of a certain person claiming to communicate, and who gave his name as Harrison Clarke. In the same letter Mr. Smead remarked that he had some matter purporting to be communications with reference to the planet Mars, resembling the work of Flournoy’s case of Mlle. Helene Smith. I requested the privilege of seeing this matter, and it was at once sent to me. I became sufficiently interested in the phenomena to Pay Mr. Smead a visit to investigate the case. My first task was to convince myself that I was dealing with genuine phenomena of some kind, and this was done in various ways, besides ascertaining the standing and respectability of Mr. and Mrs. Smead.

            “Inquiries into the history of Mrs. Smead’s planchette writing showed that she had been familiar with the instrument since childhood. But nothing of a systematic character had been done or preserved until 1895, when some allusions were made in the writing to the planet Jupiter, which was described as the ‘babies’’ heaven.   Mr. and Mrs. Smead had lost two children stillborn, and one a few hours after birth, and Mr. Smead a brother some years earlier by a railway accident. It was in the names of these personalities that the ‘communications’ purported to come regarding planetary conditions. After the allusion to Jupiter, some inquiry was made as to whether any of the planets were inhabited, and the reply was that Mars was populated. Soon afterward a map was drawn of this planet, representing a continent and the various zones on it. The names of these zones were given, and were ‘Zentin’ (cold), ‘Zentinen’ (very cold), ‘Dirntze’ (north temperate zone), ‘Dirntzerin’ (south temperate zone), and ‘Emerincenren’ (Equator). This was followed by a dialogue between Mr. Smead and the ‘communicator,’ in which it was said that the inhabitants of Mars were somewhat like our Indians, and that some of them were civilized in certain respects. Allusion was also made to the ‘cannals’, in the form of expression, ‘the way they fix the water,’ which was described as canals connecting the oceans.

            “At this point the experiments were interrupted for five years with exception of a few attempts, one of which was fairly recorded, and purported to be a ‘communication’ from a deceased friend, of whose death Mr. and Mrs. Smead say they did not know until after the fact was written in connection with the planchette. In 1900, when the writing was resumed, the Martian ‘communications’ occupied most of the time given to the work for about three months, and were well developed and systematic, as if the interval had been employed by the subconsciousness in maturing what it had to say. A hieroglyphic language was invented by this agency, and said to represent the visible speech of the Martians. One of the first things done in the resumption of Martian messages was the drawing of a figure which was called a ‘sea vessel,’ and the writing of two words, ‘Seretrevir’ and ‘Cristririe.’ The first of these words was said to mean ‘sea vessel,’ and the latter its name. A curious feature of the incident, however, was the statement that the Martian ships were made of trees, and that the inhabitants of that planet ‘did not use sawmills as we do.’ Is this an association of Indian canoes cut out of trees with what was said five years previously about the with the inhabitants being like our Indians? It certainly has this probability.

            “In the next experiment a curious figure was drawn, recognizable in itself, but which was explained to represent a ‘dog-house temple.’ In the corners of the figure two animals were drawn which were meant to represent dogs, and which were said to give the name to the temple. Then the hieroglyphic characters were drawn, describing the temple by name, and then translated into English characters. They were ‘Ti femo wahrhibivie timeviol,’ meaning ‘the dog-house temple,’ the words taking the as order as in English.

            “At the same sitting the name of the lake, drawn five years earlier on the map, was given. It was ‘Emervia.’ Mr. Smead then asked for the Martian for ‘the boy runs,’ and received the reply that people do not run on Mars, but only walk. The Martian characters were then drawn for ‘the boy walks,’ and were translated into English characters, ‘Ti inin amaravim.’ The form of thought was explained to be ‘the boy walking,’ and not ‘the boy walks.’

            “A number of Martian objects were drawn and described at various times, when at last a fine palace was drawn and described in detail. It had two divisions, with lawns and flower-plots in front and mountains behind. One part was gray stone and the other white. A few days later the ground-plan of the same palace was drawn, and then a curtain that was said was said to hang, possibly as a piece of tapestry, in it. The representation of this curtain was, in fact, a fine work of art. The details were all minutely described by the planchette.

            “Finally, a barrack was drawn, and said to be the building where Martians lived before marriage and while working in the fields. There were indications that the class thus provided for were aristocratic. It had been earlier stated that the members of this class were not allowed to vote at the election of rulers and legislators. The drawing of this barrack, however, was the last of the Martian ‘communications.’ If I could here give the detailed record of the Martian incidents, and the hieroglyphic language and sentences written out with the planchette it would be apparent to the student that both represent a very systematic illustration of subconscious work.

            “Without any warning or previous indication the Martian ‘communications’ were interrupted by a new personality calling himself Harrison Clarke. He soon dropped the planchette and used the pencil. A special trait of this personality, not noticeable before appearance or after his disappearance, is his adeptness at tricks of writing. He shows about equal facility at inverted, mirror, and normal writing. The inverted writing is from right to left, and must be read upside down. The mirror writing must be read with a mirror. Mrs. Smead never in her life, at least so far as her memory goes, practised mirror or inverted writing, and yet these were produced by Harrison Clarke as easily as the normal type. But it was his biography that had the greatest interest. This was written out at various times and without regard to chronological order, but reduced to this was as follows:

            “Harrison Clarke was born in a town that is now a part of Chicago, and at two years of age was brought to Albany, N. Y., where he was cared for, until grown, by an aunt. He came first to New York City, and went thence to Baltimore, where he worked in a store until, becoming engaged to a lady and finding it necessary to learn a trade, if he was to marry, he returned to New York and entered the office of the New York Herald as a type-setter. The death of his lady-love in the meantime led to his enlistment in the army, and he was in the last regiment that left New York City for the war, and was in the battle of Shiloh, where, one morning, after being out all night with his emrade, he was discovered by rebel guards and shot. His lady-love, deceased, appeared to him as he was dying and told him that he was going with her, and on her consent that he might some time return to tell of his survival after death, he agreed to die content. The generals on both sides and the date of the battle were correctly named.

            “Now, Mrs. Smead does not remember ever hearing of any person by the name of Harrison Clarke and also does not recall reading any account of that battle. The New York Herald authorities refused to permit investigation as to the employment of any such persons as Harrison Clarke on their pay-rolls in 1861 and 1862, and the Directories of that city for several years show no such person. Inquiries at the war records in Washington show that no New York regiment was in the Battle of Shiloh. They show that there was a Harrison Clarke in the 125th Regiment of New York, but he was mustered out at the termination of the war in 1865, and at this writing is still living in Albany, N.Y. There was a Harrison Clarke in one of the Illinois regiments that was in the battle of Shiloh, and he was also mustered out at the end of the war, and did not die until 1895. None of the facts fitted him, so far as could be ascertained.

            “As soon as I had determined these facts, and the impossibility of treating this personality as anything but subconscious action of Mrs. Smead, I resolved to confront it with this story of the failure to prove identity. I intrusted the task to Mr. Smead with directions. At the first opportunity Harrison Clarke was told of his imposture. He was embarrassed for an explanation at first, but at a half suggestion he took up the story that he had deserted the New York regiment and joined one under a different name that permitted him to be in the battle of Shiloh. But he refused to give the new name under which he enlisted. He was not to be entrapped. But later, evidently feeling doubtful about the impression he had made, he caused a vision to Mrs. Smead in which she saw him pointing out the 125th Regiment of New York marching through the streets of that city and the vacancy in the ninth line, as an evidence that he had been killed! Here was quite indubitable evidence that secondary personality was at the bottom of the whole affair, to say nothing of the evidence the previous falsity of his story.

            “In the Martian ‘communications’ there were frequent indications of ‘messages’ from deceased friends of the Smeads, sometimes whole sittings being taken up with these. But when Harrison Clarke came in to control, intruders of all sorts were absolutely excluded. When he found himself ridiculed for his spiritistic claims, the ‘communications’ took on the personality of deceased friends of the Smeads in most cases, and only a few instances of apparently verifiable cases of unknown persons. For a long period the ‘communications’ purported to be from or about persons known to the Smeads, and to represent incidents which, in most cases, were known to them. The spirit of fabrication was exorcised by the failure of Harrison Clarke to prove his reality. I can give no detailed account of these instances, as it would take me far beyond the limits of this paper even to summarize them. But the chief personality concerned was Sylvester Smead, the deceased brother of Mr. Smead. The chief interest attaching to this fact is the selective unity shown by Mrs. Smead’s subconsciousness in the choice of incidents to represent discarnate reality, indicating a very large range of power of imitation.”

            The Flournoy case of multiple personality with its controlling guide and subordinate personalities belongs to the same order of mental phenomena. The case is probably well known to the reader. I give here a brief account from a review made by Professor Joseph Jastrow.

            “The story is a complicated one. The medium in the narrative goes by the name of Helen Smith. Her father was a merchant, a Hungarian by birth, and is described as an active, enterprising, matter-of-fact man and a good linguist; though quite hostile to ‘spiritualistic’ notions, he was gradually won over to them by his daughter’s mediumship. Her mother, born in Geneva, has always been markedly predisposed to spiritualistic phenomena of all kinds, has had ‘psychic experiences’ of her own, and is also involved as narrator or witness in several of the less clear and less credible phenomena of Helen’s mediumship. Helen herself is described as an attractive woman of about thirty years of age, intelligent and frank; she is of good physical and mental health, presents none of the recognizable stigmata of nervous instability, if we except a six-month period of general weakness, and her mediumistic tendencies; and resents strongly the imputation of being abnormal in any respect. At the age of fifteen she became an apprentice in a large business house and has earned her living as a trusted and capable employee. She has refused to allow any photograph of herself to accompany the volume, but has consented to its publication in spite of her radical disbelief in the explanations offered. During her girlhood she was given to day-dreaming, experienced hallucinations and unusual warnings, and was, as she still is, of a highly sensitive, nervous, and imaginative temperament. She regarded herself as a strange and unusual person, who was in a way out of place in the every-day existence about her, and she was ever ready, though often with fear and trembling, to perceive in-unusual happenings the confirmations of her imaginative creations. Adolescence brought about a consummation of many of these tendencies, in the way of more positive hallucinations, momentary lapses of consciousness and sporadic instances of automatic or ‘somnambulic’ actions. M. Flournoy regards it as likely that these excursions in an unreal world and the tendencies to automatic expression would have disappeared normally and naturally amid the sterner realities of life (for this form of coquetting with castles in Spain and seriously mystic occupation with the less humdrum world of one’s imagination is not a rare trait of childhood), were it not for her introduction to the manifestations of spiritualism. These became both rain and sunshine to the tender sprouts of her subconscious fancy and developed them into a tropical luxuriance of automatic manifestations. Table turning and rapping out of messages she accomplished at once, while a slight suggestion on the part of the ‘circle’ induced automatic writing and clairvoyant visions. These began early in 1892 and continued without any unusual features until the spring of 1895, when, partially under the incentive of the interested and professional presence of M. Flournoy, the ‘polymorphous’ automatisms of Hindu and Martian blossomed forth.

            “Mlle. Smith, in her present séances, enters into a trance, or rather into one of several forms of trance, the general reality of which is attested by physiological changes of breathing and attitude, by the presence of abnormalities of sensibility and movement, and by marked psychologic characteristics similar in every way to those of the hypnotic trance. Her appreciation of her surroundings, her remembrance of her trance-doings on return to her normal state, vary in the several trances; several different impersonations or trance conditions may occur in the same sitting, and the most remarkable phenomena seem associated with the deepest disturbance of consciousness. Her general guide or spirit-control is one ‘Leopold,’ who enters partially into all her automatic ‘cycles’ and into her daily life. She not rarely sees him, or hears his voice; he has indicated the whereabouts of hidden articles, warned her against impending disaster, prescribed remedies for the sick, and in particular directed Helen as to what she may and may not do both in ordinary worldly and in ‘psychic’situations. ‘Leopold’ has been a great help and also something of a hindrance to the investigations. He alone is in touch with the subconscious strata of Helen's mental storehouse, and can by suitable suggestion be made to yield information which the normal Helen is unable to give; but at crucial points he too professes ignorance, and pronounces licet and non-licet upon attempts to bring to light hidden sources of ‘spirit-revealed’ knowledge. Now this factotum and mentor, Leopold, is really the disembodied spirit of Joseph Balsamo, better known as Count Cagliostro, who departed this life with a somewhat shattered reputation in 1795. Leopold seems to personify Balsamo mainly when Helen passes into what M. Flournoy calls her ‘royal cycle,’ in which she becomes Marie Antoinette and Balsamo her ‘cher sorcier’ and devoted admirer. While the unfortunate queen seems in many ways the favorite character of Mlle. Smith’s automatic repertoire, and while she assumes the part with superb histrionic realism of attitude and manner; and spends entire evenings as the queen, and partakes an actual dinner which she eats with royal appetite, entertaining her real, but to her transformed, guests, gracious to her favorites and queenly to all; yet this is but the spontaneous exuberance of an imaginative creation the materials for which are readily accessible to her normal self, and many details of which have been traced to an engraving accompanying Dumas's account of Balsamo. We shall, therefore, follow M. Flournoy to India and to Mars.

            “The Martian cycle seems to have sprouted from a chance suggestion of one of the sitters, a M. Lemaître, that it would be interesting to know what was going on on the planet Mars, and the further elaboration of the topic after the manner of Flammarion. This notion, ‘caught on the wing,’ made a great impression on Mlle. Smith's subconscious automatism and in one of her subsequent clairvoyant visions she seems to be floating away into space and the table spells out ‘Lemaître, ca que tu desirais taut!’ and then she arrives at her destination which the table announces to be Mars. At this same séance she also brought messages to an old lady from her dead son Alexis Mirel, who reappears in another incarnation on Mars as Esenale. Then come descriptions of Martian houses, scenery and peoples, of customs and doings, and a bit of its fauna and flora. These are all fanciful enough and are evidently designed to be as oddly different from terrestrial conditions as may be. There is an intermediate condition in which Mlle. Smith can be induced to use pencil and brush and yet can receive by suggestion this visualized Martian scenery; in this way we have quite a collection of illustrations of things visible upon Mars. They are not particularly interesting. The landscapes and houses are rather Japanese, or vaguely oriental; the occasional specimens of a plant and animal are unusual combinations of familiar vegetable and animal qualities, not nearly so droll as those of Edward Lear. The one really remarkable feature of the Martian epos came only after a long period of incubation or subliminal preparation; this was the Martian language. In its fullest development it included the hearing of words in this strange tongue, speaking it, seeing it visualized in space and, best of all, writing it when the medium was completely entranced and personating a Martian. However, none of these processes ever appeared as fluent, extensive or completely spontaneous; yet we have short significant and consistent messages in a wholly fictitious and strange-looking alphabet. Here is one of the messages reduced to Roman characters, and its French equivalent:

“ ‘Astané bounie zé buzi ti di trine nâmi ni ti di umêzé

            se ï miré bi tarvini,

“ ‘Astané cherche le moyen de te parler beaucoup et de te

            faire comprendre son langage.’

            “But how is the French equivalent known? Through Leopold, who vouchsafed a talismanic word and procedure by which the entranced medium could be induced to translate. The messages do not transcend the familiar mediocrity of spiritualistic circles, but their form is certainly a marvellous example of subliminal creative imagination, if we are willing with M. Flournoy to accept them as such. M. Flournoy’s analysis of the language is most minute, and he pronounces it an ‘infantile’ production modelled closely after the French, the only language which Mlle. Smith knows. Its syntax and the arrangement of words are absolutely identical with those of French; the vocabulary is made as bizarre as may be, but it is possible in many cases to recognize the source of the invention. In brief, the noteworthy point is the holding in mind of the visual signs and the phonetic equivalent of these signs, and of their combination into words, at least sufficiently to hear, see and write brief messages; the imaginary Martian setting and corroborative, ‘details added to give verisimilitude to an otherwise improbable tale,’ are creditable to a subordinate personality, but they do not arouse the admiration evoked by the auditory and visual memory feats.

            “The Hindu cycle is even more complicated, and its element of mystery remains as yet an unsolved problem. In this, Mlle. Smith appears as the daughter of an Arab sheik, whom she leaves to become, under the name of Simandini, the eleventh, wife of Prince Sivrouka Nayaca, whose present incarnation is none other than M. Flournoy himself. This Sivrouka reigned over Kanara and built in 1401 the fortress of Tchandraguiri. Other characters are a faithful servant Adèl, a small ape Mitidja and a fakir Kanga, who is no other than the Astané of the Martian world. Upon this foundation there is again elaborated a complex drama too intricate to be here unfolded.”

            These cases may serve as good illustrations of the possible disaggregations and new aggregations of the mental systems that go to make up the warp and woof of human personality. Of course it remains yet to be shown how much of these phenomena is artificially induced and how much of this play is really spontaneous. In either case, however, the fact of plural personalities stands out clear and distinct. Training no doubt counts a good deal, but this in itself is insufficient to account for the independent personalities with their own characteristic traits, intellectual and moral, and with their own trains of memories impenetrable to all other personalities, persisting in their existence once formed, persistently refusing to be merged into any of the other personalities, and resisting all efforts at fusion. The life experience of the different personalities as well as their memories are so distinct that the information they get as to the life and experience of their neighbors is entirely of an indirect character. At the same time a closer examination of the cases reveals the fact that the personalities, in spite of their apparent independence, have a good deal in common. Different as the mental systems are, they have a good many common constituent mental groups.

            Taken as examples of many others, these cases fairly illustrate the meaning of what is usually understood by the term multiple personality. In a broad sense we may say that tracts of consciousness separated by gaps, by breaks, which for the time being cannot be bridged over or united to form a continuity, are regarded as so many different personalities. A tract of consciousness may be affected through some shock, or through the influence of toxic or auto-toxic stimuli acting on the associations of the psycho-physiological systems, bringing about dissociations and impassable gaps, so to say, in the mental continuity. If these dissociations run in many different directions, the phenomena of multiple consciousness, or what is the same, of multiple personality, are the inevitable result. When the old personality becomes disrupted by the hurtful stimuli into smaller and more contracted individualities, the fragments may under certain conditions, such as trance states and hypnosis, be again unified into the complete old personality. The content, however, in all these fragmentary personalities remains unchanged,—they are chips of the old block, and as such may be regarded as mere contractions of the old personality.

            According to some psychologists, the new personality is identical with the old personality contracted along different lines. Such contractions of personality with expansions in other directions, reminding one of the protoplasmic amoeboid contractions and expansions as adaptations in response to stimuli coming from the external environment, are by no means the exception; in fact, they are rather the rule. All along the course of one’s life the stock of memories at the direct disposal of the personal consciousness keeps on contracting in some directions and expanding in others. Many memories drop out while others come in. How much do we remember of our infancy, childhood, boyhood, youth and even of our early manhood? There are leaks, breaks, gaps and losses in all directions. The perspective of our life history becomes shortened and contracted as our life journey lasts. On the other hand, the prospective into the future often expands beyond justifiable bounds. The content of personality keeps on changing, but we are hardly justified to designate phenomena of this order as multiple personality or as the formation of new personalities. No new personality is really formed. The whole process is simply a matter of amnesia. From a certain stand-point this view is quite legitimate. Looked at from the stand-point of the old personality all these lacks, losses and lapses of personality are simply so many contractions of individuality, so many lapses of memory.

            The fact that the dissociated tracts of consciousness cannot be bridged over, and what happens in one field of consciousness cannot become the possession of the neighboring field, though all of them intensely conscious; the fact that each dissociated mental aggregate has its own chains of memories which do not fuse with that of the other aggregate, and that, moreover, in the intervals of its inactivity, or when in the periods of its activity, it does not attach itself to the dominant functioning system, but picks up the chain of memories precisely at the point where it had dropped it, all these facts point to the presence of an independent personality. Moreover, under certain conditions, such as trance or hypnosis, these dissociated tracts of consciousness can be made to reveal their experiences, their memories, in fact, the whole of their content. While the dominant personal system is active, the secondary personality may sometimes know and sometimes be ignorant of what is happening to the other, but the two always regard one another objectively as strangers. Can we quite say that this is the experience of ordinary life? Is it a matter of every-day experience that our detached forgotten memories become active and set up housekeeping on their own behalf? Are not all these characteristics rather descriptive of what we mean by persons? Is it not in greater accordance with facts to describe phenomena of this order in terms of personal consciousness?

            It is true that from the stand-point of loss of content the phenomena under discussion fall into the category of amnesia, but this is too general a classification. Multiple personality, no doubt, is a form of amnesia, but amnesia is not multiple personality. Multiple personality is a species of amnesia, and as such it has its own differentia. Amnesia is loss of content, but multiple personality is a lost content that has become an independent centre of activity with a history and continuity of its own, definitely—one may say absolutely-demarcated from the main consciousness and from all other neighboring centres of activity. A centre of activity with minimum of content may be termed a personal moment-consciousness.2

            At the same time we may regard the phenomena described as double or multiple personality from the point of view of loss of content, from the stand-point of simple amnesia. Amnesia may range from the simplest forms to the most complex. All the forms of amnesia may be arranged in an ascending series beginning from the simplest aphasias, where auditory or visual or other psychic elements are lost, passing through cases where more and more complex systems of elements are involved, where names, visual images of objects are gone, passing then to the loss of definite events of life, and finally ending with the dropping out of whole tracts of mental life covering minutes, days, weeks, months, years and even a whole lifetime. It is at this extreme end that the Hanna case finds its place, inasmuch as it represents the loss of a whole lifetime. Most of the eases current in literature are incomplete; in so far as the amnesia is but partial, only portions of the mental content are lost, while the Hanna case gives the first record of a complete loss of a lifetime from early infancy up to the moment of the accident. The only case in literature that somewhat resembles it, though incompletely, is that of Mary Reynolds. As the case is nearly a century old and has been found by Dr. Weir Mitchell among his father’s papers—the account being written a number of years later after the original occurrence by a nephew of Mary Reynolds for Professor Archibald Alexander, who gave it to Professor John K. Mitchell, the father of Weir Mitchell—one must keep in mind the indirect sources, the many hands it has passed through and the indirect second-hand evidence. The Hanna case, being under direct observation and experimentation, stands alone at the extreme end of the amnesia series as far as content itself is concerned. It has, moreover, all the traits characteristic of the phenomena of dissociation known under the name of double consciousness or multiple personality.



1 I am indebted to Dr. Prince for his revision of this brief account.
2 The moments may be of different types, from the lowest to the highest. See Sidis, Psychology of Suggestion. This subject will be fully developed in a later work, Principles of Psychology and Psychopathology.


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