When we think about split personality,we assume that a person is divided into two persons within one body.
However, inthe late 1970s, there was a highly publicized court case in Ohio (U.S.), thesubject of which was an American citizen called William Stanley Milligan, latercalled Billy Milligan. Due to the reasons of multiple personality disorder, hecould luckily avoid penalties for the felonies he committed. In his case, thecrimes he was accused of were kidnapping, robbery and the rape of three women. Inthe process of preparing his defense, psychologists diagnosed that BillyMilligan was suffering multiple personality disorder. His lawyers took a standthat he was insane and that he was not involved in the crimes because his otherpersonalities committed crimes independently from Billy Milligan.
There were avarious help attempts by the state-run mental hospitals, such as the AthensState Hospital, where according to Billy Milligan himself, received a verylittle help. Here, in this hospital, psychologists discovered ten differentpersonalities. Later, Billy received another treatment from psychiatrist DavidCaul, who discovered the additional fourteen personalities. The 10 out of 24personalities were core, determining his deeds and behavior. They shared consciousness and doctors were able toquickly learn about their existence. It is believed that the reasonstanding behind Billy’s split personality is his traumatic childhood. The firstalter personality of Billy was born when he was 3-5 years old.
At this time,his father suffered from alcoholism due to debts, which was caused by hisaddiction to gambling and ended his life with suicide. Three born personalitieswere an unnamed boy, Christin, the younger sister and Shawn. The number ofpersonalities increased at the age of 8-9 years, when Billy was repeatedlyraped and beat by his stepfather Chalmer. At the subsequent trial, Chalmer wasblamed for abusing Billy Milligan. Psychologist assume that in this stage whenBilly was abused, his personality shattered and got trouble everywhere he went. Milligan was ruled to be entitled to be tried under the law as itexisted at the time the crimes were committed. A new law that went intoeffect on November 1 and has since then changed some of the procedures forcompetency hearings, defenses and commitments in cases that involve insanity.Under the new law the defense must prove insanity by a preponderance ofevidence.
Under the old law, a greater burden was put on the prosecution toprove a defendant was not insane. It was the uncontested rapes thatbrought up some disturbing questions. According to psychiatrists, the rapeswere committed by Adelena, a lesbian inside Billy. The robberies were the workof the sinister Ragan. The money was then turned over to Arthur, who paid thebills.
Still, at least one victim made a point of stating there was nopersonality change during the rapes, and that the assailant did not speak withan accent, as Ragan does. In fact, the personality described did not seem tomatch any of those previously discovered by psychiatrists. For Milligan’s defense, testimonyfrom his brother, his mother and his sister backed up claims of physical andmental abuse by his stepfather. Bill, whose gaze often wandered to the galleryduring the proceedings, seemed shaken and cupped his head in his hands when theincidents of sexual abuse were brought up. The defense did not produce anymedical or school records to verify Bill’s physical abuse. It did include,however, statements from teachers and psychiatrists about Bill’s oddbehavior. When this case emerged to the surface, opinions weredivided in the society. Some people thought that Billy Milligan was a swindler,others thought that he was a victim of a childhood trauma.
Personally, I believe that BillyMilligan was not trying to swindle and avoid penalty for his crimes. His splitpersonality appeared as a result of constant abuse from his stepfather. Alterpersonalities were created as a defensive mechanism. Moreover, some of hispersonalities were highly intellectual. For instance, Arthur, one of his alterpersonality, was an expert in science, medicine and hematology. It was prettymuch impossible for Billy to be an expert in the sphere of science due to hislevel of education.
Another evidence of not swindling is a language and anaccent. Billy was able to speak Serbian, Swahili and some personalities wereable to speak in Brooklyn and Slavic accent. Many people were wondering by askingwhy he could get some help before. By getting proper medical treatment earlier,he could have stopped his body from committing crimes. The answer to thisquestion is that he completely lost his time when other personalities tookcontrol over his body.
Additionally, when Billy Milligan was able to wake up,he suffered from depression, which later caused Billy to become suicidal.