A case of epilepsy is linked to features of dissociation, including altered personality and memory impairment. The attending physician describes an adult male with a 6-year history of epileptic convulsions beginning at the age of 44. The patient experiences convulsions for several days a month, during which time his temperament changes from "pleasant" to "abusive and violent." After the episode, the man is unable to recall what he said or did during the altered state.
This article describes a case in 1887 of "double consciousness" experienced by Ansel Bourne, a 61-year-old preacher from Rhode Island. The author argues that Ansel suffered from a post-epileptic partial loss of memory, resulting in the formation of a secondary identity named A.J. Brown. Several first hand accounts of the man's condition are included, providing rich descriptions of his behavior and cognitive dysfunctions. References are made to childhood depression and possible abuse. The author cites several cases that reported epileptic seizures as the cause of double consciousness. He suggests hypnosis and "suggestive therapeutics" may cure double consciousness.
Dr. Ward discusses the case of 13 year old Mary Parker. Mary suffered from the measles at age 7, and epileptic attacks started at age 12. Various remedies, such as bleeding out and leeches are tried on Mary, none of which work. Mary's ailments increase to include headache, pain and pressure on her left side. She eventually begins to alternate between delirium and a sound state of mind. Mary's symptoms disappear with the onset of menses. It was concluded that Mary's symptoms were connected to epilepsy, but were hysterical in origin.
Dr. Myers discusses the case of Louis V. His case is compared to that of Felida X. Louis V. ‘s 2nd personality emerged after a scare with a viper. He developed other personalities due to various causes after that point. In all he is said to have six separate personalities. Some of these personalities also suffer from paralysis or epilepsy, some are gentle, other resort to thievery and mischief. Dr. Myers includes a chart to show the differences between the personalities.
Dr. Myers reviews multiple cases involving altered personalities. These personalities have been brought on by a variety of means, including dreams, drug use, physical disturbance, epilepsy or hypnotism. Some of the cases involve automatic writing. Dr. Myers discusses each of these cases briefly with an emphasis on the differences between the conscious and unconscious self.
22 year old V. was raised by an abusive mother. Arrested for vagrancy, he was sentenced to a penal farm, given basic education, and viewed as “extremely intelligent”. While V. collected grapevines one day, a snake wrapped itself around his arm. The terror triggered hysterical-epileptic convulsions, leaving paraplegia. Therefore, he was trained in tailoring. Another attack occurred two months later, his paraplegia disappeared. V. forgot tailoring skills and his character completely changed. Six successive, unique conscious states emerged over a decade in which V. was alternately: (1) a full right side hemiplegic, talkative, rude, overly familiar; (2) a left side hemiplegic (trunk and limbs), reserved, polite, respectful, with no awareness of where he was; (3) a left side hemiplegic (limbs only), polite, remembering nothing of previous life except brief vineyard employment; (4) a full paraplegic, timid, remembering tailoring skills, sad, unaware of current events, unable to read or write; (5) without paralysis, agile, childlike, memories of childhood and attendant abuse recovered; (6) without feeling on left side, convulsing, hallucinating, an excellent reader who believed himself an enlisted marine. V. was committed to at least eight psychiatric/penal institutions in which he was treated with iron, steel, magnet, electrical, and transfer therapies., V., 22 ans, était maltraité par sa mère. Vagabond, il est arrêté et renvoyé dans une maison de correction, ou il est éduqué et trouver « fort intelligent ». Quand V. ramassait des sarments, une vipère s’enroule autour de son bras, et la frayeur le jette dans une série d’attaques convulsives hystèro-épileptiques, qui mènent progressivement á la paraplégie. On le place á l’atelier des tailleurs. Deux mois plus tard, une deuxième attaque, et la paraplégie disparut, mais V. avait oublié de coudre et son caractère s’était transformé. Six états s’ensuivent : (1) hémiplégie droit, ou V. est bavard, impoli, familier ; (2) hémiplégie gauche (face et membres), ou il est réservé, poli, respectueux, sans conscience d’où il est ; (3) hémiplégie gauche (membres seules), ou il est poli, se souvenant pas sa vie antérieure, sauf son travail dans un vignoble ; (4) paraplégie complète, ou V. est timide, triste, sans conscience des événements de l’époque, incapable d’écrire ni lire, se souvenant coudre encore ; (5) sans paralysie, agile, enfantin, se souvenant de son enfance et de l’abus qu’il a subi ; (6) sans paralysie, convulsif, lit très bien, se croyant soldat de la marine. V. a été renvoyé dans huit institutions psychiatriques/pénaux, éprouvant les thérapies du fer, de l’acier, de l’aimant, de l’électricité, et du transfert.
Two cases are covered by Dr. Myers. The first case is of Louis V. He suffered from epilepsy, hysteria and paralysis after a great fright from a viper. His memory would occasionally relapse back to a previous time period. Later in life he would oscillate back and forth between two personalities. Each personality seemed to be controlled by a different side of the brain. The second case is that of Felidia X. She suffered from the presence of a second personality. She was able to function in both of these states due to being put into a hypnotic trance. Dr. Myers compares the two cases on the grounds of morals vs. biology.