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.
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.
The author, Barkworth, compares actions done by people in hypnotic states. He distinguishes between mental or physical actions and voluntary, automatic or intuitive actions. Barkworth reviews several of these types of cases, occurring with or without hypnotism. A few of these cases also involve automatic writing. One case in particular involves a patient’s ability to learn music and perform it at a later time with or without the written music notes.
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.
The multiple personality case of Blanche Witt is discussed. One of her personalities suffered from blindness in one eye, the other personality had perfect vision. Her condition was treated with hypnotism. The case of Marceline R. is also discussed. She suffered from an eating disorder, but when hypnotized she was able to eat properly, but returned to her former state when not hypnotized. Neither woman was cured, but was able to be symptom free while hypnotized.