This report describes the treatment of a 28 year-old clerk admitted to an asylum after sending threatening telegrams to various people. A history of many similar now forgotten episodes emerges. The therapist soon meets an alter personality responsible for these episodes, which are linked to past (unspecified) aversive experiences with an uncle. Further exploration of these traumatic events leads to the patient's improvement and gradual disappearance of the alter. Historical Note: About a decade after this paper was published, the author, Bernard Hart, would become a strong advocate of Freudian psychoanalysis and a vocal critic of Pierre Janet. <full>236 A CASE OF DOUBLE PERSONALITY, [ April, A Case of Double Personality.( a) By BERNARD HART, M. B., Lecturer in Psychiatry, University College Hospital Medical School, Assistant Medical Officer, Long Grove Asylum. DOUBLE personality is a fascinating subject, and has always possessed a peculiar attraction both for the professional psycho. logist and the layman— owing, no doubt, to the strange and often dramatic character of its manifestations. It is hoped, therefore, that a few notes upon an actual case may be of interest. These notes relate to a case belonging to the group of the psychoneuroses, a case of considerable complexity, and one which was subjected to a prolonged psychological investigation. The episodes connected with the double personality form, indeed, only a single chapter in a long history. I shall only attempt to relate as much of the other portions of this history as is necessary for the understanding of the chapter in question. This chapter is of exceptional interest in that I was able to witness both the birth and— I believe— the final disappearance of the secondary personality. The patient, whom we will call John Smith, a clerk in a business house, 28, was admitted to the asylum with a certificate stating little beyond the fact that he had sent threatening telegrams to various people, and had occasionally been observed to behave in a somewhat irresponsible manner. He was clear, collected, and to a cursory examination presented little that was abnormal. He stated that he had been assured by his wife that he had sent the telegrams, and that it might perhaps be true, but that he himself had no recollection whatever of doing so. A careful examination showed, however, that the sending of the telegrams formed only a single episode in a whole section of his past life, ranging over several weeks, the contents of which were entirely forgotten. Moreover, it was found that chequered throughout the preceding few years there were other similar totally forgotten periods. He would remember, for example, starting for the office one morning— then would come a blank— and, perhaps a week later, he would
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.
Mason argues the importance of recognizing and studying alternating personalities. He describes the awareness of the secondary personalities for each other and the primary personality, using the case of Madame B. to illustrate. The author identifies conditions in which the secondary personality has been observed: 1) spontaneously, 2) under hypnosis, 3) while asleep, and 4) as a result of pathologic conditions of the organism. The origin of personality as either a "product of a power inherent in nature" or "as an expression of organism" is discussed. The author concludes with consideration of the legal accountability of persons with alternating personalities.
The author discusses cases where the duplex personality of several different patients has been brought out with the use of hypnotism. Mason’s conclusion is that the second personality would have perceptive powers beyond the main personality. Clairvoyance is an attribute of this second personality and hypnotism is a way of bringing out this second personality in a controlled setting.
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 is a letter to the editor written by R. Osgood Mason about responses to his Nov. 30, 1895. Mason gives names of readings for background materials on hypnotism. He also responds to critics of his article. He also notes that one critic has since modified his view of hypnotism due to Mason’s article.