The authors first define dissociation, describe it as a functionally adaptive process, and suggest that it may be an instinctive defense. The authors suggest that the absence of appropriate dissociation in the face of emotionally overwhelming events may lead to psychosis or other serious mental disturbances. The authors then describe three cases of psychogenic amnesia in previously healthy soldiers with no family or personal history of dysfunction. The first case of amnesia was observed in a soldier who witnessed a member of his company decapitated by a shell, the second in a soldier who saw his fiancee mortally wounded by a bomb, and the third in a sergeant who gave an order that led to the deaths of 122 men.
This case report concerns a 31 year old man who suffered from a fear of enclosed places. During treatment for this claustrophobia the man recovered a memory from age 4 involving being trapped in a dark enclosed space. Subsequent information provided by the man's parents provided some degree of confirmation of his recovered memory. The man's claustrophobia subsided after recovering the childhood memory. An interesting aspect of the case is that prior attempts to recover a memory of a sexual nature (due to therapist suggestion) were not successful, suggesting the man was not unduly suggestible.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Several soldiers in Paris, France in 1918 were reported to be suffering from amnesia to escape punishment for deserting their units. All of the cases reported are of Native American soldiers. Three cases are discussed here they are all thought to have feigned amnesia. This conclusion was reached due to details being recalled that should not have been recalled. One case of amnesia that has been accepted as legitimate is also discussed.
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.
“Multiple personality and dissociation, 1791-1992(2nd edition)” is a bibliography. It contains the 1st edition as well as updates through November 30, 1993. Article errors have been corrected when possible. The bibliography is divided up into the following areas: Multiple personalities, Dissociation and Amnesia, Depersonalization and Derealization, Fugue States, and Medico-legal Aspects.