The following year, Wilbur developed Parkinson's disease, and Mason moved into Wilbur's house to take care of her until Wilbur's death in 1992. Nathan claims that Wilbur, Mason, and Schreiber knowingly perpetrated a fraud and describes the purported manipulation of Wilbur by Mason and vice versa and that the case created an "industry" of repressed memory. These paintings, often referred to as the “Hidden Paintings[5]”, span the years 1943, eleven years before starting psychotherapy with Dr. Wilbur, to 1965, the year of her successful integration. Shirley was born in Dodge Center, Minnesota, on January 25, 1923. The integration of all of Shirley’s alters was a slow and sometimes grueling process. The book and subsequent film caused an enormous spike in reported cases of multiple personality … Flora Rheta Schreiber's non-fiction book Sybil: The True Story of a Woman Possessed by 16 Separate Personalities told a version of Mason's story with names and details changed to protect her anonymity. In addition, Suraci claims that Spiegel behaved unethically in withholding tapes which supposedly proved Wilbur had induced Mason to believe she had multiple personalities. Shirley’s father was Mr. Walter W. Mason and her mother was Mrs. Martha Alice Atkinson. [20], "The Minnesotan behind Sybil, one of America's most famous psychiatric patients", "Sybil: Famous multiple personality case was a stranger in our midst", "Multiple Personality Deception: The famous patient who inspired the panic was more the victim of her psychiatrist than of mental illness", "Sybil-The Making of a Disease: An Interview with Dr. Herbert Spiegel", "Dissociative Identity Disorder, MPD/DID, Sybil: The Making of a Disease? As a young woman she was emotionally unstable, and she decided to seek psychiatric help. The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, North Carolina, p. 39, 15 July 1973. Mason died on February 26, 1998.[2]. She painted. Shirley would go on to graduate from Dodge Center High School in the early 1940s and then attended Mankato State College. (Note: these are listed in Flora Rheta Schreiber’s book and the alters’ names were also changed as Shirley was still alive at the time of publication of the book.). Mother of Shirley Ardell Mason, the subject of the book Sybil, a 1973 book by Flora Rheta Schreiber. These sessions varied but some included the use of Sodium Pentothal and hypnosis to help delve into Shirley’s experiences with abuse. Shirley Ardell Mason (January 25, 1923 – February 26, 1998) was an American art teacher who was reputed to have dissociative identity disorder (previously known as multiple personality disorder). Shirley Ardell Mason, who was known as Sybil, lived in Lexington for more than 20 years. [18][19] Although Wilbur's papers were destroyed, copies and excerpts within Flora Rheta Schreiber's papers at the Lloyd Sealy Library of John Jay College were unsealed in 1998. The issue should be this is the article about Shirley Ardell Mason, not the fictionalize account in a book called "Sybil". Shirley Ardell Mason (January 25, 1923 – February 26, 1998) was an American psychiatric patient and commercial artist who was reputed to have multiple personality disorder, now called dissociative … Many of these materials are courtesy of other sources and the original copyright holders retain all applicable rights under the law. Mason was sensationalized through Sybil a fictional book published in 1973 as well as two films of the same title released in 1976 and 2007. She notes that after Mason was treated with calf's-liver supplements for chronic blood disorders as a child and young woman, her psychological symptoms likewise went into remission for years at a time, and that Wilbur herself noted that "Sybil" suffered from pernicious anemia later in life. Martha was better … Some of the paintings were signed by Shirley, some were unsigned, and some even included the signatures of her alters. She was the the only child of Walter Mason and Martha Alice Mattie Hageman. The Miami Herald, Miami, Florida, p. 100, 20 April 1973. Dr. Wilbur believed that each of Shirley’s traumas had to be “uprooted and analyzed” to integrate and thus Shirley would no longer need any of the alters. The book was made into a highly acclaimed TV movie starring Sally Field and Joanne Woodward, in 1976. Their sessions together are the basis of the book. Mother of Shirley Ardell Mason, the subject of the book Sybil, a 1973 book by Flora Rheta Schreiber. Preserving the Memories of Kentucky's Historic Asylums, Hospitals and Institutions. She was an Assistant Art Professor at Rio Grande College in Ohio during 1969 and 1970. Psychiatrist Herbert Spiegel saw Mason for several sessions while Wilbur was on vacation and felt that Wilbur was manipulating Mason into behaving as though she had multiple personalities when she did not. Shirley also alleged that Mattie would give her enemas, forcing the catheter tip into her urethra and would fill her bladder full of ice water. It was also alleged that Mattie would force a flashlight, a small bottle, or a silver knife into Shirley. Dr. Herbert Spiegel's View", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shirley_Ardell_Mason&oldid=981856470, Minnesota State University, Mankato alumni, People with dissociative identity disorder, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 4 October 2020, at 20:25. Name at birth: Shirley Ardell Mason Shirley Mason's story was told in Sybil, a bestselling book of the 1970s that described a woman with 16 personalities -- what was then called Multiple Personality Disorder and is now called Dissociative Identity Disorder.Mason … Johnson City Press, Johnson City, Tennessee, p. 5, 17 August 1998. [8] Spiegel confronted Wilbur, who responded that the publisher would not publish the book unless it was what she said it was. Just a short year later, Dr. Wilbur was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and, at that time, Shirley moved in to help care for Dr. Wilbur until her death in 1992. If I imagine that I am a patient seeking the ideal psychotherapist, I have found her in Dr. Wilbur, a psychiatrist. Shirley donated her house and paintings to the Seventh-day Adventist church and would die in late February of 1998 at the age of 75. Shirley Ardell Mason (January 25, 1923 – February 26, 1998) was an American psychiatric patient and commercial artist who was reputed to have multiple personality disorder, now called … [16], In 2013, Nancy Preston published After Sybil, a personal memoir which includes facsimile reproductions of Mason's personal letters to her, along with color plates of her paintings. Swales said people who knew Mason in … Dr. Cornelia B. Wilbur, a medical doctor, and psychiatrist, previously on staff at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, presented the case of Sybil Isabel Dorsett to the nation. This was when Shirley followed Dr. Wilbur and moved to Lexington as well so she could be closer to Dr. Wilbur and completed her treatment. Her hometown of Dodge Center, about … He cited the tapes to challenge Mason's diagnosis. In the early stages of her pathology, Shirley attempted to create a fantasy world where she had a caring and loving mother. THE LAST DAY OF SHIRLEY Ardell Mason's remarkable life was peaceful. Dr. Wilbur would go on to practice and teach around the country before settling into Lexington, Kentucky for a period. Either way, the strange case of the woman whose real name was Shirley Ardell Mason made itself felt in psychiatrists’ offices across the country. Welcome back, fellow humans. Shirley Ardell Mason A famous example of a multiple personality disorder case study was Shirley Ardell Mason, otherwise known as Sybil, whose life was fictionalised in a book in 1973, and later in two films. Ancestry of Shirley Ardell Mason compiled by Rob Martindale and William Addams Reitwiesner The following material on the immediate ancestry of Shirley Ardell Mason should not be considered either … The unassuming neighbor and local painter on Henry Clay Blvd had lived in relative … It was Dr. Cornelia Wilbur who discovered these atrocities during her therapy sessions with Shirley. In yet another interesting twist, Dr. Wilbur diagnosed Shirley with breast cancer in early 1990; however, Shirley would go into remission without treatment. The book, whose veracity was challenged (e.g., Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan[6]), stated that Mason had multiple personalities as a result of severe child sexual abuse at the hands of her mother, who, Wilbur believed, had schizophrenia.[7]. Years later, in Shirley’s house in Lexington, Kentucky, a horde of approximately 100 paintings were found in the basement. In the letters, Mason claimed that she had had multiple personalities. After Shirley “integrated,” she went on to live a quiet but successful life, according to most reports. It is, largely (at least back then) hard to see how a mother or father could do that to a child. Nathan's writing and her research methods have been publicly criticized by Mason's family and by Dr. Patrick Suraci, who was personally acquainted with Shirley Mason. That is when she developed 16 alters or personalities to help her deal with her traumatic experiences as a child. Warning: this post contains details of sexual assault which may be distressing for some readers. Dr. Dickstein reported that Shirley told her, “Tell people every word in the book is true.” Additionally, Dr. Dickstein, who personally knew Dr. Wilbur, was steadfast in her belief that Dr. Wilbur did not need to make up the events of “Sybil.”. ( Log Out /  Though many will see the case of “Sybil” as a cultural phenomenon, Shirley Mason was a living, breathing human being. Mason's diagnosis had been challenged. In the aftermath of her treatment, Shirley would report that some people had a difficult time believing that her mother and father would do the things she alleged. This list should be moved to the book's article (if it's not … By 1973, just before the book was published, Shirley had paid over one-third of the total bill. Additionally, the Sodium Pentothal treatments were more expensive and, over time, Dr. Wilbur had to discontinue these treatments as Shirley began exhibiting signs of becoming addicted toward it. Swales said people who knew Mason in … Debbie Nathan's Sybil Exposed[6][14][15] draws upon an archive of Schreiber's papers stored at John Jay College of Criminal Justice[16] and other first-hand sources. Her life was … Change ), Epidemics and How History Can Potentially Save Lives, Historical Case Studies in Crime & Punishment, Infirmaries and Poorhouses: Image Gallery, Transylvania University Medical Department, University of Louisville Medical Department, Kentucky Institution for Feeble Minded Children, Covington-Kenton County Tuberculosis Sanatorium, Madisonville State Tuberculosis Sanatorium, https://www.npr.org/2011/10/20/141514464/real-sybil-admits-multiple-personalities-were-fake, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, Sybil Isabel Dorsett – Served as Shirley’s primary alter, Victoria “Vicky” Antoinette Scharleau – A young, but enthusiastic French girl, Peggy Ann Baldwin – Was the opposite of Peggy Lou in that she was often fearful instead of being angry, Mary Lucinda Saunders Dorsett – Maternal figure, Marcia Lynn Dorsett – Prolific writer and artist, Vanessa Gail Dorsett – Happy, upbeat, and a musician, Mike Dorsett – The first of two male alters, was also a builder, Sid Dorsett – The second of Sybil’s two male alters, was a carpenter, Nancy Lou Ann Baldwin – Evangelical and also very political, Sybil Ann Dorsett – A largely lifeless alter, Clara Dorsett – Constantly critical of Sybil and quite religious, Helen Dorsett – Consistently afraid to set or achieve goals, Marjorie Dorsett – Easy going, loved to laugh, The Blonde – A teenage alter that was upbeat. According to Preston, Mason taught art at Ohio's Rio Grande College, where Preston was a student. ( Log Out /  Photographs, text, illustrations and all other media not authored by KHI belong to their respective authors/owners/copyright holders and are used here for educational purposes only under Title 17 U.S. Code § 107. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. An audio-slide show by Debbie Nathan, author of "Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case." ( Log Out /  Yet there was still no consensus as to whether or not the diagnosis was fabricated or misrepresented. Mason … When her breast cancer returned Mason gave away her books and paintings to friends. Several of the paintings were signed by Shirley, however many remained unsigned, and include examples of some of the artwork presumably created by, and signed by the alternate personalities. Shirley sought treatment by Freudian psychoanalyst Dr. Cornelia B. Wilbur. She taught art classes at a community college and ran an art gallery out of her home for many years. [2], Mason graduated from Dodge Center High School in 1941 and became an art student at Mankato State College, now Minnesota State University, Mankato. Two films of the same name were made, one released in 1976 and the other in 2007. Shirley, according to Dr. Wilbur, often struggled against meeting her various alters. It was a case that entranced the entire nation and, arguably, the world during the 1960s and 1970s. Have you heard about Shirley Ardell Mason? [11][12], In a review of Rieber's book, psychiatrist Mark Lawrence asserts that Rieber repeatedly distorted the evidence and left out a number of important facts about Mason's case to advance his case against the validity of the diagnosis.[13]. By that time, Mason had severed nearly all ties with her past and was living in West Virginia. Shirley Ardell Mason lived a quiet life in Lexington, Kentucky, painting and working on her art business in her home studio. When Shirley Ardell Mason died in her modest Lexington KY home in 1998 only a few knew the truth about her. Mattie was often referred to as being strange or weird when she lived in Minnesota. As a youth and later as a young adult, she often lost time … Sigmund Freud | Shirley Ardell Mason. Shirley Mason … Spiegel also claimed to have made films of himself hypnotizing Mason, supposedly proving that Wilbur had "implanted false memories" in her mind, but when Suraci asked to see the films Spiegel said he had lost them. Mattie would proceed to lock the kitchen door, pull the shades for the door and windows, and then placed Shirley atop the kitchen table. He never responded to Shirley’s screams. And that is exactly what happened to Shirley Ardell Mason on whose real life the novel/ movie is based on. Spiegel suspected Wilbur of having publicized Mason's case for financial gain. Shirley’s paintings sold at auction in 1999 for between $30,000-$100,000 to an unidentified collector from Leawood, Kansas. In 1923, Shirley … It was not until Shirley was 42 years of age, in 1965, that all of her 16 alters melded into one and marked the birth of the “new” Shirley. Psychologist Dr. Robert Rieber from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York reported that, based on the found tape recordings, it was suggested that the alters Shirley developed were created during therapy through suggestions to a highly pliable young woman. Dr. Wilbur was certain, however, that it happened and Shirley’s response, though rare, was one that helped her cope with the nightmare she was living. [10], In August 1998, psychologist Robert Rieber of John Jay College of Criminal Justice stated that the tapes belonged to him and that Wilbur had given them to him decades earlier. And thus, it was posited that Shirley stopped looking outside for help and focused from within. Shirley Ardell Mason was born Jan. 25, 1923, in Dodge Center, Minn., the daughter of Walter Mason and Martha Alice Hageman Mason. Shirley Ardell Mason was born January 25, 1923 in Dodge Center, Minnesota, and died February 26, 1998, in Lexington, Kentucky. Spiegel believes these tapes are the "smoking gun" proving that Wilbur induced her client to believe she was multiple. Detroit Free Press, Detroit Michigan, p. 31, 25 May 1973. The consistent breakdowns would lead Shirley to seek therapy to resolve her issues. In the 1990s, however, researchers, academics, and clinicians, after the deaths of Shirley and Dr. Wilbur, began suspecting that the case of “Sybil” was not as it appeared. Important note:If you would like to use any information on this website (including text, bios, photos and any other information) we encourage you to contact us. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. She had long suffered from blackouts and emotional breakdowns, and finally entered psychotherapy with Cornelia B. Wilbur, a Freudian psychiatrist. "She had a witch-like laugh....She didn't laugh much, but when she did, it was like a screech." Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Sybil, born Shirley Ardell Mason, was born in 1923 in Dodge Center, Minnesota. [3], Some people in Mason's home town, reading the book, recognized Mason as Sybil. From 1970-71, she taught art at Rio Grande College in Rio Grande, Ohio (now the University of Rio Grande). Shirley would be under Dr. Wilbur’s care for approximately 11 years and her case would spark a psychiatric and cultural phenomenon. 1923 – Mason was born on the 25th day of January this year in Dodge Center, Minnesota. When Dr. Wilbur started treatment with Shirley, she was charged between $15, $20, or $25 per visit but primarily stayed at $15 per visit. Her life was purportedly described, with adaptations to protect her anonymity, in 1973 in the book Sybil, subtitled The True Story of a Woman Possessed by 16 Separate Personalities. The case of young Sybil resulted in a book, written by Flora Rheta Schreiber, and a TV movie simply titled Sybil. Folk Figure. Shirley Mason was the psychiatric patient whose life was portrayed in the 1973 book Sybil. According to Shirley, her mother would not always do the same things to her, though they were all usually terrible. Two films of the same name were made, one released in 1976 and the other in 2007. Shirley Ardell Mason (January 25, 1923 – February 26, 1998) was an American art teacher[1] who was reputed to have dissociative identity disorder (previously known as multiple personality disorder). … Please remember that information contained on this site, authored/owned by KHI, is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Both the book and the films used the name Sybil Isabel Dorsett to protect Mason's identity, though the 2007 remake stated Mason's name at its conclusion. In the early 1950s, Mason was a substitute teacher and a student at Columbia University. Christensen remembers Mason's mother walking around after dark, looking in the neighbors' windows. Later, Shirley became a substitute teacher in the 1950s and even attended Columbia University. Both the book and the films used the name Sybil Isabe… ( Log Out /  Shirley would go on to teach art at a community college and was a painter herself, even hosting her own art gallery. Shirley reported that Mattie would separate Shirley’s legs with a long wooden spoon, tie her feet to the spoon with dishtowels, and then string her to the end of a light bulb cord hanging from the ceiling. In time, she allegedly split into 16 alters to help her cope with and survive her abuse. Though Shirley sought help, she was so young, she had no advantage over her parents. Directed by Daniel Petrie , and exceptionally well performed by Sally Field this mini series is the … Dr. Wilbur said that royalties from the book would be shared by Shirley, Dr. Wilbur, and the author. Her neighbors would remark on her bizarre laugh and they (the neighbors) would report that Mattie would walk at night and look into windows. Spoiler alert. SYBIL in her own words: The Untold Story of Shirley Mason, Her Multiple Personalities and Paintings The book “Sybil” by Flora Rheta Schreiber written in the 1970’s, has recently received media attention again. It is about a woman named Shirley Ardell Mason, who is referred to in the book by the pseudonym Sybil Dorsett. I wonder how … Shirley Mason, the real Sybil, grew up in the Midwest in a strict Seventh-day Adventist family. Shirley Ardell Mason was born in this ordinary Midwestern town on January 25, 1923. Shirley’s father was Mr. Walter W. Mason and her mother was Mrs. Martha Alice Atkinson. Shirley Ardell Mason was born Jan. 25, 1923, in Dodge Center, Minn., the daughter of Walter W. Mason and Martha Alice Hageman Mason. Whether one believes her story is true is entirely up for debate. Believes these tapes are the `` smoking gun '' proving that Wilbur manipulated or possibly misdiagnosed Mason were usually. 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To help her cope with and survive her abuse Behind the Famous shirley ardell mason Personality case. lost! Minnesota, p. 5, 17 August 1998. [ 2 ], p. 100, April... The original copyright holders retain all applicable rights under the law from therapy in 1965, finally to. Induced her client to believe she was so young, she often lost time … Sigmund |... 100 paintings were found in shirley ardell mason early stages of her pathology, Shirley reported periods... A slow and sometimes grueling process Memories of Kentucky 's Historic Asylums, Hospitals and.! And some even included the use of Sodium Pentothal and hypnosis to help her deal with her past and a!