Do You Have Multiple Personality Disorder?

Years after Sybil, the debate continues

They passed an organ "looming like a monster in the darkness," down a staircase and past the bathrooms, where she remembered "having to wash my mouth in the urinal" and "what my breasts sound[ed] like slapping against the cold wall."

Once again, she was strapped down, this time to an altar, where the robed men surrounding her began to groan and masturbate. Rachel's uterus "clamps down and spasms, looking for her [the aborted baby], trying to hold her in." A "privileged" man in a black robe approaches her with a syringe.

"'No!' I cannot help it. I know it is only cow's blood to squirt into my vagina and make it look like the abortion had happened here in front of all of them, but the last time a needle was plunged into me, I delivered my firstborn. Dead. And in pieces."

Rachel claims her grandfather was the leader of a satanic cult.
Illustration by Craig LaRotonda
Rachel claims her grandfather was the leader of a satanic cult.
Jennifer and her husband both claim to have DID.
Illustration by Craig LaRotonda
Jennifer and her husband both claim to have DID.

Rachel includes her photograph and her first and middle names on her blog. Under "About Me," she writes: "From birth to age 19, I lived under the rule of one sect of the occult of which my father and grand­father were members." On one of her two MySpace pages (one for the "real" Rachel, the other for her alters) she declared that she did not want to hear from anyone who questioned the existence of satanic ritual abuse or DID.

The Press left numerous messages for Rachel's father, who never responded, as well as a message with Rachel's grandmother, asking the grandfather to call. He didn't. However, this greatly upset Rachel, for it apparently broke a cardinal rule among those who claim to have DID: You do not question. It is strictly a one-way process. When patients present to therapists and physicians who treat DID, their stories are almost universally accepted as true, often for less than compelling reasons. In his 2007 book Switching Time, psychologist Richard Baer wrote that he believed his 37-year-old patient's history because of the "desperation" in her voice.

The Press got similar results in the case of Jennifer, a DID sufferer who wrote her thesis on the condition for consideration of her master of science degree for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Jennifer and her husband both claim to have DID, and they maintain a Web site with personal histories and educational material of the condition. In her thesis, she included a bio containing her parents' names (including her mother's maiden name) and the name of her brother.

While her thesis does not name her abuser, her Web site does. It is her father, who allegedly began molesting Jennifer when she was about four. This resulted in the advent of at least 54 alters, whose names include Entropy, B-Quiet, Wallpaper, Purple Rain, BluVelvyt and The Lost One. Collectively, they are known as the Tiger Wolf Crew. They often work together in age-based groups; Jennifer's site includes, for example, a poem written "by the Littles of TWCrew."

Jennifer also writes of how her father's brand of abuse changed over the years:

• There were also different images of my father. His abuse preferences changed as I aged:

• The man who seemed to be exploring my body as if it was something he had never seen before...a scientist experimenting with a new discovery.

• The gentle man who slid into bed at night as if he was visiting a mistress, pressing me into his body as if trying to consume me...the lover who wanted closeness and refused to stop until I faked an orgasm.

• The man filled with intense rage who would be so forceful that my body would bleed, who seemed to need to see my hot tears...the bull on a ­rampage.

• The man filled with fear that he would be exposed, who threw me against the wall and strangled me until I blacked out...the one capable of murder.

Jennifer writes on the site of her 1996 confrontation with her father, who had divorced Jennifer's mother years earlier and moved out of Texas.

"What makes you say/think this, where did these so-called memories (his wording) come from," she writes. Then, he turned to Jennifer's mother: "He told her that he wanted to do something to prove that he was innocent, that he would even take a polygraph. (When he asked me if I wanted him to take one, I laughed and told him that he was such a smooth liar that he could mess up a polygraph to say/do whatever he wanted it to do)."

The confrontation made her stronger, and today Jennifer is a mental health professional who treats others. She includes on her site helpful material like "Reclaiming Sex: Tips for Multiples, Survivors and Significant Others." Multiples, for example, should not keep stuffed animals in any areas where sexual activity occurs. "It may also be helpful to have different pajamas: comfy ones that indicate that lils [child alters] are safe to come out at any time, and then sexier lingerie that signals that lils should not be out."

In an e-mail to the Press, Jennifer explained that she and her husband have their alters under control to the point that their alters only pop out at age-­appropriate times. There is never the fear that five-year-old Wallpaper will spontaneously take over while Jennifer is driving, filling out a bank deposit slip or engaging in any other adult activity.

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