A Real-Life Phenomenon, More Incredible Than Matrix (And Why Writing About It is Doomed to Succeed)

Unappreciated writing is as good as dead.

Every person, from a college student who writes essays to a pro writer, is struggling to get recognition.

If you think that being dependent on others’ opinion is beneath your dignity, I have a shortcut for you: just press CTRL+W. (And those writing gems with zero hassle are offered to click a small ‘x’ at the right top of this tab).

And if you belong to endangered species (i.e. open to fresh thoughts), there is good news for you: I’ve prepared the unique material on the topic. Fine, I hate overextended intrigues too, so let’s go.

Today I’d like to direct your attention to the phenomenon of multiple personality (MP). Google calls it a mental disorder. “This must be somehow connected with demonic possession”, unconscious prompts say. So, what’s that?

Sure, Google is right, as always.


In other words:

  • one man is controlled by multiple minds (personalities);
  • each personality can have different age, gender, IQ, skills, memory, etc.

Important: my goal is not to demonstrate you that MP is another category for a freaks show. I consider it one of the most wonderful phenomena of human mind, because:

  1. we get used to think that one person can have only one personality (even if it’s a really complicated one);
  2. …and only one memory;
  3. …and only one set of skills;
  4. …and only one IQ, gender, nationality, strength and so on.

And MP shows us that human brain is totally underestimated, and there are numerous mysteries to be revealed in future. This paradox lies on the edge between fiction and non-fiction. And that’s why it captures readers’ attention, imagination and excitement.

Billy Milligan is one of the most well-known people with MP in history. He was the first one who used MP as a defense to get acquitted of grievous crime. There’s no need to recite Billy’s biography. This surpassing non-fiction novel by Daniel Keyes will do a thing. By the way, this book is the first proof of a MP theme’s attention-getting value: it had been translated into at least 14 languages and sold 3 million copies.

Hollywood Reporter announced that DiCaprio would play Billy in a new movie, The Crowded Room. It means he will play all 24 personalities himself. There’s a joke DiCaprio will get Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for costarring himself. But the more intriguing fact is DiCaprio took lessons from Billy Milligan about ten years ago on how to behave as an MP. We all know Leonardo is good at picking right roles, so this is the second argument.

We’ve prepared an infographic featuring Billy’s ten most active personalities. Who knows, maybe Leo will use it as a cheat sheet? Or it will become popular, and I’ll be able to use it as the third argument. And now, before your humble narrator has given himself airs, you are welcome to take your favorite drink, have a seat, and discover the ten alter egos of William Stanley Milligan that influenced his deeds and behavior.

It is really hard to believe all these personalities could fit in one Billy. But it’s true. As mentioned before, his story is non-fiction. It makes me wonder why do we see Batman 10 and Spiderman 12 on screens while there are dozens of untapped stories which are definitely worth our attention? The phenomenon of MP gives a plenty of extraordinary ideas for storytelling. MP gives rise to a set of questions:

  1. Can a paralyzed person be just one of his MPs while other ones are not active?
  2. Does one personality have to be responsible for actions of others?
  3. Maybe we all are MPs? (just take a look at Necker Cube or a spinning dancer if you haven’t done it yet).
  4. Can other personalities be born/die within a single MP?

As we know, every question is a new story. I’m sure you can come up with your own intriguing questions at this stage.

I’ll be glad to read them all in comments.

I’ll be even gladder if this phenomenon doesn’t leave you unmoved. And I’ll become the gladdest one if you decide to write your own story about it, because it definitely deserves being heard.

3 thoughts on “A Real-Life Phenomenon, More Incredible Than Matrix (And Why Writing About It is Doomed to Succeed)

    1. In almost all studies of Multiple Personality Disorder, the subjects have experienced trauma at a fairly young age and use the different personalities as a way of coping with what they had to deal with. They would basically subconsciously switch to an alter that doesn’t experience the trauma that they do. Trauma, however, isn’t the only cause. Many people face trauma at a young age and do not develop a Multiple Personality Disorder. This disorder would only occur in people that are already susceptible to it, the trauma merely acts as a trigger.

  1. I do not understand where the trauma of the person is, people change, at the age of 14 you can be one personality type, but in 43 others. This is normal, everything has its time.

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