Sybil was the 1976 television movie based on the life of Sybil Dorsett, the first person to be diagnosed with a "multiple personality disorder". The movie covered her life as an extensively abused child (by her psychotic mother) who suffered moments of blackouts and amnesia as an adult. In these moments, those around her witnessed 16 other separate personalities, including two male, which developed from the time she was a child. Sally Field played Sybil Dorsett and Joanne Woodward played Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, the psychiatrist who attemted to merge and other personalities into one.
Sybil is actually rumored to have been Shirley Mason, an art teacher in Kentucky. She died in 1998, at the age of 75. She had been close friends with Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, who was also the doctor of "Sybil". Shirley's paintings were sold for $30,000.
Flora Rheta Schreiber's original book tells the extended story of Sybil Isabel Dorsett, her multiple personalities, her childhood, and her eventual integration. Sybil was not the first diagnosed case of MPD - the book mentions previous cases - but she was the first to be psychoanalyzed rather than simply treated. Schreiber was a friend of Sybil and Dr. Wilbur, and published the book in 1973.
Note: Sybil is also spelled sibyl. All of the links I used in my research described "sybil", so I opt for sybil--an unresolvable issue of transliteration. A quality node at Sibyl deals with TS Eliot's treatment of the legend.
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