REAL "SYBIL" ADMITS MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES
NPR Online, Lynn Neary, 10/20/2011: Real "Sybil" Admits Multiple Personalities Were Fake [Excerpts]--When Sybil first came out in 1973, not only did it shoot to the top of the best-seller lists--it manufactured a psychiatric phenomenon. The book was billed as the true story of a woman who suffered from multiple personality disorder. Within a few years of its publication, reported cases of multiple personality disorder--now known as dissociative identity disorder--leapt from fewer than 100 to thousands. But in a new book, Sybil Exposed, writer Debbie Nathan argues that most of the story is based on a lie.
Shirley Mason, the real Sybil, grew up in the Midwest in a strict Seventh-day Adventist family. As a young woman she was emotionally unstable, and she decided to seek psychiatric help. Mason became unusually attached to her psychiatrist, Dr. Connie Wilbur, and she knew that Wilbur had a special interest in multiple personality disorder.
"Shirley feels after a short time, that she is not really getting the attention she needs from Dr. Wilbur," Nathan explains. "One day, she walks into Dr. Wilbur's office and she says, 'I'm not Shirley. I'm Peggy.' ...And she says this in a childish voice....Shirley started acting like she had a lot of people inside her."
Wilbur believed that she had stumbled on a remarkable case. She began seeing Mason frequently and eventually teamed up with the writer Flora Rheta Schreiber to work on a book about her patient....Mason became increasingly dependent on Wilbur for emotional and even financial support. She was eager to give her psychiatrist what she wanted.
"Once she got this diagnosis she started generating more and more personalities," Nathan says.....Wilbur began injecting Mason regularly with sodium pentothal, which was then being used to help people remember traumatic events that they had repressed. Under the influence of drugs and hypnosis, the very suggestible Mason uncovered her many personalities.
Reading through Schreiber's papers, Nathan says it becomes obvious that the writer knew that Mason's story was not entirely true. Memories of a traumatic tonsillectomy, for instance, morphed into a lurid story of abuse. And Schreiber seemed eager to pump up or even create drama where none existed. But if Schreiber had doubts, she suppressed them.
"She already had a contract and she already had a deadline," Nathan says. "She was in the middle of writing the book. So she had the dilemma all journalists have nightmares about--what if my thesis turns out to be wrong as I do my research but it's too late?"
At one point, Mason tried to set things straight. She wrote a letter to Wilbur admitting that she had been lying: "I do not really have any multiple personalities," she wrote. "I do not even have a 'double.' ...I am all of them. I have been lying in my pretense of them." Wilbur dismissed the letter as Mason's attempt to avoid going deeper in her therapy.
In 1973, Flora Rheta Schreiber published Sybil: The True Story of a Woman Possessed by 16 Separate Personalities. The book sold 6 million copies and, in 1976, was made into a TV movie.
As for Mason, she quickly got the message that if she raised questions about the veracity of her multiple personalities, she'd quickly lose her support network.
"She got the very, very strong impression when she went in and brought this letter of recantation to Dr. Wilbur that if she didn't go with the program she was not going to have Dr. Wilbur anymore," Nathan says. "Dr. Wilbur was giving her 14 to 18 hours of therapy a week. Dr. Wilbur was coming to her house and eating with her, giving her clothes, paying her rent...so, how could you give up Dr. Wilbur?"
SENATORS RECOGNIZE HINDU HOLIDAYS
North American Interfaith Network (NAIN), 10/14/2011: Senators Recognize Hindu Holiday [Excerpts]--The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) applauded U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) for introducing S. Res 291, "recogniz[ing] the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali" for Hindu, Jain, and Sikh Americans. The two co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, John Cornyn (R-TX) and Mark Warner (D-VA), cosponsored the legislation along with Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT).
"Senator Menendez will continue to increase awareness in this country of a festival so important to millions of Hindu Americans with this resolution," said Jay Kansara, HAF's Associate Director based in Washington, D.C. "We urge other members of the Senate to demonstrate their support for the community by cosponsoring the resolution."
In addition to the spiritual significance the day holds for Hindus, Sikhs celebrate the release of the Sixth Guru, Hargobind, from captivity by the Mughal Emperor, Jehangir, and Jains commemorate Diwali as the day Lord Mahavira, the last of the Tirthankaras, attained Nirvana, or liberation, after his death in 527 B.C.E.
"While Diwali is widely celebrated within the Hindu American community, many of our neighbors, teachers, and friends don't know much about it," said PoojaDeopura, HAF Executive Council Member. "The National Teach Diwali in School Day is a way for our members to engage their children's teachers and classmates with a fun Diwali-theme presentation using the Diwali Toolkit complete with coloring pages, arts and crafts ideas, and classroom activities."
FACES OF TERROR
FRONTPAGEMAG.COM, 10/19/2011: Faces of Terror [Excerpts]--"The people want a new Gilad!" So went the menacing cry in Gaza this week, as tens of thousands of Palestinians celebrated the swap deal that will return Israeli soldier GiladShalit home in exchange for the release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners and terrorists.
If for many Israelis the Shalit deal inspired sober reflection about the painful price the country will pay for the life of just one Israeli....[a] closer look at those released in the deal...provides a full measure of Israel's sacrifice.
Among them are men like Abdel Aziz Salha. In 2000, Salha helped kill two Israeli soldiers who had made a wrong turn in the West Bankvillage of Ramallah.
Also freed was Wafa al-Bass. In 2005, al-Bass was caught while attempting to carry out a suicide bombing in a crowded Israeli hospital. Al-Bass was being treated at the hospital, free of charge.
Still another prisoner freed this week is AwanaJawad Mona. Posing as an American love interest, Mona seduced sixteen-year-old Israeli teenager OfirRahum via an online chat room and then drove him to Ramallah, where he was gunned down execution style by Palestinian terrorists.
AhlamTamimi is another freed prisoner who remains proud to have contributed to the killing of Israelis. In prison for planning the 2001 attack on Sbarro's pizzeria in Jerusalem, in which 15 Israelis were killed and 107 wounded, he now walks free to kill others.