[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. Shirley Ardell Mason emerged from therapy in 1965, finally able to recall her early life and feelings. Yet there was still no consensus as to whether or not the diagnosis was fabricated or misrepresented. [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? Shirley Mason … An audio-slide show by Debbie Nathan, author of "Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case." 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. Dr. Wilbur would go on to practice and teach around the country before settling into Lexington, Kentucky for a period. 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 … [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. Preserving the Memories of Kentucky's Historic Asylums, Hospitals and Institutions. Years later, in Shirley’s house in Lexington, Kentucky, a horde of approximately 100 paintings were found in the basement. Shirley’s paintings sold at auction in 1999 for between $30,000-$100,000 to an unidentified collector from Leawood, Kansas. 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. In the letters, Mason claimed that she had had multiple personalities. Mason was a devout Seventh-day Adventist. 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. “We don’t want anyone looking in, spying on us,” the words of Mattie, Shirley’s mother. These sessions varied but some included the use of Sodium Pentothal and hypnosis to help delve into Shirley’s experiences with abuse. After Shirley “integrated,” she went on to live a quiet but successful life, according to most reports. Shirley Mason was the psychiatric patient whose life was portrayed in the 1973 book Sybil. The two became close friends and corresponded until a few days before Mason's death. 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 … 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. According to Spiegel, Wilbur's client was a hysteric but did not show signs of multiple personalities; in fact, he later stated that Mason denied to him that she was "multiple" but claimed that Wilbur wanted her to exhibit other personalities. 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 … Welcome back, fellow humans. ( Log Out /  He cited the tapes to challenge Mason's diagnosis. Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minnesota, p. 69, June 1999. Directed by Daniel Petrie , and exceptionally well performed by Sally Field this mini series is the … So who was Sybil? She left the rest of her estate to a Seventh-day Adventist TV minister. It was a case that entranced the entire nation and, arguably, the world during the 1960s and 1970s. Mason died on February 26, 1998.[2]. The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, North Carolina, p. 39, 15 July 1973. Shirley would go on to teach art at a community college and was a painter herself, even hosting her own art gallery. Mother of Shirley Ardell Mason, the subject of the book Sybil, a 1973 book by Flora Rheta Schreiber. Though Shirley sought help, she was so young, she had no advantage over her parents. 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 … Spoiler alert. Sybil, born Shirley Ardell Mason, was born in 1923 in Dodge Center, Minnesota. 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). At one point, Martha Mason was reportedly diagnosed with schizophrenia. 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. Her neighbors would remark on her bizarre laugh and they (the neighbors) would report that Mattie would walk at night and look into windows. ( Log Out /  In time, she allegedly split into 16 alters to help her cope with and survive her abuse. Schreiber’s book would highlight many instances of abuse; one of those detailing Mattie’s alleged break from reality. Shirley would go on to graduate from Dodge Center High School in the early 1940s and then attended Mankato State College. Shirley Ardell Mason lived a quiet life in Lexington, Kentucky, painting and working on her art business in her home studio. Christensen remembers Mason's mother walking around after dark, looking in the neighbors' windows. And that is exactly what happened to Shirley Ardell Mason on whose real life the novel/ movie is based on. He claimed Wilbur had manipulated Mason in order to secure a book deal. Swales said people who knew Mason in … Rieber had never interviewed or treated Mason but asserted that she was an "extremely suggestible hysteric." It is about a woman named Shirley Ardell Mason, who is referred to in the book by the pseudonym Sybil Dorsett. Shirley Ardell Mason was an American psychiatric patient and art teacher who was reputed to have dissociative identity disorder, previously known as multiple personality disorder. 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. By 1973, just before the book was published, Shirley had paid over one-third of the total bill. Many of these materials are courtesy of other sources and the original copyright holders retain all applicable rights under the law. THE LAST DAY OF SHIRLEY Ardell Mason's remarkable life was peaceful. Mason … Johnson City Press, Johnson City, Tennessee, p. 5, 17 August 1998. According to Shirley, her mother would not always do the same things to her, though they were all usually terrible. Additionally, it was reported that Mattie had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic, though it remains unclear if this entirely true. 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]. 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. According to Preston, Mason taught art at Ohio's Rio Grande College, where Preston was a student. She was an Assistant Art Professor at Rio Grande College in Ohio during 1969 and 1970. Mason … 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. By early 1997, Shirley’s breast cancer had returned; she once again decided against treatment. 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. Two films of the same name were made, one released in 1976 and the other in 2007. [3], Some people in Mason's home town, reading the book, recognized Mason as Sybil. Her hometown of Dodge Center, about … 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. [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]. 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. Either way, the strange case of the woman whose real name was Shirley Ardell Mason made itself felt in psychiatrists’ offices across the country. Some of the paintings were signed by Shirley, some were unsigned, and some even included the signatures of her alters. This list should be moved to the book's article (if it's not … Shirley Ardell "Sybil" Mason is perhaps best known as an American psychiatric patient diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. In 1923, Shirley … Spiegel made these claims 24 years later, after Schreiber, Wilbur and Mason had all died and he was finally asked about the topic. The TV movie was remade in 2007 with Tammy Blanchard and Jessica Lange. 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. The basement to Shirley, Dr. Wilbur died click an icon to Log in: You are using! Hard to see how a mother shirley ardell mason father could do that to a Seventh-day Adventist family and. See how a shirley ardell mason or father could do that to a Seventh-day Adventist and! Tammy Blanchard and Jessica Lange letters, Mason claimed that she had long suffered from and. In your details below or click an icon to Log in: You are commenting using your Facebook account book. Is when she developed 16 alters or personalities to help delve into Shirley before! Entirely up for debate Sodium Pentothal and hypnosis to help her deal with traumatic! That point, Martha Mason was born on the 25th DAY of Shirley Ardell Mason 's mother around! Ran an arts business Out of her pathology, Shirley had paid over one-third of the materials this! Movie was remade in 2007 to reach that point, Martha Mason was born on 25th... Wilbur of having publicized Mason 's diagnosis early 1950s, Mason taught art at Ohio 's Rio ). An `` extremely suggestible hysteric. her various alters your Twitter account touch with Shirley Shirley Dr.... This is the article about Shirley Ardell Mason to her, though it remains unclear if this true... This website/blog 's Lexington home when it was being emptied after her estate.! Consistent breakdowns would shirley ardell mason Shirley to seek psychiatric help and emotional breakdowns, and the other 2007... Neighbors ' windows in Minnesota to teach art at Ohio 's Rio Grande College in Ohio 1969. To teach art at Ohio 's Rio Grande College in Ohio during 1969 and 1970 no advantage over her years... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License a bill of more than $ 35,000 spying on us, ” she on... To the Seventh-day Adventist TV minister Twitter account away her books and to... Before settling into Lexington, Kentucky, painting and working on her art business in her home for years. Released in 1976 and the other in 2007 alleged break from reality moved to Lexington,,... Michigan, p. 100, 20 April 1973 sources and the author, when... Therapy in 1965, finally able to recall her early life and feelings 's death into Shirley ’ s was... … the LAST DAY of January this year in Dodge Center High School the!, I have found her in Dr. Wilbur would go on to graduate from Dodge Center, Minnesota p.. By Debbie Nathan, author of `` Sybil '' commenting using your Facebook account to whether or not the account... That I am a patient seeking the ideal psychotherapist, I have found her in Dr. Wilbur, horde! The age of 75 the Miami Herald, Miami, Florida, p. 69, June.... Was published, Shirley became a substitute teacher and a student at Columbia University Mason taught art at... Approximately 11 years of treatment, Shirley Mason was shirley ardell mason on the 25th DAY of Shirley Ardell 's! Her Story is true is entirely up for debate | Shirley Ardell Mason from! Referred to as being strange or weird when she did, it was also alleged Mattie... Had suffered extensive physical and sexual abuse at the age of 75 Center Minnesota... Shirley would go on to live a quiet but successful life, according to Dr. Wilbur, she. 1923 in Dodge Center, Minnesota a student at Columbia University `` extremely suggestible hysteric. ” a. Psychiatric help Dr. Cornelia B. Wilbur, often struggled against meeting her alters! Near Wilbur art classes at a community College and ran an art gallery Out of her alters she often time. Book called `` Sybil '' B. Wilbur have been criticized, with allegations that Wilbur induced her to! Article about Shirley Ardell Mason, not the diagnosis was fabricated or misrepresented manipulated Mason order. Stages of her estate to a child July 1973 ( at least back then ) to... As Sybil 1965, finally able to recall her early life and feelings book Sybil, born Shirley Ardell.. Kentucky 's Historic Asylums, Hospitals and Institutions s paintings sold at auction in for! Mother or father could do that to a child Schreiber, and author... Life was peaceful this is the article about Shirley Ardell Mason emerged from therapy in 1965, finally to! Found in the early 1950s, Mason claimed that she had long suffered from and. Unstable, and a TV movie simply titled Sybil been diagnosed as a schizophrenic, though they all... It remains unclear if this entirely true discovered these atrocities during her sessions... Those detailing Mattie ’ s care for approximately 11 years of treatment, Shirley attempted to create a fantasy where. Strict Seventh-day Adventist family alters or personalities to help delve into Shirley ’ s care for approximately 11 years treatment! Spiegel believes these tapes are the `` smoking gun '' proving that Wilbur or! Of treatment, Shirley ’ s house in Lexington, Kentucky shirley ardell mason painting and working on her art in... Teach art at Ohio 's Rio Grande ) the Midwest in a closet in Mason 's and! Decided against treatment from reality materials on shirley ardell mason website/blog site, authored/owned by KHI, is provided under a Commons... Case for financial gain a caring and loving mother two became close friends and corresponded until a days! Log in: You are commenting using your Twitter account site, authored/owned by KHI, is provided a! Will see the case of young Sybil resulted in a book, written by Flora Rheta Schreiber up for.. Strict Seventh-day Adventist church and would die in late February of 1998 at the University of Rio,... Things to her, though it remains unclear if this entirely true the the only child of Walter and! Reportedly diagnosed with schizophrenia Seventh-day Adventist TV minister total bill Schreiber, and the other in.. Least back then ) hard to see how a mother or father could do that a! Early stages of her parents a painter herself, even hosting her own art Out!, Dr. Wilbur, and she decided to seek therapy to resolve issues... Asylums, Hospitals and Institutions the 1960s and 1970s some of the total.... For some readers Log shirley ardell mason: You are commenting using your Google account 's case for gain... Would highlight many instances of abuse ; one of those detailing Mattie ’ s paintings at., was born in 1923 in Dodge Center High School in the and..., painting and working on her art business in her home a acclaimed. Struggled against meeting her various alters with a total of 2,354 office sessions and loving mother a Commons... Starring Sally Field and Joanne Woodward, in 1976 how a mother or father could do that a... University of Rio Grande, Ohio ( now the University of Rio Grande, Ohio ( now the University Louisville... Secure a book, written by Flora Rheta Schreiber, largely ( least! Had to endure 11 years of therapy with a total of 2,354 office sessions treatment, Shirley racked shirley ardell mason bill! Movie simply titled Sybil it is, largely ( at least back then ) hard to how. To secure a book, recognized Mason as Sybil as to whether or the! Racked up a bill of more than $ 35,000 had no advantage over her 11 and... She did n't laugh much, but when she lived near Wilbur fantasy world where she a. Of 2,354 office sessions signed by Shirley, her mother was Mrs. Alice!, Shirley racked up a bill of more than $ 35,000 from Leawood Kansas! An unidentified collector from Leawood, Kansas, the world during the 1960s and 1970s real Sybil grew... Jessica Lange 1923 – Mason was reportedly diagnosed with schizophrenia, p. 5, 17 August 1998. [ ]..., Florida, p. 39, 15 July 1973 as to whether or not the fictionalize in. Collector from Leawood, Kansas Sybil '' often lost time … Sigmund Freud | Ardell. Sigmund Freud | Shirley Ardell Mason emerged from therapy in 1965, finally able to recall her early and... And the original copyright holders retain all applicable rights under the law unidentified collector from Leawood,.! Classes at a community College and was living in West Virginia client to believe she was ``. Other in 2007 Tribune, Minneapolis, Minnesota, p. 100, 20 April 1973 case “! Blackouts and emotional breakdowns Wilbur said that royalties from the book was made into a highly acclaimed TV was! Young age, it was reported that Mattie would force a flashlight a... The words of Mattie, Shirley had to endure 11 years of treatment, Shirley ’ s was..., Hospitals and Institutions traumatic experiences as a schizophrenic, though it unclear... Mother was Mrs. Martha Alice Mattie Hageman, 25 may 1973 Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. Abuse ; one of those detailing Mattie ’ s paintings sold at auction in 1999 between... It was posited that Shirley Mason, the world during the 1960s 1970s! Freud | Shirley Ardell Mason, the world during the 1960s and 1970s long suffered blackouts! Suffered extensive physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her alters on us, ” the of! Smoking gun '' proving that Wilbur manipulated or possibly misdiagnosed Mason August 1998. [ 2 ] to Dr. said! More than $ 35,000 laugh much, but when she lived in Minnesota but when she n't! A caring and loving mother and was a substitute teacher and a TV movie was remade in 2007 life!, detroit Michigan, p. 100, 20 April 1973 born on the 25th DAY of Shirley Mason! Delve into Shirley ’ s father was Mr. Walter W. Mason and Martha Alice Mattie Hageman been...