This book has been on my reading list for a while. It explores the life (or, lives) of a man living with multiple personality disorder. 24 personalities to be exact.
William Stanley Milligan, "Billy Milligan," born Feb 14, 1955, was the subject of a highly publicized court case in Ohio in the late 1970s.
After having committed several felonies including armed robbery, he was arrested. While preparing his defense, psychologists diagnosed Milligan with multiple personality disorder.
Here is a list of his personalities and their traits thanks to wikipedia. His other personalities were able to categorize each other, putting the "bad" personalities into the "Undesirable" category. The stronger personalities would try to control these undesirables.
1. Billy Milligan (William Stanley Milligan) is the core personality.
2. Arthur is an extremely sophisticated and educated Englishman. He is in "the spot"—that is, in charge of the shared body—during times that required intellectual thinking. Arthur is one of only two personalities who could classify a person in the group as an undesirable.
3. Ragen Vadascovinich is the "keeper of hate." His name comes from the words "rage again." Ragen describes himself as Yugoslavian, has a Slavic accent and can write and speak in Serbo-Croatian. He controls the spot in dangerous times and can designate group members as "undesirable." He admitted committing robbery in order to support "the family," but had no knowledge of the rapes.
4. Allen is a con man and a manipulator. He is the most common person to talk to the outside world. He plays the drums and paints portraits. Also the only right-handed self. He is the only personality that smokes cigarettes.
5. Tommy is the escape artist; he is often confused with Allen. He plays the tenor sax and is an electronics expert.
6. Danny is afraid of people, especially men.
7. David, age eight, is the "keeper of pain." He comes to the spot to take the pain of the others.
8. Christene, age three, was the one who would stand in the corner in school when "Billy" would get in trouble. She has dyslexia, but Arthur taught her to read and write. Ragen has a special bond with her.
9. Christopher, Christene's brother, plays the harmonica.
10. Adalana, a lesbian, cooks and cleans house for the others, and writes poetry. Milligan's attorney claimed that Adalana had admitted to committing the rapes without the knowledge of Milligan or the other alters.
These people were labeled "undesirable" after breaking the rules laid down by Ragen and Arthur. These alters were no longer allowed "on the spot" (i.e., to hold consciousness) and only revealed themselves after Milligan was sent to the hospital.
11. Phil is a thug and took part in planning some small time crimes. Has a Brooklyn accent. Marked due to him being a criminal.
12. Kevin is a criminal planner; he helped devise a plan to rob a drug store. Labeled also because he is a criminal.
13. Walter is Australian. He calls himself a big-game hunter and has an excellent sense of direction. Was often used as a spotter. He was labeled because he shot and killed a crow.
14. April only has thoughts about destroying Billy's stepfather.
15. Samuel is the Jewish person. He is the only one who believes in God. Was marked because he sold some of the other people's personal paintings.
16. Mark is the workhorse. He is often referred to as the zombie because he does nothing unless he is told, and will stare at walls when bored.
17. Steve is the impostor, he uses imitations for comedy.
18. Lee is the prankster and his practical jokes normally get the family into trouble.
19. Jason is the pressure valve. He was used at the beginning to release tension for the family, but he caused them to get into too much trouble and was marked as an undesirable.
20. Bobby always dreams of leading some adventure or fixing some global crisis, but he has no ambitions and was labeled due to that fact.
21. Shawn, who is four and deaf, makes buzzing sounds so he can feel the vibration in his head.
22. Martin is a snob, from New York. He wants things just handed over to him without earning them.
23. Timothy worked in a florist shop until he encountered a gay man who flirted with him. He went into his own world after that.
24. (Note: the teacher is not an Undesirable.) The Teacher, was by far the greatest milestone to helping Billy achieve fusion. He is the sum of all 24 people put together, and has almost total recall of all the other people's actions and thoughts.