Author Exposes True Story of "Sybil"
St. Paul, Minn. — There are many of us who read the bestselling book "Sybil" or saw the made for TV movie in the 1970s and were riveted by the tale of a young woman with sixteen separate personalities. "Sybil" suffered horrible abuse at the hands of her mother and her subsequent mental illness became an official psychiatric diagnosis: multiple personality disorder.
After years of secrecy, we now know that Sybil's real name was Shirley Mason and she was a Minnesotan. After sifting through archival papers, medical records, audio tapes and numerous interviews, journalist and author Debbie Nathan says the whole tale was largely fiction.
Nathan found that psychiatrist, Dr. Connie Wilbur's unorthodox therapies and too close relationship with Mason, fueled the fabrication. And the lie was passed off as true by author Flora Schreiber. The three women kept up the facade until the day they died. The story started though, in Dodge Center, Minnesota.
- Morning Edition, 11/10/2011, 7:40 a.m.