Shirley was born in Dodge Center, Minnesota, on January 25, 1923. Two films of the same name were made, one released in 1976 and the other in 2007. She ran an arts business out of her home. Just a short year later, Dr. Wilbur was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and, at that time, Shirley moved in to help care for Dr. Wilbur until her death in 1992. Johnson City Press, Johnson City, Tennessee, p. 5, 17 August 1998. 1923 – Mason was born on the 25th day of January this year in Dodge Center, Minnesota. Her true identity largely unknown in life, after her death it was determined that Shirley Mason was the real name of 'Sybil Isabel Dorsett', who had sixteen separate personalities. The case of young Sybil resulted in a book, written by Flora Rheta Schreiber, and a TV movie simply titled Sybil. By 1973, just before the book was published, Shirley had paid over one-third of the total bill. Warning: this post contains details of sexual assault which may be distressing for some readers. The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, North Carolina, p. 39, 15 July 1973. ( Log Out / Flora Rheta Schreiber's non-fiction book Sybil: The True Story of a Woman Possessed by 16 Separate Personalities told a version of Mason's story with names and details changed to protect her anonymity. After Shirley “integrated,” she went on to live a quiet but successful life, according to most reports. It was also alleged that Mattie would force a flashlight, a small bottle, or a silver knife into Shirley. Shirley, according to Dr. Wilbur, often struggled against meeting her various alters. Her hometown of Dodge Center, about … In the aftermath of her treatment, Shirley would report that some people had a difficult time believing that her mother and father would do the things she alleged. Dr. Herbert Spiegel's View", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shirley_Ardell_Mason&oldid=981856470, Minnesota State University, Mankato alumni, People with dissociative identity disorder, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 4 October 2020, at 20:25. As a young woman she was emotionally unstable, and she decided to seek psychiatric help. It is, largely (at least back then) hard to see how a mother or father could do that to a child. Shirley’s father was Mr. Walter W. Mason and her mother was Mrs. Martha Alice Atkinson. Her father, Walter Wingfield Mason (a hardware store clerk and carpenter born in Emmetsburg, Iowa, on September 21, … Schreiber’s book would highlight many instances of abuse; one of those detailing Mattie’s alleged break from reality. Years later, in Shirley’s house in Lexington, Kentucky, a horde of approximately 100 paintings were found in the basement. When Shirley Ardell Mason died in her modest Lexington KY home in 1998 only a few knew the truth about her. Mason died on February 26, 1998.. Over one hundred paintings were found locked in a closet in Mason's Lexington home when it was being emptied after her estate sale. In time, she allegedly split into 16 alters to help her cope with and survive her abuse. 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 … Either way, the strange case of the woman whose real name was Shirley Ardell Mason made itself felt in psychiatrists’ offices across the country. Her life was … Martha was better known as Mattie but, in Schreiber’s book, she was simply referred to as “Hattie.” For the sake of brevity, Martha will be referred to as “Mattie” through this post. Fair use shouldn't be the question. She painted. The book, whose veracity was challenged (e.g., Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan), 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.. Shirley Ardell "Sybil" Mason is perhaps best known as an American psychiatric patient diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. Shirley Mason … She taught art classes at a community college and ran an art gallery out of her home for many years. Sigmund Freud | Shirley Ardell Mason. Shirley donated her house and paintings to the Seventh-day Adventist church and would die in late February of 1998 at the age of 75. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account.  Spiegel confronted Wilbur, who responded that the publisher would not publish the book unless it was what she said it was. The only child of a carpenter father and overprotective mother, Shirley Ardell Mason grew up in the 1920s in a strict and religious Minnesota household.  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. "She had a witch-like laugh....She didn't laugh much, but when she did, it was like a screech." 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. , "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?  Nathan hypothesizes that Mason's physical and sensory issues may have been due to untreated pernicious anemia, the symptoms of which were mistaken at the time for psychogenic issues. The Miami Herald, Miami, Florida, p. 100, 20 April 1973. Christensen remembers Mason's mother walking around after dark, looking in the neighbors' windows. 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. When Dr. Wilbur started treatment with Shirley, she was charged between $15, $20, or $25 per visit but primarily stayed at $15 per visit. Mason's diagnosis had been challenged. Whether one believes her story is true is entirely up for debate. To reach that point, Shirley had to endure 11 years of therapy with a total of 2,354 office sessions. Others, like the clinical professor of psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Richard Gottlieb noted that Dr. Rieber’s report failed to show that the book was a conscious misrepresentation. Shirley’s paintings sold at auction in 1999 for between $30,000-$100,000 to an unidentified collector from Leawood, Kansas. Blog entry. Dr. Wilbur believed that each of Shirley’s traumas had to be “uprooted and analyzed” to integrate and thus Shirley would no longer need any of the alters. Sybil, born Shirley Ardell Mason, was born in 1923 in Dodge Center, Minnesota. SYBIL in her own words: The Untold Story of Shirley Mason, Her Multiple Personalities and Paintings The book “Sybil” by Flora Rheta Schreiber written in the 1970’s, has recently received media attention again. Shirley Ardell Mason was born Jan. 25, 1923, in Dodge Center, Minn., the daughter of Walter Mason and Martha Alice Hageman Mason. She later moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where she lived near Wilbur. Shirley Ardell Mason was born January 25, 1923 in Dodge Center, Minnesota, and died February 26, 1998, in Lexington, Kentucky. 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. Folk Figure. Shirley sought treatment by Freudian psychoanalyst Dr. Cornelia B. Wilbur. Swales said people who knew Mason in … Many of these materials are courtesy of other sources and the original copyright holders retain all applicable rights under the law. Spoiler alert! Shirley would go on to teach art at a community college and was a painter herself, even hosting her own art gallery. After Ms. Mason’s death at the age of 75 in 1998, her Kentucky home and its contents were prepared for … 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. She had long suffered from blackouts and emotional breakdowns, and finally entered psychotherapy with Cornelia B. Wilbur, a Freudian psychiatrist. From 1970-71, she taught art at Rio Grande College in Rio Grande, Ohio (now the University of Rio Grande). , Mason graduated from Dodge Center High School in 1941 and became an art student at Mankato State College, now Minnesota State University, Mankato. 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. , 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.. 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. Shirley … Shirley reported that Mattie would separate Shirley’s legs with a long wooden spoon, tie her feet to the spoon with dishtowels, and then string her to the end of a light bulb cord hanging from the ceiling. Their sessions together are the basis of the book. Both the book and the films used the name Sybil Isabe… 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. Sybil, born Shirley Ardell Mason, was born in 1923 in Dodge Center, Minnesota. ( Log Out / He claimed Wilbur had manipulated Mason in order to secure a book deal. Contributed by Shawn Logan | email@example.com. Swales said people who knew Mason in … She was an Assistant Art Professor at Rio Grande College in Ohio during 1969 and 1970. Preserving the Memories of Kentucky's Historic Asylums, Hospitals and Institutions. Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minnesota, p. 69, June 1999. “We don’t want anyone looking in, spying on us,” the words of Mattie, Shirley’s mother. It was not until Shirley was 42 years of age, in 1965, that all of her 16 alters melded into one and marked the birth of the “new” Shirley. Shirley Mason, the real Sybil, grew up in the Midwest in a strict Seventh-day Adventist family. Shirley Mason was the psychiatric patient whose life was portrayed in the 1973 book Sybil. , Spiegel revealed that he possessed audio tapes in which Wilbur tells Mason about some of the other personalities she has already seen in prior sessions. The TV movie was remade in 2007 with Tammy Blanchard and Jessica Lange. According to Shirley, her mother would not always do the same things to her, though they were all usually terrible. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. As a youth and later as a young adult, she often lost time … Over her 11 years of treatment, Shirley racked up a bill of more than $35,000. 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 … Later, Shirley became a substitute teacher in the 1950s and even attended Columbia University. He never responded to Shirley’s screams. I wonder how … 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). Mattie was often referred to as being strange or weird when she lived in Minnesota. 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 … This list should be moved to the book's article (if it's not … Spiegel believes these tapes are the "smoking gun" proving that Wilbur induced her client to believe she was multiple. Dr. Leah Dickstein at the University of Louisville in Kentucky stayed in touch with Shirley after Dr. Wilbur died. Spoiler alert. Shirley’s father, Willard, was noted as being passive; he largely ignored the abuse and the signs, the burns, and the scars. By early 1997, Shirley’s breast cancer had returned; she once again decided against treatment. Shirley Ardell Mason was born Jan. 25, 1923, in Dodge Center, Minn., the daughter of Walter W. Mason and Martha Alice Hageman Mason. Mason was a devout Seventh-day Adventist. Mother of Shirley Ardell Mason, the subject of the book Sybil, a 1973 book by Flora Rheta Schreiber. Some of the paintings were signed by Shirley, some were unsigned, and some even included the signatures of her alters. She was the the only child of Walter Mason and Martha Alice Mattie Hageman. Mason … We do not own all of the materials on this website/blog. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. 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. If I imagine that I am a patient seeking the ideal psychotherapist, I have found her in Dr. Wilbur, a psychiatrist. Her neighbors would remark on her bizarre laugh and they (the neighbors) would report that Mattie would walk at night and look into windows. The book and subsequent film caused an enormous spike in reported cases of multiple personality … Important note:If you would like to use any information on this website (including text, bios, photos and any other information) we encourage you to contact us. It was a case that entranced the entire nation and, arguably, the world during the 1960s and 1970s. “ integrated, ” the words of Mattie, Shirley ’ s experiences with abuse Freudian psychoanalyst Dr. Cornelia Wilbur! Diagnosis and treatment under Cornelia B. Wilbur have been criticized, with allegations that Wilbur manipulated or misdiagnosed! | Shirley Ardell Mason lived a quiet but successful life, according to most reports in your below... A psychiatrist Alice Atkinson author of `` Sybil '' the integration of all of Shirley Ardell Mason 's walking. The basis of the book was published, Shirley had paid over one-third of the book Sybil born! P. 100, 20 April 1973 with abuse [ 3 ], some were unsigned, and decided. 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