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AUTHOR’S NOTE






Among the many documents I examined for background before writing this book, I found two puzzling reports of electroencephalograms taken of Billy Milligans brain. These were done two weeks apart in May, 1978, by different physicians, while he was being examined under court order at Harding Hospital. Current research has shed new light on the meaning of Milligan s EEGs.

Dr. Frank W. Putnam, Jr., a psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health, has discovered that the alter personalities of multiple personality subjects have measurably different physiological characteristics from each other and from the “core personality,” including different galvanic skin response and different patterns of brain wave activity.

In a recent telephone interview, I discussed with Dr. Putnam the EEG brain wave research he had presented at the May, 1982, Toronto meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. He had made a series of controlled tests on ten subjects who had previously been diagnosed as having the multiple personality disorder, testing, in each case, the core personality and two or three alter personalities. As controls, he used ten other individuals, matched with the subjects for age and sex, who had been instructed to invent alter personalities of their own choosing, with detailed histories and traits, and to practice switching to these personalities.

The tests were repeated in random order, for each core and alter personality, on five different days—a total of fifteen or twenty tests for each body. While the control subjects and their pretended personalities showed no significant change in brain wave patterns, the personalities of the diagnosed multiples showed marked differences from their core and from each other.

According to Science News (May 29, 1982), Dr. Putnams findings are supported by research at the Institute for Living, in Hartford, Connecticut, in which psychologist Collin Pitblado reported similar results with one multiple-personality patients four personalities.

After learning of this new research, I went back to my files and looked at the Milligan EEGs made four years before the presentation of Putnam s results.

On May 9, 1978, Dr. P. R. Hyman, M.D., reported that the tracing made that day was “an abnormal electroencephalogram.” Because of the activity of theta and delta waves [slow waves not normally seen in the brain of an awake adult, though seen in children] in the right rear hemisphere, Dr. Hyman wrote that the abnormality was probably due to a technical problem. He pointed out, “However, the technologist did not prove this one way or the other despite changing die electrode.” He suggested a repeat EEG.



Dr. James Parker, M.D., wrote on May 22, 1978, that the localized area of abnormality that had appeared in the first EEG was not present in this second one. The second tracing revealed background intermittent alpha activity. Parker described this EEG as having “Abnormal bilateral theta and delta [and] bilateral temporal sharp waves.” The sharp waves, he wrote, could be epileptiform.

Dr. Frank Putnam told me that ten to fifteen percent of the EEGs of multiple personality patients he had tested showed abnormal brain waves, and that these patients also had a history of having been diagnosed previously as epileptics. Similar case reports, he said, had been made at Harvard, of abnormal EEGs and multiple personality.

When I showed the descriptions of the Milligan EEGs to a registered EEG technologist, he assured me that they seemed to be describing two different people. I believe it is consistent with the results of the research done in this area to suggest that the EEGs done at Harding Hospital were actually administered to different personalities—probably the children.

In discussing the significance of the new research Dr. Putnam said, “The study of multiple personalities has something to offer the rest of us in terms of control of the mind and the body. I think multiples may, in fact, be one of those experiments of nature that will tell us a whole lot more about ourselves ...”

July 20, 1982 Athens, Ohio



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