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Observations placeholder

Billy Milligan



Type of Spiritual Experience


The most extreme example of all cases of possession. A case study from Wikipedia.

Milligan was sent to a series of state-run mental hospitals, such as the Athens Lunatic Asylum, where, by his report, he received very little help. While he was in these hospitals, Milligan was reported as having ten different personalities. Milligan later received treatment from psychiatrist David Caul, who diagnosed an additional fourteen personalities. The Wikipedia entry was compiled by using a book by Daniel Keyes called The Minds of Billy Milligan.

Despite the diagnosis of multiple personality, I think this may have been a case of ‘possession’.  The personalities are all so different that it is hard to see them as spawning from a core personality.  Furthermore their abilities and characteristics are so extraordinarily different – Australian, English, sophisticated, educated, expert in science and medicine,  "keeper of hate”,  Yugoslavian,  communist, expert in munitions,  extreme strength, con man,  manipulator, drum player, portrait painter, left handed, right handed, smoker, non smoker,  escape artist; tenor sax player, electronics expert. And so it goes on.

This example was probably the most extreme I could find.  Milligan’s early life was dogged by trauma from the moment he was born.  One could interpret this by saying that Milligan continually retreated and escaped into new personalities he constructed for himself, but this doesn’t seem to match the evidence .

These aren’t just multiple personalities these are complete souls and they could be bodied and simply communicating or they could be disembodied.  The latter seems more likely.  

A description of the experience

William Stanley Milligan (born 1955), known as Billy Milligan, 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 for three rapes on the Ohio State University campus. In the course of preparing his defense, psychologists diagnosed Milligan with multiple personality disorder. Milligan pleaded insanity, with a claim that two personalities in Milligan had committed the crimes without the others being aware of it. He was the first person diagnosed with multiple personality disorder to raise such a defense…………..

Milligan's mother Dorothy … began living with Johnny Morrison.  Dorothy and Johnny had a son, Jim, and in 1955, a second son, William Stanley. According to biographer Daniel Keyes, "Meeting the medical expenses overwhelmed Johnny. He borrowed more, gambled more, drank more.... [He] was hospitalized for acute alcoholism and depression in ... 1958...." In what appeared to be an unsuccessful suicide attempt, according to Keyes, "[Dorothy] found him slumped over the table, half a bottle of Scotch and an empty bottle of sleeping pills on the floor." A few months after this attempt, on January 17, 1959, Johnny committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dorothy took her children and moved away from Miami. In 1962, she met Chalmer Milligan (1927–1988). Chalmer's first wife Bernice divorced him on "grounds of gross neglect". At his later trial, Chalmer was blamed for abusing Billy.  Keyes states that Billy had multiple personalities from a much earlier age.  His first three (no name boy, Christene, and Shawn) appearing by the time he was five years old.  The following ten people are the ones Ragen and Arthur decided were not undesirable.
1. Billy Milligan (William Stanly Milligan) was the core personality.
2. Arthur was a extremely sophisticated and educated Englishman. An expert in science and medicine, with a focus on hematology. He is in "the spot"—that is, in charge of the shared body—during times that required intellectual thinking.
3. Ragen Vadascovinich is the "keeper of hate". Ragen describes himself as Yugoslavian, has a Slavic accent and can write and speak in Serbo-Croatian. He is a communist, an expert in munitions and also has extreme strength because Arthur taught him how to control his adrenalin flow. Ragen has a soft spot for women and children, and will not hesitate to assist them if they are in trouble, to the point of stealing food and supplies for them. He controls the spot in dangerous times and can designate group members "undesirable".
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. He is also a painter, specializing in landscapes.
6. Danny is afraid of people, especially men. He only paints still lifes, saying that this was because Chalmer made him dig his own grave and buried him in it.
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, actually wished Ragen off the spot—forcibly taking his place running the body—during a "mix up time". Ragen had intended only to rob the Ohio University students, but Adalana took his place and raped them. She cooks and cleans house for the others, and writes poetry.

These people were labeled as Undesirable because they broke the rules laid down by Ragen and Arthur. These do not hold the conscience.

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 step father. Declared an Undesirable when she convinced Ragen to kill Chalmer. Luckily though Arthur was able to talk him out of it at the last second.
15. Samual 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. Steve never accepted that he was an MP. He was made to be undesirable because his comedy caused the family problems.
18. Lee is the prankster and his practical jokes normally get the family into trouble. He does not care about consequences for his actions. He was made an undesirable because one of his jokes put them into solitary confinement.
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. He was labeled an undesirable because there was no benefit from being deaf later on in life. (Even though he is an undesirable he was never cast into the shadows beyond the spot, he was just never allowed to take the spot.)
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 homosexual who flirted with him. He retreated into his own world after that. 

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps