"OTHER SELVES" WHO KILL
Ralph B. Allison, M.D.
PO Box 957
Paso Robles, CA 93446-0957
Criminal Defense Weekly
When a defense attorney has a criminal defendant manifesting "another self," what is he to
do? When that happened to the attorney preparing for the double murder trial of Kenneth Bianchi
in Bellingham, Washington, in 1979, he had Bianchi enter a plea of not guilty by reason of
insanity, due to the possibility that Bianchi suffered from Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) at
the time of the offense. The Superior Court judge assigned to hear the case called me on the
phone to ask me to be his expert witness. He wanted me to examine Bianchi and tell him whether
or not Bianchi had MPD. That was my only charge. (Allison, 1984)
This case garnered much attention when one of Bianchi's "other selves," named Steve
Walker, admitted to killing the two young women in Bellingham as well as many of those victims
in Los Angeles known as the Hillside Stranglings. He named his cousin, Angelo Buono, Jr., as his
accomplice in Los Angeles.
This was a case of two serial killers in an era when little had been written on the subject,
and I had seen none myself. But I had seen a number of men and women whom I had diagnosed
as having MPD. I had given the first course on the subject at a meeting of the American
Psychiatric Association (APA), so some considered me to be the APA's expert on the subject.
Naturally, the prosecuting attorney was not pleased with this defense motion and lined up
psychiatric experts whom he could expect to say Bianchi was a bald-faced liar. The issue came
down to convincing the judge, and maybe a jury, that Bianchi really had MPD or was a
malingerer. There was no third option available to any of the psychiatric expert witnesses at the
time. Here I will explain the third optional explanation which is now available to defense
(To avoid the death penalty, Bianchi plea bargained and pled guilty to the two murders in
Washington and five in California. He testified against his cousin, Buono, in Los Angeles, and
Buono was sentenced to multiple life terms in California. Buono died on September 21, 2002 in
California's Calipatria State Prison. Bianchi is serving two consecutive life terms in Washington's
Walla Walla State Prison.)
The Dilemma of the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders
In 1979, the APA's official manual of diagnoses, the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders, Third Edition (DSM-III), contained a code number for MPD and a brief
description of an alter-personality. Obviously, to have MPD, one must have at least one alter-
personality plus a "host personality." As a psychotherapist who was seeing such persons in my
office and in jail, I was aware of the great difficulty in making a correct diagnosis. Before and
during the time I saw Bianchi for evaluation, I had others give him several psychological tests I
had also given my male MPD patients, and I compared his results to theirs. In addition to
extensive interviewing, including under hypnosis, I thought this was the best approach to arrive at
a rational and logical evaluation for the judge. I was not appointed to defend or convict Bianchi,
just to diagnose him correctly. I needed to tell the judge whether or not Bianchi matched the
criteria for MPD in DSM-III. My final report indicated that I thought he might have MPD, but, to
be sure, he should be sent for diagnosis to a state forensic hospital.
At Buono's arraignment in 1981, I changed my mind and offered two diagnoses, per
300.15 Atypical Dissociative Disorder, occurring under stress of intensive and extensive
psychiatric evaluation, while under threat of the death penalty, and limited in duration to the
period of time between arrest for murder and sentencing.
301.89 Mixed Personality Disorder, with antisocial, paranoid, and histrionic features.
In 1994, DSM-III was replaced by DSM-IV. The current version is DSM-IV-TR (for
Text Revision). By that time there had appeared to be an "American epidemic of MPD" and many
professors of psychiatry or psychology felt there was no such real mental disorder as MPD. They
wanted to delete MPD from the future DSM-IV. The committee assigned to rewrite this section
included both such academics and therapists, like myself, who were treating such patients every
day. The therapists wanted to keep the MPD label intact. The two groups arrived at a
compromise. Instead of deleting MPD, it was replaced by DID for Dissociative Identity Disorder.
The description of an alter-personality remained in the manual, with one minor modification.
There has always been a disclaimer in the manual that these descriptions are for clinical
and research purposes only and are not meant to apply to legal issues. In actuality, the
descriptions are meant to be of most use to researchers, who want to have a clear list of external
criteria which can be noted on the first interview. Only then can someone else duplicate a study by
using the same criteria to select research subjects who have the same mental disorder.
The current description for DID (formerly for MPD) is as follows:
"Diagnostic criteria for 300.14 Dissociative Identity Disorder
A. The presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states (each with its own
relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self).
B. At least two of these identities or personality states recurrently take control of the person's
C. Inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by
D. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., blackouts or
chaotic behavior during Alcohol Intoxication) or a general medical condition (e.g., complex
partial seizures). Note: In children, the symptoms are not attributable to imaginary playmates or
other fantasy play."
That last sentence recognizes that some children create imaginary playmates. What it
doesn't recognize is that some of those imaginary playmates can last for decades and then commit
murder. Those imaginary playmates which have been internalized fulfill the criteria spelled out in
A, B, & C, just as well as do alter-personalities. Therefore, these diagnostic criteria do not
differentiate in the least between alter-personalities and Internalized Imaginary Companions. The
existence of Internalized Imaginary Companions, not alter-personalities, is the third alternate
explanation which I now offer to explain Bianchi's criminal behavior.
My Creative Use of the Labels MPD & DID
When I heard the results of the DSM revision committee's decision, I could not accept it
as rational and useful. I knew my patients, and I knew they fell into two groups, one of which
created their first alter-personalities before age seven, and the other one of which created their
first alter-personality after the age of seven. Each group was unique in its public presentation and
type of treatment needed. I decided to use the label MPD for the first group and DID for the
second group. Both groups manifested bonafide alter-personalities, but under quite different
Next I had to accept what I had learned from my forensic cases, that their "other selves"
did not look and act like the alter-personalities of my clinical patients. In 1981 I presented a paper
(Allison, 1981) in which I called them "maybe multiples" because of these differences. I didn't
know what else to call them at that time.
Then I met Fred, the cabbie killer, in the Fresno, California, County Jail. He is described in
more detail later. After "Chuck," his alleged killer alter-personality, tried to choke me during our
interview in jail, Fred was moved to a secure room where I could interview him by phone, behind
Plexiglass. In that room, he moved "Chuck" out of his body onto the wall of the cell. Only then
did I realize that the criminals thought to have MPD really had Internalized Imaginary
Companions, not alter-personalities. They were able to move these creatures at will, to wherever
they wanted them to be. Everyone had assumed that imaginary companions are always outside the
body of the creating person. Now I had seen someone move their imaginary companions from
inside his body to the wall of his room.
From other expatients who were now willing to tell me their secrets, I learned that they
had used "emotional imagination," not dissociation, to create these monsters, creatures with no
conscience or concern for the social consequences of their actions. I learned that alter-
personalities always served the survival needs of the dissociating person. Alter-personalities had
to stay in the body. Internalized Imaginary Companions did not. They could be anywhere their
creating Personality wanted them to be -- inside the body, in a doll, sitting on a chair at dinner.
Dissociation & Imagination in Personalities & Essences
My explorations to find out why a patient developed alter-personalities always showed
that they used a mental mechanism called dissociation to put together personality traits to make an
alter-personality which would benefit the survival of that patient as an endangered child.
Dissociation comes from "dis" for "not" and "associate" for "gather together." Therefore it means
that something is broken into parts which were previously together as one. The part of the mind
which does this, which I choose to call the Essence, is primarily interested in personal survival of
the organism, so all alter-personalities it creates are programmed to operate in the organism's self
interest. They are not interested in the destruction of anyone else.
In English and other European languages, there is no agreed upon word for this part of the
mind. Every psychological researcher who finds it calls it something different, such as soul, spirit,
internal self helper, the self, the unconscious, unconscious mind, atman, hidden observer,
executive self, intellectual self or rational soul. I have chosen to use Essence in my other papers,
so I will use that term here.
The other part of the mind, which I choose to call the Personality, also has several
synonyms, such as emotional self, ego and irrational soul. We are born with one Essence and one
Original Personality, bonded together. This bonding is fragile, however, for the first seven years
of a child's life, especially if that child is extremely highly hypnotizable, a state called Grade V
Hypnotizability. After the age of seven, the Essence and Personality cannot be "dissociated"
except by hypnosis in Grade V Hypnotizable persons. Before age seven, the Essence and
Personality can be dissociated by a life threatening trauma, but only in Grade V Hypnotizable
The other part of the mind, the Personality, operates primarily on pure emotion when a
problem or crisis occurs. Whereas the Essence can use "inspirational imagination" to solve
problems constructively (and also to write great novels and plays), the Personality more often
uses "emotional imagination" to solve problems destructively. When a parent does something to
displease her, the Personality of an imaginative child can create a vicious, hateful Internalized
Imaginary Companion, which is devoted to the destruction of anyone that child dislikes in the
future. Studies of children who have created imaginary companions show that they can do so for
an unlimited variety of reasons, such as loneliness, hatred, jealousy, desire to be famous, etc.
While this may be a relatively benign and childlike way to handle hostile emotions in small
children, when they grow up and act out as adults, they can be extremely violently antisocial.
These were the men I saw in court on murder charges.
The Allisonian Criteria for MPD & DID
My criteria for the diagnosis of MPD are:
1. The patient is very highly hypnotizable, in the top 4% of the population. (This is an
essential predisposition. Otherwise, the trauma suffered will cause some other kind of
pathology rather than alter-personalities, such as addiction and/or antisocial behavior.)
2. The first dissociation, which causes the creation of the first alter-personality, occurs before
the age of seven, due to life threatening trauma. (This trauma is not something emotionally
disturbing, like digital sexual abuse, which will not kill the child. The child must believe
she is going to die right then and there at the hands of the abuser, usually a parent. Non-
lethal angry behavior by the parent might be reason for developing a revengeful
Internalized Imaginary Companion, however.)
3. The parents are seen by the abused child as polarized, one good and one bad. However,
mother and father keep switching which one is which. (This prevents the child from being
rescued, so no self healing can occur.)
4. The siblings are polarized, with only this patient having been the abused one. The other
children are treated normally by the abuser. (This is only valid if there are siblings, of
course. It keeps the abused child from being rescued by a sibling.)
These are the children who will create many alter-personalities and who may be gravely
disabled much of the time.
My criteria for the diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder are:
1. The patient is highly hypnotizable, in the top 50% of the population.
2. The patient dissociates first after the age of seven. The trauma need not be life threatening,
but it is too overwhelming for the immature child to cope with by socially appropriate
means. (There is only one alter-personality created per crisis. This means they have only
one or two alter-personalities. They can be quite highly functional, in contrast to those
Below are examples of my personal patients which show the various ways these symptoms
can be shown. Remember, those who dissociate and make alter-personalities can also be highly
imaginative and can easily create Internalized Imaginary Companions. Those who first make
Internalized Imaginative Companions can later make alter-personalities as well, under the right
conditions. But, statistically, those with pure MPD should be the smallest number, while those
with Internalized Imaginary Companions alone should make up the largest group.
Pure Multiple Personality Disorder
"Christina Peters"(Peters & Schwarz, 1978) was a case of pure MPD. My criteria for
MPD include four factors listed above, the first three of which must always be present. The fourth
is valid if there are siblings. These criteria are followed by quotes from Christina's autobiography
to indicate how she met them. She was on felony probation while under treatment with me, in and
out of the county jail during that time, and she served a 90 day evaluation period in a state prison.
The first criterion is that the patient must be in the top 4 per cent of the population
in hypnotizability, in Grade V by the Stanford or Harvard scales. This criterion must be met
first, or the others will not apply. Only those who are Grade V hypnotizable can dissociate the
two parts of the mind, the Essence and the Personality. The present "accepted wisdom" is that
childhood trauma is the only essential factor needed to bring about dissociated alter-personalities.
This is not true. However, I believe that only those children who have the "psychic fragility"
associated with Grade V hypnotizability are able to dissociate to the degree needed to produce
alter-personalities capable of operating the body for extended periods of time.
Grade V hypnotizable patients can age revivify while hypnotized. This means that when,
under hypnosis, the therapist asks them to go back in time to an earlier age, when they come out
they appear to be that young child in a grown up body. The patient IS the little child who
experienced the abuse. This is beyond age regression, which only requires detailed remembering
of past events. These patients relive the event as if it happened just before they arrived at the
office. While age revivified, they will report all the details of the abusive situation which caused
the "recent" creation of a new alter-personality.
Evidence of High Hypnotizability
In 1977 (Allison, 1977), I wrote about Christina: "There is another patient, Mrs. D, age
30, whom I saw for several years because of multiple personality and a very heavy drinking and
barbiturate abuse [sic]. I had seen her first, a year before treatment started, in jail for the purpose
of preparing a legal report, since she had been caught writing bad checks. She claims that I
hypnotized her lightly during that interview, but I do not recall doing so. During therapy, she told
me that that hypnotic induction, for history clarification only, had been the point where she had
begun to lose the tenuous control she had over her very negative alter-personalities, and her life
had really gone to pieces after that."
In her autobiography, she wrote on page 171: "Dr. Brewster helped Linda to a chair. He
ran some preliminary tests, such as an eye-roll test, to see if she was likely to be a good subject
for hypnosis. When he satisfied himself that she was he said, "Close your eyes, Mrs. Peters. . . ."
The second criterion is that the first trauma causing dissociation is life threatening
and occurs before the age of seven. This information may not be available during the intake
interview but will be discovered during therapy.
Evidence of Life Threatening Abuse Before the Age of Seven
She writes on page 11: "Today I am Christina, a whole individual in my early thirties, with
a normal range of emotions, whose life, though far from perfect, is totally within my control. Yet
just a few months ago I was five years old the same age I was when I disappeared into the
'room' inside my mind to hide while my alter-personalities ruled my body for almost thirty years."
On pages 17-18, she continues: "He [my father] reached for me, grabbing my panties and
ripping them down. He held me so I couldn't move, his large hand clutching my neck and the
upper part of my chest, his other hand guiding his penis toward my body.
"There was a scream somewhere in the distance. At first it seemed to be coming from my
throat. I felt the vibrations of my vocal cords and the rising pitch of sound emerging from my lips.
I twisted my body but to no avail. The sound grew louder as the penis was pushed against me.
"Then there was the pain, the searing of flesh as the penis was thrust into my body's tiny
opening, stretching and tearing the skin. The scream I was hearing rose to a painful wail, blocking
out all other sounds, then faded into silence. The person who had made the sound me, Christina,
was gone. My body was physically unable to physically flee the attack, so my mind handled the
escape for me. At that moment, I had made a mental leap into the nightmare world of insanity. I
had become a multiple personality."
The third criterion is that the abused patient's parents are polarized, one appearing
good and the other bad. However, mother and father keep switching roles from one to the
other. When first abused, the child intuitively knows the other parent will not rescue them, so
dissociation is the only way to survive.
Evidence of Polarity of Parents
She describes her mother's role, on pages 13-14: "My birth was different from the births
of my brother and sister. Perhaps having babies was no longer a novelty. Or perhaps my father's
twisted mind no longer had room for children. Whatever his reasoning, he decided I wasn't worth
his attention. He ignored me, leaving my care entirely in Mother's hands.
"My father's lack of love might have been easier to take had my mother been able to
compensate for his coldness. But she didn't seem to care about me either. She fed me and kept me
dry but ignored me the rest of the time. I can vividly remember being placed in a playpen where I
would be left alone for hours at a time."
The fourth criterion is that only this child is abused, while siblings are treated
normally. Of course, this does not apply if the patient was an only child.
Evidence of Polarity of Siblings, with Only the Patient being Abused
Her description of her siblings is on pages 12-13: "My brother Al was the first born child,
arriving in 1939, a year after my parents got married. He was adored by my father who played
with him for hours on end. Both Al and my father had red hair, so they became known as 'Red'
and 'Little Red.' The two of them were inseparable.
"Two years after Al's birth, my sister Miriam was born. The idea of a daughter delighted
my father as much as he had enjoyed the birth of his son. He showered Miriam with attention,
calling her his 'little Rose.' All his spare time was spent with the two babies and he seemed
delighted when my mother became pregnant once more.
"Around March of 1942, a couple of months before my birth, my father began changing
radically. He started quarreling with my mother, picking fights for both real and imagined slights."
Christina meets all four of the criteria I use to qualify a patient for a diagnosis of
MPD, by these strict standards. Now let us look at the clinical picture resulting from these
four factors being present.
First, the Original Personality disappears from executive control of the body at the
time of the original life-threatening trauma. Christina disappeared, at age five, into the room
inside her mind for thirty years. Therefore, there was "no one home" to have a Dissociative
Identity Disorder (DID). For such a diagnosis to be semantically correct, there has to be someone
in the body and in this world to have the "identity disorder," and only the Original Personality can
be that someone. But she was gone. Only Christina, the Original Personality, could have such a
disorder, and Christina was no longer in this world. Therefore DID could not be an appropriate
The abuse caused the creation of a "Persecutor Alter-Personality." This one is
designed to hold and manage all the anger and rage which the child developed toward the abuser.
Creation of the Angry Persecutor Alter-Personality
On page 29, she writes: "Linda was first created during the rape. A part of my mind was
outraged at my father's abuse. It wanted to lash out and hurt him to break the fingers that held
my throat and slash the penis penetrating my body. It was the part of me who, in later years,
would be capable of killing without emotions."
A False Front Alter-Personality is formed at the time of the abuse. The False Front is
designed to placate the abuser, to run the body during most of the day, and to keep the body
Creation of the False Front Alter-Personality
On page 17, she writes: "Marie awakened for the first time in a strange bed in a large
room filled with countless other beds. She was thirsty, scared and alone. Nothing was familiar."
She had been left in a Catholic orphanage by her father after the rape. Marie was a False
Front alter-personality in charge of the body at that time.
A Rescuer Alter-Personality is formed to clean up the mess made by the Persecutor.
Evidence of a Rescuer Alter-Personality
On page 19, she writes: "Marie had been overcome by fear but Charlene could handle the
pain and terror. Charlene was created to deal with pain."
An Inner Self Helper was found in all my cases of MPD, by this new definition, as it is
a job title, like Disaster Control Officer, for the now dissociated Essence, the intellectual part of
the human mind.
Evidence of the Inner Self Helper
On page 185-6, we read: "Marie was lying in bed with her eyes open. She felt there was
energy in the room and seemed to see whirling dots of blackness. A piercing, whirring noise filled
her ears. She felt horror and needed to hide. She seemed to be crawling away to find shelter, only
there was none. The room kept changing and she felt a smothering sensation that was slowing
"Suddenly Marie heard a voice telling her to be calm. It was familiar and yet she was
unable to place the speaker. The voice told her to rest and fear no more. It said that her journey
out of darkness had begun.
"'Who are you?' asked Marie, though whether she spoke with her mouth or just her mind,
she didn't know.
"'You may call me Michael,' said the voice."
I talked to Michael on the telephone and in person. He appeared in the judge's chambers
to offer suggestion for her post-conviction placement. He was an Inner Self Helper, the Essence
who did not integrate with her personalities in spite of adequate therapy leading to integration of
all alter-personalities into the Original Personality, when it returned to resume control of the body.
All of the alter-personalities must be worked with to the point that they are able to
integrate with the Original Personality.
Evidence of Psychological Integration
She describes her integration on page 205: "I recognized the people in the room, yet they
were strangers to me. I had returned to control my own body once again. Marie, Babs, Linda,
Charlene all were gone. In their place was the person who had retreated into my mind at five
years of age. Christina Peters had been born again in a thirty-three-year-old woman's body."
Pure Dissociative Identity Disorder
The case of "Ester Minor" was reported by Ashby (Ashby, 1979). In retrospect, she
would now qualify for the label of DID by my current criteria. She created only one alter-
personality, never showed an Inner Self Helper, and her Personality was usually in charge of her
Ester had been diagnosed as having MPD by her psychiatrist and this was confirmed by a
prison psychologist when she was incarcerated on bad check charges. Her defense attorney called
me to see her after a mistrial on a subsequent bad check charge. Only after the hung jury verdict
was rendered did her one alter-personality, "Raynell Potts," come out and talk to him, which led
him to realize he had a psychiatric defense on retrial. He requested I do a forensic evaluation, but
I insisted on seeing her for treatment to determine if I could block Raynell Potts from writing
more bad checks. I saw her for treatment for a week prior to the retrial, two hours a day for four
days. Transcriptions of all sessions were supplied to the jury. She was acquitted, with Raynell
Potts then under Ester's control.
One criterion for DID is that the patients are in the upper 50% of hypnotizability,
Grades III, IV, or V. They may not be able to do age revivification, but they can age regress.
They are good subjects for hypnotherapy and are highly suggestible.
Ester was hypnotized in my sessions, but never age revivified. She age regressed to report
episodes of trauma in her family, but nothing life threatening to her.
Another criterion for DID is that the first dissociation occurs after the age of seven,
in response to a trauma which the child was too immature to manage. These patients can
usually report the onset of their dissociative episodes during the intake process and readily
remember the age when it occurred.
Her dissociation occurred at age nine when she was raped by her 13-year-old cousin. Her
Essence created Raynell Potts, a prostitute alter-personality, who enjoyed sex and used it to
Ester's bad check writing habit was copied from her mother, who "had a handwriting
problem." The latest offence was forgery of her employer's signature on an office check for
money Ester used on her vacation. Raynell Potts did this for revenge against Ester's employer,
who had been sexually harassing Ester. Ester was too cowardly to reject his advances. Raynell
stole from Ester's employer so as to punish him for sexually harassing Ester.
One could reasonably say that Ester Minor had a Dissociative Identity Disorder, as she
frequently did not know who she was, Ester Minor or Raynell Potts. Her arrest on this latest
charge is reported on page 6: "Officers were waiting to arrest her when she returned to work after
a vacation. Minor's initial confusion and dismay quickly turned to hostility, and she had to be
forcibly subdued by the officers. Raynell later explained that she took over during the arrest.
Raynell withdrew during the ride to the police station, leaving a weeping, anguished Ester in her
place, then reappeared again after questioning by an officer.
"The startled detective . . . told of seeing a sudden transformation in which the crying and
confused Ester Minor was replaced by a flat, cold calculating person who told him there was a
"'I want you to understand who you're talking to,' the officer was told. The woman
explained that she was Raynell Potts, a different person from Ester Minor, even though both
shared the same body. Raynell took responsibility for the bad checks.
"'She's so goody-goody. She liked the job,' Raynell had said, later explaining that she
(Raynell) didn't like the manager whose name she had forged because he mistreated Ester. When
the interview was over, Ester reappeared and asked the officer when he was going to start asking
Pure Internalized Imaginary Companions
"Fred" was a 25-year-old man who had killed a cab driver after robbing him. I saw him
when he was facing sentencing after conviction for murder. An examining psychologist thought he
had MPD and that one of his alter-personalities had committed the murder. His sister had testified
that she, Fred, and another sister had each created one or more Internalized Imaginary
Companions after their father shot their mother several times in front of them. Fred was seven
years old at the time. After the shooting, Fred exhibited two Internalized Imaginary Companions,
one of whom who had to be perfect, while the other one was a bully. She, herself, had made an
assertive Internalized Imaginary Companion, which disappeared when she became pregnant at age
16. From her testimony, it seemed clear that "Chuck," Fred's bully Internalized Imaginary
Companion, was controlling Fred's body when he shot several bullets into the cab driver. His
method of murder duplicated what he saw his father do to his mother 18 years before.
At the start of my interview at the jail, Chuck tried to choke me with the chains around his
wrists. I walked out on the interview, and Fred was placed in a noncontact interview room. On
orders from his attorney, he moved Chuck outside of his body onto the wall of the room, where
he could still hear him talking to him. I continued the interview with a soft-spoken, well behaved
Fred by telephone, behind Plexiglass. Chuck yelled at him from the wall to his left, but did not
take control of his body during my interview.
Internalized Imaginary Companions First, Followed by Multiple Personality Disorder
In his autobiography, "Henry Hawksworth" (Hawksworth & Schwarz, 1977) describes
how he imagined into existence two Internalized Imaginary Companions before he dissociated at
age four. Then, when he thought his father was going to kill him, he created his first alter-
personality. He created a second alter-personality a few years later.
On page 23, he writes: "Soon, like other lonely children, I began countering the emotional
strain of not having real friends by inventing imaginary playmates who lived only in my head. The
first of these, unfortunately, was Johnny. I would spend hours alone carrying on conversations
with him. Shortly after my second birthday I was given a Charlie McCarthy doll and I pretended
that Johnny lived inside it. I would hold the doll on my knee and make the mouth move whenever
Johnny was supposed to be talking. . . .
"I began blaming Johnny whenever my father became mad at me. . . . Johnny was the one
who was bad and should be punished."
He describes his second Internalized Imaginary Companion on pages 23-24: "When I was
three I created a new playmate. This was Peter; he formed in my mind shortly after I received a
book about Peter Pan for my third birthday. The story, of course, is about a boy filled with
nothing but goodness. He loves nature and can talk with flowers. He is 100 years old, yet he
never grows up. He is tender and gentle yet remains all boy. He is able to express emotions I, too,
had always felt, but which I had had to hide because they didn't fit my father's concept of
The next year, when he feared death at his father's hands, his Essence, Jerry, dissociated
from his Personality, Henry, who went into hiding in his mind for the next 40 years. Jerry created
Dana, a False Front alter-personality, to run the body. Later, Phil was created as a Rescuer alter-
personality to clean up the messes Johnny created with his misbehavior. When he was 43 years
old, Henry came back into charge of the body, after he destroyed both Internalized Imaginary
Companions, Johnny and Peter. Only then was safe for both alter-personalities, Dana and Phil, to
integrate into the four-year-old Personality, Henry.
After the integration of Henry, Phil, and Dana, he went to court to face drunk driving
charges against Johnny from six months before. With the cooperation of his defense attorney, I
age revivified him in court, whereupon Phil and Peter testified how evil and insane Johnny had
been. I didn't dare bring back Johnny in court, or Henry's psychological integration would have
fallen totally apart. He was acquitted of the charges, but he did lose his California driver's license.
Internalized Imaginary Companions First, Followed by Dissociative Identity Disorder
In chapter three of Minds in Many Pieces (Allison, 1999), I describe "Carrie," whom I
thought was my second case of MPD. In retrospect, I now realize she was not. She created her
first Internalized Imaginary Companion at the age of 19 months, and 11 of her 12 "alter-
personalities" were also products of her vivid emotional imagination. The first alleged "alter-
personality" I met was "Wanda," who was created at age 19 months when her mother, following
her pediatrician's recommendation, shaved off Carrie's beautiful blonde hair because Carrie was
eating it. As I wrote on page 70, "Her mind took the action that her brain would not. Carrie
retreated into the recesses of her mind and Wanda was created.
"Wanda was born to violence, filled with hatred and capable of acting out all the anger
Carrie was unable to express. Wanda was destined to treat the world as disdainfully as she
perceived herself to be treated. She would hurt people any way she could."
Since dissociation is only used as a personal survival mechanism, a murderous entity is not
a useful survival tool. As my criminal examples illustrate, it is consistent with the Personality's use
of Emotional Imagination, a method we all have available for devising methods of revenge against
those we see as our enemies.
I was in too much of a hurry to apply the diagnosis of MPD to Carrie after meeting
Wanda, who roundly cursed me during her first appearance. At her next visit, I told Carrie that
this proved she had MPD. The "emotional trauma" of being diagnosed as MPD caused the
creation of her one and only true alter-personality, Debra. I had created an iatrogenic alter-
personality, giving her DID, by my current definition. Debra, being a rescuer alter-personality,
brought Carrie back alive from numerous suicide attempts, until the last one, when Debra had also
become suicidal, because her new alcoholic husband had deserted her to go back to live with his
I describe this session on page 76: "Carrie's face didn't show any change as I explained
the multiple-personality concept to her. She nodded from time to time, always watching me
intently. What I couldn't see was a mounting internal hysteria that was overwhelming her. She
was unable to cope with my words and reacted by forming an alter-personality. . . .
"This new personality, whom I named Debra, had been developed in my office. She
believed Janette [my first MPD patient] and I were her parents since we were the first adults she
had ever met. She was extremely childlike, yet seemed to protect Carrie from any new hurts,
including, for the moment, facing the truth about her illness."
Multiple Personality First, Followed by Internalized Imaginary Companions
During three years working in a mental health clinic, I treated to personality integration a
woman with the most complex case of MPD I have ever seen. After hypnotherapy with age
revivification, "Marie" integrated into her Original Personality all 69 of her true alter-
personalities. As we were achieving this goal, other, unrelated problems with the clinic job
became unmanageable for me, and I decided to move to another county.
When I told the integrated Marie of my decision to move out of town, she panicked. She
had no support system and considered me the only person who could help her learn how to live in
a world she had left 30 years before. She had first dissociated at the age of six months, when her
mother tried to kill her in her crib.
In a wild attempt to persuade me to stay in town, she created a number of Internalized
Imaginary Companions. As a member of a conservative Christian church, whose pastor preached
about the Devil and his dangerous demons, she believed that evil demons were everywhere. She
used her Emotional Imagination to created "evil demons" which used her body during her next
session. They identified themselves as agents of Satan and Beelzebub, sent here to kill me. They
tried to choke me and hit me with hard objects. They did not respond to any kind of therapeutic
verbal interpretation. My life was at stake, as far as I was concerned.
I responded in the only practical way I could, by invoking the same Christ which they
claimed to hate. I knew Marie had been engaged to the assistant minister at this church, so I used
whatever religious imagery I could think of. When these "evil demons" shrank back at my
mention of Christ, I knew I had them on the run. I continued in that vein, and they were finally
conquered "by the power of Christ." I then packed and moved out of town as planned.
After my departure, she was hospitalized in the state hospital for nine days. There she did
her own "cleansing" of her mind. Since she had failed to persuade me to remain in town, she had
to make it on her own. She told all of the remaining "evil demons" inside her mind to be gone,
thereby destroying them by her own act of will. She had made them by an act of will, and she
destroyed them in the same way.
Thirteen years later, we met and agreed to write her story. When we came to this part of
it, she explained how she had decided to make up these imaginary demonic creatures, modeled
after what her preacher had told her were "real." She had hoped to persuade me to stay and take
care of her, but, when I did not respond as desired, she had to get rid of them herself. Only by
interviewing her 13 years later did I learn she had not been really "demon possessed." During
therapy, she was not about to tell me the truth about her attempts to manipulate me. She was only
able to do that more than a decade later.
Defense attorneys who are confronted with a client who manifests "other selves" should
be aware that their client may have an Internalized Imaginary Companion instead of an alter-
personality. In my opinion, such an entity does not qualify the client for any legal excuse, as he
chose to make it and use it for destructive purposes. However, if the client has bonafide alter-
personalities, he may have either MPD or DID, by my definitions, depending on the nature of the
trauma faced and the age at which the trauma occurred. In such cases, minor misbehavior by
alter-personalities could be construed as involuntary on the part of the Personality, which is the
social entity responsible for obeying all laws. In felony cases however, Internalized Imaginary
Companions are most likely to have been responsible for the illegal actions. I see no logical reason
to provide any relief from ordinary legal sanctions to such defendants.
Allison, R.B. (1977). When the psychic glue dissolves, Hypnos-nytt, 6(7), 25-27.
Allison, R.B. (1981). Maybe multiples in courts and corrections. Paper presented at the Annual
Meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, October
Allison, R.B. (1984). Difficulties diagnosing the multiple personality syndrome in a death penalty
case, International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis, (32(2), 102-117.
Allison, R.B. & Schwarz, T. (1999). Minds in many pieces, 2nd ed. Los Osos, CA: CIE
Ashby, A., (1979). Ester Minor: Multiple personalities in court, Forum, 6(2), 5-8 & 29-30.
Hawksworth, H. & Schwarz, T. (1977). The five of me; The autobiography of a multiple
personality. Chicago, Henry Regnery Company
Peters, C. & Schwarz, T. (1978) Tell me who I am before I die. New York: Rawson Associates