Billy Milligan: 24 people got along in one person

Billy Milligan: 24 people got along in one person

William (Billy) Milligan became known to the world after a lawsuit in Ohio. He was accused of rape and robbery, but defenders obtained an acquittal. Their main argument was that Milligan suffered from personality disorder. The crimes were committed by several of his alters.

The first alter personalities appeared in Billy in early childhood. In the future, their number increased. At 16, Billy tried to commit suicide, but the individual finally took control of the basic consciousness and “put it to sleep”. Each person was endowed with his biography and character. Their age, gender and nationality were also different.

For the first time, doctor David Kohl, who already had experience of interaction with similar patients, came into contact with all personalities.

One-man show (and many roles)

According to the descriptions included in the book of Daniel Keese, the person in contact with each other.In fact, in the head of Milligan, something like an international club or a hostel was constantly in effect - with dialogues, disputes, separation of duties. In conversations with doctors, alter-personalities described the change of roles as “rising on a lighted spot in a dark room”. The person who stood on the spot received a temporary power over consciousness.

Depending on the situation, the primacy received the most appropriate person. The main communication with the doctor was carried out by the Teacher, manifested during the treatment of Milligan. He was a person “above the fray”: he watched the actions of the others, but did not interfere.

The first to identify the remaining personalities and set for them the rules of behavior of Arthur Smith. He controlled the change of alter-personalities. For a long time neither his friends nor his relatives did not guess about the specificity of Milligan's life.

For actions in dangerous situations answered Yugoslav Reygen. He and Arthur were the main and desirable personalities. There were also alter individuals with criminal inclinations.

The main personalities regarded sex life as a destabilizing factor, so none of the male personalities could start a relationship.Precedents happened, but individuals were confident that communication was purely platonic. The ban did not apply to women, which was the cause of the high-profile crime: the rape was committed by a female person - an active lesbian. She also took control of the mind during the novels of Billy.

Was there a Milligan?

The debate about whether or not Milligan was a man with many faces does not abate. There are reasons for this.

The main source of information remains the books of Daniel Kiz. They are based on conversations with Milligan, and conversations are not the most objective evidence. Especially since the book was asked to write by Milligan himself, and scenes and dialogues were recreated from his words.

There is a theory that the disease came from the influence of a doctor. After the publication of the story, a surge of similar cases was recorded, and before that, David Cole was almost the only doctor in the United States who investigated cases of split personality.

Advocates of the version that 24 persons really “lived” in the body of Milligan, say that depending on the change of personality, plastic completely changed in Milligan, he moved and spoke differently and never got lost.However, there are no publicly available videos that show personality changes. There are only very short fragments.

There are also no separate interviews or memoirs of friends and relatives of the Milligan. All evidence is available only in the books of Kiz. In addition, experts from various fields of science and art did not meet with Billy, so it is difficult to verify statements about how well one or another person played musical instruments or spoke a foreign language fluently.


Milligan spent 10 years on treatment, after which he was considered sufficiently cured in order to release him. Doctors have a verdict: Billy's psyche is stable, and although it was not possible to “fully assemble” a single person, he could control his mind.

On the interest due from the famous book, Milligan went to California, where he founded a small film studio. She soon went bankrupt. Billy changed his place of residence and for some time he stopped contacting his friends and relatives. He died in 2014 at a nursing home in Ohio.

His biography is partly inspired by the recently released “Split” film, which has already become a blockbuster.

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