'Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan,' a new Netflix four-part docuseries, revisits the historic case of Billy Milligan, who became the first person to be acquitted of a violent crime claiming the defense of criminal insanity.
One of the victims recognized her assailant as Milligan, a young man from the area with a criminal record for rape and robbery after three rapes happened at Ohio State University in the late 1970s. Milligan, on the other hand, appeared to have no recall of the acts when he was apprehended in 1977.
Milligan, then 22, was charged with three counts of kidnapping, three counts of aggravated robbery, and four counts of rape after a gun was used in the crimes and firearms were discovered at his home.
Billi Milligan: First person to use personality disorder in legal defense
He was imprisoned at the Ohio State Penitentiary, where he received psychiatric evaluation and was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder.
Milligan's attorneys claimed that throughout his youth when he was allegedly abused by his stepfather Chalmer Milligan, Billy Milligan's personality began to split. However, Chalmer always denied the allegations against him, Bustle reported.
Milligan's legal defense rested on the premise that he couldn't be held liable for the attacks because they weren't carried out by his primary character. His attorneys also claimed that his condition prohibited him from recognizing what was right and wrong and from cooperating with his lawyers.
Milligan's diagnosis was questioned by both medical experts and the general public, resulting in extensive media coverage of the case and a lingering fascination in DID. Milligan was eventually judged not guilty owing to insanity, and he was confined to a state-run mental institution.
Psychiatrists discovered that Milligan's mind had at least 24 different personalities. A British intellectual named Arthur, who studied science and medicine, an Eastern European named Regan, who was dubbed the "keeper of hate," and a young lesbian named Adalana, who Milligan claimed was the mastermind behind the rapes, were among those allegedly involved. As a consequence of his alterations, Milligan claimed to be able to talk and write in a variety of languages.
The film depicts Billy Milligan's eight years of imprisonment in jails and psychiatric facilities following his conviction, up until his July 4, 1986 escape from Central Ohio Psychiatric Hospital.
Milligan got false documents under the name Christopher Carr and moved to Bellingham, Washington, according to the Netflix docuseries. Milligan fled the state when his roommate Michael Madden went missing in September 1986 and was apprehended by authorities in Florida shortly after.
Although no one has ever been charged in Michael Madden's disappearance, many of his belongings were discovered in Milligan's apartment, and Milligan had been cashing Madden's disability payments in a joint bank account. Milligan was sent to Ohio after his arrest and re-institutionalized.
Per Esquire, Milligan was freed in 1988 when an independent psychiatrist determined that he was not a risk to society. Milligan returned to Columbus, Ohio, after several years in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, where his sister had acquired a mobile home for him. He worked there for the rest of his life, until he died of cancer in 2014, at the age of 59.
Can a person possess multiple personalities like Billy Milligan?
People were split on whether Billy Milligan, a serial rapist, had more than two dozen personalities. Was he truly in control when he raped several women or was he just a smart and cunning sociopath who made it all up? Is it possible for a human to have more than one personality, let alone 24?
While Milligan's lawyers were the first in the United States to successfully use several personalities in court, the concept was not new. Only a few years before, the 1973 book "Sybil" had sparked people's interest. Shirley Mason, a woman with 16 personalities, was said to be the inspiration for the story, as per Yahoo.
While the book and following 1976 miniseries were well-received, Mason subsequently acknowledged inventing the characters' personalities for publicity. Other hypotheses concerning multiple personalities have been contentious, if not outright ridiculed.
Dr. Dorothy Lewis has been accused of encouraging criminals to fabricate sickness as a legal defense. Is dissociative identity disorder, or DID, real or just a "psychiatric phenomenon," as National Public Radio described it?
According to a 2016 research published in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry, the disorder is real and not a fad. Nonetheless, the diagnosis appears to be uncommon. It affects around 1.5 percent of the world's population.
In terms of the number of personalities, it looks that dozens are possible. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, people with DID frequently experience amnesia and time loss, a claim Milligan stated in court.
Milligan's condition was attributed by psychiatrists to his violent and terrible childhood. Dissociative identity disorder is frequently linked to childhood trauma. "DID patients generally benefit from psychotherapy that addresses trauma and dissociation in accordance with expert consensus guidelines," according to the Harvard research.