Saturday, October 22, 2011

Inaccuracies in Nathan's book, Sybil Exposed

Inaccuracies in Nathan's book, Sybil Exposed

October 19, 2011,   Statement from Dr. Patrick Suraci

I went to the Special Collections Library at John Jay College of Criminal Justice to verify statements made by Debbie Nathan in her book SYBIL EXPOSED.

1. On pages 99-100 Nathan writes: “Connie would carry her apparatus to Shirley’s apartment and climb in bed with her. She would clamp the paddles to Shirley’s temples, twirl the dials, and press the buttons. Connie’s gadget was an old electro-convulsive machine she had retired years earlier.”

Nathan cites the evidence for this in her “Notes: Chapter 8, No.38.. FRS Box 37, Files 1081, Tape 124.” In this document on January 26, 1955, Shirley writes about “electric shock” along with her other treatments. There is absolutely no documentation of Nathan’s outrageous claim.

2. On page 71 Nathan writes: “Completely inexperienced with men, she had little idea of how to take Gene’s (O’Neill) measure. He noticed her ignorance and didn’t like it. Too‘girlish’ he called Flora, particularly when it came to sex. In a sheaf of notes she wrote to herself, she described feeling pain at having his finger inside her, let alone his penis. ‘Be an animal,’ Gene would urge her, and he blamed her reticence  on the fact that she had a profession. ‘You bring Adelphi College into the bedroom. It is not that career women don’t want to go to bed – it is that they don’t know how,’ he scolded Flora.”

To prove this Nathan cites in: “Notes: Chapter 6, No.11, FRS Box 34, File 1051” In this document Schreiber writes about Eugene O’Neill: “His complaint – Be an animal – give – you bring Adelphi College into the bedroom – we’re close friends in the living room and the moment we go into the bedroom you become a stranger…he says that it is not that career women don’t want to go to bed – it is that they don’t know how. Outcome might have been different if she had gone to bed with him on the last Saturday after he told her about _____” Schreiber at no time writes about O’Neill’s “finger” or “penis.”

3. On page 232 Nathan writes: “…She (Shirley Mason) died quietly in her home, surrounded by nurses, on February 26 of that year. She was seventy-five years old. It was early evening when she died.”

In my book SYBIL in her own words: The Untold Story of Shirley Mason, Her Multiple Personalities and Paintings.  On page 261 I write:

“The penultimate time I phoned Shirley’s home was on February 26, 1998, at 12:07 PM. In the background I heard her weak voice pleading to Roberta ,(Guy) ‘Tell him I’m sorry. I’m sorry.’ Roberta informed me that Shirley was too sick to speak on the phone. I mumbled, ‘Please tell her that it’s okay, it’s okay. I’ll call later.’ …   
“When I called later that day  at 3:01 PM Roberta stunned me with the news than Shirley had just died.”

Dr. Suraci has the telephone records of that day, February 26, 1998.