Billy Milligan Had 24 Personalities. He Was Also the First Person to Use Psychiatric Diagnosis as a Legal Defense

Billy Milligan was born in Miami, Florida, in 1955. His birth name was William, however he was also, Christene, Ragen, Arthur, and 21 others. He had 24 personalities.

Some of his personalities were escape artists, con artists, and children (like a three-year-old dyslexic girl). The majority of them were left-handed. A few spoke with foreign accents. A couple were female. One of them was capable of writing fluent Arabic.

billy-milliganThere was also a personality named Adalana. She was a lesbian, and the reason Milligan was arrested in October 1977.

When he was only four-years-old, his depressed, alcoholic father committed suicide. From there, things only got worse.

After his mother, Dorothy Sands, moved the family to Circleville, Ohio, in 1960, she married her ex-husband, only to later divorce him once more. In 1963, she went on to marry a man named Chalmer Milligan, and moved to Lancaster, California.

According to psychiatric reports, Billy was repeatedly tortured and sodomized by his new stepfather, though he was never charged on any of those allegations.

But that’s where psychiatrists believe things began to go awry in Billy’s brain – his personality began to splinter in different directions from the unresolved trauma, abuse and violence.

Doctors believed Adalana had kidnapped three women on different occasions from Ohio State University and raped them. The first rape was on Oct. 14, 1977, the second on Oct. 22, and the third on Oct. 26. It wasn’t until one of the victims picked his face out of a group of mug shots that he was apprehended. One of his fingerprints even matched a print found on a victim’s vehicle.

Then, in 1978, he attracted national attention after being found not guilty by reason of insanity. Billy was the first person in U.S. history to use his psychiatric diagnosis of multiple personality disorder (now known as dissociative identity disorder) as a legal defense for a violent crime. Although the court agreed that he committed the rapes, they didn’t believe he was responsible for them and was acquitted. Billy said that because of his case, perhaps fewer parents would abuse their kids.

He went on to spend years being transferred in and out of mental hospitals before he was released in 1988, when experts discovered that his personalities had fused and was no longer harmful to society.

For over 20 years, his whereabouts were largely unknown, except to his family, who never spoke a word about his location.

He died of cancer at Mount Carmel East Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, at the age of 59.

Billy’s story is one that continues to cause wonder and confusion. In 1981, Daniel Keyes documented his troubled lie in the book The Minds of Billy Milligan.

Below, you can meet the 24 people who lived inside his head.


The Ten

These 10 personalities were the most noticeable and strongest of the 24.

Billy Milligan – the core personality.

Arthur – an Englishman who is in charge of the shared body. He was one of two personalities that could classify a person as an undesirable.

Ragen Vadascovinich – a Yugoslavian “keeper of hate.” He admitted to robbery in order to support “the family,” though had no knowledge of the rapes that took place.

Allen – a con man and a manipulator. He was right-handed, painted and played the drums. He was also the only personality that smoked cigarettes.

Tommy – an escape artist who also happened to be a landscape painter and electronics expert.

Danny – afraid of society, mostly men, and did still life paintings.

Davidan eight-year-old “keeper of pain” who would take away the pain of the others.

Christene a three-year-old dyslexic girl who would punish herself when “Billy” would get into trouble.

Christopher – he was Christene’s brother who knew how to play the harmonica.

Adalana a lesbian who writes poetry and also admitted to raping three women.


The Undesirables

These personalities only appeared after Milligan was sent away to the mental hospital.

Phil – had a Brooklyn accent and planned some small crimes.

Kevin – a criminal who helped plan a drug store robbery.

Walter – an Australian big-game hunter.

April – thinks about getting rid of Billy’s stepfather. She tried to convince Ragen to kill him.

Samuel – a Jew and the only one who believes in God.

Mark – he did nothing unless he was ordered to.

Steve – an imposter whose comedic outbursts caused family issues.

Lee – a prankster whose jokes put them in solitary confinement.

Jason – used to release tension for the others.

Bobby – an adventurer with zero ambitions.

Shawn – never allowed to take the spot. He was four-years-old and deaf.

Martin – a New Yorker who felt entitled.

Timothy – a florist who went into his own world after coming into contact with a gay man.


The Teacher 

The Teacher was the sum of all 24 personalities.