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Are you always sure of your own identity? What is one's self, anyway? Everybody has two personalities, — a first and second in command, so to speak. In our waking hours, the first is on watch: the second appears only in our dreams, or, in abnormal states, the result of disease or injury. There are individuals who. even in their waking hours, are influenced by this "second personality." which, in reality, has become the first in command. The instances here shown are dramatic pictures of this elusive condition. Johns Hopkins Medical School, of Baltimore has recently established a department for the study and treatment of such cases.
INQUIRY failed to throw any light on his history. Nobody seemed to care whether he had one. Yet he seemed to fill in with the ebb and How of the daily shifting life of the tidewater city of Seattle. It was not very long after the first rush of the gold-seekers to the Klondyke, and he was looked upon by the old-timers of the city as a strange atom in the flotsam and jetsam which the back-flow had left stranded on the lonely shore of failure. To the new-comer, his story carried the conviction of reality; and even the experienced did not doubt that he had at least been to the North in that mad rush for the metal which represents the world's standard. The one element of justifiable doubt was his own admission that he couldn't remember the exact location of his discovery, the richness of which, if his story could be believed, would place the possessor beyond the wildest dreams of avarice, at a time and place when dreams, especially golden ones, required something very substantial to satisfy. With his Irish humor and dashing spirit of narrative, he would hold his auditors spell-bound. It was only after questioning him that they imagined they had been victimized to the extent of the price of a drink. Finally, like all oft-repeated tales, this one became so boresome that all who met him set him down in their minds as a monomaniac, whose reason had become un
balanced as the result of hardship and the stupendous stories of gold-discovery which made the sole topic of conversation. There was an uncanny glint of mystery in his eyes, an elusive something in his own inability to place his name and identity, which caused many to shudder at his approach. Who was he? The question, one of idle curiosity to most, was soon to find a curious answer.
He was talking excitedly one night in a certain hotel-lobby, to a group of Eastern men fascinated with the glowing accounts of the new country. One of the party, who happened to be a surgeon, became especially interested, and after some moments' thought, asked permission to feel of the other's head; then passing his fingers over the unknown's skull, like a phrenologist feeling for bumps, the doctor turned to the others with a jubilant smile, and told them he had discovered something. The group was interested; a talk was held amongst them, with the result that they agreed then and there to do what _ they could to help him. As a consequence, the unknown was taken to an adjoining town, placed in a hospital, and operated on for an old fracture of the skull, due, in all probability, to some unknown injury. When he recovered consciousness, he seemed to be an entirely different personality. His memory returned sound and clear; and he was able, for the first Img. I: Looking Through Brain From The Rear.
A; Normal identity ot a normal man. B: "Second-sell " — unconscious—in a normal man.
time, to say just who he was. Then he told his story, straightforward and connected. He was an Irishman, it seems, who had come to this country with a little money in his possession, shortly before the Klondyke discoveries. Having nothing in particular to do but seek his fortune, he had left for the Alaska country on hearing of the wonderful opportunities there. Like others, he had suffered hardships, but continued on with the determination of finding gold, if any was to be found. Alone, he had wandered in his quest from the main trail, with its scattered horde of seekers: and alone he had come upon fortune and misfortune together. In swinging his pick, while prospecting, into some loose rock beneath an overhanging ledge, he had struck a lucky find at a moment when least expected, at the same time loosening a small boulder above him just enough to bring it bounding down upon him. It had struck his head, laying him unconscious with wealth within Ids grasp, and fracturing his skull, as was later discovered. The wonderful part of his story is, that after the operation he succeeded in making his way back to the very spot of his discovery-, found things just as they wrere at first, filed his claim, and afterwards sold out for many thousands of dollars. He is living today, and enjoying in comfort the fruits of his terrible, but curious and interesting experience.
This illustration from real life show> only one of the many interesting phases of lost-identity. This condition, winch may come suddenly into the life of any one, often presents characteristics more pronounced, but seldom, if ever, more dramatic. Double personality, that peculiar state of mind during which Smith may think he is Brown, or some entirely unheard of individual, and in which role he enacts most naturally and logically the newly assumed personality, forgetting that he ever was Smith, is now and
then present as an after-effect of braininjury, or as the result of disease. The manifestation of changed identity, in most instances, shows itself not so much as a deterioration of intellect, as of character and morals. A person who, previous to such a misfortune, may have been a model of virtue in his community, often becomes the most quarrelsome of mortals, a disgrace to himself and to all near and dear to him. Many are known to have changed their beliefs on the most vital subjects, developing criminal traits, and turning to thievery or worse, only to end in jail or in serving a long imprisonment.
Up in Alberta, that wide domain but recently subdued to the plow, lived an old Scotchman, widely known by his given name of Alec, who kept a general store, and had a reputation for honesty and shrewdness over a wide range of territory. He was the last man in the world to be suspected of doing the least thing contrary to the accepted standard of a desirable citizen. 1 le had prospered in business, had no enemies, and was respected and happy. One day he started out alone on horse-back, to be gone some days on a hunting-trip. The following day the horse returned alone, riderless. Evidently something serious had happened. A searching party was gotten together at once, and began to scour the country for miles around. That same
DIAGRAMMATIC REPRESENTATIONS OK NORMAL DRAIN AND SKULL. Figure 1—Shaded line represents seat of higher faculties. Figure 2—Injury at A causes loss of memory; at B, of speech; at C, of identity. Figure 3—A represents "seat" of the "personality" in interior of the brain; B, "second-self," existing in all brains—note relative size of the two personalities. When A is injured or "submerged," B assumes command, showing a different "identity."
night Alec turned up at his home, apparently sound and well, and spoke of the incident as nothing more than a sort of joke, with himself as victim. Me had been riding down a steep and narrow bridle-path, he said, whistling and unconcerned, when a bear from an adjoining thicket suddenly bounded into the path ahead, frightening his horse before its rider had time to realize the reason. He was thrown suddenly from the saddle, alighting on his head some fifteen feet below the side of the path. He felt all right; he looked all right, and there the story ended. But before a week had passed, those who knew him best began to note a strange change in his manner toward them. He became irritable and quarrelsome without the slightest provocation. Just about the time these changes in his disposition were becoming a topic of common conversation. Alec mysteriously disappeared. So far as could be learned, he had taken absolutely nothing with him; everything in his store, and in the living-rooms above, was in perfect order. Weeks went by, and no word or knowledge came. Search was made in all conceivable quarters, but with no success nor slightest trace of him. He had disappeared as completely as if swallowed by some terrible cataclysm. All hope of ever seeing him again was at last sadly abandoned. Some months later, news spread like wild-fire over the regions of western Montana and northern Idaho, of the appearance there of one of the most daring bandits that wild
country had ever known. He would appear and demand food at some ranch one day, and then suddenly show up, on the same quest, at another ranch some thirty miles distant the day following. Such wide leaps seemed impossible for a man on foot, but the various descriptions of him tallied exactly. These strange raids continued day after day, and though he was said to be heavily armed, no one had been hurt in any way, nor had any one the courage to resist him. Hardened frontiersmen seemed awed by his presence, and wholly incapable of coping with his subtle tactics. He would calmly walk up to a group of campers, demand food or ammunition, or whatever else he needed, keeping his finger on the rifle-trigger all the while, and then solemnly warn them to discourage from following him the numerous posses which were in hot pursuit, saying he was prepared to fight to the death. There was something in his look which always caused a shiver when he told them this. Men who had joined in man-hunting before, as gladly as if they were running a fox to earth, one by one dropped from the pursuit. There was a something in his elusiveness which bordered on the uncanny. Who he was none could guess. He became the mysterious terror of a vast wilderness. But he had harmed nobody. About the time the hunt was given up, there happened to be a hunting party from across the Canadian border encamped in western Montana They were seated around the fire one morning, enjoying their breakfast bacon, when they became suddenly aware of the presence of a stranger who had stepped from the shadow of the surrounding pines. Emaciated, unkempt, in rags, he presented a pitiful sight. Startled to their feet by his ghastly appearance, and with thoughts of the terrorizing bandit uppermost in mind, they began a wild scurry for their fire-arms, when who should one of the party recognize in theunexpected visitor, but the long-lost Alec. The members of the party discovered very quickly that something was wrong with him mentally, for even in his weakened condition, he was cross and very irritable, muttering revenge on all civilization, with no recollection of the principal events of his past and home. They broke camp at once, and started with him across the border. In the course of a few days he was taken to a well known hospital in eastern Canada, where it was discovered that he had suffered from a fracture of the skull. He was operated on without delay, and successfully. 11 is story had a happy ending, for before he left the hospital, his mind had recovered its own proper personality, and Alec became himself again, as shrewd as before, and as honest. Thus, by the surgeon's hand, two interesting mysteries were solved, and a desirable citizen saved for days of further usefulness.
Fine questions of law and right shade into one another with a nicety difficult to unravel, in certain phases of doublepersonality. Smith, say, wras considered a perfectly sane man up to a year ago. He deserts a wife, and all trace of him is lost until ten years later. An old friend discovers him in a remote part of the country, married again, with a family. He is prosperous and respected in his new environment, and is as sane as any man in the community. He has changed little in the ten years in physical appearance, but absolutely fails to recognize his old friend, or any incident in his own former life as Smith, for his name is now Brown, and he is just as much another sane individuality, as if he had literally been born again. What is his standing legally? Would it be right to punish the present Brown, when it was the former Smith who was guilty of
wife desertion? Is Brown guilty of bigamy? Should Brown be compelled to go back to the former wife, Mrs. Smith, a woman who would be as strange to him under his second personality, just as much as to any stranger? Who is Brown, anyway,—in law, in justice, and in fact? Outwardly he is certainly Smith, but in his heart has never, in all truth, heard of him. Such a problem actually came up before a California court some years ago. The case was of a kind to make any thinking person ask himself "Who, indeed, am I," and leave the question unanswered. A person is accustomed to believe that if anything exists in this universe, it is surely himself. Perhaps a recital of the instance just referred to, may give that person room for doubt.
John Anderson was a fairly prosperous fanner, who rented some eighty acres in one of the corn-belt states. He had a wife and family, with whom he lived in perfect accord, as well as with his neighbors. He was hard-working, prudent and saving, and as sound in intellect as you or I. Owing to the delicate health of one of the children, and for reasons of ambition, he conceived the idea of going to southern California to buy an orange grove, to have a home of his own, and live in peace and quiet with his family for the rest of his days. His frugal habits and continuous toil had provided enough for this purpose, so he went on alone, with the intention of sending for his family as soon as he could find the kind of place he wanted. For some time letters were received at frequent intervals; everything seemed to be progressing favorably with him, and then no more letters came, and all trace of him was lost. Months of waiting went by, and years. The mother and children were verging on poverty, and had long given up the father as dead. One day surprising news was brought by a neighbor, who had just returned from the West, and had known Anderson in former days. He had met Anderson face to face in California; had found him living in most prosperous circumstances with a new wife and family. But he had failed to recognize the old friend, who had grown up with him from boyhood, and seemed so changed in thought,
actions, and everything but his external are unable to assign a physical cause are appearance, that the old neighbor was most baffling, leading to speculation into beginning to wonder whether or not he unknown regions of the psychic world, himself was losing his own proper Undoubtedly further research will throwidentity. This news of Anderson resulted much light on this very interesting subin a purse being made up for the long- ject. A few years ago, a man in high abandoned woman, and the neighbor professional standing, residing in one of and Mrs. Anderson went to California to the Wisconsin towns on Lake Michigan, take legal steps to enforce her rights disappeared without any reasonable and bring: her husband back, if possible, cause whatsoever. A wide search was
instituted for hund r e d s of miles around, but in vain. At the end of some weeks all hope was abandoned, at least of ever finding him alive. Then rumors from various farmers just beyond the Mississippi began to come in. One farmer had hired a vagrant farm-hand for a couple of days, who, after putting in several days of hard labor, suddenly d i s a ppeared without pay. Another farmer
the many little familiar incidents known had, he thought, employed the same man only to themselves, of their many under the same circumstances. Then years together, Anderson appeared sin- another report, and another, of similar cerely dumfounded, and first with tears import, came flashing over the wires, in his eyes, and then in anger, flatly told All the descriptions fitted exactly that of her she was mistaken ; that he had never the missing lawyer. Devoted friends heard of the man Anderson, and that his hurried to that part of the country from name was Arnold,—George Arnold. The which the rumors came, with the hope of matter got into court. All were con- finding the wanderer. They were able vinced that the man was Arnold. But to trace him from farm to farm, and then on hearing the other side, became equally from one village to another. In a certain convinced that he must be Anderson, town on the river was a factory for the No shadow of doubt was thrown on the manufacture of buttons. Some one said man's sanity. The court was at a loss, that a man answering the description of Then Anderson, or Arnold, was taken their friend was employed there. They ill with pneumonia, and in the course of hurried on, and there, in the garb of a week was dead, solving the problem the commonest of workmen, was their so far as he was concerned. Then all cultured, learned friend, engaged in the parties agreed that the case was one of useful, but lowly occupation of making double-personality. What the court's pearl-buttons from clam-shells. He was decision would have been had the man happy, and seemed to enjoy his work imlived. is of course unknown. mensely, and couldn't understand why
It is not always an easy matter to trace they should want him to go back to home the cause of these cases of lost-identity, and friends, now totally forgotten. He Many occur without any sign or history was another identity entirely, who had of brain-injury. The cases in which we returned to the simple life with a ven
The meeting between the two was pitiful. All who witnessed it were impressed with the man's innocence, and actually took sides against the woman for bringing trouble and notoriety to such a solid member of the community. But the wife held her ground. His eyes, hair, gait, manner of speech, all were the same she had known so long. As she recited these various facts, and
Fig.3: The Case Of Alec,
A. personality proper, al-