Cornelia Wilbur MD

The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation annually bestows an award named after this discredited unethical scientific fraud who manufactured the false story of “Sybil”, kicking off the Multiple Personality Disorder therapeutic fad. Aside from altering and fabricating case studies to fit her preferred narrative, Wilbur also advocated for Conversion Therapy, claiming a 27% success rate in curing homosexuality through psychoanalysis.

“[…] The same year that her identity was revealed, Robert Rieber, a psychologist at John Jay, presented a paper at the American Psychological Association in which he accused Mason’s doctor of a “fraudulent construction of a multiple personality,” based on tape-recordings that Schreiber had given him. “It is clear from Wilbur’s own words that she was not exploring the truth but rather planting the truth as she wanted it to be,” Rieber wrote.

It wasn’t the first indication that there might be problems with Mason’s diagnosis. As far back as 1994, Herbert Spiegel, an acclaimed psychiatrist and hypnotherapist, began telling reporters that he occasionally treated Shirley Mason when her regular psychiatrist went out of town. During those sessions, Spiegel recalled, Mason asked him if he wanted her to switch to other personalities. When he questioned her about where she got that idea, she told him that her regular doctor wanted her to exhibit alter selves.”[Source]

“With the publication of Sybil by author Flora Schreiber, Wilbur became famous. However, the book about Wilbur’s patient Shirley Mason was not the first collaboration between Wilbur and Schreiber. According to Sybil Exposed, Wilbur and Schreiber met when Wilbur was pitching the findings of the 1962 Bieber study. According to Nathan, Wilbur claimed that the Bieber study reported the causes of male homosexuality and boasted of the 27% cure rate as the result of work with analysts like Wilbur.” [Source]

Click here to view a 1943 training film of Wilbur preparing patients for electroshock with barbituates.