The story tells of a young woman admitting to having blackouts, fearing they are getting worse. She is diagnosed as suffering from multiple personalities, as a result of severe abuse at the hands of her mother, whom her psychiatrist, Cornelia Wilbur, believes was schizophrenic. The movie Sibyl is based upon author Flora Rheta Schreiber's biography of Shirley Ardell Mason, an American psychiatric patient, suffering from multiple personality disorder. The book, also called Sibyl, was in its turn based largely on the actual accounts of psychiatric treatment that Shirley Ardell Mason underwent, documented by American psychiatrist Cornelia WilburWritten by
In present day scenes (set in mid Seventies), Sybil appears to be in anywhere from 25-to-30 years old. But in flashbacks to her childhood scenes when she around five (which would be either late 1940's or early-mid 50's), everything (cars, fashions, hair, etc.) appears to be set in 1930's - long before she was even born. See more »
Dr. Cornelia Wilbur:
Once a long time ago when I was a little girl in Montana, I was laying in the grass looking at the ants. And the sun was warm on my back and the grass was deep and soft and the insects were buzzing... everything was drowsy. Then all of a sudden, I saw this one ant who was struggling to pick up this grain of sand that was far too heavy to carry alone. And he struggled. And pretty soon, ANOTHER ant came along and helped the first ant and together they carried it away! Well, I got ...
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The 30th anniversary DVD edition of Sybil was released in July. As Shirley Mason's (aka Sybil)long time friend, I was included in the documentary about the making of the movie. The documentary is a fascinating recap of how the movie was cast and how it came to be. However, I was disappointed that Shirley Mason is not mentioned anywhere in the documentary, and her name is not even shown on her paintings in the gallery. Shirley was a person to me, not a fictional character. I was told that her name couldn't be mentioned because of contractual agreements with the author of the book. Shirley Mason WAS Sybil and her life as an artist in Kentucky should not be minimized. Since Sybil is a story of abuse, but also one of recovery, I feel my friend was denied the recognition she deserves as a survivor of abuse, as a wonderful artist, as a warm, kind lady who lived a quiet life of dignity in Lexington. If and when my book, Life After Sybil... From the Words of Shirley Mason, gets published, I intend to correct that omission. Regards, Sybil's Friend ... Nancy Preston
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