Who Is Billy Milligan?

The other day, I was watching a movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan called Split.

I’ve always been fascinated with the many movies directed by M. Night Shyamalan and Stanley Kubrick because they give rise to so many questions about the reality we live in.  When I watch their movies, I pay close attention the entire time, which says a lot about their directing skills because I’m the type of person who has a very short attention span and gets bored quickly. Basically, I am known to fall asleep in movie theaters.

As I was watching Split, I started to wonder if people really could take on the natural skillset or abilities of the different personalities that are “within” them. I also wanted to know more about the actor who portrayed the “core” character, Kevin, because he did a pretty damn good job.

So, my sister and I did a bit of digging.

We both knew that Split is the sequel to Unbreakable but what we didn’t know was that the movie was inspired by the multiple personality case of Billy Milligan, back in the late 1970’s. We also found out that the actor, James McAvoy, who portrayed Kevin was given only one month to learn about several personalities before filming and never received much recognition for his outstanding performance. What a shame. But let’s see what happens when Glass is released next year. It’s the final movie of the trilogy series.

When my sister and I started reading about the multiple personalities that Billy Milligan had, we were shocked with how vastly different the personalities were and the abilities he was able to perform.

Billy had a total of 24 different personalities. Other than Billy, being the core personality, there were 2 personalities in charge of the others, an Englishman, Arthur, and a Yugoslavian, Reidzhen. Both personalities in charge allowed only 10 personalities to present themselves. 13 others were held in secrecy as they had done something to provoke Arthur and Reidzhen. And the 14th, or 24th, personality was Teacher, who taught all the personalities what they know. I guess we can call this the “Beast” because of what crimes these personalities had committed.

They all varied in age, gender, nationality, language, skill and sexual preference. It’s almost as if there were 24 different souls that somehow got entangled into one human body. I won’t go into detail about each personality but what’s fascinating is how one human was able to take on many abilities that would almost seem impossible. For instance, one personality is the only left-handed person, one personality is deaf, one personality can paint landscapes, one personality is a specialist in karate and very strong, one personality can write in Arabic, one personality is a wood carver, etc. There’s just so much more that Billy was able to pull off.

So after reading about Billy and watching Split, this made me wonder how many people in the world have this multiple personality skillset.

Our minds are more powerful than we realize but I wonder if it would ever be possible to naturally change our physical characteristics to match each personality we had. Like being able to change our own eye color naturally to match each personality like how Kevin was able to turn himself into the “Beast” in Split. If you knew you had that ability, what would you do?


Photo: Split via IMDB

via Daily Prompt: Provoke


5 thoughts on “Who Is Billy Milligan?

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