“Dissociative Identity Disorder” is a disorder wherein the brain assumes a different identity and behaves accordingly. This condition is caused commonly due to some trauma or extreme violent exposures during childhood, which kind of forces the brain to adopt a different personality as a reaction to the said torture or pain. As a result, the brain starts to assume different personalities for different behaviours. Now, a religious person will definitely believe the person to be possessed by different spirits. This was also the basic theme of the blockbuster, “Bhool Bhulaiyaa”. Interestingly, there are many real-life cases of this disorder.

DID broken down.Courtesy –

One of the best examples of this is the case of Juanita Maxwell. It was in the year, 1979 when a 73-year-old lady, Inez Kelly was found dead at the Fort Myers Hotel. The suspect was 23 years old Juanita Maxwell, who worked as a maid in the hotel, was arrested as bloodstains were found on her dress. Before being questioned in the court, she was taken to the psychiatric hospital, where some psychiatrists diagnosed her with dissociative identity disorder and claimed that her split personality, Wanda Weston was the criminal. This character was a strong and bold woman who spoke of the murder as a crown of honour as opposed to her scared, less talkative counterpart, Juanita Maxwell. Mrs. Maxwell took the stand and was questioned by Alan Klein, a clinical social worker who had her as a client at Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee. He asked her whether she drank, smoked or used drugs. ”No, sir,” she replied in low tones each time, speaking with her head bowed. Mr. Klein asked her about the killing. She said she remembered too little about it.

A picture of Juanita Maxwell

Then he asked to speak to Wanda. Mrs. Maxwell closed her eyes. About 10 seconds later, she looked up and began giggling loudly. She seemed glad to see Mr. Klein, identified herself as Wanda Weston and said she was a childhood friend of Mrs. Maxwell. She told Mr. Klein that she drank and smoked, and said ”every now and then I smoke a little weed,” a slang term for marijuana. She said Juanita Maxwell lent Mrs. Kelly a pen and later went to get the pen back. Mrs. Kelly denied borrowing the pen and slammed the door, she said. At that point, Wanda Weston surfaced and knocked on the door and went into Mrs. Kelly’s room. ”She told me to get out of her room. So I picked up the lamp and beat her with it.” The defendant said she did not think death was a harsh punishment for not returning the pen. People these days – you can’t talk to them,” she said. ”You got to let them know where you’re coming from.” Mr. Klein then called Juanita Maxwell back. The woman bowed her head and closed her eyes. Seconds later, she raised her head. The smile had been replaced by a painful look, and Mrs. Maxwell rubbed her temples.

When doctors asked Mrs. Maxwell if she had committed the killing, she replied, ”Well, they say I did, so I have to take their word for it.”Asked whether she knew Wanda, Mrs. Maxwell said, ”Yeah, she causes me a lot of trouble.” Husband Urges Treatment Outside the courtroom, her husband, Sammy, said he wanted his wife ”to remain in the hospital until she’s better.” In the trial, Mr. Klein and Robert Wray, a psychiatrist, testified for the defence that Mrs. Maxwell had a split personality. She was ordered to remain in the state hospital until she successfully completed treatment and experts could convince a judge it was safe to release her. This is a clear example of how dangerous and reckless a person with such disorders can be, and how psychological conditions, if not detected in time, can affect a lot of lives apart from one’s own.

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