The Story Of Billy Milligan: The Man With 24 Personalities

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It turns out there is one particular role that Leonardo DiCaprio has been keen to play since the late 90’s, and it was recently announced that DiCaprio’s next gig will see him do just that. Who knows, it might even win him an oscar this time.

The role is Billy Milligan, and the film is Crowded Rooms. But who is Billy and why is Leo so keen to play him?

Back in the 70s, Billy was the first person in America to successfully use a multiple-personality disorder as a defence for a violent crime. In his case, the crimes he was accused of were kidnapping, robbery and the rape of three women.

Billy claimed that he had 24 completely individual personalities. Each one of these had different backstories, different skills, different lives (and some claimed they even had different accents). When he kidnapped, robbed and raped the three different women he was apparently completely unaware that it had happened, because it was the work of two of his personalities – Ragen and Adalana.

The personalities (listed below) were a mix of male and female, with different nationalities and ages ranging from a three-year-old child to fully grown adults.

They were also split into ‘desirables’ and ‘undesirables’.The ten ‘desirables’ freely shared consciousness and would pop up whenever they felt like it. Two of Billy’s personalities decided who was part of this group and it depended on whether or not they followed certain rules, but it seems those rules didn’t banrape, kidnap or robbery.

The ‘undesirables’ were not allowed to hold consciousness and only revealed themselves to doctors after Billy was admitted to hospital.

“I saw multiple personalities. His speech pattern was different, his accents were different. He sat different ways in the chair.”

It’s an almost unbelievable concept, however even the most skeptical doctors were convinced by his condition after meeting him. Former police investigations supervisor Elliot Boxerbaum said:

“I couldn’t tell you what was going on, but it was like I was talking to different people at different times.”

It was concluded that the most likelyreason behind Billy’s personalities washistraumaticchildhood. His father suffered from alcoholism, and tragically killed himself when Billy was four years old. His mother remarried, and according to psychiatric reports, his new stepfather sodomised and tortured him. He was allegedly buried alive and hung by his toes and fingers – allegations that his stepfather later denied.

It is assumed that it is somewhere in this stage of his life thathis personality shattered, and he began getting in trouble almosteverywhere he went. He served a couple of stints in prison for different crimes.

In 1977, the three rapes that led to the historical trial happened on Ohio State University campus. Of the three women he kidnapped,one said that he had a German accent, another stating that he was so nice that in different circumstances she would have considered dating him.

Eventually, after ten years, experts agreed that his personalities had fused and he was released.

He moved to California, and wanted to work on a movie about his life. James Cameron, director of Titanic, was involved with the original discussions, along with Leonardo DiCaprio and Colin Farrell, but the movie was never made. Until now.

Billy passed away in 2014 and it now looks like the movie of his life is well underway. If this isn’t the role to win Leo an oscar, we don’t know what is.


1. Billy Milligan (William Stanley Milligan) was the core personality.

2. Arthur – an extremely sophisticated and educated Englishman. An expert in science and medicine, with a focus on hematology. He was in “the spot” that is, in charge of the shared body during times that required intellectual thinking. Arthur was one of only two personalities who could classify a person in the group as an undesirable.

3. Ragen Vadascovinich was the “keeper of hate”. His name came from the words “rage again”. He described himself as Yugoslavian, had a Slavic accent and could write and speak in Serbian. He controlled the spot in dangerous times and could designate group members as “undesirable”. He admitted committing robbery in order to support “the family”, but had no knowledge of the rapes.

4. Allen was a con man and a manipulator. He was the most common person to talk to the outside world. He played the drums and painted portraits. He was the only right-handed self, and was also the only personality that smoked cigarettes.

5. Tommy was the escape artist; he was often confused with Allen. He played the tenor sax and was an electronics expert. He was also a painter, specialising in landscapes.

6. Danny was afraid of people, especially men. He only painted still lifes, saying that this was because his stepdad made him dig his own grave and buried him in it.

7. David, aged eight, was the “keeper of pain”. He came to the spot to take the pain of the others.

8. Christene, aged three, was the one who would stand in the corner in school when “Billy” would get in trouble. She had dyslexia, but Arthur taught her to read and write and even Ragen had a special bond with her.

9. Christopher, Christene’s brother, played the harmonica.

10. Adalana, a lesbian, cooked and cleaned the house for the others and wrote poetry. Milligan’s attorney claimed that Adalana had admitted to committing the rapes without the knowledge of Milligan or the otherpersonalities, and she claimed she just wanted to feel close to someone.


11. Phil was a thug and took part in planning some small time crimes. Had a Brooklyn accent. Marked due to him being a criminal.

12. Kevin was a criminal planner; he helped devise a plan to rob a drug store. Labeled also because he is a criminal.

13. Walter was Australian. He called himself a big-game hunter and had an excellent sense of direction. Was often used as a spotter. He was labeled undesirable because he shot and killed a crow.

14. April only had thoughts about destroying Billy’s stepfather. Declared an Undesirable when she convinced Ragen to kill him. Luckily though Arthur was able to talk her out of it at the last second.

15. Samuel was a Jewish person and the only one who believed in God. Was undesirablebecause he sold some of the other people’s personal paintings.

16. Mark was the workhorse. He was often referred to as the zombie because unless he was told to do something hewould stare at walls and be bored.

17. Steve was the impostor, he used imitations for comedy. He was made to be undesirable because his comedy caused the family problems.

18. Lee was the prankster and his practical jokes normally got the family into trouble. He was made an undesirable because one of his jokes put them into solitary confinement.

19. Jason was the pressure valve. He was used at the beginning to release tension for the family, but he caused them to get into too much trouble and was marked as an undesirable.

20. Bobby always dreamt of leading some adventure or fixing some global crisis, but he had no ambitions and was udesireabledue to that fact.

21. Shawn, who was four and deaf, made buzzing sounds so he could feel the vibration in his head. He was labeled an undesirable because there was no benefit from being deaf later on in life. (Even though he was an undesirable he was never cast into the shadows beyond the spot; he was just never allowed to take the spot.)

22. Martin was a snob, from New York. He wanted things just handed over to him without earning them.

23. Timothy worked in a florist shop until he encountered a gay man who flirted with him. He went into his own world after that.

24. The Teacher, was by far the greatest milestone to helping Billy achieve fusion of the personalities. He was the sum of all 24 people put together and had almost total recall of all the other people’s actions and thoughts.

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