In Stanley Kubrick's classic 1960 film, the rebel slave Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) is captured by the Romans, but they cannot identify him because all of his defeated soldiers leap to their feet claiming to be him: "I'm Spartacus!"... "No, I'm Spartacus"... and so on.
So who was the real Eve? An answer came in 1977 when Christine Sizemore published I'm Eve. The book claimed to tell the true story of her multiple personalities and her therapy.
Christine claims her multiple personalities date back to her childhood in South Carolina. There were several traumatic events, such as seeing the body of a man who had been cut in half after a sawmill accident. Christine also saw a drunk being dragged from an irrigation ditch and believed it was a dead body; at this time she saw a red-headed girl watching events whom nobody else seemed to notice. When her mother cut her arm accidentally and blood poured everywhere, Christine was shocked but it was the red-headed girl who went for help. Christine had been born with red hair and nicknamed "Carrot Top" and the red-headed girl was her first "alter" or split personality.
Christine felt unloved by her mother and jealous when her twin sisters were born. Her alter would do all the forbidden things that Christine was inhibited about - stealing apples, being cruel to her sisters, failing school tests and wandering away from home for long periods. Her parents noticed her "strange little habits". Later on in life Christine maintained that she loved her mother and sisters, but her alter expressed the hatred she had repressed deep inside.
After leaving home, Christine had a wild lifestyle and had a bigamous relationship with a hard-drinking racing driver who was sexually exciting but violent towards her. Not for the first time she moved back with her parents. Her second relationship was with the safe-but-boring Ralph White. He fathered her child but otherwise showed her little tenderness. As her frustration mounted she began hearing voices urging her to "knock his block off". Once she obeyed the voices and pulled the tablecloth away, tipping Ralph's meal over him. As the marriage collapsed she became suicidal and moved back to her parents, who recommended she see a doctor. It was the family doctor who recommended Dr Corbett Thigpen [left] at the Medical College of Georgia.
Christine went to see Dr Thigpen for the first time in the summer of 1951. She was in her mid-20s, attractive but despondent and unloved. Her destructive alter made herself known to the doctor, calling herself by her maiden name of Costner. The names "Eve" and "Eve Black" were invented by the doctors to shield Christine from publicity when their book was published.
"Jane" was created as a result of the therapy she was receiving and did marry again, this time to Don Sizemore who became her long-suffering husband. Thigpen & Cleckley presented this as Christine's cure and a happy-ever-after ending in their book but this was not the case.
In fact, Thigpen & Cleckley wrote a book based on their case study - The Three Faces Of Eve (1957) - without Christine's knowledge or consent. The book became a best-seller and the film was released the same year, which won an Oscar for then-unknown actress Joanne Woodward. At the film's premier [right], Thigpen & Cleckley were star guests but Christine was advised to leave town to avoid distressing herself. When Christine later tried to tell her side of the story, Dr Thigpen claimed she had signed a document giving him all the rights to her story. In effect, she had sold her identity to her doctors!
In fact, The Three Faces Of Eve gives a very sugar-coated version of Christine's story. It glosses over the problems in her marriage (which was already failing when her therapy started) and her unconventional background. It presents the therapy as being successful, whereas Christine claims she has continued to be plagued by split personalities, always appearing in groups of three. It is true that "Jane" did marry Don Sizemore. In fact, Christine claims that when she told Dr Thigpen this, he declared his love for "Jane" but she had to disappoint him.
Over the years another 19 personalities emerged. One was obsessed with collecting bells and another with breeding turtles. Several are poets and painters and one is blind. They all have different handwriting and the painters have different brush-stroke styles. In fact, their paintings sell from between $500 and $5000 and many show the "attic child" - a dark-haired little girl in a playroom who was one of Christine's childhood alters. The picture [right] shows Christine Costner Sizemore today, with her paintings.
Christine has since "gone public" and even taken 20th Century Fox to court to get the rights to the film of her story. She feels some bitterness towards Dr Thigpen for exploiting her, but also says he was courageous for making such an unusual diagnosis in the face of criticisms that MPD didn't exist. Her greatest sorrow is the distress her condition caused her late husband Don, but her two children Taffy and Bobby have grown up unharmed by having so many "mothers".