Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Hidden Paintings of Shirley A. Mason (a.k.a. Sybil)

In researching sites to include in the Midnight Postings for the Abnormal Psychology Unit, I came across a posting entitled "The Hidden Paintings of Shirley A. Mason - Sybil" at http://www.hiddenpaintings.com/. The site includes 24 paintings from Mason which, according to the website, were done prior to meeting Dr. Wilbur as well as during her therapy years.

As with anything on the Internet, I was a bit skeptical when I first discovered the website and its format didn't help my skepticism. There is previous little explaining the authenticity of the paintings and the address to order prints appears to be a residential house outside of Miami, FL. While I seriously question why someone would go through all the effort to present such a hoax, I still haven't been convinced. If anyone has further knowledge on this website, please leave a comment below.

3 comments:

debbie said...

I am publishing a book with Free Press in spring 2008, titled Sybil, Inc. I am a researcher/writer who has spent two years studying an archive of materials, including thousands of pages of therapy materials of the woman who was "Sybil." I have also traveled throughout the country, reviewing other papers and interviewing dozens of people who knew both "Sybil" and the woman psychoanalyst who treated her. In 25 words or less, the book Sybil is largely a book of fiction, and though there was a real patient, her multiple personalities were iatrogenically created. I deal with the art in the book. Look for it next year.
Debbie Nathan

brian said...

Mr. Korek: I am the creator of the hidden paintings website, and I am Shirley Mason’s cousin. I came to know about the paintings in doing genealogy research on Shirley a couple of years ago. I would like to thank you for pointing out that my site was lacking in authentication of the artwork being shown (I am an internet skeptic as well). So as a result of your comments, I have recently published a new version of the website, which includes a “Provenance” page to assist in this area – which I hope you and others will find informative. The new site is not yet completed, as I am going to be adding pictures of other pieces of the collection. As for Ms. Nathan’s comments above, I did not know Shirley personally and I can NOT either confirm or deny the story as told in the book “Sybil”, and so until Debbie’s book comes out I can only go by what is in the original book and the information I have posted on the site. That said, I am anxiously awaiting Ms. Nathan’s book, as I have had several conversations with Debbie, and she is well informed and has done extensive research, even interviewing people I have put her in touch with. Anyway, my initial interest in the art was (and still is) about getting to “know” my famous long lost cousin – Shirley Mason.

debbie said...

My book, now titled "Sybil Exposed," will go on sale on October 25, 2011. The publisher is Free Press/Simon and Schuster, and you can now preorder from the publisher or from Amazon.com. The listing is for an older title, "Exposing Sybil." I think my book will be of great interest to high school students and their teachers.

Debbie Nathan