A woman whose story of multiple personality disorder was told in a best selling book and two movies was faking all of her different "personas".

A new book says Shirley Mason, who was revealed to be the basis for the woman known to the world as Sybil, admitted that she was lying.

It was a best-selling 'true story' that is credited with -- or blamed for -- creating the idea of repressed memory syndrome and planting it in the American consciousness.

The shocking account of Sybil, a girl with 16 separate personalities that developed as a result of horrendous childhood abuses, sold seven million copies, and even spawned a recognised syndrome, 'multiple personality disorder.

The 1973 book told the story of Sybil Dorsett, a pseudonym for Shirley Mason, whose personality had splintered into more than a dozen distinct characters including a baby and two males.

Mason's story was accepted as true for decades, but it has now been exposed as a fraud.  In her new book, Sybil Exposed, writer Debbie Nathan argues that most of the story is a lie.

Nathan writes it was concocted by a lonely woman hungry for attention, and perpetuated by a doctor and a writer hungry for fame and fortune.

via Real 'Sybil' Admits Multiple Personalities Were Fake : NPR.

Even today many mental health experts have doubts about the story of Sybil, but unfortunately, the full truth may never be known.  All three protagonists -- the doctor, the author of the book, and Mason -- are now dead.