Truddi Chase was the author of the book When Rabbit Howls (1987), an autobiography about her experiences after being diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder.
According to her personal account, Truddi Chase was born on a homestead near Honeoye Falls, New York, and grew up in an apartment in the same town. In her autobiography and in numerous interviews, Chase wrote that she was repeatedly and violently sexually and physically abused by her stepfather and beaten and neglected by her mother during her childhood and teenage years. By her report, she had always remembered that molestation and abuse occurred from the age of two onwards but that she could not focus on details before going into therapy. It was during sessions with hypnotherapist, Dr. Robert Phillips, that she concluded that she had multiple personalities.
Unlike most people documented with multiple personality disorder (the official diagnosis at that time), Chase refused to integrate her personalities, instead thinking of them as a cooperating team. In her book, she describes giving talks to convicted child molesters to explain her abuse history and to warn them that child abuse is psychologically devastating.
In a television interview with Oprah Winfrey, Chase stated that a Washington Post reporter had tracked down her family, including her stepfather, who denied abusing Chase. Another interview with Phil Donahue revealed that Phillips himself had sought out the family and discovered that her mother had also sexually abused her. The mother had died just before the book's publication.
When Rabbit Howls
In 1990, the autobiography was made into a two-part ABC miniseries, retitled Voices Within: The Lives of Truddi Chase which cast Shelley Long in the title role. Chase worked closely with the screenwriter to ensure the adaptation was genuine.
Truddi Chase died on March 10, 2010, at her home in Laurel, Maryland. On March 16, 2010, an obituary notice appeared in the Washington Post, as follows:
CHASE TRUDDI M. CHASE On Wednesday, March 10, 2010, mother of Kari Iddings Ainsworth and Paul Ainsworth and grandmother to Mojo and Luna Noel. She is also survived by a host of great friends. Friends are invited to Truddi's Life Celebration on Saturday, March 20, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Ri Ra Irish Pub in Bethesda, MD. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Fidos For Freedom in Laurel, MD.
The Oprah Winfrey website confirms "Truddi died in March 2010 at the age of 75."