I also want to get the Early Bird Books newsletter featuring great deals on ebooks. During its 127 year run, it is believed that as many as 9,000 patients died in the facility. By the 1970s public outrage at using sick children as medical guinea pigs forced such experiments to cease. Explore history's most notorious mental asylums and the horrors that took place inside them. Bedlam, in London, was infamous for it’s cruelty and violence. These “treatments” involved straitjackets, restraints, and electroshock therapy to encourage calmness in patients who did not respond to recreational forms of therapy. You see, overcrowding led to increased numbers of lobotomies performed. Maybe this is why she is said to haunt the building. Many Children Died in Asylums Perhaps one of the greatest horrors of the “golden age” of the massive public asylums is the countless children who died within their walls. Removing body organs to treat mental illnesses Dr. Henry Cotton was a psychiatrist who was most probably even more lunatic than his patients. Soon, rumors were rife of patient mistreatment and human experimentation. There has been some change to the institutions since then but they are still terrible places. Dating back to 1784, the construction was overseen by Emperor Joseph II, who purposely designed it like a fortress. Easily the most famous mental asylum in the world, the name of this building has become a euphemism for chaos and confusion in the modern lexicon. It was only 2 years later that he led authorities to the 3 places where he buried her chopped up body. By the 1950s a change in methods resulted in physical treatment being implemented. Founded in the 13th century under the reign of Henry III. A lobotomy is when they actually remove part of the brain to try and cure mental illness. The only difference was that the people at the asylum were placed there for assumed mental illness and not The location of the hospital was chosen based on the need for mental health treatments in the Greater Boston Area. Austria is renowned its art, food, and culture, but one dark secret it boasts is that of a defunct mental institution in Vienna. How the Historic Persecution of Witches Led to the Infamous Salem... Urban Legend: 25 People Share the Scariest Stories from their Hometowns, Midnight Hour: 7 Paranormal Games to Play in the Dark Tonight, Close Encounters: 7 Stories of Alien Abductions That Will Make You Believe, Black Cats and Horseshoes: 9 Spooky Origins of Common Superstitions. Modern archaeological projects at the Bishopsgate site uncovered mass graves of patients who died under the care of the hospital. The darkness of this institution, however, did not truly appear until after it closed. Location: London, England. This empowered magistrates to build rate-supported asylums in … The building remains largely abandoned and subject to decay and vandalism. However, not everything about the progressive hospital was as it appeared and it soon earned a grim nickname: the Hospital of Seven Teeth. After the procedure, patients were reduced to wandering the halls mindlessly. Today, parts of the campus have been converted into apartment housing while others remain open to the public as a historic site with walking trails. But they have only come to be enshrined in horror fiction because they already were creepy in the first place. Community members regularly pitched in for recreational activities and the comforts of patients throughout the decades. The hospital had a reputation as a shabby, rundown place for some time before it was relocated to Moorfields in the 17th century. It was originally described as “a school for idiotic children” – and although it seems to have been founded with good intentions, it served as little more than a prison for the unwell. Here are the 10 worst psychiatric treatments in history: 1. It closed under the name Waverly Hills in 1964 and reopened the following year under the name Woodhaven Geriatric Center as a nursing home and place for the elderly, mentally handicapped citizens. But the abuse the patients suffered is also just one piece of the puzzling history of the 10 most notorious asylums ever. Hospitals like this were dubbed “Farm Colonies” – the theory is that gardening would help their mental state. It mostly became well known for it’s many famous patients including Ronnie Kray, The Yorkshire Ripper, and Charles Bronson. The school was closed in 1987 with parts of it repurposed for Staten Island College. And these were used more as a punishment than as a treatment for anything. But it doesn’t stop there, in 1876, 29 women were admitted for what they called “Menstrual derangement” and 81 men were admitted for masturbation. The facility opened its doors to the public in the hopes of encouraging patronage from visitors but instead received wealthy Londoners taking in the sights like an attraction. They would immediately be labelled as having hysteria… and literally tortured. During over 118 years of operation, Topeka State Hospital gained a reputation for being the worst asylum in the world. The building, however, was soon obsolete as medical science quickly advanced to the idea of treating the mentally ill rather than confining them in prison-like conditions. The Board of Tuberculosis Hospital took ownership of the land after an outbreak swept the area in the early 1900s. But the creepy nature of the most notorious asylums goes far deeper than just their appearance. Ordinary people could pay a small fee to walk the halls of Bedlam. Danvers state hospital featured all the nightmarish trademarks of asylums: straitjackets, solitary confinement, electroshock therapy, the list goes on. In the 1970s, Anna Davies was brutally murdered by fellow patient Melvin Wilson. But it is also due to it’s notoriously bad conditions. The Victorian Gothic architecture of the building itself ensures that. The philosophy of the asylum was that the scientific method was simply ineffective. By this time, the facility had developed a reputation as a “warehouse” for the mentally disabled due to its overcrowding and deplorable conditions. In an escape attempt, one patient hid in the attic – where she eventually died of starvation. The property was purchased in 2001 by the Mattingly family who turned it into a haunted attraction and has since been a venue for music festivals and featured by paranormal investigators on Ghost Adventures, Most Haunted, and Ghost Hunters. Despite the local historical society’s objections, the majority of the buildings were demolished to construct apartments and the original buildings were gutted, leaving only the facade intact. Huge buildings where the mentally ill were imprisoned were always going to see a lot of brutality during the 19th and 20th centuries. American Horror: 5 Most Haunted Hospitals and Insane Asylums, 13 True Horror Stories from the Psychiatric Ward, 20 Horrifying Old Vintage Photographs that Will Haunt your Dreams, 10 Most Gruesome Archaeological Finds Ever Discovered in History. It was closed again in the 1980s due to neglect. Their solution was essentially to torture the patient until the evil spirit would decide to leave them. It was intended that the Trans-Allegheny become a prison, but the facility closed in 1994. Thereafter, the tower served as a housing building for medical staff and eventually a museum. Athens Lunatic Asylum. With a name that has literally become synonymous with madness in modern slang, the conditions of Bedlam are famously among the worst in history. [Image credit: Wikipedia] A view of Bethlem Hospital, published in 1896. A great deal of the asylums income came from them treating it as a bizarre Zoo for humans. In the 1950s, researchers at M.I.T wanted to learn how the body absorbs ions. Any positive stories were completely overshadowed by tales of the abuse suffered by patients housed there. Forced sterilization was prevalent in Topeka State until in was banned in 1961. In 1987, a patient named Kenneth Waddell was transferred to the high-risk ward of the facility before the ward was closed and he was moved into the general population. If you can believe it, this kind of treatment didn't take place all that long ago. It’s believed as many as 64,000 people who were admitted to Waverly Hills died there over the years. The scandalous reputation of the facility began in 1403 when the hospital treasurer, Peter Taverner, was found guilty of embezzling hospital funds. The Topeka State Hospital, formerly known as the Topeka State Asylum, opened its doors in 1872 for treatment of the mentally ill. By the early 20th century, rumors of rape and mistreatment in the hospital had already begun. Melvin Wilson, a fellow patient, revealed three separate graves to law enforcement where he buried parts of Davee’s body. There, it installed two statues outside, where “Melancholy” and “Raving Madness” greeted incoming patients at the front gates. Built in 1868,and located in Ohio, the Athens Lunatic Asylum is shrouded in mystery. The doctors believed that lunacy what caused by evil spirits. Bone and ligament injuries became the norm from the excessive force of shock therapy that caused the patient’s body to contort in response to the electric stimuli. Walter E. Fernald, the schools first superintendent, was even a vocal advocate of Eugenics. The hospital officially opened on July 17, 1851, and quickly housed its maximum total of 1,000 patients. However, Cotton’s legacy and brutal practices lasted until 1960. Danvers State Hospital has been featured in quite a few horror movies. Is This The Most Sinister Ghost Picture Ever Taken? In fact, it even boasted a building entirely devoted to providing care for mentally ill minors. Reports of bloody surgeries that involved opening chest cavities to insert balloons into lungs, and the removal of ribs to allow the damaged lungs to expand were rife. The logic behind it was that vomiting was seen as therapeutic. Originally located in Bishopsgate just outside the walls of the City of London, the Bethlehem Royal Hospital, more commonly known as Bedlam, is one of the world’s oldest hospitals to specialize in mental illnesses. 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