insane asylums


Central State Hospital for the Insane, Indianapolis.

Part VIII of VIII.

I made my way around the perimeter of the building, carefully avoiding any surprise entrances to hidden underground tunnels, repeating, “it’s only the wind, it’s only the wind.” There was, ridiculously, a split second when I was sure a face would appear in a window and my car wouldn’t start. 

Too many horror movies.


It should be noted most of the people who worked at this hospital through it’s 146 years appeared to be good-hearted, and ground breaking research did occur. Special skill and temperament are certainly required to care for the mentally ill, especially during a time when so little was known. Sadly, dealing with the unknown had unintended consequences, as fear and uncertainly are often obstacles to common sense.

Perhaps the decay found here is representative of the abandonment of our fears in the quest for understanding. The past must stay in the past, we level the walls and brush off the dust, paving the way for (my favorite word in the English language) enlightenment.  

anonymous asked:

(different anon)six penceee or whatevs her url is is def an ableist. she posts stories about insane asylums and "ps*chos" and profits off of making mentally disabled people look scary and terrifying. i know there's more thats just what i remember from the call out post.

i understand but why is her url ableist? i will still reblog from her though, the posts are interesting and i like horror.


This past weekend i visited an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY. Among being enormous it was filled with all sorts of interesting treasures. i could have spent days there and not seen everything. a trip back is definitely needed to further explore, possibly with some models to photograph. 

Copyright. Jesse Murch Photography

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The Schizophrenic Murdering Artist

Richard Dadd was a young British painter of huge promise who fell into mental illness while touring the Mediterranean in the early 1840s. He spent over forty years in lunatic asylums, dying at Broadmoor in 1886. During that time he painted, producing mesmerizingly detailed watercolors and oil paintings of which The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke is now the most well known.

Among the symptoms of Dadd’s illness – which sounds today like a form of schizophrenia – were delusions of persecution and the receipt of messages from the Ancient Egyptian deity Osiris. Dadd was commanded to kill his father and did so in the summer of 1843. After an equally well planned escape to France, the artist was eventually admitted to the Criminal Lunatic department of Bethlem Hospital in Lambeth (now the Imperial War Museum) and it was here that he painted the Fairy Feller. According to the inscription on the back of the canvas it took him nine years to complete, between 1855 and 1864.



 Pennhurst Insane Asylum was built to educate and care for the feeble Minded and mentally disabled, but in a little less than a decade, it was clear they were doing nothing of the sort.

Pennhurst first opened in 1908, By the mid-1960’s, Pennhurst had been open for fifty years. It housed 2,791 people, most of them children, which was about 900 more than the administration thought the buildings could comfortably accommodate. Despite the high number of patients requiring special care, the state provided the institution with meager funds. There were very few doctors, nurses and orderlies available to meet the patients’ needs. Many patients spent their days and nights trapped in metal cribs in horrid conditions. Others were so desperate for human contact that they went to great lengths for attention by injuring themselves or even smearing themselves with their own feces in hopes of a bath.

 Overworked staff responded to unruly patients by drugging them into submission or chaining them to their beds. Other residents were isolated for such long periods of time that they regressed and lost their will to speak, fight or even to live. One particularly harsh rule chastised patients for biting, If a patient bit someone for the first time they were reprimanded, but if it happened again they would remove all of the patients teeth. Thousands of teeth were removed from the instituted found in a rusty dentist chair that still sits in the tunnels beneath Pennhurst.

 Patients wandered around naked and the floors were covered in urine and feces. There were many patient deaths at Pennhurst, and the patients themselves were quite aware of this and very afraid. None of the patients wanted to be sent to the dreaded Unit 6, as this was “where they kill you”.

 Bill Baldini ran a five-episode exposé of Pennhurst State School and Hospital back in the 1960’s called “Suffer the Little Children.” Inmates of the institution were shown rocking, pacing,twitching, and hitting their head off windows and walls. When one patient was asked by the interviewer what he would like most in the world, the sad and withdrawn reply was simply, “To get out of Pennhurst.“ This exposure led to a massive lawsuit. In 1977 Pennhurst’s patients achieved a small victory when the school was found guilty of violating patients’ constitutional rights. While this decision couldn’t undo the past, it certainly made progress for the future. Accusations of dehumanization, of being no help to the disabled, sexual abuse, troubles with members of staff, it was eventually closed in 1986. 

You can watch  Bill Baldini's  “Suffer the Little Children.” Documentary  HERE