... Want more creepy stories? I didn’t know anybody and kept very quiet during the meal. We sit four at a table and are served by other patients who are on dinging room duty. Then two more old men came in and looked at me, just staring and saying nothing. The Victorian mental asylum has the reputation of a place of misery where inmates were locked up and left to the mercy of their keepers. I suppose I was accusing myself, which may have been the major element in my condition. Clarissa Caldwell Lathrop's A Secret Institution, 1890) which echoed and fed the fear rife in Victorian Britain of being falsely confined in such private asylums. The superintendent of the state hospital is the final judge as to whether or not the case is proper to be admitted under this law. I was awakened by piercing shrieks and screams that set my teeth on edge. He gave me some very good advice. The patient’s mouth would be forced opened and the floss would be wrapped around. There is a certain stigma not only attached to being a patient in a mental hospital, but to the whole field of mental health to begin with. The female patients defecated, ate, and slept in these contraptions. Other methods went as far as removing teeth and even the patient's tongue, so it made it difficult for patients to talk or make noise. Apparently he had overheard this conference. A nurse, who confessed on a blog forum, admitted that during the late '70s, she was a nurse in a mental facility. The door was a storage room. A few hours passed, and the staff eventually forgot about the locked patient. The surprising thing is that I don’t feel too badly about it. It's been alleged that many women were left in these contraptions for months to even years. Often as the people of Salem refer to the big hospital at the end of Center street, most of them know surprisingly little about it. If the patient was ever released, an unfortunate consequence in being in this box for a long time was having your limbs being permanently paralyzed and disfigured. They did this throughout the rest of her stay. She mostly stayed quiet and behaved pretty well. Like most patients when they first arrive, I was ill at ease. When family members found out the truth and confronted the doctor for answers, the doctor didn't deny or seem remorseful of the consequences that resulted from the starvation. Few people except professional psychiatrists and students of abnormal psychology know much about insanity and its causes and cures. This difficulty just referred to is generally brought about by insistent relatives who wish to avoid the so-called “stigma” of having a loved one decreed legally insane and placed in the state hospital through the usual procedure. Some Patients Have Insight. Some talk incessantly, often choosing nighttime for their loudest tirades. Facilities were soon built to house the "sick." Sixteen percent of first admissions are of the manic depressive type. The girl, especially, starred at security guards. 2600 Center Street NE Sufferers of but few of these types have sufficient “insight,” as the psychiatrist calls it, to understand why they are in a mental hospital or to give a logical and coherent story of their life there. The patient's usual caretaker was absent one day and the substitute caretaker found the constant begging annoying. The only request she made was to look out the window. I came here not too willingly and, though I look forward hopefully to the day when I can walk forth again entirely free, it isn’t as bad as it’s cracked up to be. When they would lock her in her room, people would claim to see two small eyes peering back out. Had another patient who cycled through almost 100 foster homes in their youth. The nurse was curious when it all stopped one day. I was bitterly unhappy that this should have happened. Then there is another test to determine whether the patient is syphilitic, as many are here. The Oregon State hospital is located at the end of an attractive park of rolling lawns, stately trees and well-kept flower beds. The door wasn't a patient's room. But every time the nurse would pass the door, she would recall a faint scratching sound. The patient never seemed to stop crying. Patient Issues Disturbing Warning About Abduction. Statements in italics were prepared with the assistance of the state hospital physicians. Every patient that comes to the hospital goes first to Ward C.  It is an observation ward and, according to hospital gossip, the second best ward in the institution. She assumed it was a trapped rat and kept walking by. He was tucking the sheet in and smoothing the covers. If a patient arrives in a belligerent and resistive frame of mind and also is morbidly suspicious of his new surroundings, then it is a definite mistake upon the part of the examining physician to crowd his mental investigation. 15 Disturbing Stories About Mental Asylum Abuse 15 Fun In Hell. For the purposes of this narrative the patient has been given the assumed name, “James R. Robblett.”. There was once a girl brought to an insane asylum who couldn't stop starring at other people. Since the dark ages when the insane were believed possessed of the devil insanity has been mixed in the public mind with witch’s cauldrons, black magic and devil-lore. Victims would be found in the bathroom. She had no family, no children, and no spouse. However, a long time ago, shock therapy was not administered as strictly as some would want you to believe. One day, several staff members had enough and punished Trini by permanently blinding her by gouging her eyes out. Famously, nurses have been portrayed by many films as either sweet figures or evil and corrupt characters. To a person walking down Center street, the side of the building facing that way, with its barred windows, the building seems to stretch for blocks. It was still mid-afternoon, but I decided to rest. The first impression o the three story main building, the original parts were erected in 1883, is one of immensity. HE was trying to be helpful. One guard freaked out. Finally it was decided that I should be sent to the state hospital. One is a convicted serial killer from 1950. They were marketed as secondary options for those who could afford the care and treatment of their family members. During the height of mental asylums, many people were left there to be forgotten. There was no way out to escape unless you were released, which was rare. I said nothing and he went away. The history of how society has dealt with mental disorders is overwhelmingly sad and heartbreaking. The only way out was through death. The doctor demanded that every time he passed by a patient, he wanted them to smile. I was sweating and I was plain scared. The following is an account published in the Sunday Oregonian June 14, 1936. Some patients would be tranquilized for fun. Sign up for The Lineup’s newsletter, and get the strangest tales delivered straight to your inbox. I was rather frightened and felt very much like a stranger in a strange place, which I was of course. I thought of little on the trip to Salem. On her break, she grabbed a plastic bag and duster to get the dead rat out of the closet. I got up in time for dinner. Naked, ill, skeletal looking patients and children from 6 months to 5 years of age were tied to beds. 4 of 37. Prior to that, those suffering from mental illness were largely ignored, and those that did receive treatment were subjected to some truly horrific practices and experimentation. One story says that she fell madly in love with one of her victims who enjoyed the abuse, but when the patient was removed from her ward, she became crazed and began killing patients that reminded her of her former lover. I had little hope and was greatly discouraged. So far, many abuse cases that have happened in mental asylums go unreported. People can be heard kicking and screaming as they went in. This asylum followed in the same footsteps of any classical insane asylum. I did, leaving my money and everything else I had in my clothes on the table there. One story was spread that if patients refused to do anything or did something wrong, they would be subjected to intense shock therapy. One is a direct order from the circuit judge, the next is the usual county court commitment and the last the voluntary type of commitment. I remember I forgot 90 cents that I had in my watch pocket and found a few minutes after when I stripped for a bath. Before we left they stopped to pick up another patient, an old lady. The patient telling the following story is one of the rarer types that have “insight.”  He has been well educated. It’s the worst depression and suicidal ideation I’ve ever seen. Photo Credit: Erin / Flickr (CC) Old Lady Speaks In Tongues. Blackburn Royal Infirmary in Lancashire, England. It’s no bed of roses, either. Yet life is full of tragedies and still goes on somehow. Patients not too far gone with syphilis are given the malarial treatment. Allegedly, other patients have seen Trini feel her way to a window and continue to stare out of it without her eyes. When women became "hysterical," one of the cruel contraptions used to punish and torture the patients was a flat coffin-like box with bars. The most common mental ailment is dementia praecox or schizophrenia, a deterioration of mentality. It is the story told by a patient at the Oregon state hospital. Her method was suffocation. There is some bickering, of course, as are there always in when men congregate in confinement. I recently had a kiddo come in who has a history of killing animals in the neighborhood, skinning and impaling cats, crushing glass shards into dog food and leaving it at the park, some fucked up shit that is definitely indicative of some serious underlying issues. This would then make it seem like the patient was smiling. Apparently, one patient was frightened of the bathroom tub. Then, one day, a miracle (some nurses claimed) happened as the patient stopped crying. Dr Jackson was a big fan of the transorbital lobotomy, calling it the cure-all for every mental illness. I heard attendants running down hall and knew that some patient was having an attack. She was never allowed to look at anyone or anything again. Mental illness is a very difficult thing to treat. The doctor would order nurses to take floss and to have it be wrapped tightly around the head of the patient to create a false smile. Museum Of The Mind. During the turn of the century, however, mental illness was understood primarily as a threat, and the threat of mental disorders caused deep-rooted societal paranoia. Even for those who have visited Oregon’s hospital for the insane, either through curiosity or a sincere desire to learn about insanity, it is impossible to get a comprehensive idea of the institution from a casual visit. 'Nurse Jackie', as some speculate her name to be, was a horrendous and feared person in one institution. I have worked there. About 26 percent of all first admissions are of this type. The first person I saw was a man in a white apron. Some of the stories encompass the whole staff or certain individuals. About 25 patients are received annually under the voluntary commitment law and the procedure in this type is for the patient to present himself or herself at the institution, generally in the company of relatives or friends or the family physician. There are three types of commitments to the Oregon state hospital. Salem, OR 97308, *Museum is currently closed due to safety concerns related to COVID-19*, Regular hours: Allegedly, a nurse who once worked at a mental facility remembered a patient who thought the bathroom was a portal to hell. But they found out that the patient only stopped because the patient died from grief. But, over the years many a case of deafness has been misdiagnosed as mental retardation, behavioral changes because of allergies, toxicity and brain tumors have been misdiagnosed as Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia. He was quite rational and began berating me for the way I had answered the doctor’s questions. I had spent my first day in an insane asylum and I was sure I didn’t like it. Various senile psychoses account for 12 percent of admissions and general paresis, enfeeblement of the mentality as a result of syphilis, is the cause of 19 percent of first admissions. I got out and carried my own bag in. Worked with refugees. Of the various types of psychoses it is probably the alcoholic that has the best “insight.”  Unless he is far gone, the alcoholic’s trouble is mostly lack of self-control. So, what the administration decided to do was to tie her up and make her face the corner of the walls. The spouse was supportive during all mental health crises. My Experiences in a Lunatic Asylum is one of many similar tales (e.g. Mental hospitals are quite large and typically cover a lot of ground. While there were hundreds of deaths when the hospital was open, the most famous is that of Margaret Schilling. Usually the attendants are a little better dressed than the patients. John Bailey and his son Thomas Bailey, both admitted in 1858 with acute melancholia. Everybody looked all right, but I had been there long enough to know that most of them were crazy as loons. The nurse confessed that the staff really didn’t care. The story ran in 1968 and what he showed changed the history of the asylum. He said, “You do just what the doctor says if you want to get out of here.”. Certain circumstances in Mr. Robblett’s case have been altered to avoid identifying him as the narrator. One day he hung himself in a closed with a leather strap. The following day, when the staff had to go about their duties, they discovered the drowned patient in the tub. If a family member was seen as being "strange" or exhibiting any signs of unusual behaviors that were deemed unexplainable, people took the responsibility to care for their sick family members at home—hidden. Smile. Other than that, there is no particular uniform for either patients or attendants. Refine by tag: mental-hospital mentalhospital mentalhealth mentaldisorder mentalinstitution depression mental mentalillness hospital asylum suicide selfharm schizophrenia mentallyunstable insane anxiety crazy love mentalasylum bipolar mentalpatient. Inhaling the dusty ash filling the air, they're soon possessed by the souls once held within them. While terrifying mental health remedies can be traced back to prehistoric times, it’s the dawn of the asylum era in the mid-1700s that marks a period of some of the most inhumane mental health treatments. Physical Address: The articles have been checked and approved by the state hospital staff. Stories surfaced about staff members getting bored with some of the non-violent patients. Sometimes it was what he called “quick TM” that was going to be his death. I remember I fainted when they gave me a blood test. The most LOL-worthy things the Internet has to offer. The story goes that the nurse would mentally harass the patient's friend and did so viciously to the point that the patient's friend committed suicide. He then killed her and left her body to rot on the basement floor. It could make anyone cry. One story claims of a boy who was caught in the open being molested by another patient several times. HERE I am in an insane asylum, the place some people refer to as the booby hatch and the bughouse. There, he tortured and physically r*ped her. The dining room in ward C is much like a restaurant or hotel dining room. We spoke to "Clyde," who worked as a nurse in a large psychiatric hospital, where he not only witnessed tons of abuse, but also occasionally participated in it. People, whom society felt unfit to function, were frequently abandoned in multiple asylums. Allegedly, a nurse who once worked at a mental facility remembered a patient who thought the bathroom... 14 Burning Cigarette. The box was so flat that it gave no room to twist, turn, or move comfortably in any way. Even though the original intent for having these facilities built was to provide therapeutic treatments and care for their patients, many of these asylums did the exact opposite. The nurse recalled her rounds as being simple. She saw a staff member’s legs on the floor, halfway out the doorway.When she looked i… That is one of the most confusing things about life here. Women were treated harshly and unfairly in most mental asylums. World’s Largest Hospital. If the child showed strange tendencies, they'd be placed in mental asylums. 911 Calls. Every time a staff member attended to the patient, the patient would beg for a cigarette. Further back, another building is being constructed. Twenty types of insanity are standardly classified by the 614 state hospitals in the United States. The man in the white apron took my grip and led me into the doctor’s office. The patient protested baths and claimed spirits came out of the drain hole, which would possess the patient. Salem, OR 97301, Mailing Address: 3 of 37. Most patients avoid these areas due to lack of light and also that it's mostly prohibited. It’s as almost good to get away. Twenty types of insanity are standardly classified by the 614 state hospitals in the United States. No one knew how to make her stop. As the week went on, the scratching became fainter and fainter. I lay in bed thinking it over. Trini, as she was nicknamed by other patients, came to her asylum in the late 1800's. It took the staff weeks to remove the deranged patient. The doctor has nothing to smile about. 'Nurse Jackie' was notorious for physically assaulting her patients. Documentation in the hospital's mortality registry showed huge numbers which estimated around tens of thousands of people who died of forced starvation. Like clockwork, as the nurse passed by the door, a faint scratching sound would be heard. One young patient had her mouth sewn shut for several months. In ward C you are apt to see the whole gamut of insanity. The sun was shining and the grounds looked very green and lovely. The collaborator in the narrative, Paul Hauser, is an Oregonian staff correspondent living in Salem. “They’ll put you out in the bughouse with the rest of the nuts.”, For at the end of Center street, one of Salem’s broad thoroughfares is the Oregon state hospital. I was virtue overdone to such an extent that it had become a vice. With her was a young woman. However, the staff members decided to take the body out of the tub and temporarily put it by the bathroom corner until they finished their duties. I thought he was an attendant and asked him a question. This depends entirely upon the individual. The staff became irate with the patient and decided to lock the patient in the bathroom for a few hours. 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