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Insane Asylum Patients


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#1    Pol_Pot_will_killyou

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 05:34 AM

The New York State Museum has an exhibit which features ex-patients' suitcases recovered from the attic of the Willard Psychiatric Center. The suitcases feature patients' belongings and case files, offering a unique insight into their lives:

Madeline C.
She was sent to the New York Psychiatric Institute in upper Manhattan, and after claiming that she could read minds, was shipped off to three more hospitals. "I want to get out of here immediately," Madeline said when she arrived at Central Islip Hospital. "I think it's an outrage I have been brought here."

In 1939, she arrived at Willard. More than three decades later, she was still trying to regain her freedom. "I don't like this hospital," she said, according to a note in her records. "I resent being detained and wasting my time." The items found in her suitcase hint at what her life was like before she was locked up, and what she might have been doing with her time had she been released. Her trunk contained a pink silk dress, a pair of long white gloves, a stack of sheet music, a copy of Dodsworth by Sinclair Lewis, and a bulletin listing philosophy and psychology courses at Columbia University.

In 1971, Willard staffers decided not to set Madeline free because of her "continual fidgety movements, rigid stances, and facial grimaces." At the time, they did not know that these were the side effects of the psychiatric medications they had prescribed for her. She was sent to "attitude therapy" to get her to stop grimacing. By the time she finally got out of Willard, she was 79 years old. She was moved to a private facility and died 11 years later.


Frank C.
An incident at a restaurant in the summer of 1945 changed the course of Frank C.'s life forever, propelling him into the mental health system. After he was served a broken plate, he got mad and began kicking garbage cans outside. The police picked him up, and he was taken to Kings County Hospital. "I am not sick," Frank told a staffer. "I got excited on Fulton Street and I was throwing garbage. My blood temper. It went up. I was angry. In the Virginia Restaurant I got a broken plate. I did not understand the broken plate. I thought that someone planned to kill me."

Dmytre Z.
Dmytre's mental health quickly deteriorated, and he began to complain about feeling persecuted. He became convinced that he was engaged to Margaret Truman, the president's daughter, and he went to Washington, D.C., to see her in 1952. The Secret Service nabbed him, and that's when he entered the mental health system. He passed through two hospitals before arriving at Willard in 1953.

Is there any sites or book which cover asylum cases? I know it's probably a huge breach of patient confidentiality and, not to mention, just overall nosey of me, but with all due respect I find these stories so fascinating.


#2    Postulant

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 06:13 AM

I missed you.

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#3    PixieDust_

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 03:17 PM

Talk about the human brain and what it makes people do, now thats fascinating!



#4    celtickitty60

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 04:35 AM

wow. That is fascinating. I'm with you! I would love to read some more of these case files. There are so sad and yet so telling. It seems kind of nosey, but I think we (and health professionals) can really learn a lot by reading these types of things.  If you ever find any books like this, please pass then ames on.


#5    chewlip

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 03:36 PM

I found this site last year, and I've completely fallen in love with it.

It's much the same as the things you posted, but with photos too original.gif

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#6    BiffSplitkins

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 04:03 PM

chewlip on Sep 9 2008, 11:36 AM, said:

I found this site last year, and I've completely fallen in love with it.

It's much the same as the things you posted, but with photos too original.gif

If you like that site you'll love this one. Onondaga County Poorhousethumbsup.gif

Very interesting facts in there from underage children being farmed out for work to mass burials.

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#7    snapple

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 04:03 PM

im a mental patient. ask me


i have been hospitalzed over 20 times for over 4 years

i spent 4 years straight in mental hospitals

and then over the last 11 years all togeather ive been in them


ask me anything


ive seen it all. ive met over 200 mental patients


#8    Cadetak

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 05:13 PM

Pol_Pot_will_killyou on Aug 30 2008, 12:34 AM, said:

The New York State Museum has an exhibit which features ex-patients' suitcases recovered from the attic of the Willard Psychiatric Center. The suitcases feature patients' belongings and case files, offering a unique insight into their lives:

Madeline C.
She was sent to the New York Psychiatric Institute in upper Manhattan, and after claiming that she could read minds, was shipped off to three more hospitals. "I want to get out of here immediately," Madeline said when she arrived at Central Islip Hospital. "I think it's an outrage I have been brought here."

In 1939, she arrived at Willard. More than three decades later, she was still trying to regain her freedom. "I don't like this hospital," she said, according to a note in her records. "I resent being detained and wasting my time." The items found in her suitcase hint at what her life was like before she was locked up, and what she might have been doing with her time had she been released. Her trunk contained a pink silk dress, a pair of long white gloves, a stack of sheet music, a copy of Dodsworth by Sinclair Lewis, and a bulletin listing philosophy and psychology courses at Columbia University.


They would have thrown the whole lot of us in the hospitals if UM existed in that day

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#9    ASOP

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 06:54 PM

You got that right!


#10    goalienan

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 07:16 PM

BiffSplitkins on Sep 9 2008, 12:03 PM, said:

If you like that site you'll love this one. Onondaga County Poorhousethumbsup.gif

Very interesting facts in there from underage children being farmed out for work to mass burials.



Great article Biff.  Thanks for the link  original.gif

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#11    Blue Box

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 07:35 PM

Cadetak on Sep 9 2008, 01:13 PM, said:

They would have thrown the whole lot of us in the hospitals if UM existed in that day


I was just thinking that Madeline C. would have been considered normal or a little quirky by today's standards.   sad.gif It's kinda sad that they treated her how they did.

Edited by Blue Box, 09 September 2008 - 08:05 PM.

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#12    BiffSplitkins

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 08:02 PM

goalienan on Sep 9 2008, 03:16 PM, said:

Great article Biff.  Thanks for the link  original.gif

The remaining poorhouse building has been empty for years now. I've always wanted to go inside or take a metal detector around where they did the burials.

The Nurse's building is no longer used for County Office space. When that building was used, it was for our Environmental Staff but it got condemned after they found asbestos exposures in there. When I used to work in that building once in a while I would get the creeps if I was in a corridor all by myself.

Didn't mean to go off original topic but the Willard Center just reminds me of our local landmark 'County Poorhouse'.

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#13    goalienan

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 08:06 PM

BiffSplitkins on Sep 9 2008, 04:02 PM, said:

The remaining poorhouse building has been empty for years now. I've always wanted to go inside or take a metal detector around where they did the burials.

The Nurse's building is no longer used for County Office space. When that building was used, it was for our Environmental Staff but it got condemned after they found asbestos exposures in there. When I used to work in that building once in a while I would get the creeps if I was in a corridor all by myself.

Didn't mean to go off original topic but the Willard Center just reminds me of our local landmark 'County Poorhouse'.



You didn't really go OT..The OP seems like he would be interested in these stories...If he comes back  laugh.gif

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#14    Princess Serenity

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 08:17 PM

Awsome stuff, Pol. Thanks for sharing.

Pretty interesting stuff too. happy.gif I'll look at it later.


#15    Belle.

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 03:51 AM

That was really fascinating - so were those websites people put up. Very sad stories - even though current mental health system has some problems - it would have been even more horrendous to spend a lifetime in asylums in times gone past. Especially without the medications that we now have.





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