Sunday, December 12, 2010

Famous Institutions

The setting of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest takes place in a mid 1900s mental institution. While we receive vivid descriptions on the patients and the treatments administered on them, the book gives little information about the appearance of the hospital’s actual building. The following old institutions have built up famed reputations through their use of treatments, locations and stories.
                                                                    Denbigh Asylum
 Located in Wales, the Denbigh Asylum was the first psychiatric institution built in the country and remained open from 1848 to 1995. In the 1930s, treatments such as insulin shock treatment and sulfur based drugs were used. The hospital was closed when the Hospital Plan began closing down asylums and moving patients to regular hospitals for them to become less isolated from society.
                                                                 High Royds Asylum
Opened in 1888 as the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum, the name changed to High Royds in 1963. As one of the last remaining asylums in England, High Royds continued to exist until 2003.  The hospital was the setting for the movie Asylum, and TV series, “Bodies and No Angels”.

                                                                Severalls Hospital

Severalls opened in 1913 in Colchester, Essex, UK as one of the few hospitals to separate the patients by gender. The doctors were allowed to experiment with new treatments on the patients and frequently used electric shock therapy and lobotomy. The majority of the women in Severalls came at the request of their families, many times after the birth of an illegitimate child or rape. In other cases women were institutionalized simply due to an inability to keep up with daily household tasks.

                                                           Danvers State Hospital

Built on a plot of land once owned by John Hathorne, the most unforgiving judge of the Salem Witch Trials, this Massachusetts hospital functioned from 1878 to 1992. Pre-frontal lobotomy, the cutting of prefrontal cortex connections of the brain which often results in significant cognitive and personality changes, originated here.

                                                           The Athens Lunatic Asylum

Considered one of the most haunted places on earth, this hospital acquired its reputation in 1978 when the body of a missing deaf-mute female patient was found in a room that was locked from the inside. Legend states a stain left by her corpse remains in spite of many attempts to remove it. First opened in 1874, the institution closed in 1993 and was located in Athens, Ohio. The Fox Family Channel's television show "Scariest Places on Earth" includes the Athens Asylum and because of the institution, Athens was named lucky number 13 by the British Society for Psychical Research on their of most haunted locations.

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