Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Glore Psychiatric Museum

We made it to St. Joseph today; it's supposed to be the last warm day for awhile, so we grabbed the opportunity for a motorcycle ride. We did sort of a whirlwind tour of some museums; on Sundays, they're all only open from 1 PM to 5 PM, so that limited us, since we always strive to get home while it's still daylight when we're on the bike.

The most interesting of the museums we saw today was the Glore Psychiatric Museum.

It's unbelievable how inhumanely the mental patients were treated all through the 1800's, and even on through the 1900's; really, they were punished for behavior over which they had no control, as if they were criminals. Less than ten per cent of them ever got out once they were commited.

I found a website three pages long that tells, in words and pictures, some of the things Cliff and I saw today; if you're interested, click HERE.

You can click on any of these pictures to make them larger.

One poor lady had swallowed all these things over a period of time. She died on the operating table.

This is the hollow wheel; evidently people thought it was good for patients to tread this thing endlessly, like a hamster in a wheel.


Oh sure, that's gonna help a mentally ill lady.

Or this.

Unbelievable.

5 comments:

Rachel said...

Glad you got to make your trip. That is horrible how mental patients were treated. How very sad. Hard to imagine that anyone could swallow all that stuff. Doesn't seem possible. I had an x-ray tech tell me some of the stuff she had seen while taking x-rays at a veteran's hospital. She said this one patient had swallowed a spoon. It doesn't seem like a person would be able to swallow something like that! Makes my throat hurt thinking of it!!

That wheel thing; the doctor that invented it should have had to be in that thing for 30-some hours so they'd know what it was like. Terrible!

Tawnya said...

I learned about some of these things during my classes in this degree. That museum is very interesting. I would love to know where it is exactly, I may have to plan a trip to see that... It is amazing the things that they thought cured mental illness. What is sadder is that people committed family members for sometimes no good reason...

Muhd Imran said...

Thoughts and therefore things were simplistic then but they have evolved so much now, thanks to the human desire to improve. It has gone such a long way...

Hope you had a good trip.

Anne said...

It's sad to say that the stigma of mental illness is alive and well today. These "treatments" were horrible and up until the last decade or so still, we treated the mentally ill with experimental ways. There are pills to replace the neglect and also the torture but in so many minds there is still torture. Thanks for the post Mo. Anne

Anonymous said...

I recently discovered this museum online, and was looking for more info, which led me here. I would love to see it someday.

Many of the things shown in these photos look cruel, but, for example, the bed cage, or whatever they called it, serves the same purpose as four-point restraints, which are currently in use, and, at least with the cage, the patient could scratch their nose when it itched. ;)

Also, although we tend to look at medical practices of the past, and shake our heads, wondering how the doctors could have been so stupid, we should remember two things. The first is, at least back then doctors weren't prescribing medications because they got kickbacks from the drug companies. Most prescribed certain treatments out of a genuine desire to help, Hollywood portrayals notwithstanding.

Second, in some forms of medicine today, we are not much beyond that level of expertise. Cancer treatment, for example. Many people today die of the treatment, rather than the disease.

For any who disagree with me, let me put it this way. Chemo is designed to kill ALL surface cells in the body, in hopes that only the normal cells will grow back. This is a lot like an exterminator showing up at your home to kill cockroaches, and bringing only a flamethrower with which to do the job. "Well, we ruined your house, but, by golly, those cockroaches will think twice before coming back!"

A century from now, people will be looking at some of our medical practices the same way as we look at the examples here.