Psychology and mental illness still has a long way to go with regards to how many people receive effective treatment. However, asylums are a far cry from the old times when mentally ill people were considered “deranged” and either chucked in a cage or given a lobotomy.
The pictures below tell the stories of the unlucky souls who fall into the latter camp, who were treated in inhumane ways due to the mixed wires in their brains. These unfortunate patients were clearly born in the wrong era, and their stories are nothing short of heartbreaking (if a little creepy):
This image was taken from inside a mental asylum in Paraguay. For some reason, this patient would not leave the photographer’s side, peering into the camera at every opportunity.
A mental patient in a Japanese institute had been wearing this dog mask for years – he used to bark at the staff when he felt angry or upset.
Rhoda Derry was a women who thought she was cursed by a spirit named “Old Scratch.” She was eventually moved to an institute where she would sit with her knees clutched to her body for so long that she was unable to move. Eventually she blinded herself and punched her own teeth out of her mouth.
This picture, taken in 1946, simply shows patients in various stages of mental illness at the Ohio Insane Asylum.
A patient being locked away in the “Utica Crib,” a primitive treatment that confined mentally ill people who posed a physical danger to others at the Utica Insane Asylum.
This crowded room at the West Riding Asylum in Wakefield, England housed women with severe but non-violent dementia. It was common for female patients to wear bonnets. The photograph was taken in the 1860s.
This is the operating room at Barnes Hospital. The photo was taken in the early part of the 20th Century. A surgeon at the hospital painted the walls with colourful nature murals as a gesture of kindness to the patients, so they could have something to occupy their attention as they waited for anesthesia to take hold.
Camille Claudel was a sculptor who was mentored and wooed by Rodin. When her father died, she was placed in an asylum in 1913. She lived there until she died in 1943. Her mother refused to visit her and no family members attended her funeral.
This is Richard Dadd, a mentally insane painter. He became convinced that his father was Satan and murdered him.
Chilling stuff right? Imagine spending your entire life locked away in one of these institutes. It doesn’t bear thinking about. If that hasn’t freaked you out enough, check out this photo collection taken from inside an abandoned psychiatric hospital in South Korea.