Insane Asylums of the United States, Canada, UK and the rest of the World

KorbenDallas

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As our so-called Messina Earthquake of 1908 demonstrated, there is a high probability that the event did cause some people to go completely insane. Very similar instances were noted during the New Madrid Earthquake events of 1811-1812.

In this thread I wanted to bring up some of the most elaborate Insane Asylum Buildings constructed in the United States, and other countries. Most of these buildings were allegedly produced between 1850 and 1900, with a few built somewhat earlier. Some of them either do not exist any longer, or were remodeled.

Let us see what this discussion can lead us to. Will move the thread to a better fitting sub-forum, once the discussion direction gets established.

My three questions are:
  • Where would a country have to be (the state of civil services and economics) to afford structures like the ones below for the purposes of mental health hospitals?
    • #4 below could fit right in on the Capitol Hill in D.C.
    • #5 would look great next to the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg
  • How many mentally ill individuals did they have, and why?
  • Why the hospitals had to be so insane? Pun intended in this case, for the buildings are (were) impressive indeed.
I will start off with 5 hospitals. Add some of yours if you want. May be we could establish a pattern, and uncover something new.

1. Columbus, Ohio
The original hospital building, known as the Lunatic Asylum of Ohio, was completed in 1838. In 1868, a fire destroyed the asylum, and it was rebuilt in the Kirkbride style in 1877.
  • The hospital was closed in the late 1980s, and demolished between 1991 and 1996.
coulmbus_ohio_1.jpg


2. Napa, California
Originally named Napa Insane Asylum, the facility opened on November 15, 1875. It sat on 192 acres (0.8 km2) of property stretching from the Napa River to what is now Skyline Park. The facility was originally built to relieve overcrowding at Stockton Asylum. By the early 1890s the facility had over 1,300 patients which was over double the original capacity it was designed to house. The original main building known as "The Castle" was an ornate and imposing building constructed with bricks. Facilities on the property included a large farm that included dairy and poultry ranches, vegetable garden and fruit orchards that provided a large part of the food supply consumed by the residents.
  • Original building, c. 1900 (destroyed in 1906 earthquake)
napa_state.jpg


3. Danver, Massachusetts
The Danvers State Hospital, also known as the State Lunatic Hospital at Danvers, The Danvers Lunatic Asylum, and The Danvers State Insane Asylum, was a psychiatric hospital located in Danvers, Massachusetts. It was built in 1874, and opened in 1878, under the supervision of prominent Boston architect Nathaniel Jeremiah Bradlee, on an isolated site in rural Massachusetts. It was a multi-acre, self-contained psychiatric hospital designed and built according to the Kirkbride Plan.
  • Despite being included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, the majority of the building was demolished in 2007.
Danvers_State_Hospital,_Danvers,_Massachusetts,_Kirkbride_Complex,_circa_1893.jpg


4. Utica, New York
The Utica Psychiatric Center, also known as Utica State Hospital, opened in Utica on January 16, 1843. The Greek Revival structure was designed by Captain William Clarke and its construction was funded by the state and by contributions from Utica residents.
  • In 1852, Old Main's first floor stairway caught fire. Patients and staff were safely evacuated, but a firefighter and doctor were killed while trying to salvage items from the building. The entire center portion of the building was destroyed. Four days after the fire at Old Main, a barn on the asylum grounds caught fire. William Spiers, a convicted arsonist, former patient, and sporadic employee, was arrested after admitting to setting both fires because he was angry with his supervisor.

The-Public-Outside-Utica-State-Lunatic-Asylum.jpg


5. Morris Plains, New Jersey
Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital (also known as Greystone Psychiatric Park, Greystone Psychiatric Hospital, or simply Greystone and formerly known as the State Asylum for the Insane at Morristown, New Jersey State Hospital, Morris Plains, and Morris Plains State Hospital) referred to both the former psychiatric hospital and the historic building that it occupied in Morris Plains, New Jersey. Built in 1876, the facility was built to alleviate overcrowding at the state's only other "lunatic asylum" located in Trenton, New Jersey. Originally built to accommodate 350 people, the facility, having been expanded several times, reached a high of over 7700 patients resulting in unprecedented overcrowding conditions.
  • Despite considerable public opposition and open protest and media attention, the main Kirkbride building was demolished in a process that began in April 2014 and was completed by October 2015. However, some items of the stunning architectural details (manifesting unique Victorian motifs) and other items with symbolic and historic value were rescued from the Greystone main building prior to its controversial demolition.
new-jersey-asylum-1875.jpg

greystone_main.jpg
KD: I think somewhere else some of these buildings would have been designated as palaces. In the US of A these things are/were called hospitals.
 

in cahoots

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"That beautiful, sprawling, splendid, palatial old wonder of architecture over yonder? Oh, that's the place we put the crazy people. You don't want to go there."

Who would believe what any of the medical institution-stamped whackjobs had to say about what they saw in there, or what was done to them? On a symbolic and practical level this is a rather brilliant power move - associate the history we want forgotten with literal insanity - marinate the places in the reputation of illness and craziness - something we'd rather not think about. My sci-fi imagination wonders at the poor schizoids and others being "tested" on the ancient technology within the buildings, as the undiagnosed sociopaths in the white coats try to reboot the systems they've seized and only vaguely understand. For most of the 20th century, regardless of their sanity entering these places, patients were generally driven mad by the time they left, if they ever did.

When I worked in film in Vancouver, BC, one of the most popular sites for all the shows in town to shoot in was Riverview Mental Hospital (formerly Essondale). In 2019, every safe-to-film building was booked for every shooting day of the year. Its splendor falls short of your examples, but otherwise, it matches the profile perfectly:

23624

23625


Riverview Hospital is a Canadian mental health facility located in Coquitlam, British Columbia. It operated under the governance of BC Mental Health & Addiction Services when it closed in July 2012.[1] In December 2015, the provincial government announced plans to begin construction in 2017 to replace the obsolete buildings with new mental health facilities scheduled to open in about 2019.[2] Demolition has begun to fit the new mental health facilities. Recently, the Valleyview Building was torn down. Work has begun on one of the new mental health facilities, and the second will begin shortly.

At one time Riverview Hospital was known as Essondale Hospital, for Dr. Henry Esson Young(1862-1939) who played an important role in establishing the facility. The neighbourhood where the hospital is located also became known as the Essondale neighbourhood.
For the strange architect/founder Bingo square...

Henry Esson Young had a dark side that seems to have changed the course of his life at two junctures. One may have started as a youthful indiscretion; it seems to have driven the young doctor to disappear for a decade.
It doesn't show in the pictures, but Riverview occupies one of the largest and most breathtaking plots of land anywhere in the greater Vancouver area. Rolling hills descend down to a tree-lined valley. Fog settles over the foliage at sunset in a very beautiful way. This would have been (and will be again?) a wonderful place to get well.

The history of Riverview is checkered. In the decades leading up to its closure, we hear the usual accusations of mistreatment and abuse and overpopulation, degradation of living conditions leading to its eventual close. However, reading about the place in early 20th century, it sounds like a truly idyllic and successful venture - as you mentioned in your sites, the abundant lands of this place were used to put the mentally ill to work with plants, cultivating their own food, etc. I do not see such a virtuous recuperative model deteriorating in the manner described.

By [the end of 1913, with 919 patients], Colony Farm was producing over 700 tons of crops and 20,000 gallons of milk in a year, using mostly patient labour. British Columbia's first Provincial Botanist, John Davidson, established an arboretum, nursery and a botanical garden on the hospital lands, often with the assistance of patients as there was a belief in the therapeutic value.[4] The botanical garden was moved to the new University of British Columbia in 1916, but the arboretum and nursery remained.[5]
Interestingly, physician Esson Young who somehow oversaw construction of facilities on 1000 acre plot of land, also had a hand in development of the similarly vast lands of the University of British Columbia.

I was able to note a few other interesting details while there, having got some rare access to the forbidden upper floors of the building indicated in the pictures. At the foot of the left front staircase, there is an inlaid gold or brass I guess Star of David. no words or numbers. Just... there. Also, the interior is nowhere near as cleaned out as you would expect - "asbestos hazards" of course. Coats and frocks lay folded inside of cupboards. Nametags of doctors and nurses still sit on the shelves where their in and outboxes would have sat. I got a strange impression of a sudden evacuation or departure, rather than a gradual shutting down. The shrubbery and lawns of unoccupied staff buildings remain eerily and meticulously maintained. A creepy place, whether you believe everyone about the shadows and faces they see passing the windows at night or not.

In 2009, Riverview Hospital was added to the Canadian Register of Historic Places.[16]

The construction of a provincially-funded $101 million mental health and addiction treatment facility on the Riverview grounds began in 2017 and will open its doors in 2019. It will house 105 patients and provide specialized care for adults with severe and complex mental health and addiction challenges.
100 million for 100 patients? Damn!
 
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RedReiver

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Be kind first time post, but I remembered one in Dunedin, New Zealand, the Seacliff Mental Asylum.

22272-max.jpg

Apparently opened in 1884 when the regional population was ~149,154 to house circa 500 patients. [0.0034% of population], the population apparently tripped from ~50,255 during its 10 year build.

Seacliff_Lunatic_Asylum_NZ.jpg


x1-Seacliff-.jpg

A similar sized region circa ~150,000 in the South Island; the modern day Nelson Hospital currently provides only approximately 140 beds for Nelson and Tasman patients, though this is for physical illness not mental.

But back in the same era, the Nelson Lunatic Asylum was developed for a regional population of 22,558 which was a converted barracks that had ~36 beds [0.0015% of population], this was one of the first areas settled in New Zealand and the style is more fitting to the time in my opinion.

Taranaki-barracks.jpg

Not sure what to make out if this, but back in the same time period a Medical Officers Report for the Nelson Lunatic Asylum during this time also record the rapid increase in patient numbers which in turn had caused significant overcrowding. The Report for 1872 reported that the number of patients had quadrupled from 11 in 1867 to 43. Of concern was the number of patients being referred from the West Coast. By 1872 they made up half the asylum population and the main cause for their condition was spirit drinking.

Robert Arthur Lawson was the architect, note he is an architect of over forty churches and easily a dozen plus schools, halls, banks and chambers.

l028-lawson-robert-arthur-pres-2.jpg

So while the build time seems legitimate, the setting and characters do not, Robert must have had high speed internet and a private jet to achieve and champion the builds he completed, all this while at the same time working ten years on one mega project; though not necessarily the case here, it beats me how the narrative allows key people to hop between the commonwealth and other countries [I'm assuming by sea], like we might travel to various towns and cities by a car, though maybe even today you might not go overseas for a year or two because logistically or economically its not viable,

So not to mention the fact that even current regional policy making is time consuming, [even with the internet] the setting, which is where a country, settled for only about 20 years, has a requirement to manage mental health; from drunkards to the mute, during a time where people still lived in tents and further more provides a building quality that in some cases was better than what was available 100 years later...

..makes you question the history.

Also the Seacliff plan bears kind of a resemblance to the layout of the New Jersey one in the OP..

Capture.JPG
 

Timeshifter

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Think about it logically. You suddenly have massess of mentally unwell people.

Do you;

A. Spend millions of $$$ and many years building fancy massive hosptials? (where do they all go in the meantime)

B. Put them in pre existing builings large enough to house them and staff?

Whatever caused these mass mental illnesses, may have shifted the psychy of many more. Maybe they all went a little crazy? Maybe thats how we ended up in the condition we are today...
 

Ice Nine

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I've always been fascinated by these extravagant places and they make no sense to me at all. Here is a great site if you want to see more of the inside of them now. And also there are quite a number of historic photos for each Asylum as well. Along with all pertinent information, construction etc....
Just another example of how things used to be and now we have such blah austere buildings.

Photos of Abandoned Psychiatric Hospitals

More about Danvers and just how many people were going insane in Boston?

Danvers State Hospital History
In 1873, the need for another psychiatric hospital to serve the Boston population had risen once again; the asylums constructed in Tewskbury, Worcester, Taunton and Northampton were already quite overcrowded. A site called Hawthorne Hill (also known as Hathorne Hill) in Danvers was chosen for the new hospital; the scenic vistas, fresh air, and acres of farm land to work were part of the therapeutic treatments thought to have cured insanity.

During this time period, elegant asylums were being constructed at an enormous cost to provide the best care for the mentally ill; many of these ornate structures followed a plan devised by Dr. Thomas Kirkbride called the linear plan, or the Kirkbride plan as it was later known. The asylum at Danvers was structured in this Kirkbride framework by architect Nathaniel J. Bradlee. Gothic spires rose from eight wings that radiated from a 130 foot central tower. Construction of the hospital began in 1874, and the 70,000 square foot building was completed four years later at a cost of $1.5 million. The extravagant asylum drew some criticism from the working class residents of Danvers living in its shadow during the first years of operation, wondering why the "insane" were given such grand treatment from the state while they worked hard for little pay.
 

Red Bird

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"That beautiful, sprawling, splendid, palatial old wonder of architecture over yonder? Oh, that's the place we put the crazy people. You don't want to go there."

Who would believe what any of the medical institution-stamped whackjobs had to say about what they saw in there, or what was done to them? On a symbolic and practical level this is a rather brilliant power move - associate the history we want forgotten with literal insanity - marinate the places in the reputation of illness and craziness - something we'd rather not think about. My sci-fi imagination wonders at the poor schizoids and others being "tested" on the ancient technology within the buildings, as the undiagnosed sociopaths in the white coats try to reboot the systems they've seized and only vaguely understand. For most of the 20th century, regardless of their sanity entering these places, patients were generally driven mad by the time they left, if they ever did.

When I worked in film in Vancouver, BC, one of the most popular sites for all the shows in town to shoot in was Riverview Mental Hospital (formerly Essondale). In 2019, every safe-to-film building was booked for every shooting day of the year. Its splendor falls short of your examples, but otherwise, it matches the profile perfectly:

View attachment 23624
View attachment 23625



For the strange architect/founder Bingo square...



It doesn't show in the pictures, but Riverview occupies one of the largest and most breathtaking plots of land anywhere in the greater Vancouver area. Rolling hills descend down to a tree-lined valley. Fog settles over the foliage at sunset in a very beautiful way. This would have been (and will be again?) a wonderful place to get well.

The history of Riverview is checkered. In the decades leading up to its closure, we hear the usual accusations of mistreatment and abuse and overpopulation, degradation of living conditions leading to its eventual close. However, reading about the place in early 20th century, it sounds like a truly idyllic and successful venture - as you mentioned in your sites, the abundant lands of this place were used to put the mentally ill to work with plants, cultivating their own food, etc. I do not see such a virtuous recuperative model deteriorating in the manner described.



Interestingly, physician Esson Young who somehow oversaw construction of facilities on 1000 acre plot of land, also had a hand in development of the similarly vast lands of the University of British Columbia.

I was able to note a few other interesting details while there, having got some rare access to the forbidden upper floors of the building indicated in the pictures. At the foot of the left front staircase, there is an inlaid gold or brass I guess Star of David. no words or numbers. Just... there. Also, the interior is nowhere near as cleaned out as you would expect - "asbestos hazards" of course. Coats and frocks lay folded inside of cupboards. Nametags of doctors and nurses still sit on the shelves where their in and outboxes would have sat. I got a strange impression of a sudden evacuation or departure, rather than a gradual shutting down. The shrubbery and lawns of unoccupied staff buildings remain eerily and meticulously maintained. A creepy place, whether you believe everyone about the shadows and faces they see passing the windows at night or not.



100 million for 100 patients? Damn!
Canadian Government Quietly Compensates Daughter of MKULTRA Victim
 

in cahoots

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whitewave

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Caring for the insane has improved vastly from days of yore. (The story of Frances Farmer). I worked as a nurse in the prison system for the criminally insane for a year and the advent of psych drugs makes ALL the difference. The murderers and butchers, rapists and whackadoodles are indistinguishable from everyday folk when they're on their meds.

Several years ago the state of Oklahoma decided it could save some money by no longer paying for psych meds for psych patients. Well, the psych patients ran out of meds, went crazy, committed a crime worthy of incarceration and now the state of Oklahoma is paying for the prisoners psych meds, housing, security, food, health care, dental, etc. They obviously didn't think that one through.

When I did my psych rotation in nursing school we did clinicals at the state psych hospital. There was a guy who seemed lucid and in control and as sane as you or me but I was told he was delusional because he thought the FBI was out to get him for embezzlement. He dutifully took his meds and was compliant with the program but persisted in his "delusions". Towards the end of my rotation there the state hospital got a visit from the FBI who was looking for-you guessed it-our "delusional" patient. He was telling the truth (which is easier to keep straight) and knew that no one would believe him in the "nut house" so he managed to stay under the radar for a while. "Crazy" people are not believed even when they're telling the truth and aren't actually crazy.

That's actually one of my main complaints about the psychiatric system is that the DSM (psych bible) has no definition for "normal" so anyone can qualify as crazy under some heading and there's no standard to say you're not. Your word against the authority. It was much worse before the '60's-'70's. They were basically gulags and if the authority figures said you were crazy then off you went in a straight jacket never to be heard from again.
If the previous reset triggered a mass stress response as it surely would then a lot of asylums would have been needed to shut up all the people who kept saying, "this isn't right. this isn't the world we had".
 

Red Bird

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Caring for the insane has improved vastly from days of yore. (The story of Frances Farmer). I worked as a nurse in the prison system for the criminally insane for a year and the advent of psych drugs makes ALL the difference. The murderers and butchers, rapists and whackadoodles are indistinguishable from everyday folk when they're on their meds.

Several years ago the state of Oklahoma decided it could save some money by no longer paying for psych meds for psych patients. Well, the psych patients ran out of meds, went crazy, committed a crime worthy of incarceration and now the state of Oklahoma is paying for the prisoners psych meds, housing, security, food, health care, dental, etc. They obviously didn't think that one through.

When I did my psych rotation in nursing school we did clinicals at the state psych hospital. There was a guy who seemed lucid and in control and as sane as you or me but I was told he was delusional because he thought the FBI was out to get him for embezzlement. He dutifully took his meds and was compliant with the program but persisted in his "delusions". Towards the end of my rotation there the state hospital got a visit from the FBI who was looking for-you guessed it-our "delusional" patient. He was telling the truth (which is easier to keep straight) and knew that no one would believe him in the "nut house" so he managed to stay under the radar for a while. "Crazy" people are not believed even when they're telling the truth and aren't actually crazy.

That's actually one of my main complaints about the psychiatric system is that the DSM (psych bible) has no definition for "normal" so anyone can qualify as crazy under some heading and there's no standard to say you're not. Your word against the authority. It was much worse before the '60's-'70's. They were basically gulags and if the authority figures said you were crazy then off you went in a straight jacket never to be heard from again.
If the previous reset triggered a mass stress response as it surely would then a lot of asylums would have been needed to shut up all the people who kept saying, "this isn't right. this isn't the world we had".
Targeted individuals
 

Timeshifter

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Trade in Lunacy

This is interesting, as is the time frame:

waki

'Due, perhaps, to the absence of a centralised state response to the social problem of madness until the 19th century, private madhouses proliferated in 18th century Britain on a scale unseen elsewhere.[1]:174 References to such institutions are limited for the 17th century but it is evident that by the start of the 18th century, the so-called 'trade in lunacy' was well established'

'Public mental asylums were established in Britain after the passing of the 1808 County Asylums Act. This empowered magistrates to build rate-supported asylums in every county to house the many 'pauper lunatics'. Nine counties first applied, and the first public asylum opened in 1811 in Nottinghamshire'

the 1800's eh!

And the buildings are the same in the UK, large, grand, cost a fortune...

Stick the nutters in here, while the rest live in poverty out there....

image source

asylum.jpg


look at this one!

d2dd0494e921f3a7bd10bc355dc2.jpg

The Hospital of Bethlem [Bedlam] at Moorfields, London: seen from the north, with lunatics capering in the foreground. Coloured engraving by T. Bowles after J. Maurer. From the Wellcome Library, London. Image licensed under CC BY 4.0
 

trismegistus

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Napa State Hospital

The above linked site states that the architects are Wright and Saunders. However, according to the below link I didn't see the Napa Asylum listed under their works.

Architects: Wright and Saunders

These two English architects began their practice in San Francisco around 1868, with an office at 19 Stevenson House; from at least 1869-1883, they operated from offices at 418 California Street. (See the

San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1869

, p. 676 and

San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1883

, p. 1106.)
John Wright
Born and schooled in Scotland; Came to the US in 1866, according to the largely unreliable historian Henry Withey, perhaps from British Columbia; apparently, in 1864, Wright and Sanders had already collaborated on the Richard Carr House in the James Bay residential tract of Victoria, BC, Canada.
George Saunders
George Hippisley Saunders was one of the children of John Sanders and Fanny Hippisley. Sanders was an artist (his father exhibited with the Royal Academy in England and has paintings in the National Portrait Gallery). John and his wife (and some of his family) moved to Canada around 1832. My records indicate George Hippisley was born August 24, 1837. (I think it would be in Guelph, Ontario area) I am trying to determine when he moved to San Francisco, but he worked with his nephew, George Applegarth. GH Sanders' sister Henrietta Anne (b. Dec 13, 1831) had married _ Applegarth. I will post additional information when I can get it. There is some information about George Applegarth (who was active as an architect in Victoria BC before moving to San Francisco) in a book on Canadian architecture.
His father, John, has a wiki entry however there is no mention of his son there.

These architects are ghosts according to the internet. No photos, no real history other than apparent census data dug up by some internet sleuths but that is about it. They are, however, attributed to many buildings in San Francisco that feature very similarly impressive architecture. That said, we have no idea where they went to school (most of these guys usually have a noted educational background) to learn their trade.

I wouldn't be surprised if I continued looking at these "hospitals" I'd find a similar lack of evidence.
Post automatically merged:

Danvers State Hospital

Architect: Nathaniel Jeremiah Bradlee

2-bradlee-portrait-2_(1).jpg

This guy has a more familiar story to some of the other architects I've researched

It is with the career of the namesake of the surviving basin---Nathaniel Jeremiah Bradlee---that this article is chiefly concerned. Though one of Boston’s leading mid-19th century men of affairs, the President of the Boston Water Board at the time of the construction of the Chestnut Hill facility, and a prolific architect who designed more than 500 Boston buildings, Bradlee’s name is today largely forgotten.
Nathaniel received his education at the well-known Chauncy Hall School, located but a stone's throw from the family’s residence on Avon Place. This was all the formal education Bradlee ever received, but it must have been thoroughgoing, especially in mathematics and drawing, for when he graduated in 1846, the seventeen year old was immediately hired as a draftsman by one of Boston’s leading architects, George Dexter, who was then at work with Edward Cabot on the landmark Boston Athenaeum building on Beacon Street.
BostonAthenaeum_BeaconSt_1855.png

I mean honestly, how many boy wonder architects existed in this period of time? This weird trend should make anyone scratch their head. How many boy genius architects do we have nowadays? It's not like every single building in these cities are designed in the "Gothic revival" style, why did the boy geniuses seem to only focus on this style?

Here's another one of his "accomplishments"

In 1869, Bradlee took up a particularly challenging civil engineering project by accepting a commission from the city of Boston to move the seven-story Pelham Hotel, situated at the corner of Tremont and Boylston Street (on the site of the Little Building) several feet back on its lot to allow for the widenening of adjacent streets. This was no small undertaking. The massive structure covered 5200 square feet and weighed an estimated 10,000 tons!
What qualifications did an architect and member of the Boston Water Board have to be able to design a civil engineering project like this? Insane.

From everything explained - -
Bradlee's early 1860s Jordan Marsh department store, an ornate brownstone edifice with a landmark corner clock tower in what is now known as Boston's Downtown Crossing, sparked a major historic preservation movement in the city when it was torn down in 1975. Local architect Leslie Larson had founded a coalition called the City Conservation League to try to save the old building — one of the few survivors of the Great Boston Fire of 1872
Convenient that his buildings were some of the few that survived the great fire of Boston. It's almost as if these buildings were cut from a completely different cloth from the rest of the city...we see this same trend with these "Gothic" buildings in the Great Fire of Baltimore, as an example.
 
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whitewave

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@ RedReiver: your picture of the Maori old folks home burning down triggered a memory. The year 1860 was a bad year for a lot of people. There was the 1860 comet (always seen as a harbinger of doom), the second Maori war begins, Abraham Lincoln is elected president (and proceeds to gut the constitution), South Carolina starts the bandwagon of states seceding from the union which quickly led to the start of the not-so-civil war, Jun 3 Comanche, Iowa, completely destroyed by one of a series of tornadoes, Jun 12 The State Bank of the Russian Empire is established, Sep 8 Loss of paddle steamer "Lady Elgin" on Lake Michigan approximately 300 people drowned, May 1 – A Chondrite type meteorite falls to earth in Muskingum County, Ohio near the town of New Concord, May 6 – The Paiute War begins as Northern Paiutes raided Williams Station in Utah Territory, the Wiyot massacre of Native Americans (mostly women and children) with hatchets, knives, and axes occurred. There was enough misery happening to make anyone crazy.

Numbers of insane at turn of 19th century. "In England at the beginning of the nineteenth century, only a few thousand insane poor were confined. By the end of the century the numbers had grown to close to 100,000. In German-speaking Europe there were 202 public asylums by 1891, and in France 108. In Germany itself, the number of insane persons confined rocketed from one in 5,300 in 1852 to one in 500 in 1911.

That is a monumental increase – date coincident with when Emil Kraepelin received the backing of the Catholic Church (and the rest of the Slavemasters) in saying that mental illness was a physical disease." (Good article talking about why psychiatry is more religion than science.) Their treatments of the supposedly insane were also a sort of “Fair Game”, a repeat of and updating of the Inquisition. Targeting the heretics and the apostates but most especially it began targeting those who dared lay claim to ‘supernatural’ abilities.
 
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Red Bird

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So maybe the insane asylums are to be understood as a continuity of the witch hunts, which, according to mainstream belief, happened in the 17th century.
I’m having a whole different attitude towards witches, and the psych/medical community these days.
 

dreamtime

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In the mainstream time line, there are around 200 years between the witch hunts, and the beginnings of the institutionalization of psychiatry.

This alone offers the possibility of a relationship, like the author suggested.

A new chronology timeline could bring those two aspects more closely together. Let's say the pre-1800 history is made up, and instead of 1630, the witch hunt didn't start before 1700.

So it would be 18th Century witch hunts -> 19th Century psychiatry -> 20th century "perfected" psychiatry with rigid institutions -> 21th Century more humane psychiatry, because the main goal of suppressing resistance has been accomplished.

So there could be the following scenario:

In the 18th century, with the breakdown of the "ancient regime", or say, the "ancient world", the enemies of the new order are being persecuted. It is an open battle that lasts for a couple of decades, new kingdoms and governments form, free thinkers and knowledge is being destroyed.

After maybe 2 generations, let's say in the beginning of the 19th century, the PTB is in power, but there are still people who won't give in and/or can't function in the new world. For those people they create more formal prisons, which become the insane asylums, where they are mixed with the truly "insane" (i.e. those who can't function in any way). We can think of those institutions as prisons for both the resistance, as well as places to collect those negatively affected by the past cataclysm. Obviously they just used the buildungs that were alerady available, which explains the architecture.

Inprisoning the resistance would be a high priority task, which explains why they allowed those buildings to be used.

So if the origins of psychiatry are indeed the hunt for the heretics of the catholic church, they would have wanted to destroy the association between two events, which is one reason for having a longer time line.

There is a strange emptiness between 1660 and 1860: A Timeline of Witch Hunts in Europe

In this time line there is already evidence for the first attempt to forge the witch hunt history:

1829: "Histoire de l'Inquisition en France" by Etienne Leon de Lamothe-Langon was published. It was a forgery claiming massive witchcraft executions in the 14th century.


From wiki:

Histoire de l'Inquisition en France is a book about witch trials in the early modern period published in 1829 by Étienne-Léon de Lamothe-Langon (1786–1864), supposedly on the basis of his unprecedented access to Church archives in Toulouse, granted by one Bishop Antoine Pascal Hyacinthe Sermet . It is now regarded as a forgery.
The dramatic and blood curdling accounts of Histoire were incorporated as a primary source into many other volumes, notably Joseph Hansen's (1862–1943) German Quellen und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des Hexenwahns und der Hexenverfolgung im Mittelalter ("Sources and investigations regarding the history of the witch craze and the witch hunts in the Middle Ages"), which in turn became the source for many other works. Ultimately, Lamothe-Langon's work became the sole or principal primary source for a substantial part of twentieth century popular and historical beliefs about the Inquisition, witchcraft, torture and jurisprudence in the medieval period.
... Prior to fabricating the Histoire, Lamothe-Langon had been an author of gothic horror novels. Subsequently, he went on to forge several autobiographies of French historical figures.

So in my eyes, this is a good hint towards when the witch hunts really ended: In the beginning of the 19th century, and then "someone" needed to create a convincing narrative. And who did this Etienne guy work for? Napoleon!

Think about it, even though the work is largely considered fiction by everyone involved (it was widely exposed only in 1975), it still forms the majority belief of the witch hunts. But Napoleon's desire to put the witch hunts into the 14th century was too bold, so the consensus shifted over time to the 17th Century.

The Great European Witch Hunt

The church connection is evident:

24412


POLITICAL PRISONERS IN FRENCH MENTAL INSTITUTIONS BEFORE 1789 , DURING THE REVOLUTION, AND UNDER NAPOLEON I
 
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Recognition

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I'm wondering about the presence of the people driven mad by syphillis, so i started looking for the etymology of the word and found this:



"Well, it really was a beloved literary character that was created by an eminent physician, poet and professor named Hieronymus Fracastorius. And he did this in 1530 when he wrote an epic poem called "Syphilis Sive Morbus Gallicus" or what's also known as "Syphilis or the French Disease." And he wrote a poem about this mythical shepherd named Syphilis who rejected and then insulted the sun god".

When you think about so many people being afflicted with this, kind of gives a new vantage point. Perhaps people 'went insane' after 'rejecting' the new order, or vice versa rejecting the old world order.

I think whitewave's post about the increase of the insane is a monumental peice of research. (Wouldn't let me tag you whitewave)
 

whitewave

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I’m having a whole different attitude towards witches, and the psych/medical community these days.
You may enjoy this book. It's only 48 pages but gives a history of the real reason for the witch hunts. Women healers were paid with chickens or goats, occasionally money. Anyway, they had real property. When the allopathic (modern medicine) started women were seen as competition for the available funds and were demonized. In some places, entire towns had all but one of their women killed as witches with the surviving one left to warn any imported replacement women to not practice the healing arts.
 

dreamtime

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You may enjoy this book. It's only 48 pages but gives a history of the real reason for the witch hunts. Women healers were paid with chickens or goats, occasionally money. Anyway, they had real property. When the allopathic (modern medicine) started women were seen as competition for the available funds and were demonized. In some places, entire towns had all but one of their women killed as witches with the surviving one left to warn any imported replacement women to not practice the healing arts.
The idea that it was mostly women who were persecuted is propaganda, there is not a single reliable source that allows for this interpretation, which only came up with the rise of feminism. Barbara Ehrenreich - Wikipedia is not a historian, but a political activist first and fore most.

I don't want to divert from the main topic but this needs to be said, because going the route of feminist interpretation of witch hunts is a dead end. Omitting a significant part of reality, even while containing some true points, paints a wrong picture, so while the book may have some valid points, it's primarily goal was to re-write and bury the true history as part of the feminist movement.


In 1973, Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English suggested that most witches were mid-wives and female healers. Their book Witches, Midwives, and Nurses convinced many feminists and Pagans that the Great Hunt was a pogrom aimed at traditional women healers. The Church and State sought to break the power of these women by accusing them of witchcraft, driving a wedge of fear between the wise-woman and her clients.

The evidence for this theory was -- and is -- completely anecdotal. Authors cited a number of cases involving healers, then simply assumed that this was what the "average" trial was like. However a mere decade after Witches, Midwives, and Nurses was published, we knew that this was not true. Healers made up a small percentage of the accused, usually between 2% and 20%, depending on the country. There was never a time or a place where the majority of accused witches were healers. In 1990, D. Harley's article, "Historians as demonologists: the myth of the midwife-witch" (in Social History of Medicine 3 (1990), pp. 1-26.) demonstrated that being a licensed midwife actually decreased a woman's changes of being charged.

And there was worse to come. Feminist and Pagan writers presented the healer-witch as the innocent, enlightened victim of the evil male witch hunters. Trials showed that as often as not, the "white" witch was an avid supporter of the "Burning Times." Diane Purkiss (The Witch in History) pointed out that "midwives were more likely to be found helping witch-hunters" than as victims of their inquiries. How did witches become witch-hunters? By blaming illnesses on their rivals. Feminist authors rightly lambasted male doctors who blamed unexplained illnesses on witches. Trial records suggest that this did happen, though not terribly often. If you look at doctors' case books you find that in most cases doctors found natural causes when people thought they were bewitched. When they did diagnose witchcraft, doctors almost never blamed a particular healer or witch. They were trying to explain their failure, not to destroy some individual.
The Great European Witch Hunt
 
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