Skip to comments.Ten Days in a Madhouse: The woman who got herself committed.
Posted on 01/14/2012 2:02:56 PM PST by Winstons Julia
The police hauled Bly off, and within a matter of days, she bounced from court to Bellevue Hospitals psychiatric ward. When she professed to not remembering how she ended up in New York, the chief doctor diagnosed her as delusional and undoubtedly insane. Meanwhile, several of the citys other newspapers took an interest in what one called the mysterious waif with the wild, hunted look in her eyes. Bly had everyone hoodwinked, and soon enough, she was aboard the filthy ferry to Blackwells Island.
Thanks for posting this. I’d not heard this story before and always love learning new bits of American history.
Mental Floss is a very entertaining rag for the younger set, but it can be a little edgy and tasteless. Conservatives who read it will find plenty of liberal bias to rip out. Reminds me of Esquire in the 80s, but modified for the youthful reader.
You know maybe Bob Hope was wrong.. maybe the guy was talking about reporters doing "outlandish stunt[s] to attract readers and prove [their] mettle as a 'detective reporter.'" See video here
I thought this was interesting and didn’t seem particularly biased.
My mother went through RN training at a local Lutheran Hospital in the 1950’s...she said she had to do a bit at a mental asylum on Cook County in order to get her degree and she never forgot it.
She said they sometimes kept naked patients together in a room with a drain and spray washed them.
To me... this story shows that we have come a long way.
...Near the end of her stay, her cover was almost blown. A fellow reporter shed known for years was sent by another newspaper to write about the mysterious patient.
A lost crazy woman was unusual enough that several papers wrote about her, and there was a follow-up story. Manhattan alone had a population of 1.4 million in 1890; this isn't counting the other boroughs. This means there were probably many many fewer crazy people in NYC then - and now I'm wondering why, other than not so many drugs. Although opium, cannabis and cocaine were still legal, were they not?
No welfare, stronger families and social ties, more church-going and belief in God, different demographics? Maybe the horrible asylums were even effective if the mentally ill who were sane enough to avoid them did their best to do so.
Well....there are also new medications now.
“Although opium, cannabis and cocaine were still legal, were they not?”
Which one of these does morphine come from? That was a big one back then. Plus you always had your drunks.
Morphine is extracted from opium. Heroin, in turn, is synthesized from morphine.
That honestly sounds complicated to me.
My problem is remembering WHY I went to New York, I obviously must have been insane at the time.
I haven’t read it, though the latest copy of MF is right by my feet. Most likely there is nothing biased in that particular article.
As to the improvements in mental institutions, we haven’t come far at all, but most people don’t want to look too closely. Let’s take that one example, spray washing. I believe I’d rather be hosed down than drugged (or in withdrawal because they are short in the pharmacy due to theft), and in six-point restraint while vermin crawled all over me and nobody cared.
For many patients if not most...nobody cares, and the inhumanity is as monstrous as ever, just better disguised, denied, and rationalized.
Now I’m sure I’ll hear from the righteous mental health professionals here. Not in THEIR workplace does it happen! t want to look too closely. Let
Excuse the typos. Tried to fix that twice, don’t know why the last paragraph is messy.
Now Im sure Ill hear from the righteous mental health professionals here. Not in THEIR workplace does it happen!
Yes, we’ve come a long way - now the psychopaths are running the government.
Much is better now... but I know better than to argue with you.
“In all society there is no more dangerous class than the friendless and drifting woman. With no one to protect and guide her she invariably incites crime in others’’.— Sherlock Holmes, “The Strange Case of Lady Carfax.
Not Lutheran Deaconess on the northwest side, perchance?
Nope.... they really had to travel for the Cook County experience. I guess there was none local.
I like to ask for the Carfax....but sometimes the manager of the auto dealership can give you are hard time...
Oh I say, cheeky, wot? :-)
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