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The Crazy House: Danvers State Insane Asylum - ~ House Crazy ~

Located in Danvers, MA. View full size photo. In , 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.

Gothic spires rose from eight wings that radiated from a foot central tower. 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.

Other buildings on campus included a boiler house, a treatment group for patients with Tuberculosis, maintenance and farm buildings, and Asylum Station later named Hathorne Station , which was a stop along the Essex railroad. The large Kirkbride building was only meant to hold patients, but by the s there were over 2, residents crammed in every available space.

What about the decisions about which records should remain, and the context of what could happen should anyone complain? In regard to decisions about what and who was photographed, who made them and who held the camera? Any comments and reports from patients and their famlies — in what context were they made? Who chose what was heard and kept on record? Did even the voluntary patients have any real voice? And what about the beliefs and expecations in the wider community, how did these filter the understandings of everyone concerned?

Mad people were marginalised in, and rejected by communities, and often their families.


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These were institutions. There was even less accountability than now for those who worked in these places.

Ghost Hunting at Danvers State Hospital

I feel that creating fairy tales from the self-serving records of those with almost unlimited power and little or no scrutiny, about their own benevolence is to make myths. This was the context into which the drugs, lobotomies, shocks etc.

They did not corrupt a previous garden of eden. To do so is to minimise, deny and misconstrue oppression.

Danvers State Hospital Ghosts, MA

Katherine, Interesting though the comments here are correct — this is old stuff and it pays to be sensitive to those who are reading. That being said who asked you to write it and submit? It is important to know the curve and trajectory of history but there are slot of gaps like maybe Bedlam? And the Dalem Witch Trails right up in your state. One reason was possible Ergot poisoning. That is worth a blog right there. I think one reading one of these articles it would help to know many many states had institutions like these and many are still alive who were in them or like mevisted and or did volunteer or fieldwork in them.


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  • All of the ruined buildings are places for the kids to go in and get scared. Matter of Fact there was a big movement just awhile ago about this very topic. Halloween and the insane asylum for fun and profit. The point on the graveyards. Just like in Ireland. I strongly recommend the movie about the Magdalene Laundaries — very unsettling but true. In Taum numbers and numbers of small bodies were found and I would be if a dig was done in an asylum some small bodies would be found as well.

    Also before writing I would suggest you do some research on the West African port city? There are several good media pieces about African Americans walking through the holding rooms. I think this is still important as one day one hopes the well intentioned good and the horrors are catalogued as past history as the families and children who have been detained by our government will walk through the buildings and walk through not as refugees but as free people.

    The same with Rikkers and other heinous facilities. The incredible meanness of psychiatry is in the substitution of fundamental moral represent. That is, a person is designated as a disease. And further with the person it is possible to address, as with illness. Ignoring the will of the man himself, ignoring all his protests! After all he is not a person, he is a disease. And doctors know better what to do with the disease. Clear, is in this situation with a person can do anything. And everything can be imagined as helping a person. The worst example of discrimination is not found! And of course at all times psychiatry was aimed at destroying the objectionable.

    And used the funds that were available at that time.

    Security at Danvers State Hospital After the Doors Closed

    Thorzine and other brain damaging techniques helped Danvers pack warm bodies in till they were overflowing. No wonder things went downhill. I hate psych drugs more than ever. I have been in some jam packed, depressing places that stunk of urine and stale cigarettes.

    Then & Now: Danvers State Hospital

    I was another body to stuff in till I died. Thank God I escaped! She wants to sell books. But educating the public is more important, and I bet Katherine agrees with me on that. I only get stressed thinking about the places I was actually tortured and incarcerated at. Dills are ok, but too sour. I like sweet gherkins the best! That adds up to 38 years of potential Thorazine use at Danvers. Psychiatry has always been atrocity. But in former times she did not have in its arsenal such refined, destructive means.


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    • And since then has been and is the most effective, not replaceable means of suppression. This is an incomparable destructive tool! It is unlikely that in any other way can cause such a total damage to the human being! In Nazi Germany, medical experiments on people were put on stream. For this there was a suitable condition — a huge number of prisoners of extermination camps. No consent of the victims was, of course, required.

      Undoubtedly there, in the Nazi camps, pharmacological means of destruction were constructed. But only the themselves nazis professionals bring experiments to the desired result apparently did not have time. Herefore, their ideas were subsequently implemented by criminals in other countries. Log in to leave a comment. Sign in Join. Sign in. Log into your account. Sign up. Password recovery. Saturday, November 30, Forgot your password? Get help. Create an account. Ten Hospitalizations in Three Years.