In 1873 the Athens Lunatic Asylum opened its doors. It is said to be one of the most haunted places in the world.
There was a decrease in individualized care and attention that led to a renaissance of many of the primitive treatments of Colonial days—with a few new tortures thrown in for good measure. What sorts of things were done to human beings at the Ridges?
1. Water Treatment - Patients were submerged in ice-cold water for extended periods of time. Sometimes they were wrapped in sheets which had been soaked in icewater and restrained. 2. Shock Therapy - Electric shocks were administered to patients submerged in water tanks or, more commonly, directly to the temples by the application of brine-soaked electrodes. A patient held a rubber piece in his mouth to prevent him from biting his tongue off during the convulsions which followed a treatment. (See One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest for a painful example of electroshock therapy.) 3. Lobotomy (Original) - Patients had their skulls opened and their neural passages separated midway through the brain. This difficult and arduous procedure killed many people, but those who survived did in fact forget many of their depressive or psychotic tendencies. They also forgot a lot of other things, like how not to shit down your leg at dinner time, but with such an abundance of patients the only thing most doctors worried about was how to streamline the process. Open-skull brain surgery is a tricky business no matter how you slice it. 4. Lobotomy (Trans-Orbital) - Developed by Dr. Walter J. Freeman in the early 1950s, this simpler lobotomy became something of a craze in mental health circles up through the 60s. Dr. Freeman’s method involved knocking the patient unconscious with electric shocks, then rolling an eyelid back and inserting a thin metal icepick-like instrument called a leucotome through a tear duct. A mallet was used to tap the instrument the proper depth into the brain. Next it was sawed back and forth to sever the neural receptors. Sometimes this was done in both eyes. There is some evidence that this method actually helped some people with very severe conditions, but much more often the patient had horrible side effects and in many cases ended up nearly catatonic. It also killed a whole bunch of people, too.
The Blood Eagle was a method of torture and execution that is sometimes mentioned in Norse saga literature. It was performed by cutting the ribs of the victim by the spine, breaking the ribs so they resembled blood-stained wings, and pulling the lungs out. Salt was sprinkled in the…