18 Haunting Mental Asylum Photos From the Past

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That is certainly the case with these historical photographs, which were compiled from old “insane asylum” medical records. These days, the term “psychiatric hospital” is more widely used, but no matter what you call it, there’s no way to deny that our track record when it comes to the mentally ill isn’t good at all. Check out the eighteen most shocking, bothersome, spine-curling, and blood-curdling photos that have ever been taken. Just a warning, though- some of these are highly graphic and disturbing. Proceed at your own risk!

#18 “Strait” As A Board

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1473109171884-screen-shot-2016-09-04-at-4-43-16-pm-1473025439746The use of straitjackets in a centuries-old practice, though they have certainly become more humane over time. This patient is in a padded room and carefully restrained so she can’t harm herself. Nowadays, this is typically done through the use of prescription drugs. Many call this a “chemical straitjacket.” If you thought that was crazy, take a look at this next one!
#17 Smoke Break

#17-Smoke-BreakThis picture is a bit funny! This patient is sitting up in his hospital bed to sneak a cigarette break before bed. He likely had to have someone smuggle a pack of cigarettes in so that he could get his nicotine fix. Either that or he bartered with another patient for a few cigs. Things get a whole lot weirder in this next photo…

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#16 Testing… 1, 2, 3

#16A-TestingBefore Institutional Review Boards and Ethics Commissions were invented, psychiatric patients provided doctors with a readily available pool of research subjects. This patient was having blood drawn from inside his eye socket so that it could be tested. That has to hurt! Sadly, most of these “research subjects” never gave their permission for these terrible experiments!

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#15 Risky Business

#15A-Risky-BusinessModern psychiatric care is far from perfect, but it’s much better than it was decades ago. Patients were forced to undergo painful procedures and experiments. One hospital was even known to perform dissections on patients in an effort to “remove diseased parts of the body.” That sounds scientific… right? Check out this next depressing image…

#14 Lonely

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#14A-LonelyHere is another patient being restrained in a straitjacket. Most likely, this person was put into the device after threatening his or her own life, or the life of a staff member. Some people report that their time “in the jacket” made them feel like they were being buried alive. Yikes!

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