Part II of the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

 This is the medical building which sits behind the main asylum.  This was an all inclusive hospital that occasionally treated emergencies from the town.

 One of the scariest things I saw on the tour was this tree.  It is a 200 year old sycamore and it is enormous.  I have two of these planted about 15 feet away from the front of my house...gulp.

This heavy metal door hides the ramp where the dead bodies were discreetly removed from the hospital so as not to panic the other patients.
Back to the main building.  These faces were carved by the stonemasons to ward off evil spirits.
 People from the town donated clothing and shoes etc. to the asylum and the healthier patients were allowed to pick some item out for themselves.

 In the pharmacy, the shelves still have the labels showing the drugs they held.  If you look closely you will see that this shelf held Haloperidol or Haldol.  This drug was used in the treatment of schizophrenia.

Haloperidol, marketed under the trade name Haldol among others, is a typical antipsychotic medication.[3] Haloperidol is used in the treatment of schizophrenia, tics in Tourette syndrome, mania in bipolar disorder, nausea and vomiting, delirium, agitation, acute psychosis, and hallucinations in alcohol withdrawal.[3][4][5] It may be used by mouth, as an injection into a muscle, or intravenously. Haloperidol typically works within thirty to sixty minutes. A long-acting formulation may be used as an injection every four weeks in people with schizophrenia or related illnesses, who either forget or refuse to take the medication by mouth

This is what a typical ward looked like.  However, remember that almost from the first year that the asylum opened, it was grossly overcrowded.  Rooms that were meant to hold one person held 6 and these halls were crammed with beds. Nurses had to walk with their backs against the wall trying to avoid being grabbed by the patients.
 There are a number of these sun rooms where patients could go to get more light exposure.

This is one of the isolation rooms.  Anyone could have you committed to an isolation room and the only one that could get you released was that same person.  For instance, if a janitor had an issue with you, he would report you and you were thrown into one of these rooms.  You were naked and there was no furniture.  People were left in these rooms for weeks at a time.
 This was the isolation room which was used for the worst patients.  It is enclosed by this heavy metal door rather than bars. There was a patient that was taken to this room and as they closed the door on him, he was screaming....'you can't keep me in here!'.  A nurse that came on duty heard pounding noises but just ignored them.  After a while they stopped and when she looked up from her desk. The naked patient was standing in front of her holding this door.  These are the indentations he made in the steel door. More tomorrow.


Anonymous said…
A horrible place. Still very interesting! Poor people who ended up in places like that!

Have a great day!

Gemmagirl said…
I find that this place so full of human misery is open to the public to gawk at. Disturbing.
Anonymous said…
the ugly sculptures the stone masons made to keep the evil out didn't work,, I can't think of a more evil place,,
Guillaume said…
How can the inside and its history can be so ugly and the outside building so beautiful?
I am crazy about asylums. Grew up in a town with one. It is so sad how INHUMAN the treatment of those with mental health problems has been throughout history. The stories those walls could tell.
I worked for some years in a very old hospital here in my town. It had the sun rooms, and the barred isolation room for patients that were prisoner patients from the prison. I have known strange things to happen in that room also. One prisoner, took one of our woven blankets apart, made himself a pair of pants out of it and got through the barred window, jumped to a tree near the hospital and climbed to the ground and walked off. The police picked him up walking Down Magnolia Ave. Hard to believe but there were many stories like that in that old hospital. Human beings can be very resourceful when they need to be. I would much rather the tours to show how things USED to be rather than the place still up and running and the torture still going on.
Such an interesting post again, if frightening to think of the human suffering of long ago. Good job, Joyce!!
Yikes. That is all. Just yikes.
Kay said…
This was terribly interesting, but so sad.