Horrors of Insane Asylums in the Past
Ужаси от лудниците в миналото
Mysteries24.com»Articles»Ancient World»Horrors of Insane Asylums in the Past

Horrors of Insane Asylums in the Past

Antonia R.Antonia R.

In the past there were severe misconceptions regarding medicine and treatment, while the most commonly used "lab rats" in this field were people with mental disabilities. They were subjected to torturous and at the same time completely ineffective procedures.

At the very height of these procedures was the lobotomy, which reached its peak in the 30s and 40s of the last century. The lobotomy was intended to be used as a therapeutic method, which instead did irreversible brain damage in humans.

The procedure was invented by Portuguese physician António Egas Moniz in 1935 and is the surgical cutting away of parts of the frontal lobe of the brain. After such an operation, the more violent patients of the hospital were pacified.

The lobotomy was popularized by American M.D. Walter Freeman, who came up with a simpler method of applying it.

The dedicated doctor stuck an orbitoclast above the eye of the patient, hit its bottom with a hammer in order to reach the brain, then moved it around, took it out and repeated this procedure over the other eye.


After this inhuman intervention, patients were not cured but became visibly calmer and easier to control. The lobotomy caused severe and irreversible brain damage, with about 100 000 people undergoing it.

Until the end of the 19th century, there were dozens of legal reasons by which a person could end up in an insane asylum. Among these were jealousy, greed, superstition, laziness, egotism.

Besides straitjackets for patients in need, there were also restraint chairs and restraint masks. In the 19th and 20th centuries, society did not show much sympathy towards people with psychological illnesses and did not even consider them to be sick, thereby not treating them humanely at all.

The mentally ill were tied up in chairs, with masks placed over their faces and sometimes even locked up in wooden cages. Some patients were placed in rotating beds, which had the goal of bringing the sick person to complete unconsciousness.

Pouring buckets of ice cold water and electric shock procedures were also part of the routine treatments for the mentally ill. However, this cruelty only contributed to more damage to their behavior and mental state.