Settings are often just as important to a story as the tale itself. The Shining had the Overlook. The Legend of Hell House had the Belasco. We fear cabins in the woods and even our own basements. But the mother of all horror settings is the asylum, with a dark pedigree unlike any other.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
The setting of a story is everything it creates mood and atmosphere,
it triggers memories.
helps our minds fill in the blanks, adding
tension and suspense where there was
the words and images.
would the shining be like, without the long
hotel hallways of the overlook or the legend of Hell House, without the dusty bones of the old Lascaux House at how can anyone ever look at an old cabin in the woods without a chill running down their spine? Not me, that's for sure one of the most iconic and most vis
All settings from any horror story without question has always been the insane asylum. These days, we refer
to the institutions that treat mental disorders as psychiatric hospitals. There hard places to work, I know
first hand thanks to a colorful college internship that featured a dove,
amputee who enjoyed streaking down the hallway on his knees, mental health professionals,
Do amazing work but
more than just the name, has changed for these hospitals of the mind and the lady teen hundreds and through to the nineteen fifties. Asylums were very different place. They were filled with sick people in need of help, but frequently, if only offered pain and suffering when HP love craft wrote the thing on the doorstep. In nineteen thirty three imagined a place that he called outcome. Sanitarium outcome is the seed. It's the first of its kind through its
love, craft brought the asylum into the horrors and others quickly caught on the famous super prison and mental Hospital of the Batman Universe, Arco Asylum is a blatant and direct call back to love crafts. Invention are
real place, though known as the Danvers State Hospital
in fact the remains of its stand, just eight miles from my front door, and even before construction began in eighteen. Seventy four.
Little story was already one of fear and suffering a theme that continued unchecked well into the twentieth century.
I married Mahnke, and this is lore.
Before the days of institutional care for the mentally ill. The job was left.
Largely to independent contractors. People who were hired by the states who look after others, but
the system. With far too many opportunities for failure, patients were routinely play
in cages or stalls
chained and beaten into submission, violence, rape and death were everyday occurrences. Thankfully people begins
look for a better way, a more humane way of caring for these individuals and those come
Seychelles, led to the establishment of a new state of the art. Mental hospital plan started off on the wrong foot, though
The site that was chosen for the construction was the former homes
of John Hawthorne
the nine magistrates who oversaw the witch trials of Salem in sixteen ninety two
Osborne was known for his vicious harsh attitude towards those who were
Cues witchcraft and he pushed hard or the execution.
He was so well known for his violent hateful personality, that is great great grand son, the author Nathaniel Hawthorne
change. The spelling of his last name, adding the w to distance himself from that reputation
And it was there on Hawthorne Hill at the foundations,
hospital were laid. The
These are pretty high that no one made the comparisons at the time, but hindsight
always twenty twenty and looking back over them.
A century and a half its clear that Hawthorne's legacy lived on a top hat hill. The domestic,
hospital was actually intended to be a beacon of hope. There was a specific plan.
behind its design, one that was based on the work Doktor Thomas Kirk bride. He designed the building
with four radiating wings on each side of a central structure.
Is reason was simple: with more
of the rooms exposed to sunlight and proper ventilation, more patients would experience recovery all told
Hospital was designed to how's five hundred patients,
Covering a wide spectrum of mental illness who were served by a team of rough
one dozen staff, when the doors
finally opened in eighteen. Seventy eight, it was originally called the state lunatic hospital
and there was no other place like it in the country. The set up to be
a leader in the humane treatment of patients,
came the model for countless other facilities like it, and rightly so this
place, was amazing. The orange
interiors private rooms, sunny court
yours now connected to the Central Kirk Ride, building the patients were encouraged to exercise and persists
in the community gardens outside the small farm there.
produced enough food for the hospital kitchen to feed the patients.
Grown meals. Over time, though, the hospital expanded there were separate tuberculosis buildings
housing for staff, a machine shop, a medical building, a pump house to pull water from the reservoir all of these locations where connected underground by a network of dark
reclined tunnels, arranged in the shape of a wagon wheel, to allow easier movement during the harsh New England Winters, but the hospital campus wasn't. The only thing that was expanding
as with all good things. The bright days of the Danvers State Hospital didn't last long
more and more patients were admitted each year and the staff continued
struggle with keeping up. In addition,
Chris State Funding, prevented them from hiring more help, but the nineteen twenties the population had grown to over two thousand patients.
times with the facility was designed to hold one eye. Witness reported
in November of nineteen forty five, the evening shift of the hospital.
consisted of nine people, and they were expected to care for the needs of more than twenty three hundred patients. You'll have to pardon the expression, but things at the Damn restate hospital had begun to get crazy patients
frequently sick and filthy. It is not uncommon for some to die unnoticed only to be found
days later, it was nearly impossible for the state.
to manage so many patients, and so they turn.
to the acceptable tools of their time straight jackets. Solitary confinement even restraints, however bar
Eric they might seem to us today or mild compared to
Some of the other methods used by the staff patients were regularly subjected to hydrotherapy electro shock therapy.
and yet it somehow still managed to get worse and that's where the libitum e enters the story. First pioneered by Doktor Walter Freeman in nineteen, thirty, six, the libitum he was a complicated procedure. Surgeon with literally cut the patient's brain cells
in the connection between the frontal lobes and the values. The goal was to reduce symptoms and make the patient more manageable. The results from next summer
since died as a result of the procedure, while others would commit suicide later Freeman, though quickly grew tired of how long it took to complete the procedure. You heard of it
actor in ITALY who had operated on his patients through their I sockets working without drilling or cut
presented an opportunity. The freeman simply couldn't pass up. He called his technique.
The Trans orbital about me its fairly easy to describe, but it's not for the faint hearts Raymond discovered that the.
Surgical tool. He really needed was an ice pick according to his son, Franklin Freeman,
Pbs interview in two thousand eight was first icebergs came right out of their kitchen icebox and they worked like a charm.
by inserting the ice pick into the inner corner,
patients. I Freeman could punch through the skull to reach the brain. Then he would essentially stir the frontal lobe until it was no longer functional and one more thing you did all of this without an aesthetic and he got good at it.
so good in fact that he took his show on the road he literally toward the nation in advance, but he called the a mobile stopping
until institutions where he would educate and train the staff in his own technique. While he was there
He would perform as many libitum means as they needed for the low low cost of just twenty five dollars per patient,
it sounds like Freeman was delivering the solution to a desperate industry, but that was pretty far from the truth, as patients often lost the ability to feed themselves.
Or use the bathroom unassisted and those skills would have to be re taught if it was even possible. Among many patients recovered about fifteen percent died from the procedure
relapses were common and sometimes of about him, would have to be re attempted once in nineteen
he won at. I was Cherokee Mental Health Institute. Freeman stopped in the middle of a lobata me ice pick clutched in his hand, so that he could pose for a photograph. The instrument penetrated a bit too far in the patient died.
You never wore gloves or a mask, and he apparently had no limits. In fact, of the thirty five hundred lobata means that he performed in twenty three states. Nineteen of those patients were minors, one of them a four year old child. Ironically, some people still don't believe in monsters,
the horror of institutional. The bottom me ended in nineteen fifty four when a new drug was brought to the fore.
kid thorazine was marketed as a chemical about me and the need for the surgical procedure dropped dramatically, but the nightmare
never really stop dead, Danvers State Hospital
Nineteen eighties reports began to filter out about missing teenage patients want account. I
An inch define said that upwards of one hundred fifteen patients and disappeared in the space of about three months. The hospital never spoke about a publicly because there are clear
you're was already looming on the horizon, but they knew that it was happening when the staff was questioned.
All pointed to a new doktor on staff. In each case, they
These patients had been assigned to this new doktor upon admission and then vanished. Scraps of paper were found in several of the patients room,
mentioned a tall man and the woods
Some were drawings of the man and some were simply to illegible,
to make out at all
pieces were slowly put together. It became clear this doktor had been taking patients outside of the building without permission for unknown reasons. Eventually, the police recalled and
They arrive to take the man at the custody. They found that he too was gone and his patients were never found, but this was just why
more tragedy in a long string of bad news that had wrapped itself
around the Dan Restate hospital beginning in the nineteen sixties. Massive budget cuts building closing words in structural
damage had all conspired to slowly pushed the doors closed by nineteen. Eighty five
nearly every building on campus was abandoned and occur.
right, administrative building itself even closed in
eighteen, eighty nine, the last remaining,
patients were moved to the medical building on site, but where.
eventually moved to other facilities with the help of the National Guard and eighty ambulances. The
officially abandoned in the summer of ninety ninety two and stood vacant and derelict for nearly a decade? The rooms that once played host to mindless victims of Doktor Freeman and his ice pick became the home
of homeless squatters, they built their lives around the decaying medical equipment wheelchairs. The bed frames is probably the healthiest inmate population. The building had known for decades, two thousand five. The property was purchased by developer,
and much of the campus was demolished to make way for a sprawling apartment complex, but they left the front facade of the current right, build
with its soaring gothic towers and intricate brickwork, but the hospital it didn't go quietly than April of two thousand seven.
The apartment buildings, as well as a handful of construction trailers, mysteriously burned down there was a fire, so big that it was visible.
from Boston seventeen miles to the south. There was,
Investigation, but it turned out no evidence other than webcam footage from the construction site which, inexplicably cut out just before the fire began,
the image of an asylum will forever hold a place in our hearts as something to be feared and avoided
whether new and sunny our ancient and a cane
asylum is setting the causes, people to back away a ball of terror rising in their stomachs. But why not irrational level? These were places of hope for many people still
The very concept of a residential hospital for the mentally ill, complete with nineteenth century to core and equipment, is the stuff of nightmares
perhaps what we really fear is losing control
all over ourselves: restraints, locked rooms, medication and irreversible medical procedure
Yours represent for many of us, the opposite of freedom
We fear losing our dignity loose.
In our well being losing our very mines. Deaf, however, is chasing all of us
The curse of mortality is that we are already handing those things over day by day until the time when there's nothing left to give
Perhaps the stereotypical asylum simply reminds us of the inevitable truth that is our own death
The Danvers State Hospital is nearly gone today, but reminders
still linger of its presence. Besides the brick facade
Kirk Bride Building, one of them.
there is even called Cook bride drive them.
of war that provided the facility with its water, can be found behind the apartment buildings and that vast network of ancient tunnels is still there as well snaking. Its way beneath the modern structures and the people who live inside them
One final reminder awaits people who come for a visit, though the old asylum cemetery. It's where the Sun
buried patients who died and went unclaimed by family. There are no tall tombstones, though instead each grey
is marked by a small square stone with a number engraved on it. There are hundreds of them
Anyone looking for the cemetery will know that they found it
when they see a large bolder that marks the entrance. It was placed there in recent past,
to explain why all those small square stones are there. But it's the message
graved on it there not the grave
curse themselves that communicates everything we need to know. It simply reads the echoes they left behind.
This episode of Lore was researched, written and produced by me. Aaron, Maggie Lore is much more than upon guess. There's a book series in bookstores around the country and on line, and the second season of the Amazon Prime Television show was recently released, check them both out. If you want more lore in your life by also make two other upon guests. Erin making his cabinet of curiosity
and unobserved and I think you'd enjoy both each one explores other areas of our dark history, ranging from bite sized episodes to season long dives into a single topic. You can learn about both of those shows in everything else, going on
all over in one central place: the world of lore dot com slash now, and you can also follow the show on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to search for lore podcast, all one word and then click that follow button. When you do say hi, I like it when people say hi and as always, thanks for listening.
Transcript generated on 2022-03-13.