ByJancy Richardson, writer at Creators.co
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

We've all seen lurid representations of old Asylums, from American Horror Story's Briarcliff to the 'psychopathic ward' in Angelina Jolie's Changeling... but how close to the truth are these screen interpretations?

Unearthed photos show that asylums of the past - often ill-staffed, badly-run and full of misunderstood people - were just as horrifying as our most colorful imaginings...

The photos are strikingly close to typical movie images

Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1870's
Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1870's
The Pilgram Psychiatric Center, Long Island
The Pilgram Psychiatric Center, Long Island
Serbian Psychiatric Hospital
Serbian Psychiatric Hospital

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Bizarre therapies were used

Women receiving radiotherapy in the early 20th Century.

Cerebral Diathermia in the 1920s - electrically induced heat used to 'jolt' patients out of psychosis.

This odd looking contraption is a 'massage machine.' What purpose they hoped to achieve with this slapping device is unclear...

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Restraints used would be considered unethical now

1869, West Riding Lunatic Asylum in Yorkshire, England.
1869, West Riding Lunatic Asylum in Yorkshire, England.
A chair used to calm 'hysterical' patients
A chair used to calm 'hysterical' patients

The photo above is an 'insanity mask', circa 17th century. Yes, I'm well aware it looks like something Jigsaw would have nightmares about.

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Due to the number of women admitted, many had childcare facilities

Some looked relatively pleasant...

Washington D.C., 1921
Washington D.C., 1921

... Others not so much. Yes, that is a child in a box.

Cuenca, Spain 1961
Cuenca, Spain 1961

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I'm sure most of us could be admitted for one of these

Reasons included 'Female Disease,' 'Business Nerves,' 'Deranged Masturbation,' and 'Quackery'! I'd probably get admitted for 'Business Nerves'... what would you be in for?

Poll

Would you spend the night in an abandoned asylum?

Source: Ebaumsworld, CBS News

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