Haunting Photos From Mental Asylums From The Past

July 11, 2017 | No Comments » | Topics: WTF

A patient sits in a restraint chair at the West Riding Lunatic Asylum in Wakefield, England in 1869.


The Pilgram Psychiatric Center in Long Island, NY, USA could house as many as 14,000 patients at a time. This self-sufficient mental asylum adopted extremely aggressive methods of “curing the insane”. Lobotomies and electric shock therapy were the norm. The doctors at this asylum started using large doses of insulin and metrozol to drive patients into a violent coma, just to be rid of them.


A patient sits inside Ohio’s Cleveland State Mental Hospital in 1946.


A patient at a mental hospital undergoes electroshock treatment in 1956.


Nurses hold down a patient receiving electroshock treatment at a facility in England on November 23, 1946.


Patients sit inside Ohio’s Cleveland State Mental Hospital in 1946.


Pioneering and prolific lobotomist Dr. Walter Freeman performs a lobotomy with an instrument similar to an ice pick at Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Washington on July 11, 1949. The procedure turned most ‘problem’ patients into zombies.


One of Walter Freeman’s lobotomy patients ten days after the procedure. 1942.


Lobotomy tools.


A surgeon uses a brace and bit to drill into a patient’s skull before performing a lobotomy at a mental hospital in England, November 1946.


Serbian Psychiatric Hospital. Photo taken by George Georgiou who worked in Kosovo and Serbia between 1999 and 2002.

Female patients receiving Radium Therapy, early 20th century.


An insane asylum patient restrained by warders, Yorkshire, 1869, Henry Clarke.

A patient undergoing lateral cerebral diathermia treatment in the early 1920’s. Diathermia used a galvanized current to jolt psychosis sufferers. Doctors eventually deemed it unsafe and unreliable.

Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA insane asylum, 1870’s.

Reasons for Admission

Pilgrim State Hospital Brentwood NY, USA 1940s.

Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry. Man in restraints, B, violent ward. 1945.

Mechanical slapping massage device at BC sanitarium.

Cuenca, Spain, 1961 Insane asylum.

Sections of brain encased in wax. West Park Mental Hospital Mortuary.

Washington, D.C., circa 1921. “Foundling Hospital, playroom.” Tots at the Washington Asylum for ‘Foundlings’.

Self-harm in 1964.

Patients in steam cabinets in 1910.

An x-ray of needles driven into the flesh by a self-harming patient.

In the late 19th century it was a widely held belief that masturbation caused insanity and devices such as this were designed to prevent the wearer from touching or stimulating himself. They were often used in mental institutions.

An insanity mask from the 17th century.

Hydrotherapy first used in the early 1900s, Immersion in a tub of water to make a patient relax when agitated or relieve some ailment, lasted a few hours to overnight. 1936.


Patients sit inside Ohio’s Cleveland State Mental Hospital in 1946.