Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cuckoo's Nest

First of all I'd like to welcome a new "Follower" to my blog.  THANK YOU to Pepper for joining my group.  I appreciate you checking in from time to time to see what we are doing with this RV lifestyle of ours.  I hope you find something fun and interesting that will bring you back many times.

Have any of you seen the old movie "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" with Jack Nicholson?  It was an interesting movie but I haven't seen it in a long time.  We did, however, decide to check out the Glore Psychiatric Museum in nearby St. Joseph on Tuesday.  I read somewhere that this museum is listed in one of those "places to visit before you die" books.  Bruce and I don't maintain a bucket list of sorts, but we do like to go to places that sound funky like this one.

From the brochure at the museum I quote, "The exhibits of the Glore Psychiatric Museum illustrate how mental illness has been portrayed and treated for the past 7,500 years.  The Museum also chronicles the 130-year history of what was once known as the State Lunatic Asylum No. 2".   What we saw in this museum was fascinating and we spent a good couple of hours looking at stuff and reading the details posted.

The museum is in the building that was once the State Lunatic Asylum.  It opened in November of 1874.  The 25 beds filled quickly and the hospital grew to over 350 patients.  By the time it closed as an operating mental hospital in the mid 1990's, it had nearly 3,000 patients.  A new, modern hospital was built across the street from this building.

(Click on photos for a larger view.)

This lady is a patient working in the sewing room.  She is making strait jackets for the other patients.

Some call this museum one of the 50 most unusual museums in the country.  The museum is named after George Glore who worked at the hospital in the Occupational Therapy Dept.  The museum was his idea and he worked to put together the displays of equipment from the 16th, 17th, 18th as well as 19th centuries.
They use full-sized adult mannequins in the exhibits.  This was intended as a sanctuary for the mentally disturbed as well as those with tuberculosis, syphilitic patients, and alcoholics.

This is the morgue at the hospital.                 Here are some old wheelchairs left in the hall.

Many methods for restraining patients were displayed here.  Remember some of these are replicas of methods from as far back as the 16th century.

Here is a patient in her strait jacket.           A man is held in a "cage" and at the same time in a strait jacket.

These patients are being calmed down.  One is being set in a tub of cold water and covered with towels and the one on the right is being restrained on a bed with "wet wraps" of cold cloths on her.

This was a display of tranquilizers.  The pills on the left are the modern day variety.  Those clubs and "whackers" you see are the older methods of tranquilizing a patient.  Ouch!

This wheel was interesting.  When a patient was unruly they were placed in this wheel thru a small door.  The wheel could be turned from the outside causing the patient to have to run on the inside, sort of like a hamster.  Also, if the patient was still unruly on the inside and not calming down, their motions could cause the wheel to turn on it's own thereby making the patient again have to run.  I believe this one was from the 16th century.

Also one method from the 16th century was this cold water dousing to calm down a disturbed patient.  They would be restrained in this tub and then, unknown to them, someone would stand above and hose them with ice cold water.

This wooden cage was a method to restrain a patient by not allowing them to turn over after they were lying inside.  (And they called this a sanctuary?)  Here is also another type of the same restraining cage.  At least in this one it looks like the patient can turn over on their side.

This restraint box was the worst to me.  In this one the patient is placed inside for days at a time in a standing position.  There is no way for them to lie down to sleep.  They are fed through the hole in the front but then are not allowed out for a "bathroom break."  They have to stand in their own waste products until they are released by the nurses or doctors.  This one was from the 16th or 17th century.

The photo on the left is of a 20th century method of electric shock treatment.  The photo on the right are actual objects that were surgically removed from one patient.  She had swallowed them all.  The doctor operated to removed all of them but the patient died some days after the surgery

There were also some displays of art work and crafts created by the patients during some therapy work.
This was indeed a weird museum.  Unfortunately, things like this were very real and hard to imagine given today's methods of treating the mentally ill.  Within the same building is the Black Archives Museum which highlights the history of African Americans in St. Joseph, Missouri.  There is also the St. Joseph Museum that has a small amount of memorabilia on Native Americans and the Pony Express.  We didn't really spend much time in the other two sections because the Psychiatric Museum held our attention very well!!!

Until next time.....that's all for now!



Sam&Donna Weibel said...

What an interesting display, That Jack Nicholson movie is one of Sam's favorites, he has been watching for it on DVD for a couple years now, we still have the plastic record album with the soundtrack. Be safe out there Sam & Donna

Rick and Paulette said...

Pretty interesting museum even if it's pretty barbaric at least by today's standards. It just makes me wonder what is going on inside of some mental hospitals even today?

Jerry and Suzy said...

Oh my! You don't suppose these are the same tortures that we have read about "allegedly" being used at Guantanamo Bay? I can't imagine treating other human beings this way, but golly, man's inhumanity to man shows up now and again!

Yes, we saw Jack Nicholson in Cuckoo's Nest. Night before last we watched him in "Something's Gotta Give," with Diane Keaton, and last night we watched him in "On a Clear Day" with Barbra Streisand. He had to be in his early 20s, and had a nothing role, and acted very mildly. You gotta see that one!

The Gypsy G-Mas said...

Looks like a very interesting...and Thanks for sharing your pictures and commentary. It's amazing to see how far we've progressed as a society; and then other times it seems like we haven't progressed at all! There were most definitely some cruel and unusual punishments back then. I've enjoyed following along with your journey. Keep up the great writing!

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

Now THAT place is really bizarre...

Karen and Steve
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

Gypsy said...

It's more like a museum of the Inquisition than a sanctuary for the mentally ill. And some of it seems to be along the lines of waterboarding. Torture is torture and it still goes on.

Happytrails said...

Now that kind of place could give someone nightmares! How awful to treat any human being in such a manner. It is so hard to believe such things happened but it did. Thanks for this information and tour.

Mike & Gerri


Ok, Ok, I promise to be good now & won't complain about stuff no more.....:)) Sure glad I was born when I was & not back in them there bad old days. All my complaining would have got me thrown inside that big darn turning wheel for sure!!!!