Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum......

What a mouthful that is!  And more of the history of Georgia uncovered.

That was the original name of the largest psychiatric hospital in the nation; Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, GA in 1842.  The name was changed to Georgia State Sanitarium in 1897.
Georgia's most haunted asylum sits on a massive two thousand acres with 200 buildings!

Quite a few of the 2000 acres hold the graves of more than 25,000 of the patients that checked in but never checked out.

Basement mortuary
The hospital was also equipped with a mortuary as many of the patients were dropped off and abandoned by their families.

The grave markers were metal stakes with the patient's medical record number carved into the stakes; no names; no birth dates.  These stakes proved to be a pain for the grounds keepers so they pulled up over 10,000 of those stakes and tossed them in the woods.  These poor, nameless, lost souls.  No wonder the place is haunted.

Surgery suite
People were admitted to the asylum for any number of reasons which include being rather idiotic, domestic unhappiness, ill health, jealousy, intemperance, and religious excitement.  I should have said "white people" were admitted to the asylum because until exactly one year after the Civil War in 1865, only white people were admitted.  By 1870, one-sixth of the patients were African-Americans.  The majority of these patients were labeled "Negro man or Negro woman" and were segregated from the "white people" in the hospital, as well as the cemeteries for another 80 years.

Actual ECT in progress
The asylum did not have a good track record of keeping the patients alive.

Twenty-nine of the first fifty patients who checked in, did not check out.  Eight out of the first fifty were "cured" and sent away.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) was a regular occurrence and was performed without any anesthesia.  In other words, have small electric currents sent to your brain to trigger a seizure.

Lobotomies were also being performed on a routine basis by inserting long metal picks into the brain to sever the fibers which are connected to the frontal lobes from the rest of the brain.

The hospital also participated in forced sterilization of patients who they believed would be released and have children at some point in time calling it a "progressive cause."  This is known as the eugenics law but it sounds a lot like genocide to me.  Apparently, this was considered humane and scientific; eradicating the world of any future human beings that might be mentally, or otherwise, defective or grow up to be "poor white trash," (direct quote).  After the sterilization of more than 3,200 feeble-minded, insane people in Georgia, the practice was ended.  This was in 1963.

The Whittle Bldg

In 1959,  reporter Jack Nelson from The Atlanta Constitution exposed the negligence and abuse going on inside of this human warehouse.  Doctor-to-patient ratio was frequently 100 patients for 1 doctor.

Nelson exposed many of the corrupt acts and goings on within the hospital's walls.  Some of the patients tried to escape, some committed suicide, a few were beaten to death by other patients, many died due to lack of medical attention, a few unsupervised patients chocked to death on food, and there were several suspicious deaths.

He also discovered nurses were performing surgeries without doctors around, the hospital used experimental drugs, any children there were locked in metal cages like animals, some of the adult patients were in straight jackets all the time, none of the staffed doctors were actually psychiatrists and one-fourth of those doctors had histories of abuse and alcoholism, and if your mind is not completely blown by this point, a few of the staff "doctors" were hired from the psych wards after they had completed their own treatment.  No medical training required........(((((WHAT)))))

5-year-old boy in a cage

After the article was printed in the newspaper, the hospital's response was, of course, Mr. Nelson must be mental as well and made it all up but he must have been convincing since that article won him a Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting on a Deadline.  Mr. Nelson also covered the Watergate Scandal but I am sure he made all that up as well. Wink!

The first patient was Mr. Tillman B. from Bibb County, Georgia.  He arrived at the asylum on December 15, 1842 chained to his wagon accompanied by his wife and other family members.  Can you even imagine that?  A 30-year-old man chained to a wagon being dumped off?  He, apparently, was a "lunatic" with violent/destructive behaviors.  This poor unfortunate man died six months later from "maniacal exhaustion."  First to be checked in and the first to die.  Sad legacy!

Fortunately in the 1960s, new drugs were developed that proved to be beneficial to many of the patients and due to this, the hospital's population declined.  Jimmy Carter and Carl Sanders (governors of Georgia at this time) began to empty out the hospital out of concern for the patient's well-being.  The majority were moved to community clinics and homes for people with disabilities.

Many of the 200 building were turned in to prisons.  One of those prisons is still up and running on the property today.  At last count, there were 180 +/-  "forensic patients" still on the property.  A forensic patient is a person found to be of unsound mind and have been found guilty by the courts.

Today, Central State Hospital operates as a facility to treat criminal defendants with mental illness. There are 184 beds available.

With a history like this, how could this place not be haunted?  All those abused, neglected patients sprawled out across six cemeteries.  Reports of screaming and moaning have been reported as a frequent occurrence by nearby property owners.  Others report visually distorted images, voices, and an eerie feeling while in the area.

Back then a threat to be sent to Milledgeville for misbehaving meant a lot!  The  quotes goes, "If you don't behave, we will send you to Milledgeville" which was pretty much a death sentence.
Bronze angel, supposed to be a guardian angel but I guess he did not do his job.

You can find a complete registry from 1842-1861 here.

Want to take a tour?  Click here for the official website.  Check this and this out before you visit.

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