An asylum is a psychiatric hospital where people with serious psychiatric illnesses are being treated, but some just got way so insane, it’s creepy.
Sure, asylums give us the creeps just by looking at their photographs, but wait til you hear the chilling true stories behind these hospitals.
Here, we’ve selected the 10 creepiest and most insane asylums in the world.
1. Bethlem Royal Hospital AKA ‘Bedlam’
Location: London, United Kingdom
The Bethlem Royal Hospital notoriously referred to as “Bedlam” was one of the world’s first mental institutions. It was founded by Christians in 1247 and it was the only public mental institution in England until well into the 19th century.
Bedlam was run by doctors in the Monro family for over 100 years, during the 18th and 19th centuries. During this time, patients were dunked in cold baths, starved, and beaten. Other forms of “therapy” included bloodletting, leeches, cupping glasses and rotational therapy. Rotational therapy is where a patient would be suspended in a chair hanging from the ceiling, the chair was then ‘spun’ sometimes for more than 100 rotations a minute. The patient would often vomit which was seen as a healthy reaction. Many of the patients at Bethlem didn’t survive their treatments.
In fact, treatments were so brutal that the institution would refuse admission to patients who could not be able to withstand them.
In the late 1790s, Bryan Crowther became Bedlam’s chief surgeon. While his job was to care for sick patients, he was much more interested in their corpses. He dissected their brains, looking for any physiological evidence that could be held responsible for mental illness. He continued these experiments for two decades.
Women were ‘Dumped’ at Bethlem
Many women were locked up at Bethlem for reasons such as post natal depression, infidelity, disagreeing with their husbands, and alcoholism. Poorer women were often dumped at the hospital because their husbands were fed up with them.
No longer an institution, Bethlem Royal Hospital is now a research and treatment centre and houses a small museum with a collection of art created by people with mental illness.