Colorno: the sad story of suffering in the abandoned asylum.

Colorno, the italian abandoned psychiatric hospital near Parma, still seems to make its walls speak. Inside now there is nothing, only crowded blankets, clothes, old weelchairs and scattered documents, but the souls of so many suffering still remains. It was closed in 1979 with the Basaglia law, which also takes on the modernization of the clinical setting of psychiatric assistance, establishing renewed human relationships with staff and society, fully recognizing the rights and necessity of a quality patient life, followed and cured even in territorial structures. Now the inner courtyard…

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Photographs from the Psychiatric Hospital of Cleveland in 1946

Some years ago, the psychiatric hospitals were strange and disturbing, places of pain and suffering, and almost always of terror for the patients. Jerry Cooke and Mary Delaney Cooke, husband and wife, carried out a photo shoot at the Cleveland Psychiatric Hospital in 1946, documenting the situation of the internees and their sufferings, which was purchased by LIFE magazine in the same year. The article was used to make known the conditions of detention of the institution, a first example used to oblige those responsible for these health facilities to…

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Bethlem Bedlam: the London Horror Hospital

If thanks to a time machine you could visit the 15th century Royal Bethlem Hospital, you might think of seeing a horror movie scene. The notorious institution, which was the first to specialise in mental health treatment in Europe and later inspired the 1946 horror film Bedlam, was founded in 1247 during the reign of Henry III. Bethlem was the only institution in Europe that sheltered people rejected by society, those who had mental or even criminal problems. The term “bedlam”, the definition of “chaos and confusion”, was coined in…

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Erzsébet Báthory: the Countess which was taking a bath in the blood of young virgins

The Hungarian Countess Erzsébet Báthory was beautiful, wealthy and mighty: she had everything every woman could dream in the 16th century. But despite this, her needs were always new and urgent, including one, among the many, more strange (and creepy) than others: the desire for blood. Before going into what was her violent nature (so much to make Mary Tudor pale, called “the Bloody Mary”, but this is another story), it is necessary to clarify her story and its context. Erzsébet was born in Nyírbátor, in the north-eastern part of…

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Charles VI “the mad”, the King of France who thought he was made of glass.

In the Europe between the 15th and 17th centuries there was some “Glass Men”, and the king Charles VI of France was probably the most crazy representant. King Charles VI, was ruler of France from 1380 to 1422 and held a strange conviction: he believed he was made of glass. To protect his body, and terrified that he would shatter at touch of the other people, he forbade his courtiers to come near him and he dressed only with special reinforced clothing. But the King was mad even before this…

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