43 Haunting Photos Taken Inside Mental Asylums from the Past

A patient sits inside Ohio’s Cleveland State Mental Hospital in 1946.
A patient sits in a restraint chair at the West Riding Lunatic Asylum in Wakefield, England in 1869.
Child patients sit bound and tied to a radiator inside the psychiatric hospital at Deir el Qamar, Lebanon in 1982.
A patient sleeps on a thin mattress on the floor of an otherwise bare room in Ohio’s Cleveland State Mental Hospital in 1946.
A patient sits alone in a dark room inside Ohio’s Cleveland State Mental Hospital on February 3, 1955.
A hungry boy stands alone and eats with his hands as other boys sit together under a blanket on a bed beside a small wood-burning stove at a hospital for mentally-handicapped children in Kavaja, Albania in March 1992.
A psychiatric patient poses for a photo at Paris’ Salpêtrière Hospital circa 1876-1877.
A child patient sits inside Normansfield Hospital in Teddington, England on February 12, 1979.
A patient at a mental hospital undergoes electroshock treatment in 1956.
Patients sit inside Ohio’s Cleveland State Mental Hospital in 1946.
Workers restrain a patient at a hospital in Moscow, Russia on February 19, 1992.
A patient suffering from “general paralysis” poses for a photo at the West Riding Lunatic Asylum in Wakefield, England, 1869.
On March 29, 1950, at Philadelphia’s Bella Vista Sanitorium, a fire killed nine patients, five of whom had been chained to concrete slabs like the one pictured.
A nurse tests out electronic equipment designed to monitor various patient data at a psychiatric hospital in Toronto on March 12, 1964.
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.
One of Walter Freeman’s lobotomy patients ten days after the procedure. 1942.
A young patient’s rotted teeth, due to poor dentistry, are revealed at London’s Friern Hospital (previously known as the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum) circa 1890-1910.
A patient lies on the floor of Ohio’s Cleveland State Mental Hospital in 1946.
Patients go about their day inside Ohio’s Cleveland State Mental Hospital in 1946.
A patient stands in a straightjacket inside Ohio’s Cleveland State Mental Hospital in 1946.
A psychiatric patient poses for a photo at Paris’ Salpêtrière Hospital circa 1876-1877.
Nurses hold down a patient receiving electroshock treatment at a facility in England on November 23, 1946.
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.
Doctors test a new method of using radio waves to treat psychiatric patients at a hospital in Paris on May 13, 1938.
Two patients rest in the sleeping area of Ohio’s Cleveland State Mental Hospital in 1946.
Patients at the Riul Vadului Mental Asylum in Romania huddle together in an unheated room in the middle of winter. Date unspecified.
Dr. James G. Shanklin administers electric shock and anesthesia in preparation for Dr. Walter Freeman to demonstrate his new transorbital lobotomy procedure at Western State hospital in Lakewood, Washington on July 11, 1949.
A prisoner sits inside the West Riding Lunatic Asylum in Wakefield, England in 1869.
Patients lie on a bed inside a psychiatric hospital in Bucharest, Romania. Date unspecified.
A guard at Vacaville State Prison prepares a prisoner for a lobotomy in 1961. The warden of Vacaville at that time was Dr. William Keating, a psychiatrist who was convinced that “criminality” was lodged in certain areas of the brain, and so lobotomies at Vacaville became routine.
Child patients sit in their room at a mental hospital in Ursberg, Germany circa 1934-1936.
A patient lies back in a Bergonic chair, an early electroshock treatment apparatus, circa World War I.
Dr. James Watts (left) and Dr. Walter Freeman examine a patient after lobotomy. Date unspecified.
A young patient’s rotted teeth, due to poor dentistry, are revealed at London’s Friern Hospital (previously known as the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum) circa 1890-1910.
An amputee psychiatric patient of London’s Friern Hospital (previously known as the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum) poses for a photo circa 1890-1910.
A British patient identified only as “Mary C” poses for a photo following her lobotomy. October 28, 1960.
Ties bind a patient’s feet to a bed at a mental hospital in Bucharest, Romania. Date unspecified.
Patients sit inside Ohio’s Cleveland State Mental Hospital in 1946.
Orderlies wash patients at the Long Grove Asylum in Epsom, England circa 1930.
Orphans share a feces-stained crib at the Riul Vadului Mental Asylum in Romania. Date unspecified.
A patient diagnosed with “hysteria-induced narcolepsy” lies strapped down to a bed in Paris’ Salpêtrière Hospital in 1889.
A policeman stands guard at the bars of the ward for psychiatric patients (possibly the “criminal insane,” per original annotation) at New York’s Bellevue Hospital circa 1885-1898.
Debris litters the floor at Maryland’s Crownsville State Hospital psychiatric hospital (formerly Hospital for the Negro Insane of Maryland) during the aftermath of a riot in 1949.

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