Archive for the 'Psychology & The Mind' Category

Would you spend ten days in a mad-house so you could write about it?

Nellie Bly did — and who was this Nellie Bly? She was the brave woman who wrote Ten Days in a Mad-House, which you may read in its entirety online, starting here, below…

 

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From Wikipedia:

Nellie Bly (May 5, 1864[1] – January 27, 1922) was the pen name of American journalist Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman.[2] She was also a writer, industrialist, inventor, and a charity worker who was widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of Jules Verne‘s fictional character Phileas Fogg, and an exposé in which she faked insanity to study a mental institution from within.[3] She was a pioneer in her field, and launched a new kind of investigative journalism.[4]

 

In celebration of women writers, please enjoy:

 

Ten Days in a Mad-House
Published with “Miscellaneous Sketches: Trying to be a Servant,” and “Nellie Bly as a White Slave.”
by Nellie Bly [Elizabeth Jane Cochrane Seaman] (1864-1922)
New York: Ian L. Munro, Publisher, n.d.

 

INTRODUCTION.

SINCE my experiences in Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum were published in the World I have received hundreds of letters in regard to it. The edition containing my story long since ran out, and I have been prevailed upon to allow it to be published in book form, to satisfy the hundreds who are yet asking for copies.

I am happy to be able to state as a result of my visit to the asylum and the exposures consequent thereon, that the City of New York has appropriated $1,000,000 more per annum than ever before for the care of the insane. So I have at least the satisfaction of knowing that the poor unfortunates will be the better cared for because of my work.


 

TEN DAYS IN A MAD-HOUSE.

CHAPTER I.
A DELICATE MISSION.

ON the 22d of September I was asked by the World if I could have myself committed to one of the asylums for the insane in New York, with a view to writing a plain and unvarnished narrative of the treatment of the patients therein and the methods of management, etc. Did I think I had the courage to go through such an ordeal as the mission would demand? Could I assume the characteristics of insanity to such a degree that I could pass the doctors, live for a week among the insane without the authorities there finding out that I was only a “chiel amang ’em takin’ notes?” I said I believed I could. I had some faith in my own ability as an actress and thought I could assume insanity long enough to accomplish any mission intrusted to me. Could I pass a week in the insane ward at Blackwell’s Island? I said I could and I would. And I did.

 

My instructions were simply to go on with my work as soon as I felt that I was ready. I was to chronicle faithfully the experiences I underwent, and when once within the walls of the asylum to find out and describe its inside workings, which are always, so effectually hidden by white-capped nurses, as well as by bolts and bars, from the knowledge of the public. “We do not ask you to go there for the purpose of making sensational revelations. Write up things as you find them, good or bad; give praise or blame as you think best, and the truth all the time. But I am afraid of that chronic smile of yours,” said the editor. “I will smile no more,” I said, and I went away to execute my delicate and, as I found out, difficult mission.

 

If I did get into the asylum, which I hardly hoped to do, I had no idea that my experiences would contain aught else than a simple tale of life in an asylum. That such an institution could be mismanaged, and that cruelties could exist ‘neath its roof, I did not deem possible. I always had a desire to know asylum life more thoroughly–a desire to be convinced that the most helpless of God’s creatures, the insane, were cared for kindly and properly. The many stories I had read of abuses in such institutions I had regarded as wildly exaggerated or else romances, yet there was a latent desire to know positively.

 

I shuddered to think how completely the insane were in the power of their keepers, and how one could weep and plead for release, and all of no avail, if the keepers were so minded. Eagerly I accepted the mission to learn the inside workings of the Blackwell Island Insane Asylum.

 

“How will you get me out,” I asked my editor, “after I once get in?”

 

“I do not know,” he replied, “but we will get you out if we have to tell who you are, and for what purpose you feigned insanity–only get in.”

 

I had little belief in my ability to deceive the insanity experts, and I think my editor had less.

 

All the preliminary preparations for my ordeal were left to be planned by myself. Only one thing was decided upon, namely, that I should pass under the pseudonym of Nellie Brown, the initials of which would agree with my own name and my linen, so that there would be no difficulty in keeping track of my movements and assisting me out of any difficulties or dangers I might get into. There were ways of getting into the insane ward, but I did not know them. I might adopt one of two courses. Either I could feign insanity at the house of friends, and get myself committed on the decision of two competent physicians, or I could go to my goal by way of the police courts…

 

Nellie practices insanity at home.

For the rest, click here.

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What Vampire Graves Tell Us…

Who doesn’t enjoy a morbid love of vampires? And who doesn’t love the history of vampires even more?

 

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What Vampire Graves Tell Us About Ancient Superstitions

 

Hundreds of years ago, ignorance about decomposition and disease sparked fears that the dead returned to drink the blood of the living.

 

“In 1846, a man named Horace Ray died of tuberculosis in Griswold, Connecticut. Within the next six years, two of his grown sons died of the same disease. When yet another son fell ill two years later, Ray’s family and friends could think of only one explanation: The dead sons were somehow feeding on and sickening the living one—from the afterlife. In an effort to keep the remaining son from getting even worse, they exhumed the dead sons’ bodies and burned them.

 

This wasn’t an isolated incident. In 1874, a Rhode Island man named William Rose dug up his own daughter’s body and burned her heart, and in 1875 a victim of “consumption,” as TB was called then, had her lungs burned posthumously for good measure.

 

This practice of digging up, burning, or otherwise attempting to restrain the deceased was a widespread practice in many Western countries until the early 20th century, and it was intended to prevent what people at the time thought of as vampires: Dead victims of disease that literally sucked the life out of the living from beyond the grave.

 

We now imagine vampires as blood-drinking, cloaked Counts—or possibly sparkly, sexy teenagers—but throughout history everyone from the Ancient Greeks, to the Eastern Europeans, to 19th-century Americans saw them as disease victims (and sometimes simply dead miscreants) who could prey on the living from the Great Beyond…”

 

For the rest, go here, to The Atlantic.

 

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New Scientific Study of Near Death Experience…

 

We have a close friend who experienced an NDE — his account is so sincere and so vivid, there is no doubt in our minds that this phenomenon exists…

 

 

First hint of ‘life after death’ in biggest ever scientific study

By Sarah Knapton, Science Correspondent

 

Southampton University scientists have found evidence that awareness can continue for at least several minutes after clinical death which was previously thought impossible

 

“Death is a depressingly inevitable consequence of life, but now scientists believe they may have found some light at the end of the tunnel.

 

The largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences has discovered that some awareness may continue even after the brain has shut down completely.

 

It is a controversial subject which has, until recently, been treated with widespread scepticism.

 

But scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria.

 

And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted…”

 

 

Click here for the rest.

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