What Made You Crazy in 1864?
I stumbled across this gem recently It lists reasons people were admitted to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia in its first 25 years of existence, from 1864 to 1889.
While they’re all pretty special, and certainly far more exciting than my own hospitalizations for depression, these would be my top 10 picks:
- jealousy and religion (why are those two combined?)
- masturbation for 30 years (um, so the average 40-something?)
- deranged masturbation (I would what would qualify…)
- novel reading (I would’ve thought 1864 would be too late for this particular version of crazy to be a thing)
- parents were cousins (I suppose that was an issue in West Virginia)
- fever and loss of law suit (another connection I fail to see)
- exposure and quackery (this one fascinates me — what was the exposure and who were the quacks)
- time of life (um, which time?)
- seduction and disappointment
- sexual derangement
And there needs to be another top picks list for troubles of the female variety that landed people in the loony bin:
- ill treatment by husband
- imaginary female trouble (I suspect that back in the day a woman could have been bleeding profusely after giving birth and they would still call that imaginary female trouble)
- menstrual deranged
- fits and desertion of husband ˆ(Who was having the fits? The husband or the wife?)
- uterine derangement (I’m curious what this would look like, and what the differences would be from menstrual deranged)
- women trouble (hmmm…..)
- rumor of husband murder (Was the husband the murdered or the murdered? If he was engaged in excessive sexual abuse I bet she shot his ass)
- female disease (Is it contagious?/ If so, how do we spread it around to infect the menfolk?)
Then we have another gem.
Out of these causes of death from 1632, my top 10 most fascinating are:
- affrighted (I suppose that’s where the phrase scared to death came from)
- cancer, and wolf (I’m missing the connection here)
- Cut of the Stone (is this a particular stone, or are stones in general going around killing 5 people?)
- dead in the street, and starved (6 actually seems like a rather low number for that particular time in the world)
- kil’d by several accidents (was this multiple accidents happening to each person?)
- King’s Evil (huh? Are we talking Henry VIII?)
- Rising of the Lights (???)
- suddenly (how is this a cause of death? Descriptor, yes, but cause, no.)
- teeth (what??? And why is it the 5th leading cause of death?)
Today’s world is just so boring.
Originally published at https://mentalhealthathome.org on February 24, 2020.