Have you ever heard of Willard Asylum? Believe it or not, this place was a major improvement for the mentally ill. Take a look at some of the facts:
– The average stay was…30 years.
– 400 suitcases were found in the attic after it shut down. They dated from 1910 to 1960 and weren’t found until 1995. All were still full of the owners belongings.
– When patients died, they were buried. No names were on the tombstones- only numbers.
– The only one with names are those that participated in the Civil War and were furnished by the government.
– There are almost 6,000 people buried there.
– The New York Office of Mental Health has classified the cemetery records as medical records and have sealed them.
– Willard opened in the 1800s.
– It was a 900 bed boot camp or shock camp…the only problem was that it lasted for up to 30 years for many of the patients.
– When it opened, it was not uncommon to keep people deemed insane naked, in chains and locked up 24/7. Willard did try to be different by giving them some freedom and jobs to have a sense of purpose.
– One of the doctors who treated patients there, became a patient!
– Even though this institution tried to improve the conditions of the mental patients, there was much to be desired. Many records remain closed.