I saw this image for the first time in my writer’s group on Facebook this morning. Have a good read of it all, it makes one wonder at the mentality of people living in this era when it was easy to put someone into a Lunatic Asylum.
I sourced the image and the associated story from the Snopes website. It is worthwhile noting that “The list was compiled from the log book of the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane, documenting admissions to that institution between 1864 and 1889 and has been published or referenced in several books and research papers. It has also been archived by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.”
The reason I am writing about it today is for the fact I love to read books and write them. So I find, like my Facebook group admin Aishah Magill pointed out that the simple past time of novel reading was grounds enough to commit a woman into an asylum.
Think on some of these fanciful terms listed here and wonder at the times we are talking about.
- Over action of the mind – would this include an overactive imagination? I would be there for sure.
- Over study of religion – mmn… this is grave cause for concern. Given that in America back in those times, people were quite religious. Well, I suppose much of the western world was too, so this is something I don’t understand – what is “over study”? Same with “Religious Enthusiasm” a few lines further down.
- Fits of desertion by husband – well this is a timely one, I must say. When women are regularly deserted by their partners/husbands. The asylums would be well overcrowded today.
- Salvation Army – what an interesting one this is. A society that regularly goes out of its way to help people, is cause for alarm to make a woman go looney.
Well, I’ve gone through the list and found some of those mentioned rather insanely funny. The hypocrisy of the day, not to mention the satire. If it weren’t so serious, it would be ridiculous. What are your thoughts?