Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Psychiatric Twilight Zone

CBS News has published a collection of 22 rare photos from 19th and 20th century psychiatry. This particular example reminded me of something out of The Twilight Zone:
Patient polygraph for examination

With all the technological advances for the field of psychiatry towards the mid-20th century, doctors started using technology to diagnose patients. Here, a patient is strapped into a polygraph machine at the government-operated Lexington Narcotic Hospital in Kentucky. Lie detectors were part of patient evaluations when this picture was taken in 1940.

On the other hand, this photo reminded me of something you'd see in a Medieval Torture Museum.

Restraint chair for violent patients

This chair was used to control violent patients at the New York State asylum in the early 20th century. An unruly patient's arms were strapped into the wooded wells, feet secured to the floor, and a belt tied around the boy - sometimes a patient's head was covered with a hood.

Credit: Dr. Stanley B. Burns

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