Chilling Facts About the Infamous Bedlam Mental Institution

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, people in England were terrified to be considered mentally unstable. While a harsh stigma, what frightened people more was the prospect of being sent to the frightening Bedlam Royal Hospital. Here are some of the most chilling facts about this mental institution that have unfortunately continued to stigmatize such healthcare facilities to this day.

Cold Greeting

If people thought that the goings on within the hospital were creepy, just the entranceway would be enough to provide a bleak introduction to this institution. The staircase in the entrance hall is flanked by two statues of human figures labeled “Melancholy” and “Raving Madness”, representative of human suffering.

Evolution or Devolution?

One employee of the Bedlam Hospital who contributed to the creative torture techniques used on patients was Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of Charles Darwin who developed the theory of evolution. He invented “rotational therapy”, whereby patients would be tied to a chair which would be spun in the air until they vomited. This was based on the peculiar belief that vomiting was “therapeutic”.

Predicting the Future

One famous guest at Bedlam was a 7’6” man named Daniel, who happened to be a porter of Oliver Cromwell. In addition to his great height, Daniel was known for making some eerily accurate prophecies. Allegedly, he predicted the 1666 Great Fire of London as well as the outbreak of the plague in the city.

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